Reginald Hill is the Director, Tumor Biology and Microenvironment at the Ellison Institute and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. He uses novel mouse models, human clinical samples, and newly-established assay systems to elucidate how the microenvironment or inflammation contributes to pancreatic cancer initiation, progression to metastasis, and therapeutic resistance.
Dr. Hill’s interest in elucidating the role of the microenvironment in tumorigenesis began with his graduate studies under Dr. Terry Van Dyke (UNC-Chapel Hill), where he designed and created a new transgenic mouse model of prostate cancer based on retinoblastoma gene (RB) family inactivation.
As a Damon Runyon postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Hong Wu (UCLA), Dr. Hill chose to focus on an area of research with a largely unmet need for translational research. Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has a high mortality rate, dismal prognosis, and few therapeutic options. This pointed to a dire need for novel therapeutic and chemopreventative strategies, and for relevant research models of disease development. Reginald established mouse models based on PTEN loss of function that recapitulated human PDAC and worked to translate these findings to the human disease.
He then continued his research as an assistant professor at the University of Notre Dame where he uncovered novel mechanisms through which 1) endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and 2) exosomes from cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) can cause therapeutic resistance in pancreatic cancer.
Dr. Hill joined the Ellison Institute in 2018 and his research will continue to elucidate a better understanding of these processes to aid the development of more effective treatments for pancreatic cancer.