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BCRF Grantee Since


Donor Recognition

The Estée Lauder Companies Brands Award in Memory of Evelyn H. Lauder

Area(s) of Focus

Jill Bargonetti, PhD

Chair, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental
PhD Subprogram in Biology
CUNY Graduate Center
Professor, Department of Biological Sciences
Hunter College
New York, New York

Current Research

Dr. Bargonetti’s team focuses on two of the most critical proteins that promote breast cancer, namely mutant p53 (mtp53), a driver of triple negative breast cancers (TNBC), and MDM2, a driver of estrogen receptor (ER) positive breast cancers. Under normal conditions, these proteins work together to prevent damaged cells from dividing. They often become dysregulated in cancer, however and promote tumor growth. Dr. Bargonetti and colleagues recently discovered that poly-ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) is a target of mutant p53 and that metastatic TNBC breast cancers with mutant p53 are sensitive to PARP inhibitors, a class of drugs being tested in clincal trials for TNBC and BRCA-related breast cancers. They also discovered that the cholesterol pathway is a target of mtp53, and they will be testing the combination of PARP inhibitors with anti-cholesterol drugs in TNBC breast cancer cells that harbor the p53 mutation. Their continued work on MDM2 targets in ER positive breast cancers highlights many p53-independent pathways. Dr. Bargonetti will study these p53-independent MDM2 targets and other novel mutant p53 targets as potential therapeutic hubs to stop TNBC and ER positive breast cancers from growing and spreading.


Dr. Bargonetti began at Hunter College as an Assistant Professor in 1994 and is currently a Full Professor and the Chair of the Molecular, Cellular and Developmental PhD Subprogram in Biology at the CUNY Graduate Center. Professor Bargonetti has carried out extensive research on the wild-type p53 protein (which assists in the suppression of tumor cells) and oncogenic mutant p53 (which is a tumor promoter). She is also a leader in the field of MDM2 research concerning its involvement in the promotion of breast cancer through both chromatin-based inhibition of the p53 pathway and cell growth promotion through p53-independent mechanisms. She was a member of the National Cancer Policy Board from 2002 until 2005 (a board of the Institution of Medicine and National Research Council of the National Academies) and currently serves on the NIH Tumor Cell Biology study section.