Cancer Biologist Maureen Murphy Joins The Wistar Institute

Cancer Biologist Maureen Murphy Joins The Wistar Institute

September 29, 2011


PHILADELPHIA – (September 29, 2011) – The Wistar Institute announces Maureen Murphy, Ph.D., will join the Institute as a professor in the Molecular and Cellular Oncogenesis Program of the Institute’s Cancer Center.  She is scheduled to begin December 1, 2011.

Murphy, a noted expert in the role of the p53 gene in cancer, joins Wistar from the Fox Chase Cancer Center. Murphy has also been named Associate Director of Faculty Development, a newly created administrative position with responsibility for developing programs intended to train and mentor the careers of Wistar’s junior researchers.

“Maureen brings with her a vibrant and productive laboratory program focused on mechanisms of p53-dependent cell death and the cellular stress response in cancer,” said Dario Altieri, M.D., executive vice president, chief scientific officer, and director of the Institute’s Cancer Center.  “As Associate Director of Faculty Development, Maureen will play a pivotal role in strengthening our mentoring and career development initiatives for junior faculty, ideally positioning The Wistar Institute for even greater success during the current institutional expansion.”      

The Murphy laboratory focuses on how tumor suppressor genes, such as p53, regulate two cell death pathways, apoptosis and autophagy. Apoptosis (programmed cell death) and autophagy (literally, the cell eating itself) are what Murphy describes as the cell’s most important defense mechanisms against cancer.  Murphy’s interest centers on the discovery of how tumor suppressor genes normally defend against cancer.  Her research uses small molecule therapeutics designed to target the pathways of apoptosis and autophagy, in efforts to improve the treatment of cancer.

Maureen Murphy obtained a bachelors of science degree in biochemistry at Rutgers University, followed by a doctorate in molecular biology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

In 1994, she began postdoctoral research at Princeton University in the laboratory of Arnold J. Levine, Ph.D., a co-discoverer of p53 and a pioneer in the field of tumor suppressor genes and cancer biology.

In 1998, Murphy became an Associate Member at Fox Chase Cancer Center. Since 1999, she has received full research support from the National Institutes of Health for her studies. She is also an adjunct professor at Drexel University’s College of Medicine.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 29, 2011

CONTACT: Greg Lester, 215-898-3943


About The Wistar Institute

The Wistar Institute is an international leader in biomedical research with special expertise in cancer research and vaccine development. Founded in 1892 as the first independent nonprofit biomedical research institute in the country, Wistar has long held the prestigious Cancer Center designation from the National Cancer Institute. The Institute works actively to ensure that research advances move from the laboratory to the clinic as quickly as possible. The Wistar Institute: Today’s Discoveries – Tomorrow’s Cures.


# # #