Kay-Uwe Wagner


Kay-Uwe Wagner, Ph.D.
Lloyd and Marilyn Smith Endowed Chair for Breast Cancer Research
Professor, Department of Oncology
Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute
Wayne State University School of Medicine
4100 John R, Mail Code EL01TM
Detroit, MI 48201
Office: (313) 578-4334
Email: wagnerk@karmanos.org


Research Interests

  • genetic events that govern the initiation and progression of cancer
  • genetically engineered mouse models for breast and pancreatic cancer
  • peptide hormone and inflammatory cytokine signaling

Research description

The Wagner lab is centered on the mechanisms regulating the normal development of the mammary gland and pancreas and to identify genetic pathways that control the development of breast and pancreatic cancer.

Numerous genes have been identified that are crucial for normal development and cancer. Their role is being studied in our research group through their deregulated expression in transgenic animals and through their deletion from the mouse genome by homologous recombination. Specifically, our laboratory has the expertise to overexpress genes in a temporally and spatially controlled manner using the Tet system and to delete genes in a tissue-specific and temporally controlled fashion using the Cre/loxP recombination system. Current projects include the analysis of cytokine signaling through the JAK/STAT and PI3K/AKT pathways as well as the role of c-Myc and oncogenic Kras in the initiation and maintenance of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.

Selected Publications:

Rädler, P.D.; B.L. Wehde and K.-U. Wagner. Crosstalk between STAT5 activation and PI3K/AKT functions in normal and transformed mammary epithelial cells. Mol. Cell. Endocrinol. 2017;451:31-9.

Rajbhandari, N.; W.C. Lin; B.L. Wehde, A.A. Triplett and K.U. Wagner. Autocrine IGF1 signaling mediates pancreatic tumor cell dormancy in the absence of oncogenic drivers. Cell Rep. 2017;18:2243-55.

Mukhopadhyay, C.; A.A. Triplett; T. Bargar; C. Heckman; K.-U. Wagner and M. Naramura (2016): Casitas B-cell lymphoma (Cbl) proteins protect mammary epithelial cells from proteotoxicity of active c-Src accumulation. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2016;113:E8228-E8237. 

Sakamoto, K.; B.L. Wehde; K.H. Yoo; T. Kim; N. Rajbhandari; H.Y. Shin; A.A. Triplett; P.D. Rädler; F. Schuler; A. Villunger; K. Kang; L. Hennighausen and K.-U. Wagner. Janus kinase 1 is essential for inflammatory cytokine signaling and mammary gland remodeling. Mol. Cell. Biol. 2016;36:1673-90.  

Witkiewicz, A.K.; E.A. McMillan; U. Balaji; G. Baek; W.-C. Lin; J. Mansour; M. Mollaee. K.-U. Wagner, P. Koduru; A. Yopp; M.A. Choti; C.J. Yeo; P. McCue; M.A. White and E.S. Knudsen. Whole-exome sequencing of pancreatic cancer defines genetic diversity and therapeutic targets. Nature Communications 2015;6:6744.  

Sakamoto, K.; J.W. Schmidt and K.-U. Wagner. Mouse models for breast cancer. Methods Mol Biol. 2015;1267:7-71. 

Lin W.C..; N. Rajbhandari and K.-U. Wagner. Cancer cell dormancy in novel mouse models for reversible pancreatic cancer: a lingering challenge in the development of targeted therapies. Cancer Research 2014;74:2138-43.  

Schmidt, J.W.; B.L. Wehde; K. Sakamoto; A.A. Triplett; S.M. Anderson; P.N. Tsichlis; G. Leone and K.-U. Wagner. Stat5 regulates the PI3-kinase/Akt1 pathway during mammary gland development and tumorigenesis. Mol. Cell. Biol. 2014;34:1363-77.   

Zhang, Q.; K. Sakamoto and K.-U. Wagner. D-type Cyclins are important downstream effectors of cytokine signaling that regulate the proliferation of normal and neoplastic mammary epithelial cells. Mol. Cell. Endocrinol. 2014;382:583–92.  

Lin, W.C.; N. Rajbhandari; C. Liu; K. Sakamoto; Q. Zhang; A.A. Triplett; S.K. Batra; R. Opavsky; D.W. Felsher; D.J. DiMaio; M.A. Hollingsworth; J.P. Morris 4th; M. Hebrok; A.K. Witkiewicz; J.R. Brody; H.Rui and K.-U. Wagner. Dormant cancer cells contribute to residual disease in a mouse model for reversible pancreatic cancer. Cancer Research 2013;73:1821-30.  


B.Sc. 1990 University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany                    
M.Sc. 1991 University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany                                
Ph.D. 1995 University of Halle-Wittenberg, Germany
Postdoc 1995-2000 National Institute of Health