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Ruth Gjerset

Ruth GjersetTorreyPinesInstituteCA

Head, Cancer Cell Biology Program

858.597.3880 - phone
858.597.3804 - fax
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Dr. Gjerset's program addresses the biology of the cancer cell and the pathways involved in therapy resistance. The goal is to establish a rationale for improved therapeutic strategies for cancer and to identify biomarkers for diagnostic assays.  Her present research program focuses on a cellular protein known as p14ARF, an important suppressor of cancer cell growth,  on the regulation of the cellular enzyme, topoisomerase I, an important target for chemotherapy, and on the development of diagnostic assays for therapy resistance.  Through a cross-disciplinary effort her group is also studying a novel class of inhibitors of histone acetylation, a process that is central to cellular regulation and repair of damage to DNA.  These inhibitors hold promise as chemosensitizing drugs that could greatly improve the outcome of conventional therapies for a variety of cancers, and decrease therapy toxicity.


Ruth Gjerset earned a Bachelor's degree in Biology summa cum laude from the University of California San Diego, and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Biophysics from the University of California San Francisco.  She received post-doctoral training University of California San Francisco and San Diego, and at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France.   Prior to joining the Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies in 2009, Dr. Gjerset was a faculty member of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center where she directed a program in cancer cell biology.


  • 1977 – Doctor of Philosophy (Biochemistry and Biophysics); University of California, San Francisco
  • 1971 – Bachelor of Arts (Biology); University of California, San Diego


  • 2009-present      Member and Head, Cancer Cell Biology Program, Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies
  • 1991-2009          Assistant and Associate Professor, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, San Diego, CA.
  • 1986-1991          Postgraduate Researcher and Associate Specialist, University of California Cancer Center, San Diego, CA.
  • 1983-1985          Maitre Assistant, University of Montpellier, France.
  • 1980-1982          Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California San Francisco.
  • 1979-1980          Chercheur Associee, Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique, Pasteur Institute, Paris, France.
  • 1977-1978          Postdoctoral Fellow, Pasteur Institute, Paris, France,

Professional Affiliations

  • American Association for Cancer Research
  • American Association for Women in Cancer Research
  • American Gene Therapy Society

Honors and Awards

  • B.A. Summa Cum Laude, UCSD.
  • Deans Honors List UCSD.
  • American Cancer Society Fellowship.
  • Muscular Dystrophy Association Fellowship .
  • Gold Standard Award, DOD Breast Cancer Research Program
  • Joan Scarangello Foundation Award for Lung Cancer Research.

Selected Publications (10 of 44)

  1. Bandyopadhyay K, Banères JL, Martin A, Blonski C, Parello J, Gjerset RA. (2009) Spermidinyl-CoA-based HAT inhibitors block DNA repair and provide cancer-specific chemo- and radiosensitization. Cell Cycle. 8:2779-2788.
  2. Bandyopadhyay K, Lee C, Haghighi A, Banères J-L, Parello J, and Gjerset RA. (2007) Serine phosphorylation-dependent co-regulation of topoisomerase I by the p14ARF tumor suppressor. Biochemistry, 46:14325-14334.
  3. Lee C, Smith BA, Bandyopadhyay K, Gjerset RA. (2005) DNA Damage disrupts the p14ARF-B23 (Nucleophosmin) interaction and triggers a transient subnuclear redistribution of p14ARF. Cancer Res, 65:9834.
  4. Gjerset, RA. (2006) DNA damage, p14ARF, nucleophosmin (NPM/B23), and cancer. J Mol Hist, 37:239-251.
  5. Huang Y, Tyler T, Saadatmandi N, Lee C, Borgström P, Gjerset RA. (2003) Enhanced tumor suppression by a p14ARF/p53 bicistronic adenovirus through increased p53 protein translation and stability. Cancer Research, 63:3646-3653.
  6. Lebedeva S, Bagdasarova S, Tyler T, Mu X, Wilson D, Gjerset RA. (2001) Tumor suppression and therapy sensitization of localized and metastatic breast cancer by adenovirus p53. Human Gene Ther 12:763-772.
  7. Haghighi A, Lebedeva S, Gjerset RA. (1999) Preferential Platination of an Activated Cellular Promoter by cis-Diamminedichloroplatinum. Biochemistry, 38:12432-12438.
  8. Feldman S, Gjerset RA, Gately D, Chien K, Feramisco J. (1993) Expression of SV40 large T antigen by recombinant adenoviruses activates proliferation of corneal endothelium in vivo. J Clinical Invest, 91:1713.
  9. Gjerset RA, Martin D. (1982) Presence of a DNA demethylating activity in the nucleus of murine erythroleukemia cells. J Biol Chemistry, 257:8381-8583.
  10. Gjerset RA, Gorka C, Hosthorpe S, Ibarrondo F, Lawrence J, Eisen H. (1982) Developmental and hormonal regulation of H10 in rodents.  Proc Nat Acad Sci, USA, 79:2333-2337.