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Department of Molecular Medicine

Richard Cerione


Goldwin Smith Professor of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology

Department of Molecular Medicine
College of Veterinary Medicine
Cornell University
Ithaca, New York 14853
Office: (607) 253-3888
Lab: (607) 253-3883
Fax: (607) 253-3659


Research Interests

The overall goals of our laboratory are to understand the signaling cues that regulate cell growth, differentiation, and development.  Our laboratories in the Department of Molecular Medicine, and the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology use a combination of biophysical, chemical, and genetic-based approaches to obtain a comprehensive picture of how growth factor receptors work together with their signaling partners, in particular Rho GTPases and the GTP-binding/acyl transferase, transglutaminase, to trigger signals that impact a wide range of cellular activities.  X-ray crystallographic analysis is also being used to obtain detailed information regarding the protein interfaces involved in signaling interactions.  The ultimate goal is to utilize the information obtained from our studies to design small molecules that will serve as powerful reagents for cellular studies, as well as for mouse model systems for cancer.  Recently, two important areas of emphasis have been to identify and characterize protein-protein interactions that underlie the metabolic changes required for oncogenic transformation and the determination of the roles of non-traditional secretory vesicles (microvesicles, exosomes) in cancer progression and stem cell biology.


  • Ph.D.. - 1979   Biochemistry, Rutgers University
  • B.A. - 1973   Microbiology, Rutgers University

Professional Experience

  • 2002-present   Goldwin Smith Professor of Pharmacology and Chemical Bioloty, Cornell University
  • 1998-present   Professor, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Cornell University
  • 1993-present   Professor, Department of Molecular Medicine, Cornell University
  • 1990-1993   Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology, Cornell University
  • 1985-1990   Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology, Cornell University
  • 1982-1985   Senior Research Associate at Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Duke University Medical Center
  • 1979-1982   Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Chemistry, Cornell University

Honors and Awards

  • 2013   SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities, Cornell University
  • 2009   Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • 2000   Frontiers Lecturer, Case Western University Medical Center
  • 1999   Eppley Distinguished Lectureship in Cancer Research, University of Nebraska Medical Center
  • 1986-1990    PEW Foundation Biomedical Scholar Award

Professional Society Memberships

  • American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • American Chemical Society

Professional Service

  • 2013   Co-director, Cancer Cell Biology and Signaling Program, Weill Cancer Institute
  • 2009-present   Member, Advisory Committee of the Weill Institute of Cell and Molecular Biology
  • 2005-present  Principle Investigator of Macromolecular Crystallography at the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (MacCHESS)
  • 2001-present   Member, Editorial Advisory Board, Biochemistry
  • 2007-2010   Member, National Institutes of Health Study Section, Molecular Integrative Signal Transduction
  • 2001-2008   Member, Scientific Advisory Board Gene Network Sciences
  • 2001-2006   Member, Editorial Board, Journal of Biological Chemistry
  • 2000-2005   Member, Editorial Board, Molecular Biology of the Cell
  • 1999-2002   Member, Editorial Board, Molecular and Cellular Biology
  • 1998   Review Committee for Laboratory of Molecular Biology, National Cancer Institute
  • 1997    Visiting Professor, Louisiana State University Medical Center
  • 1997    Visiting Lecturer, Scripps Research Institute
  • 1996   Member, Study Section for Department of Defense Breast Cancer Program
  • 1996-2000   Member, National Institutes of Health Study Section, Cell Biology and Physiology
  • 1992-1996   Member, Editorial Board, Journal of Biological Chemistry
  • 1991-1997   Member, Scientific Advisory Board of Cornell Biotechnology Institute


Selected Publications

  1. Wang, J.B., Erickson, J.W., Fuji, R., Ramachandran, S., Gao, P., Dinavahi, R., Wilson, K.F., Ambrosio, A.L.B., Dias, S.M.G., Dang, C.V., and Cerione, R.A. (2010) Targeting mitochondrial glutaminase activity inhibits oncogenic transformation.  Cancer Cell 18:207-219. Cover Article
  2. Wu, W.J., Tu, S., and Cerione, R.A. (2003) Activated Cdc42 sequesters c-Cbl and prevents EGF receptor degradation.  Cell 114:715-725.
  3. Hoffman, G.R., Nassar, N., and Cerione, R.A. (2000) Structure of the Rho family GTP-binding protein Cdc42 in complex with the multifunctional regulator RhoGDI.  Cell 100:345-356.
  4. Hart, M.J., Maru, Y., Leonard, D., Witte, O.N., Evans, T., and Cerione, R.A. (1992) A GDP dissociation inhibitor that serves as a GTPase inhibitor for the Ras-like protein CDC42Hs.  Science 258:812-815.
  5. Hart, M.J., Eva, A., Evans, T., Aaronson, S.A., and Cerione, R.A. (1991) Catalysis of guanine nucleotide exchange on the CDC42Hs protein by the dbl oncogene product.  Nature 354:311-314.

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