Lisa A. Elferink, Ph.D.


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


Edna Seinsheimer Levin Endowed Professorship in Cancer Studies
R.R. Bensley Scholar, 1997

Research Interests

Our lab has several ongoing interests related to receptor signaling in human diseases, including pancreatic regeneration and addiction research.

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

Sheth PR, Hays JL, Elferink LA., Watovich SJ. (2008) Modeling the competing processes regulating hepatocye growth factor receptor (c-Met) activation. Biochemistry. 2008 Apr 1;47(13):4028-38.

Li N, Lorinczi M, Ireton K, Elferink LA. (2007) Specific Grb2-mediated interactions regulate clathrin-dependent endocytosis of the cMet tyrosine kinase. J Biol Chem 282(23):16764-75.

Elferink LA, Strick DJ. (2005) Functional properties of rab15 effector protein function in endocytic recycling.  Methods Enzymol 403:732-43.

Strick DJ, Elferink LA. (2005) Rab15 effector protein: a novel protein for receptor recycling from pericentriolar recycling endosomes Mol Biol Cell 16(12):5699-5709.

Li N, Xiang GS, Dokainish H, Ireton K, Elferink LA. (2005) The Listeria protein InlB mimics hepatocyte growth factor-induced receptor trafficking. Traffic 6, 459-473.

Link to my publications on pubmed

 Lisa A. Elferink

  • Lisa A. Elferink, Ph.D.
  • Professor and Vice Chair
  • Department of Neuroscience & Cell Biology
  • 9.138E Medical Research Building (MRB)
  • Route: 1074
  • Tel: (409) 772-2775
  • Fax: (409) 747-1938
  • Elferink CV
  • Affiliation:
  • Sealy Center for Cancer Cell Biology