Biology: Dr. Heckman
Dr. Carol A. Heckman


Dr. Heckman
Ph. D., University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Office:     538 Life Sciences Building
Phone:   1-419-372-4833
Cell biology; role of ruffling in growth control

Basic molecules, processes, and structure notes--revised
If you're a student, refer to this list.

Research Interests:

Heckman's laboratory has developed a theory of preneoplasia, which explains how a cell takes the first step to becoming a cancer cell. Normal cells employ fine whisker-like extensions called filopodia as sensors for the presence of nearby cells. Signals set up by the filopodia feed into adhesion, motility and growth control pathways. This theory is consistent with what is known about contact inhibition behavior, whereby the leading edge of one cell contacts a neighboring cell and then freezes in the region of the contact. After a period of some minutes, the direction of persistent motility changes, and the cell backs up or moves off to the left or right of the contact area. In the specialized leading edge of the nerve axon, called the growth cone, filopodia are responsible for a similar initial response to contact. Since filopodia are known to be lost from preneoplastic cells, their absence may alter the normal steps of signal transduction following filopodia contacting a neighboring cell. Tests for the uniqueness of adhesion mechanisms in filopodia have been done and support the specificity of adhesion constituents in these sensory structures (Heckman, et. al., Relationship of p21-activated kinase [PAK] and filopodia to persistence and oncogenic transformation, 2009). The overall hypothesis, along with the rationale for linking diverse experimental systems, has recently been described (Heckman, C.A., Contact inhibition revisited, Journal of Cellular Physiology, 2009, in press).

Selected Publications:

Varghese, M., P Gorsevski, M. L Cayer, N Boudreau, C.A. Heckman. 2012. Unraveling the determinants of protrusion formation. International Journal of Cell Biology Volume 2012, Article ID 402916, 16 pages. -full text

Heckman, C.A., M. Varghese, M.L. Cayer, N.S. Boudreau. 2012. Origin of ruffles: Linkage to other protrusions, filopodia and lamellae. Cellular Signaling 24: 189-198. - full text

Uppal, S. O., Voronine, D. V., E.Wendt, C. A. Heckman. 2010. Morphological fractal analysis of shape in cancer cells treated with combinations of microtubule-polymerizing and -depolymerizing agents. Microscopy and Microanalysis 16: 472-477. - full text

Heckman, C.A. 2009. Contact inhibition revisited. Journal of Cellular Physiology 220: 574-575. - full text

Heckman, C.A., J. G. DeMuth, D. Deters, S. Malwade, M.L. Cayer, C. Monfries, A. Mamais. 2009. Relationship of p21-activated kinase (PAK) and filopodia to persistence and oncogenic transformation. Journal of Cellular Physiology 220: 576-585. - full text

Uppal, S.O., Y. Li, E. Wendt, M.L. Cayer, J. Barnes, D. Conway, N. Boudreau, C.A. Heckman. 2007. Pattern analysis of microtubule-polymerizing and -depolymerizing agent combinations as cancer chemotherapies. International Journal of Oncology 31: 1281-1291. - full text

Li, Y., J. M. Urban, M. L. Cayer, C.A. Heckman. 2006. Actin-based features negatively regulated by protein kinase C-epsilon. American Journal of Physiology-Cell Physiology C1002-C1013. - full text

Bombuwala, K., T. Kinstle, V. Popik, S.O. Uppal, J.B. Olesen, J. Vina, C.A. Heckman. 2006. Colchitaxel, a coupled compound made from microtubule inhibitors colchicine and paclitaxel. Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry 2: 13-21. - full text

Heckman, C.A., J.M. Urban, M.L. Cayer, Y. Li, N. Boudreau, J. Barnes, H.K. Plummer, III , J. Barnes, C. Hall, R. Kozma, L. Lim. 2004. Novel p21-activated kinase-dependent protrusions characteristically formed at the edge of transformed cells. Experimental Cell Research 295: 432-447. - full text