Doctor of Philosophy, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (2020)
Bachelor of Science, South Carolina State University (2014)

Honors & Awards

  • 1000 inspiring Black scientists in America, Cell Press/Cell signaling technology (2020)
  • National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE)/BCA/Affiliate/fellows scholarship award, NSBE (2020)
  • Poster Presentation Award at UTSW Biomedical Engineering Program (BME) Symposium, University of Texas Southwestern (UTSW) (2019)
  • Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) Pre-doctoral Fellow May, CPRIT (2018-2020)
  • Presidential Scholar, South Carolina State University (2010-2015)

Stanford Advisors

All Publications

  • SU086, an inhibitor of HSP90, impairs glycolysis and represents a treatment strategy for advanced prostate cancer. Cell reports. Medicine Rice, M. A., Kumar, V., Tailor, D., Garcia-Marques, F. J., Hsu, E., Liu, S., Bermudez, A., Kanchustambham, V., Shankar, V., Inde, Z., Alabi, B. R., Muruganantham, A., Shen, M., Pandrala, M., Nolley, R., Aslan, M., Ghoochani, A., Agarwal, A., Buckup, M., Kumar, M., Going, C. C., Peehl, D. M., Dixon, S. J., Zare, R. N., Brooks, J. D., Pitteri, S. J., Malhotra, S. V., Stoyanova, T. 2022; 3 (2): 100502


    Among men, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-associated mortality, with advanced disease remaining a major clinical challenge. We describe a small molecule, SU086, as a therapeutic strategy for advanced prostate cancer. We demonstrate that SU086 inhibits the growth of prostate cancer cells invitro, cell-line and patient-derived xenografts invivo, and exvivo prostate cancer patient specimens. Furthermore, SU086 in combination with standard of care second-generation anti-androgen therapies displays increased impairment of prostate cancer cell and tumor growth invitro and invivo. Cellular thermal shift assay reveals that SU086 binds to heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) and leads to a decrease in HSP90 levels. Proteomic profiling demonstrates that SU086 binds to and decreases HSP90. Metabolomic profiling reveals that SU086 leads to perturbation of glycolysis. Our study identifies SU086 as a treatment for advanced prostate cancer as a single agent or when combined with second-generation anti-androgens.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.xcrm.2021.100502

    View details for PubMedID 35243415

  • DNA damage response at telomeres boosts the transcription of SARS-CoV-2 receptor ACE2 during aging. EMBO reports Sepe, S., Rossiello, F., Cancila, V., Iannelli, F., Matti, V., Cicio, G., Cabrini, M., Marinelli, E., Alabi, B. R., di Lillo, A., Di Napoli, A., Shay, J. W., Tripodo, C., d'Adda di Fagagna, F. 2021: e53658


    The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causes the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), known to be more common in the elderly, who also show more severe symptoms and are at higher risk of hospitalization and death. Here, we show that the expression of the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), the SARS-CoV-2 cell receptor, increases during aging in mouse and human lungs. ACE2 expression increases upon telomere shortening or dysfunction in both cultured mammalian cells and invivo in mice. This increase is controlled at the transcriptional level, and Ace2 promoter activity is DNA damage response (DDR)-dependent. Both pharmacological global DDR inhibition of ATM kinase activity and selective telomeric DDR inhibition by the use of antisense oligonucleotides prevent Ace2 upregulation following telomere damage in cultured cells and in mice. We propose that during aging telomere dysfunction due to telomeric shortening or damage triggers DDR activation and this causes the upregulation of ACE2, the SARS-CoV-2 cell receptor, thus contributing to make the elderly more susceptible to the infection.

    View details for DOI 10.15252/embr.202153658

    View details for PubMedID 34854526

  • Aryl Sulfonamide Inhibits Entry and Replication of Diverse Influenza Viruses via the Hemagglutinin Protein. Journal of medicinal chemistry White, K., Esparza, M., Liang, J., Bhat, P., Naidoo, J., McGovern, B. L., Williams, M. A., Alabi, B. R., Shay, J., Niederstrasser, H., Posner, B., García-Sastre, A., Ready, J., Fontoura, B. M. 2021


    Influenza viruses cause approximately half a million deaths every year worldwide. Vaccines are available but partially effective, and the number of antiviral medications is limited. Thus, it is crucial to develop therapeutic strategies to counteract this major pathogen. Influenza viruses enter the host cell via their hemagglutinin (HA) proteins. The HA subtypes of influenza A virus are phylogenetically classified into groups 1 and 2. Here, we identified an inhibitor of the HA protein, a tertiary aryl sulfonamide, that prevents influenza virus entry and replication. This compound shows potent antiviral activity against diverse H1N1, H5N1, and H3N2 influenza viruses encoding HA proteins from both groups 1 and 2. Synthesis of derivatives of this aryl sulfonamide identified moieties important for antiviral activity. This compound may be considered as a lead for drug development with the intent to be used alone or in combination with other influenza A virus antivirals to enhance pan-subtype efficacy.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.1c00304

    View details for PubMedID 34260245

  • Decellularized mice colons as models to study the contribution of the extracellular matrix to cell behavior and colon cancer progression ACTA BIOMATERIALIA Alabi, B. R., LaRanger, R., Shay, J. W. 2019; 100: 213-222


    Current 3D culture models to study colorectal cancer lack architectural support and signaling proteins provided by the tissue extracellular matrix (ECM) which may influence cell behavior and cancer progression. Therefore, the ability to study cancer cells in the context of a matrix that is physiologically more relevant and to understand how the ECM affects cancer progression has been understudied. To address this, we developed an ex-vivo 3D system, provided by intact wild type (WT) and colon cancer susceptible decellularized mouse colons (DMC), to support the growth of human cancer cells. DMC are free of viable cells but still contain extracellular matrix proteins including subsets of collagens. Stiffness, an important mechanical property, is also maintained in DMCs. Importantly, we observed that the DMC is permissive for cell proliferation and differentiation of a human colon cancer cell line (HT-29). Notably, the ability of cells in the WT DMC to differentiate was also greater when compared to Matrigel™, an extracellular matrix extract from a mouse tumor cell line. Additionally, we observed in invasion assays that DMC obtained from polyps from a colon cancer susceptible mouse model facilitated increased cell migration/invasion of colorectal cancer cells and immortalized non-tumor colonic epithelial cells compared to DMC from WT mice. Finally, using mass spectrometry, we identified extracellular matrix proteins that are more abundant in DMC from a colorectal cancer mouse model compared to age and sex-matched WT mice. We propose that these abundantly expressed proteins in the tumor microenvironment are potentially involved in colorectal cancer progression. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: Decellularized matrices, when properly produced, are attractive biomaterials for tissue regeneration and replacement. We show here that the mouse decellularized matrices can also be repurposed to elucidate how the extracellular matrix influences human cell behavior and cancer progression. To do this we produce decellularized matrices, from mice colonic tissue, that have preserved tissue mechanical and structural properties. We demonstrate that the matrix better supports the differentiation of HT-29 cells, a colonic cancer cell line, compared to Matrigel™. Additionally, we show that the extracellular matrix contributes to colon cancer progression via invasion assays using extracellular matrix extracts. Finally, we use mass spectrometry to identify ECM proteins that are more abundant in colonic polyps compared to adjacent tissue regions. This model system may have therapeutic implications for colorectal cancer patients.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.actbio.2019.09.033

    View details for Web of Science ID 000501646900019

    View details for PubMedID 31562987

  • Long-term culture and cloning of primary human bronchial basal cells that maintain multipotent differentiation capacity and CFTR channel function AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSIOLOGY-LUNG CELLULAR AND MOLECULAR PHYSIOLOGY Peters-Hall, J. R., Coquelin, M. L., Torres, M. J., LaRanger, R., Alabi, B. R., Sho, S., Calva-Moreno, J. F., Thomas, P. J., Shay, J. W. 2018; 315 (2): L313-L327


    While primary cystic fibrosis (CF) and non-CF human bronchial epithelial basal cells (HBECs) accurately represent in vivo phenotypes, one barrier to their wider use has been a limited ability to clone and expand cells in sufficient numbers to produce rare genotypes using genome-editing tools. Recently, conditional reprogramming of cells (CRC) with a Rho-associated protein kinase (ROCK) inhibitor and culture on an irradiated fibroblast feeder layer resulted in extension of the life span of HBECs, but differentiation capacity and CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) function decreased as a function of passage. This report details modifications to the standard HBEC CRC protocol (Mod CRC), including the use of bronchial epithelial cell growth medium, instead of F medium, and 2% O2, instead of 21% O2, that extend HBEC life span while preserving multipotent differentiation capacity and CFTR function. Critically, Mod CRC conditions support clonal growth of primary HBECs from a single cell, and the resulting clonal HBEC population maintains multipotent differentiation capacity, including CFTR function, permitting gene editing of these cells. As a proof-of-concept, CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing and cloning were used to introduce insertions/deletions in CFTR exon 11. Mod CRC conditions overcome many barriers to the expanded use of HBECs for basic research and drug screens. Importantly, Mod CRC conditions support the creation of isogenic cell lines in which CFTR is mutant or wild-type in the same genetic background with no history of CF to enable determination of the primary defects of mutant CFTR.

    View details for DOI 10.1152/ajplung.00355.2017

    View details for Web of Science ID 000442116600006

    View details for PubMedID 29722564

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6139663

  • Reconstituting Mouse Lungs with Conditionally Reprogrammed Human Bronchial Epithelial Cells TISSUE ENGINEERING PART A LaRanger, R., Peters-Hall, J. R., Coquelin, M., Alabi, B. R., Chen, C. T., Wright, W. E., Shay, J. W. 2018; 24 (7-8): 559-568


    We developed methods for conditionally reprogramming (CR) primary human bronchial epithelial cells (HBECs) to extend their functional lifespan and permit their differentiation into both upper and lower airway lung epithelium. We also developed a bioreactor to support vascular perfusion and rhythmic breathing of decellularized mouse lungs reconstituted with CR HBECs isolated from patients with and without cystic fibrosis (CF). While conditionally reprogrammed cells only differentiate into an upper airway epithelium after 35 days at the air-liquid interface, in reconstituted lungs these cells differentiate into upper airway bronchial epithelium and lower airway alveolar structures after 12 days. Rapid scale-up and the ability to obtain clonal derivatives of primary patient-derived HBECs without the need for genetic manipulation may permit rapid reconstitution of the lung epithelium; facilitating the study of lung disease in tissue-engineered models.

    View details for DOI 10.1089/ten.tea.2017.0114

    View details for Web of Science ID 000429016300003

    View details for PubMedID 28726588

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5905853

  • Gel Filtration Chromatography as a Method for Removing Bacterial Endotoxin from Antibody Preparations BIOTECHNOLOGY PROGRESS London, A., Mackay, K., Lihon, M., He, Y., Alabi, B. 2014; 30 (6): 1497-1501


    The removal of bacterial endotoxins from biological samples is critical to avoid the potentially fatal pyrogenic response possible when introduced to mammalian systems. Endotoxins have a variety of specific characteristics that can be exploited to target their isolation and subsequent removal, but one that has not been extensively characterized is their difference in size from that of monoclonal antibodies. Here, we present a study which utilizes gel filtration chromatography as a method for endotoxin removal from both aggregated and nonaggregated antibody preparations, outlining a mechanistically simple method for removal of this impurity.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/btpr.1961

    View details for Web of Science ID 000346160500026

    View details for PubMedID 25079968