David Gius, MD, PhD
Zell Family Scholar Professor
Director, Women’s Cancer Research Program
Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center
Vice Chairman Translation Research
Department of Radiation Oncology and Pharmacology
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Dr. Gius graduated from the University of Illinois with a B.S in chemistry in 1983, finished his Ph.D. thesis work from the University of Chicago in 1990, and graduated from Loyola Medical School in 1992. He completed an internship year at the University of Chicago and a radiation oncology residency at Washington University School of Medicine, the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology. After residency he was an Assistant Professor at Washington University for four years and than accepted a position as the Chief of the Molecular Radiation Oncology Section at the National Cancer Institute in the Radiation Oncology Branch that lasted eight years.
The central theme of the laboratory is the potential relationship of intracellular pro-proliferative/pro-survival factors and how tumor cells respond to therapeutic modalities. They hypothesize that specific pro-survival pathways, both alone and more likely in combination, and their upstream signaling factors are potential molecular targets to improve the cytotoxic effects of anti-cancer agents including but not limited to ionizing radiation. These challenges have led the laboratory to concentrate its efforts into the role that longevity genes might play a role in carcinogenesis. The overarching theme of this aspect of the laboratory is based on one of the fundamental observations in Oncology. That is: cancer is a disease of aging, and the rate of malignancies increases significantly as a function of age. To address this idea they constructed mice 7 years ago that have the mitochondrial (Sirt3) and cytoplasmic (Sirt2) sirtuin genes deleted. In the past 4 years they have shown that Sirt3 is genomically expressed, mitochondrial localized tumor suppressor and suggest a relationship that connects protein acetylation, mitochondrial metabolism, and proteins that detoxify cellular reactive oxygen species. Finally, the laboratory has also recently shown that Sirt2 is also a TS gene that connects aging, mitotic cell cycle regulation, and carcinogenesis. This work is currently funded by two NCI R01s, and a DOD idea award.
As chief of the Radiation Thoracic Oncology service. Dr. Gius collaborates with the chiefs of the thoracic services from Medical Oncology and Thoracic Surgical Oncology in the management lung cancer patients in the Thoracic Multi-Modality Oncology Program. He is also a member of the Vanderbilt Lung SPORE, which is supervised by David Carbone (grant PI). He is responsible for the generation of clinical research and protocols in participation with the other members of Radiation Oncology to incorporate radiation therapy into the Thoracic Oncology Program. In addition, he works with these team members to integrate this clinical activates with his basic and translation science that center on model systems using in vitro and in vivo tumors and tumor cell lines to investigate the mechanisms of carcinogenesis and tumor cell resistance.