Susan Mooberry




Susan Mooberry, Ph.D.

Interim Chair and Professor of Pharmacology, Greehey Distinguished Chair in Targeted Molecular Therapeutics

Personal Statement:

Our research is dedicated to the discovery of more effective therapies for the treatment of cancer, primarily breast cancer. There are several aspects to our work including drug discovery and target identification for subtypes of triple negative breast cancer and pediatric solid tumors, identification of the molecular mechanisms of the non-mitotic effects of diverse microtubule targeting drugs including their effects on oncogenic signaling pathways.

We conduct a mechanism-blind screening program to identify new anticancer leads from natural product prefractionated extracts from plants, marine organisms and fungi available from the Natural Products Branch of National Cancer Institute and from other collaborators. Leads discovered though our primary screening efforts are subject to bioassay-guided fractionation in collaboration with the Cichewicz laboratory, Institute for Natural Product Applications and Research Technologies at The University of Oklahoma. Isolated compounds are evaluated for their molecular mechanisms of action and in vivo antitumor potential.  When the need arises we optimize natural product lead compounds with medicinal chemistry optimization in collaboration with Dr. Stan McHardy, Director of Medicinal Chemistry at the Center for Innovative Drug Discovery at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Microtubule targeting drugs are some of the most effective drugs used in cancer therapy, but the signaling pathways that lead from inhibition of microtubule dependent events to anticancer efficacy are only now being elucidated. We are identifying how specific pathways are interrupted by distinct microtubule targeting agents to allow for more focused individualized patient therapies in the future.


Ph.D., Medical University of South Carolina


• drug discovery • breast cancer
• natural products • microtubule targeting agents
• pediatric cancers

Lab Members

Huiyun Liang, MD, PhD,

Senior Research Associate

Petra Pederson

MD, PhD student


Kil Y-S, Risinger AL, Petersen CL, Liang H, Grkovic T, O’Keefe BR, Mooberry SL, Cichewicz RH. Using the Cancer Dependency Map to Identify the Mechanism of Action of a Cytotoxic Alkenyl Derivative from the Fruit of Choerospondias axillaris. J Nat Prod. 83:584-592, 2020.

Kaul R, Risinger AL, Mooberry SL. Eribulin Rapidly Inhibits TGF-β-Induced Snail Expression and can Induce Slug Expression in a Smad4-Dependent Manner. Br J Cancer, 121:611-621, 2019.

Grant CV, Carver CM, Hastings SD, Ramachandran K, Muniswamy M, Risinger AL, Beutler JA, Mooberry SL. Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Cell Line Sensitivity to Englerin A Identifies a New, Targetable Subtype. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2019.

Kaul R, Risinger AL, Mooberry SL. Microtubule-Targeting Drugs: More than Antimitotics. J Nat Prod. 82:680-685, 2019.