Biomedical Research Education & Training
Faculty Member

El-Rifai, Wael, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Surgery
H. William Scott, Jr., Chair in Surgery
Professor of Cancer Biology

Lab Url: N/A

Phone Number: 615-322 7934

Email Address:

El-Rifai, Wael's picture
Academic history

Office Address   Mailing Address

1255 Light Hall

2215 Garland Avenue 1255 Light Hall 37232-2733

Research Keywords
Cancer genetics, molecular genetics, cancer biology, epigenetics, gastric cancer, gastroesophageal cancer, Barrett's, drug resistrance, molecular targets, therapeutic targets,Apoptosis,Cancer,Cell cycle,Gene regulation,Genetics,Genome,Genomics,Human Genetics,Malignancy,Molecular medicine,Mutation,Proteomics,Signal transduction,Transcription,Transcription factor

Research Specialty
Cancer Genetics, Molecular Biology, upper gastrointestinal cancer, Barrett's adenocarcinoma, gastric cancer

Research Description
Wael El-Rifai, MD., Ph.D.
Professor, Surgery & Cancer Biology
Director, Surgical Oncology Research

Dr. El-Rifai has a long-standing interest in understanding the modulation of molecular pathways through genetic and epigenetic events. His research is focused on upper gastrointestinal carcinomas (UGCs) with two main goals:

1. Translational OncoGenomics in upper gastrointestinal carcinomas
The El-Rifai laboratory has extensive expertise in the dissection of genetic and epigenetic alterations in upper gastrointestinal carcinomas (UGC). This group of tumors includes distal gastric tumors and proximal adenocarcinomas of the gastroesophageal junctional (GEJ) and lower esophagus. Proximal adenocarcinomas are the fastest rising tumors in the United States as well as in the rest of the western world. In my laboratory, we apply comprehensive, molecular-analysis-approaches with the integration of data in order to understand the molecular anatomy of these tumors. Several high-throughput technologies are utilized in his research. These include comparative genomic hybridization, microarrays, serial analysis of gene expression, and proteomic approaches. The El-Rifai laboratory identified a number of genomic hot spots and has systematically characterized the 1q, 17q, and 20q amplicons by combining the genomic data with gene expression data. At 17q21 he identified and characterized a 168 kb critical amplicon region that contains several known oncogenes side-by-side such as ERBB2, GRB7, and TOP2A. We have collected more than 400 tumors on tissue microarrays. These TMAs are continuously analyzed for identification of the clinical and histopathological significance of molecular alterations. Dr. El-Rifai?s lab was the first group of investigators to reveal Darpp-32 and its isoforms as novel cancer genes.
Our research extends to encompass animal models as tools of identification of tumor development and progression. In this direction, we have obtained TFF1 knockout mice that develop premalignant gastric dysplasia. Dr. El-Rifai laboratory has characterized this model and used it to identify alterations in molecular pathways that occur in a premalignant state. Using this approach, his research group discovered a number of previously unknown genes in gastric tumorigenesis and was able to validate the findings in human premalignant conditions. These genes include GPx3, Claudin-7, and Caveolin.
Dr. El-Rifai has demonstrated DNA promoter hypermethylation as a mechanism of down-regulation and loss of expression of several novel genes such as MT3, MGMT, DAPK, and GPX3. He has further shown that some of these changes are early events initiated in premalignant states such as in Barrett?s dysplasia. Recently, we have added to our laboratory the cutting-edge, pyrosequencing technology (Biotage) for a high through-put, robust, quantitative analysis of promoter CpG methylation sites.

2. Cellular effects and signaling transduction in UGCs
In line with his translational research component, Dr. El-Rifai laboratory is primarily interested in identifying anti-apoptotic/pro-survival targets that contribute to drug resistance. At this time, the work is focused in understanding the p53-dependent and independent mechanisms that contribute to this phenotype. Our work has demonstrated that Darpp-32 is a potent antiapoptotic gene that provides a phenotype that is drug resistant to cancer cells against several chemotherapeutic agents. This drug resistant phenotype was through a p53-independent mechanism that included up-regulation and activation of mitochondrial Bcl2 prosurvival proteins. In my laboratory, we use normal and transformed cells, specific antibodies and purified protein kinases to show phosphorylation controls activity. We continue to establish the oncogenic properties and downstream targets of Darpp-32 and/or t-Darpp in order to understand the signaling pathways that are regulated by Darpp-32 in cancer. In addition to studies on Darpp-32, our lab has identified COBRA1 as a novel gene that regulates the transcription of TFF1 expression in UGCs. Our work continues to focus on investigating the oncogenic properties of both DARPP-32 and COBRA1 in these tumors. For a list of El-Rifai lab publications:

Sehdev, V, Katsha, A, Arras, J, Peng, D, Soutto, M, Ecsedy, J, Zaika, A, Belkhiri, A, El-Rifai, W. HDM2 Regulation by AURKA Promotes Cell Survival in Gastric Cancer. Clin Cancer Res, 20(1), 76-86, 2014

Belkhiri, A, El-Rifai, W. 5-Methylcytosine hydroxylation-mediated LINE-1 hypomethylation: a novel mechanism of proto-oncogenes activation in colorectal cancer. Gut, 2013

Chen, Z, Saad, R, Jia, P, Peng, D, Zhu, S, Washington, MK, Zhao, Z, Xu, Z, El-Rifai, W. Gastric adenocarcinoma has a unique microRNA signature not present in esophageal adenocarcinoma. Cancer, 119(11), 1985-93, 2013

Cleveland, SM, Smith, S, Tripathi, R, Mathias, EM, Goodings, C, Elliott, N, Peng, D, El-Rifai, W, Yi, D, Chen, X, Li, L, Mullighan, C, Downing, JR, Love, P, Dav??, UP. Lmo2 induces hematopoietic stem cell-like features in T-cell progenitor cells prior to leukemia. Stem Cells, 31(5), 882-94, 2013

Erdogan, B, Bosompem, A, Peng, D, Han, L, Smith, E, Kennedy, ME, Alford, CE, Wu, H, Zhao, Z, Mosse, CA, El-Rifai, W, Kim, AS. Methylation of promoters of microRNAs and their host genes in myelodysplastic syndromes. Leuk Lymphoma, 54(12), 2720-7, 2013

Katsha, A, Soutto, M, Sehdev, V, Peng, D, Washington, MK, Piazuelo, MB, Tantawy, MN, Manning, HC, Lu, P, Shyr, Y, Ecsedy, J, Belkhiri, A, El-Rifai, W. Aurora kinase A promotes inflammation and tumorigenesis in mice and human gastric neoplasia. Gastroenterology, 145(6), 1312-22.e1-8, 2013

Lim, J, Duong, T, Do, N, Do, P, Kim, J, Kim, H, El-Rifai, W, Ruley, HE, Jo, D. Antitumor activity of cell-permeable RUNX3 protein in gastric cancer cells. Clin Cancer Res, 19(3), 680-90, 2013

Lim, J, Duong, T, Lee, G, Seong, BL, El-Rifai, W, Ruley, HE, Jo, D. The effect of intracellular protein delivery on the anti-tumor activity of recombinant human endostatin. Biomaterials, 34(26), 6261-71, 2013

O''Neal, RL, Nam, KT, LaFleur, BJ, Barlow, B, Nozaki, K, Lee, HJ, Kim, WH, Yang, HK, Shi, C, Maitra, A, Montgomery, E, Washington, MK, El Rifai, W, Drapkin, RI, Goldenring, JR. Human epididymis protein 4 is up-regulated in gastric and pancreatic adenocarcinomas. Hum Pathol, 44(5), 734-42, 2013

Peng, D, Hu, T, Soutto, M, Belkhiri, A, Zaika, A, El-Rifai, W. Glutathione peroxidase 7 has potential tumour suppressor functions that are silenced by location-specific methylation in oesophageal adenocarcinoma. Gut, 2013

Saad, R, Chen, Z, Zhu, S, Jia, P, Zhao, Z, Washington, MK, Belkhiri, A, El-Rifai, W. Deciphering the unique microRNA signature in human esophageal adenocarcinoma. PLoS One, 8(5), e64463, 2013

Schneider, BG, Piazuelo, MB, Sicinschi, LA, Mera, R, Peng, DF, Roa, JC, Romero-Gallo, J, Delgado, AG, de Sablet, T, Bravo, LE, Wilson, KT, El-Rifai, W, Peek, RM, Correa, P. Virulence of infecting Helicobacter pylori strains and intensity of mononuclear cell infiltration are associated with levels of DNA hypermethylation in gastric mucosae. Epigenetics, 8(11), 1153-61, 2013

Sehdev, V, Katsha, A, Ecsedy, J, Zaika, A, Belkhiri, A, El-Rifai, W. The combination of alisertib, an investigational Aurora kinase A inhibitor, and docetaxel promotes cell death and reduces tumor growth in preclinical cell models of upper gastrointestinal adenocarcinomas. Cancer, 119(4), 904-14, 2013

Zaika, E, Bhardwaj, V, Wei, J, Washington, MK, Souza, R, El-Rifai, W, Zaika, A. Proinflammatory cytokines and bile acids upregulate ??Np73 protein, an inhibitor of p53 and p73 tumor suppressors. PLoS One, 8(5), e64306, 2013

Zhu, S, Hong, J, Tripathi, MK, Sehdev, V, Belkhiri, A, El-Rifai, W. Regulation of CXCR4-mediated invasion by DARPP-32 in gastric cancer cells. Mol Cancer Res, 11(1), 86-94, 2013

Feng, J, Pan, X, Yu, J, Chen, Z, Xu, H, El-Rifai, W, Zhang, G, Xu, Z. Functional PstI/RsaI polymorphism in CYP2E1 is associated with the development, progression and poor outcome of gastric cancer. PLoS One, 7(9), e44478, 2012

Hong, J, Katsha, A, Lu, P, Shyr, Y, Belkhiri, A, El-Rifai, W. Regulation of ERBB2 receptor by t-DARPP mediates trastuzumab resistance in human esophageal adenocarcinoma. Cancer Res, 72(17), 4504-14, 2012

Peng, DF, Hu, TL, Schneider, BG, Chen, Z, Xu, ZK, El-Rifai, W. Silencing of glutathione peroxidase 3 through DNA hypermethylation is associated with lymph node metastasis in gastric carcinomas. PLoS One, 7(10), e46214, 2012

Rau, TT, Rogler, A, Frischauf, M, Jung, A, Konturek, PC, Dimmler, A, Faller, G, Sehnert, B, El-Rifai, W, Hartmann, A, Voll, RE, Schneider-Stock, R. Methylation-dependent activation of CDX1 through NF-??B: a link from inflammation to intestinal metaplasia in the human stomach. Am J Pathol, 181(2), 487-98, 2012

Wei, J, Noto, J, Zaika, E, Romero-Gallo, J, Correa, P, El-Rifai, W, Peek, RM, Zaika, A. Pathogenic bacterium Helicobacter pylori alters the expression profile of p53 protein isoforms and p53 response to cellular stresses. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 109(38), E2543-50, 2012

Belkhiri, A, Dar, AA, Zaika, A, Kelley, M, El-Rifai, W. t-Darpp promotes cancer cell survival by up-regulation of Bcl2 through Akt-dependent mechanism. Cancer Res, 68(2), 395-403, 2008

Dar, AA, Zaika, A, Piazuelo, MB, Correa, P, Koyama, T, Belkhiri, A, Washington, K, Castells, A, Pera, M, El-Rifai, W. Frequent overexpression of Aurora Kinase A in upper gastrointestinal adenocarcinomas correlates with potent antiapoptotic functions. Cancer, 112(8), 1688-98, 2008

Peng, D, Sheta, EA, Powell, SM, Moskaluk, CA, Washington, K, Goldknopf, IL, El-Rifai, W. Alterations in Barrett''s-related adenocarcinomas: a proteomic approach. Int J Cancer, 122(6), 1303-10, 2008

Vilgelm, A, Wei, JX, Piazuelo, MB, Washington, MK, Prassolov, V, El-Rifai, W, Zaika, A. DeltaNp73alpha regulates MDR1 expression by inhibiting p53 function. Oncogene, 27(15), 2170-6, 2008

Wei, J, O''Brien, D, Vilgelm, A, Piazuelo, MB, Correa, P, Washington, MK, El-Rifai, W, Peek, RM, Zaika, A. Interaction of Helicobacter pylori with gastric epithelial cells is mediated by the p53 protein family. Gastroenterology, 134(5), 1412-23, 2008 PMCID:2430883

Kuester, D, Dar, AA, Moskaluk, CC, Krueger, S, Meyer, F, Hartig, R, Stolte, M, Malfertheiner, P, Lippert, H, Roessner, A, El-Rifai, W, Schneider-Stock, R. Early involvement of death-associated protein kinase promoter hypermethylation in the carcinogenesis of Barrett''s esophageal adenocarcinoma and its association with clinical progression. Neoplasia, 9(3), 236-45, 2007 PMCID:1838580

Razvi, MH, Peng, D, Dar, AA, Powell, SM, Frierson, HF, Moskaluk, CA, Washington, K, El-Rifai, W. Transcriptional oncogenomic hot spots in Barrett''s adenocarcinomas: serial analysis of gene expression. Genes Chromosomes Cancer, 46(10), 914-28, 2007

Lee, OJ, Hong, SM, Razvi, MH, Peng, D, Powell, SM, Smoklin, M, Moskaluk, CA, El-Rifai, W. Expression of calcium-binding proteins S100A2 and S100A4 in Barrett''s adenocarcinomas. Neoplasia, 8(10), 843-50, 2006 PMCID:1715926

Maqani, N, Belkhiri, A, Moskaluk, C, Knuutila, S, Dar, AA, El-Rifai, W. Molecular dissection of 17q12 amplicon in upper gastrointestinal adenocarcinomas. Mol Cancer Res, 4(7), 449-55, 2006

McChesney, PA, Aiyar, SE, Lee, OJ, Zaika, A, Moskaluk, C, Li, R, El-Rifai, W. Cofactor of BRCA1: a novel transcription factor regulator in upper gastrointestinal adenocarcinomas. Cancer Res, 66(3), 1346-53, 2006

Tomkova, K, El-Rifai, W, Vilgelm, A, Kelly, MC, Wang, TC, Zaika, AI. The gastrin gene promoter is regulated by p73 isoforms in tumor cells. Oncogene, 2006

Wu, Z, Siadaty, MS, Riddick, G, Frierson, HF, Lee, JK, Golden, W, Knuutila, S, Hampton, GM, El-Rifai, W, Theodorescu, D. A novel method for gene expression mapping of metastatic competence in human bladder cancer. Neoplasia, 8(3), 181-9, 2006 PMCID:1578518

Zaika, AI, El-Rifai, W. The role of p53 protein family in gastrointestinal malignancies. Cell Death Differ, 13(6), 935-40, 2006

Belkhiri, A, Zaika, A, Pidkovka, N, Knuutila, S, Moskaluk, C, El-Rifai, W. Darpp-32: a novel antiapoptotic gene in upper gastrointestinal carcinomas. Cancer Res, 65(15), 6583-92, 2005

Johnson, AH, Frierson, HF, Zaika, A, Powell, SM, Roche, J, Crowe, S, Moskaluk, CA, El-Rifai, W. Expression of tight-junction protein claudin-7 is an early event in gastric tumorigenesis. Am J Pathol, 167(2), 577-84, 2005 PMCID:1603560

Lee, OJ, Schneider-Stock, R, McChesney, PA, Kuester, D, Roessner, A, Vieth, M, Moskaluk, CA, El-Rifai, W. Hypermethylation and Loss of Expression of Glutathione Peroxidase-3 in Barrett''s Tumorigenesis. Neoplasia, 7(9), 854-61, 2005 PMCID:1501938

Guti??rrez, MI, Siraj, AK, Khaled, H, Koon, N, El-Rifai, W, Bhatia, K. CpG island methylation in Schistosoma- and non-Schistosoma-associated bladder cancer. Mod Pathol, 17(10), 1268-74, 2004

Koon, N, Schneider-Stock, R, Sarlomo-Rikala, M, Lasota, J, Smolkin, M, Petroni, G, Zaika, A, Boltze, C, Meyer, F, Andersson, L, Knuutila, S, Miettinen, M, El-Rifai, W. Molecular targets for tumour progression in gastrointestinal stromal tumours. Gut, 53(2), 235-40, 2004 PMCID:1774925

Koon, N, Zaika, A, Moskaluk, CA, Frierson, HF, Knuutila, S, Powell, SM, El-Rifai, W. Clustering of molecular alterations in gastroesophageal carcinomas. Neoplasia, 6(2), 143-9, 2004 PMCID:1502088

Tomkova, K, Belkhiri, A, El-Rifai, W, Zaika, AI. p73 isoforms can induce T-cell factor-dependent transcription in gastrointestinal cells. Cancer Res, 64(18), 6390-3, 2004

Varis, A, Zaika, A, Puolakkainen, P, Nagy, B, Madrigal, I, Kokkola, A, V??yrynen, A, K??rkk??inen, P, Moskaluk, C, El-Rifai, W, Knuutila, S. Coamplified and overexpressed genes at ERBB2 locus in gastric cancer. Int J Cancer, 109(4), 548-53, 2004

Wagner, KW, Sapinoso, LM, El-Rifai, W, Frierson, HF, Butz, N, Mestan, J, Hofmann, F, Deveraux, QL, Hampton, GM. Overexpression, genomic amplification and therapeutic potential of inhibiting the UbcH10 ubiquitin conjugase in human carcinomas of diverse anatomic origin. Oncogene, 23(39), 6621-9, 2004

Beckler, A, Moskaluk, CA, Zaika, A, Hampton, GM, Powell, SM, Frierson, HF, El-Rifai, W. Overexpression of the 32-kilodalton dopamine and cyclic adenosine 3'',5''-monophosphate-regulated phosphoprotein in common adenocarcinomas. Cancer, 98(7), 1547-51, 2003

Beckler, AD, Roche, JK, Harper, JC, Petroni, G, Frierson, HF, Moskaluk, CA, El-Rifai, W, Powell, SM. Decreased abundance of trefoil factor 1 transcript in the majority of gastric carcinomas. Cancer, 98(10), 2184-91, 2003

Berr, SS, Roche, JK, El-Rifai, W, Smith, MF, Powell, SM. Magnetic resonance imaging of gastric cancer in Tff1 knock-out mice. Magn Reson Med, 49(6), 1033-6, 2003

Deng, D, El-Rifai, W, Ji, J, Zhu, B, Trampont, P, Li, J, Smith, MF, Powel, SM. Hypermethylation of metallothionein-3 CpG island in gastric carcinoma. Carcinogenesis, 24(1), 25-9, 2003

Dematteo, RP, Heinrich, MC, El-Rifai, WM, Demetri, G. Clinical management of gastrointestinal stromal tumors: before and after STI-571. Hum Pathol, 33(5), 466-77, 2002

El-Rifai, W, Moskaluk, CA, Abdrabbo, MK, Harper, J, Yoshida, C, Riggins, GJ, Frierson, HF, Powell, SM. Gastric cancers overexpress S100A calcium-binding proteins. Cancer Res, 62(23), 6823-6, 2002

El-Rifai, W, Powell, SM. Molecular biology of gastric cancer. Semin Radiat Oncol, 12(2), 128-40, 2002

El-Rifai, W, Smith, MF, Li, G, Beckler, A, Carl, VS, Montgomery, E, Knuutila, S, Moskaluk, CA, Frierson, HF, Powell, SM. Gastric cancers overexpress DARPP-32 and a novel isoform, t-DARPP. Cancer Res, 62(14), 4061-4, 2002

Miettinen, M, El-Rifai, W, H L Sobin, L, Lasota, J. Evaluation of malignancy and prognosis of gastrointestinal stromal tumors: a review. Hum Pathol, 33(5), 478-83, 2002

Shuber, AP, Asca??o, JJ, Boynton, KA, Mitchell, A, Frierson, HF, El-Rifai, W, Powell, SM. Accurate, noninvasive detection of Helicobacter pylori DNA from stool samples: potential usefulness for monitoring treatment. J Clin Microbiol, 40(1), 262-4, 2002 PMCID:120120

Varis, A, Wolf, M, Monni, O, Vakkari, ML, Kokkola, A, Moskaluk, C, Frierson, H, Powell, SM, Knuutila, S, Kallioniemi, A, El-Rifai, W. Targets of gene amplification and overexpression at 17q in gastric cancer. Cancer Res, 62(9), 2625-9, 2002

el-Rifai, W, Powell, SM. Molecular and biologic basis of upper gastrointestinal malignancy. Gastric carcinoma. Surg Oncol Clin N Am, 11(2), 273-91, viii, 2002

Asca??o, JJ, Frierson, H, Moskaluk, CA, Harper, JC, Roviello, F, Jackson, CE, El-Rifai, W, Vindigni, C, Tosi, P, Powell, SM. Inactivation of the E-cadherin gene in sporadic diffuse-type gastric cancer. Mod Pathol, 14(10), 942-9, 2001

El-Rifai, W, Frierson , HF, Moskaluk, CA, Harper, JC, Petroni, GR, Bissonette, EA, Jones, DR, Knuutila, S, Powell, SM. Genetic differences between adenocarcinomas arising in Barrett''s esophagus and gastric mucosa. Gastroenterology, 121(3), 592-8, 2001

El-Rifai, W, Frierson, HF, Harper, JC, Powell, SM, Knuutila, S. Expression profiling of gastric adenocarcinoma using cDNA array. Int J Cancer, 92(6), 832-8, 2001

El-Rifai, W, Rutherford, S, Knuutila, S, Frierson, HF, Moskaluk, CA. Novel DNA copy number losses in chromosome 12q12--q13 in adenoid cystic carcinoma. Neoplasia, 3(3), 173-8, 2001 PMCID:1505590

Kettunen, E, Niss??n, AM, Ollikainen, T, Taavitsainen, M, Tapper, J, Mattson, K, Linnainmaa, K, Knuutila, S, El-Rifai, W. Gene expression profiling of malignant mesothelioma cell lines: cDNA array study. Int J Cancer, 91(4), 492-6, 2001

Kiuru-Kuhlefelt, S, El-Rifai, W, Fanburg-Smith, J, Kere, J, Miettinen, M, Knuutila, S. Concomitant DNA copy number amplification at 17q and 22q in dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans. Cytogenet Cell Genet, 92(3-4), 192-5, 2001

Tapper, J, Kettunen, E, El-Rifai, W, Sepp??l??, M, Andersson, LC, Knuutila, S. Changes in gene expression during progression of ovarian carcinoma. Cancer Genet Cytogenet, 128(1), 1-6, 2001

El-Rifai, W, Kamel, D, Larramendy, ML, Shoman, S, Gad, Y, Baithun, S, El-Awady, M, Eissa, S, Khaled, H, Soloneski, S, Sheaff, M, Knuutila, S. DNA copy number changes in Schistosoma-associated and non-Schistosoma-associated bladder cancer. Am J Pathol, 156(3), 871-8, 2000 PMCID:1876852

El-Rifai, W, Sarlomo-Rikala, M, Andersson, LC, Knuutila, S, Miettinen, M. DNA sequence copy number changes in gastrointestinal stromal tumors: tumor progression and prognostic significance. Cancer Res, 60(14), 3899-903, 2000

El-Rifai, W, Sarlomo-Rikala, M, Andersson, LC, Miettinen, M, Knuutila, S. High-resolution deletion mapping of chromosome 14 in stromal tumors of the gastrointestinal tract suggests two distinct tumor suppressor loci. Genes Chromosomes Cancer, 27(4), 387-91, 2000

Kettunen, E, el-Rifai, W, Bj??rkqvist, AM, Wolff, H, Karjalainen, A, Anttila, S, Mattson, K, Husgafvel-Pursiainen, K, Knuutila, S. A broad amplification pattern at 3q in squamous cell lung cancer--a fluorescence in situ hybridization study. Cancer Genet Cytogenet, 117(1), 66-70, 2000

Wolf, M, El-Rifai, W, Tarkkanen, M, Kononen, J, Serra, M, Eriksen, EF, Elomaa, I, Kallioniemi, A, Kallioniemi, OP, Knuutila, S. Novel findings in gene expression detected in human osteosarcoma by cDNA microarray. Cancer Genet Cytogenet, 123(2), 128-32, 2000

Knuutila, S, Aalto, Y, Autio, K, Bj??rkqvist, AM, El-Rifai, W, Hemmer, S, Huhta, T, Kettunen, E, Kiuru-Kuhlefelt, S, Larramendy, ML, Lushnikova, T, Monni, O, Pere, H, Tapper, J, Tarkkanen, M, Varis, A, Wasenius, VM, Wolf, M, Zhu, Y. DNA copy number losses in human neoplasms. Am J Pathol, 155(3), 683-94, 1999 PMCID:1866903

Plass, C, Yu, F, Yu, L, Strout, MP, El-Rifai, W, Elonen, E, Knuutila, S, Marcucci, G, Young, DC, Held, WA, Bloomfield, CD, Caligiuri, MA. Restriction landmark genome scanning for aberrant methylation in primary refractory and relapsed acute myeloid leukemia; involvement of the WIT-1 gene. Oncogene, 18(20), 3159-65, 1999

Zhu, Y, Monni, O, El-Rifai, W, Siitonen, SM, Vilpo, L, Vilpo, J, Knuutila, S. Discontinuous deletions at 11q23 in B cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Leukemia, 13(5), 708-12, 1999

el-Rifai, W, Tarmo, L, Hemmer, S, F??rsti, A, Pedersen, N, Lichtenstein, P, Ahlbom, A, S??derberg, M, Knuutila, S, Hemminki, K. DNA copy number losses at 1p32-pter in monozygotic twins concordant for breast cancer. Cancer Genet Cytogenet, 112(2), 169-72, 1999

El-Rifai, W, Harper, JC, Cummings, OW, Hyytinen, ER, Frierson, HF, Knuutila, S, Powell, SM. Consistent genetic alterations in xenografts of proximal stomach and gastro-esophageal junction adenocarcinomas. Cancer Res, 58(1), 34-7, 1998

El-Rifai, W, Sarlomo-Rikala, M, Knuutila, S, Miettinen, M. DNA copy number changes in development and progression in leiomyosarcomas of soft tissues. Am J Pathol, 153(3), 985-90, 1998 PMCID:1853026

Kiuru-Kuhlefelt, S, El-Rifai, W, Sarlomo-Rikala, M, Knuutila, S, Miettinen, M. DNA copy number changes in alveolar soft part sarcoma: a comparative genomic hybridization study. Mod Pathol, 11(3), 227-31, 1998

Knuutila, S, Armengol, G, Bj??rkqvist, AM, el-Rifai, W, Larramendy, ML, Monni, O, Szymanska, J. Comparative genomic hybridization study on pooled DNAs from tumors of one clinical-pathological entity. Cancer Genet Cytogenet, 100(1), 25-30, 1998

Knuutila, S, Bj??rkqvist, AM, Autio, K, Tarkkanen, M, Wolf, M, Monni, O, Szymanska, J, Larramendy, ML, Tapper, J, Pere, H, El-Rifai, W, Hemmer, S, Wasenius, VM, Vidgren, V, Zhu, Y. DNA copy number amplifications in human neoplasms: review of comparative genomic hybridization studies. Am J Pathol, 152(5), 1107-23, 1998 PMCID:1858578

Larramendy, ML, El-Rifai, W, Knuutila, S. Comparison of fluorescein isothiocyanate- and Texas red-conjugated nucleotides for direct labeling in comparative genomic hybridization. Cytometry, 31(3), 174-9, 1998

Larramendy, ML, Huhta, T, Vettenranta, K, El-Rifai, W, Lundin, J, Pakkala, S, Saarinen-Pihkala, UM, Knuutila, S. Comparative genomic hybridization in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Leukemia, 12(10), 1638-44, 1998

Larramendy, ML, el-Rifai, W, Kokkola, A, Puolakkainen, P, Monni, O, Salovaara, R, Aarnio, M, Knuutila, S. Comparative genomic hybridization reveals differences in DNA copy number changes between sporadic gastric carcinomas and gastric carcinomas from patients with hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer. Cancer Genet Cytogenet, 106(1), 62-5, 1998

Sarlomo-Rikala, M, El-Rifai, W, Lahtinen, T, Andersson, LC, Miettinen, M, Knuutila, S. Different patterns of DNA copy number changes in gastrointestinal stromal tumors, leiomyomas, and schwannomas. Hum Pathol, 29(5), 476-81, 1998

el-Rifai, W, Sarlomo-Rikala, M, Andersson, LC, Miettinen, M, Knuutila, S. DNA copy number changes in gastrointestinal stromal tumors--a distinct genetic entity. Ann Chir Gynaecol, 87(4), 287-90, 1998

Billstr??m, R, Johansson, B, Str??mbeck, B, el-Rifai, W, Larramendy, M, Olofsson, T, Mitelman, F, Knuutila, S. Clonal CD5-positive B lymphocytes in myelodysplastic syndrome with systemic vasculitis and trisomy 8. Ann Hematol, 74(1), 37-40, 1997

El-Rifai, W, Elonen, E, Larramendy, M, Ruutu, T, Knuutila, S. Chromosomal breakpoints and changes in DNA copy number in refractory acute myeloid leukemia. Leukemia, 11(7), 958-63, 1997

El-Rifai, W, Ruutu, T, Elonen, E, Volin, L, Knuutila, S. Prognostic value of metaphase-fluorescence in situ hybridization in follow-up of patients with acute myeloid leukemia in remission. Blood, 89(9), 3330-4, 1997

El-Rifai, W, Ruutu, T, Vettenranta, K, Elonen, E, Saarinen, UM, Volin, L, Knuutila, S. Follow-up of residual disease using metaphase-FISH in patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in remission. Leukemia, 11(5), 633-8, 1997

Miettinen, MM, el-Rifai, W, Sarlomo-Rikala, M, Andersson, LC, Knuutila, S. Tumor size-related DNA copy number changes occur in solitary fibrous tumors but not in hemangiopericytomas. Mod Pathol, 10(12), 1194-200, 1997

Sulisalo, T, M??kitie, O, Sistonen, P, Ridanp????, M, el-Rifai, W, Ruuskanen, O, de la Chapelle, A, Kaitila, I. Uniparental disomy in cartilage-hair hypoplasia. Eur J Hum Genet, 5(1), 35-42, 1997

el-Rifai, W, Larramendy, ML, Bj??rkqvist, AM, Hemmer, S, Knuutila, S. Optimization of comparative genomic hybridization using fluorochrome conjugated to dCTP and dUTP nucleotides. Lab Invest, 77(6), 699-700, 1997

El-Rifai, W, Larramendy, ML, Ruutu, T, Knuutila, S. Lymphoid involvement in a patient with acute myeloid leukemia: a direct phenotypic and genotypic study of single cells. Genes Chromosomes Cancer, 15(1), 34-7, 1996

Mertens, F, P?Ylsson, E, Lindstrand, A, Toksvig-Larsen, S, Knuutila, S, Larramendy, ML, el-Rifai, W, Limon, J, Mitelman, F, Mandahl, N. Evidence of somatic mutations in osteoarthritis. Hum Genet, 98(6), 651-6, 1996

Slunga-Tallberg, A, el-Rifai, W, Kein??nen, M, Ylinen, K, Kurki, T, Klinger, K, Ylikorkala, O, Larramendy, ML, Knuutila, S. Maternal origin of transferrin receptor positive cells in venous blood of pregnant women. Clin Genet, 49(4), 196-9, 1996

el Rifai, W, Knuutila, S. Fluorescent in situ hybridization on archival G-banded slides. Cytogenet Cell Genet, 73(4), 322-4, 1996

el-Rifai, W, Ruutu, T, Vettenranta, K, Temtamy, S, Knuutila, S. Minimal residual disease after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation for chronic myeloid leukaemia: a metaphase-FISH study. Br J Haematol, 92(2), 365-9, 1996

el-Rifai, W, Sarlomo-Rikala, M, Miettinen, M, Knuutila, S, Andersson, LC. DNA copy number losses in chromosome 14: an early change in gastrointestinal stromal tumors. Cancer Res, 56(14), 3230-3, 1996

Knuutila, S, Larramendy, ML, Elfving, P, el-Rifai, W, Miettinen, A, Mitelman, F. Trisomy 7 in non-neoplastic tubular epithelial cells of the kidney. Hum Genet, 95(2), 149-56, 1995

Larramendy, M, el-Rifai, W, Saarinen, U, Alitalo, R, Luomahaara, S, Knuutila, S. Myeloid lineage involvement in acute lymphoblastic leukemia: a morphology antibody chromosomes (MAC) study. Exp Hematol, 23(14), 1563-7, 1995

Slunga-Tallberg, A, el-Rifai, W, Kein??nen, M, Ylinen, K, Kurki, T, Klinger, K, Ylikorkala, O, Knuutila, S. Maternal origin of nucleated erythrocytes in peripheral venous blood of pregnant women. Hum Genet, 96(1), 53-7, 1995

el-Rifai, W, Leisti, J, K??hk??nen, M, Pietarinen, A, Altherr, MR, Knuutila, S. A patient with Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome originating from translocation t(4;8) (p16.3;q24.3)pat. J Med Genet, 32(1), 65-7, 1995 PMCID:1050183

el-Rifai, W, Pettersson, T, Larramendy, ML, Knuutila, S. Lineage involvement and karyotype in a patient with myelodysplasia and blood basophilia. Eur J Haematol, 53(5), 288-92, 1994

Postdoctoral Position Available

Postdoctoral Position Details
A post-doctoral position is available in Dr. El-Rifai Laboratory, laboratories of Surgical Oncology and Cancer Biology. The laboratory is well equipped with access to outstanding core facilities at the University of Vanderbilt School of Medicine and Cancer Center. University of Vanderbilt School of Medicine is one of the top academic institutes in the US.

The laboratory is focused on understanding the molecular events in development and progression of gastric and esophageal cancer as well as drug resistance and targeted therapy approaches. A list of the laboratory publications and interests can be viewed at:
There is particular interest in understanding the signaling mechanism of novel molecular targets that are related to apoptosis and drug resistance. Candidates with experience in cancer genetics, epigenetics, molecular biology, and cell biology techniques are encouraged to apply. Candidates should have excellent experience dealing with cell lines, and performing basic molecular biology techniques such as real time RT PCR, Western blots, EMSA, ChIP, and immunofluorescence. An experience in working with animal models is desired. Applicants must have experience in two or more of the areas of interest that are outlined above, in order to be considered. Salaries are highly competitive and commensurate with experience. Candidates should have a Ph.D or equivalent.
Candidates with publications in peer-reviewed journals are strongly encouraged to apply. Send curriculum vitae, statement of research interest, and names and contact information of at least two references.


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