Matthew K. Topham, MD
Photo: Matthew Topham



Elected 2007
Dr. Topham is an investigator at the Huntsman Cancer Institute and associate professor of medicine and adjunct associate professor of oncological sciences at the University of Utah School of Medicine. He studies a family of enzymes called the diacylglycerol kinases (DGKs), which are responsible for turning off the function of diacylglycerol, an important signaling lipid that is often abnormally active in cancer cells. Diacylglycerol kinases also produce another molecule called phosphatidic acid that can cause abnormal cell division leading to cancer. Thus, the diacylglycerol kinases occupy an important biological niche and their activity must be tightly regulated. This biologic mechanism is relevant to many types of cancer, but Dr. Topham has a particular interest in its relationship to lung cancer. He uses mouse models to dissect the biological function of DGKs and has discovered that they regulate numerous important cell processes important for tumorigenesis including nuclear lipid signaling, and Ras and EGFR activation. In addition, Dr. Topham’s lab studies the role of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) in tumorigenesis and is specifically interested in how COX-2 and tyrosine kinases interact to promote tumorigenesis.