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BCRF Grantee Since


Donor Recognition

The Play for P.I.N.K. Award

Area(s) of Focus

Kathryn B. Horwitz, PhD

Distinguished Professor
University of Colorado Denver
Denver, Colorado

Current Research

If a woman’s breast cancer has four different tumor-cell populations, wouldn’t it be smart to treat all four of them? Unfortunately, that is not how it’s done. For example, cancers that grow in response to female hormones are treated with anti-hormone therapies that assume that all the cells in the tumor will respond to the therapy. Work by Dr. Horwitz has shown that some individual tumors are composed of a mixture of cells. Her BCRF research is focused on identifying different cell populations in breast cancers in order to prescribe rational combination therapies that target all the cells in mixed-cell disease. Her innovative studies will help to identify tumors of a mixed-cell composition and drugs that target each cell type.


Kathryn B. Horwitz, PhD joined the faculty at the University of Colorado after undergraduate studies at Barnard College, graduate studies at the UT Southwestern Medical School and postdoctoral work at UT San Antonio. Research in her laboratory is both basic and translational. It focuses on the role of women’s hormones – estradiol and progesterone – and their receptors, on luminal breast cancer cell heterogeneity, growth, treatment, metastasis and stem cells. Her lab has extensive expertise in molecular and tumor-cell biology, using in vitro and in vivo models and clinical samples. Long-term goals are to improve the strategies and outcomes of therapies for luminal disease. Research topics include: transcriptional mechanisms of progesterone receptors; epigenetic and post-transcriptional receptor modifications and signaling cross-talk; hormones in cancer growth; mechanisms of resistance to endocrine therapies; hormones and regulation of breast cancer stem cells; intratumoral cell heterogeneity in luminal disease; hormonal regulation of metastasis and the stromal microenvironment; development of new breast cancer models, and translation of laboratory findings into clinical practice. She has mentored numerous trainees who hold senior faculty posts at many US medical centers. She is a well-known national and international scholar, has served on multiple society boards, study sections and editorial boards, was elected President of the Endocrine Society, received its Fred Conrad Koch Award for exceptional contributions to endocrinology, and recently received the National Cancer Institute’s Rosalind E. Franklin Award for commitment to cancer research.