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Michael D. Cole, PhD

Professor of Molecular and Systems Biology

Molecular and Systems Biology

The Johns Hopkins University, PhD 1978
Ohio Northern University, BA 1973

Molecular and Cellular Biology Graduate Programs
Norris Cotton Cancer Center
Pharmacology and Toxicology Graduate Program
Program in Experimental and Molecular Medicine


Contact Information:

Rubin 633; HB7936
One Medical Center Drive
Dartmouth Medical School
Lebanon NH 03756

Office: Rubin 633
Phone: 603-653-9975
Fax: 603-653-9952
Email: michael.cole@dartmouth.edu

Assistant: Laboratory Contact
Asst. Phone: 603-653-9973

Professional Interests:

Studies of the genetic events involved in the induction of cancer provide an opportunity to define the molecular basis of the disease and to study the regulation and function of important eukaryotic genes that control cell proliferation. The c-myc gene encodes a transcription factor that is critical for progression through the cell cycle, and mutations that misregulate c-myc are frequently found in human and animal cancers. Our central research interest is to define the cellular target genes through which c-myc and other oncogenic transcription factors function and also the nuclear factors that mediate target gene and c-myc regulation.

A major area of interest is to identify the nuclear cofactors that facilitate Myc’s ability to activate and repress target genes. Past studies showed that Myc recruits histone acetylation complexes to target sites, and more recent studies show that Myc also modulates transcriptional activity by increasing phosphorylation of the RNA polymerase II carboxy-terminal domain. Most recently, we identified a novel E3 ligase that binds directly to Myc to promote Myc protein degradation. Downregulation of this E3 ligase is common in most cancer cells, leading to higher levels of Myc which enhance growth rates. Ongoing studies are aimed at understanding the mechanism of Myc-mediated transcriptional repression which may involve enhanced repressive histone modifications.

A second major area of study involves distal regulatory elements that control the expression of c-myc and other genes relevant to cancer. We recently showed that an enhancer 330 kb upstream of the c-myc gene is an important regulator of c-myc expression in colon cancer cells and that this element functions through a large intrachromosomal loop that links it directly to the c-myc promoter. Furthermore, this distal element contains a polymorphism among humans that changes the predisposition to colon and prostate cancer.

Courses Taught:

PEMM 101/102 Scientific Basis of Disease (Course Director)
PEMM 126 Cancer Biology

Selected Publications:


Chemical profiling of the street cocktail drug 'nyaope' in South Africa using GC-MS II: Stability studies of the cannabinoid, opiate and antiretroviral components during sample storage.
Mthembi PM, Mwenesongole EM, Cole MD
Forensic Sci Int. 2019 Jul;300:187-192. doi: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2019.04.040. Epub 2019 May 9.
PMID: 31128330

Transforming Ionene Polymers into Efficient Cathode Interlayers with Pendent Fullerenes.
Liu Y, Sheri M, Cole MD, Yu DM, Emrick T, Russell TP
Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2019 Apr 16;58(17):5677-5681. doi: 10.1002/anie.201901536. Epub 2019 Mar 26.
PMID: 30861272

Gene characteristics predicting missense, nonsense and frameshift mutations in tumor samples.
Gorlov IP, Pikielny CW, Frost HR, Her SC, Cole MD, Strohbehn SD, Wallace-Bradley D, Kimmel M, Gorlova OY, Amos CI
BMC Bioinformatics. 2018 Nov 19;19(1):430. doi: 10.1186/s12859-018-2455-0. Epub 2018 Nov 19.
PMID: 30453881

Chemical profiling of the street cocktail drug 'nyaope' in South Africa using GC-MS I: Stability studies of components of 'nyaope' in organic solvents.
Mthembi PM, Mwenesongole EM, Cole MD
Forensic Sci Int. 2018 Nov;292:115-124. doi: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.08.001. Epub 2018 Aug 9.
PMID: 30296627

A multifactorial critical appraisal of substances found in drug facilitated sexual assault cases.
Grela A, Gautam L, Cole MD
Forensic Sci Int. 2018 Nov;292:50-60. doi: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.08.034. Epub 2018 Sep 3.
PMID: 30292936

Combining Fullerenes and Zwitterions in Non-Conjugated Polymer Interlayers to Raise Solar Cell Efficiency.
Liu Y, Sheri M, Cole MD, Emrick T, Russell TP
Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2018 Jul 26;57(31):9675-9678. doi: 10.1002/anie.201803748. Epub 2018 Jul 3.
PMID: 29893448

Chemical and Morphological Control of Interfacial Self-Doping for Efficient Organic Electronics.
Liu Y, Cole MD, Jiang Y, Kim PY, Nordlund D, Emrick T, Russell TP
Adv Mater. 2018 Apr;30(15):e1705976. doi: 10.1002/adma.201705976. Epub 2018 Mar 5.
PMID: 29504157

Voluntary induction and maintenance of alcohol dependence in rats using alcohol vapor self-administration.
de Guglielmo G, Kallupi M, Cole MD, George O
Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2017 Jul;234(13):2009-2018. doi: 10.1007/s00213-017-4608-7. Epub 2017 Mar 24.
PMID: 28342089

Inhibition of the Proteasome β2 Site Sensitizes Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Cells to β5 Inhibitors and Suppresses Nrf1 Activation.
Weyburne ES, Wilkins OM, Sha Z, Williams DA, Pletnev AA, de Bruin G, Overkleeft HS, Goldberg AL, Cole MD, Kisselev AF
Cell Chem Biol. 2017 Feb 16;24(2):218-230. doi: 10.1016/j.chembiol.2016.12.016. Epub 2017 Jan 26.
PMID: 28132893

HS3ST1 genotype regulates antithrombin's inflammomodulatory tone and associates with atherosclerosis.
Smits NC, Kobayashi T, Srivastava PK, Skopelja S, Ivy JA, Elwood DJ, Stan RV, Tsongalis GJ, Sellke FW, Gross PL, Cole MD, DeVries JT, Kaplan AV, Robb JF, Williams SM, Shworak NW
Matrix Biol. 2017 Nov;63:69-90. doi: 10.1016/j.matbio.2017.01.003. Epub 2017 Jan 23.
PMID: 28126521

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