Lisa A. Elferink, Ph.D.


Bachelor of Science with 1st Class Honors, Adelaide University
Doctor of Philosophy, Adelaide University
Post-Doctoral Training, Stanford University


Edna Seinsheimer Levin Endowed Professorship in Cancer Studies, 2008 - 2014
ELAM, 2011
GSO Teacher Advocacy Award, 2006
R.R. Bensley Scholar, 1997

Research Interests

Our lab has several ongoing interests related to receptor signaling in human diseases, including pancreatic regeneration and substance abuse disorders.

The first project is focused on MET, the receptor tyrosine kinase for Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF). Using targeted genetic and molecular approaches to we have examined how receptor is cleared from the cell surface by endocytosis and subsequent sorting in early endosomes. We have reported that these processes are uncoupled in pancreatic cancer and contribute to tumor burden. We recently expanded our studies characterize mechanisms important for the regeneration of pancreatic acinar cells, specialized secretory cells that are the primary target in pancreatitis. Using pre-clinical models for acute and alcoholic pancreatitis, we are investigating the clinical potential of targeting MET signaling, to protect pancreatic acinar cells from injury and promote tissue repair and regeneration.  It is important to have a detailed understanding of the molecular mechanisms for pancreatic repair, as they may inform the design of future treatment strategies for pancreatitis.   

The second project is focused on serotonin receptor signaling (5-HT) and cocaine addiction.  Preclinical studies highlight the importance of 5-HT receptor signaling for underlying vulnerability to cocaine addiction and relapse.  In particular, pre-clinical studies indicate a role for altered 5-HT receptor trafficking for the transition from drug use to dependence. We are investigating this hypothesis in collaboration with Drs. Katherine Cunningham and Noelle Anastasio to further understand how perturbations in receptor trafficking and compartmentalization contribute to the basal states of vulnerability and predispose cocaine users to a dependent behavior.

Select Publications

Tao X, Hill KS, Gaziova I, Sastry SK, Qui S, Szaniszlo P, Fennewald S, Resto VA, Elferink LA (2014) Silencing Met receptor tyrosine kinase signaling decreased oral tumor growth and increased survival of nude mice. Oral Oncol. 50(2):104-12. doi 10.1016/j.oraloncology.2013.10.014. Epub 2013 Nov 21. PMID: 24268630.

Garnett J, Chumbalkar V, Vaillant B, Gururaj AE, Hill KS, Latha K, yao J, Priebe W, Colman H, Elferink LA (2013) Regulation of HGF expression by EGFR-mediated c-Met activation in glioblastoma cells. Neoplasia 15(1):73-84. PMID 23359207.

Hill KS, Gaziova I, Harrigal L, Guerra YA, Qui S, Sastry SK, Arumugam T, Logsdon CD,
Elferink LA (2012) Met recepteor tyrosine kinase signaling induces secretion of the angiogenic chemokine interleukin-8/CXCL8 in pancreatic cancer. PLoS One 7(7):e40420.doi: 10.137/journal.pone.0040420. Epub 2012 Jul 17. PMID: 22815748.

Chen Z, Kolokoltsov AA, Wang J, Adhikary S, Lorinczi M, Elferink LA, Davey RA (2012) GRB2 interaction with the ecotropic murine leukemia virus receptor, mCAT-1, controls virus entry and is stimulated by virus binding. J Virol. 86(3):1421-32. doi: 10.1128/JVI.05993-11. Epub 2011 Nov 16. PMID: 22090132.

Elferink LA, Resto VA (2011) Receptor-tyrosine-kinase-targeted therapies for head and neck cancer. J Signal Transduct 2011:982879. doi:10.1155/2011/982879. Epub 2011 June 7. PMID: 21776391

Sastry SK, Elferink LA (2011) Checks and balances: interplay of RTKs and PTPs in cancer progression. Biochem Pharmacol 82(5):435-40. doi: 10.1016/j.bcp.2011.06.016. Epub 2011 June 17. PMID: 21704606.

Link to my publications on pubmed

 Lisa A. Elferink

  • Lisa A. Elferink, Ph.D.
  • Assistant Dean for Educational Affairs, SOM
  • Director, Instruction Management Office
  • Professor, Department of Neuroscience & Cell Biology
  • 5.212D Building 17
  • Route: 1062
  • Tel: (409) 772-2775
  • Elferink CV

  • Affiliations:
  • UTMB Cancer Center
  • UTMB Center for Addiction Research