Dr. Denis Guttridge is a Professor in the Department of Molecular Virology, Immunology, and Medical Genetics at The Ohio State University. He received his Bachelors of Science degree from the University of California, San Diego, where he majored in Cell Biology and Biochemistry. After receiving a Master’s Degree in Biochemistry from Long Beach State University, he obtained his Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Irvine, and subsequently performed postdoctoral training at the Lineberger Cancer Center at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in the laboratory of Dr. Albert S. Baldwin. As a postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Guttridge performed studies to examine the role of a transcription factor called NF-kB (pronounced NF-kappaB for nuclear factor kappa B) in regulating the differentiation of cells. Since differentiation is a process that is often compromised in cancer, the idea was to study how NF-kB controls differentiation as a way to better understand the role of this transcription factor in cancer.
To study differentiation, Dr. Guttridge utilized a model of skeletal muscle. Muscle cells readily differentiate and are amendable to both in vitro and in vivo studies. As a postdoc fellow, Dr. Guttridge made the discovery that NF-kB inhibits skeletal myogenesis, and that in response to cytokines such as TNFa, muscle turnover occurs via NF-kB. He also made the link that this regulation may occur in a muscle wasting condition that often occurs in cancer patients, especially in pancreatic cancer, called cachexia. This syndrome is defined by rapid weight loss due to skeletal muscle wasting, and patients that suffer from cachexia are much more difficult to treat with standard care. As a result, cachexia patients have a poorer prognosis and a lower quality of life.
Dr. Guttridge has continued working on cachexia in his own laboratory at The Ohio State Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC) and now serves as director of a cancer cachexia program within the CCC at OSU. In his own lab, he focuses on further understanding the mechanisms by which NF-kB functions in skeletal differentiation that may be applicable to cancer and cachexia, and also is investigating other mechanisms leading to muscle loss in pancreatic cancer patients.
Outside OSU, Dr. Guttridge serves as a standing member of a National Institutes of Health review committee for grant funding. He has also participated as a reviewer for an NIH National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke special emphasis panel on rare muscle diseases, as well as for the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Program. He also served an ad hoc reviewer for scientific journals, and was a recipient of an Ohio Cancer Research Associates award, which was instrumental in getting his laboratory off the ground as a new faculty member. He currently leads projects funded by the NIH National Cancer Institute, the National institutes of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.