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Dolph L. Hatfield, Ph.D.

Portait Photo of Dolph Hatfield
Mouse Cancer Genetics Program
Senior Investigator
Center for Cancer Research
National Cancer Institute
Building 37, Room 5016
Bethesda, MD 20892


Dr. Hatfield received his Ph.D. in the Genetics Foundation at the University of Texas at Austin, and did postdoctoral work on protein purification in Dr. J.B. Wyngaarden's laboratory at Duke University Medical School; on genetic coding and protein synthesis in Dr. M. Nirenberg's laboratory at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; and on bacterial genetics in Dr. J. Monod's laboratory at the Institut Pasteur, Paris, France. He then came to the NCI where he has continued a lifelong interest in genetic coding and protein synthesis.


Role of Selenium in Cancer and Human Health

The major aims of the section of the Molecular Biology of Selenium are to understand: 1) the molecular mechanisms involved in how selenium and selenium-containing proteins (selenoproteins) provide essential roles in development and health, including cancer prevention and promotion; and 2) the regulatory mechanisms controlling selenoprotein expression.

Selenium has been shown to have roles in preventing cancer and heart disease, delaying the aging process and the onset of AIDS in HIV positive patients, inhibiting viral expression and supporting mammalian development, male reproduction and immune function. A detailed understanding of how selenium makes its way into protein and how it functions in cellular metabolism will elucidate the molecular mechanisms by which this element and selenoproteins provide their many essential roles in health. Our laboratory, along with our collaborators, have had a major hand in demonstrating that selenoproteins are the principal components that are responsible for the roles of selenium in health and development.

Our program is actively pursuing the roles of two selenoproteins, thioredoxin reductase 1 and selenoprotein 15, in cancer as these two selenium-containing proteins manifest a 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality' in both preventing and promoting malignancy. In addition, the Molecular Biology of Selenium Section is examining the underlying mechanisms of how the expression of two subclasses of selenoproteins, housekeeping and stress-related, is differentially regulated.

Our collaborators are Vadim Gladyshev, Center for Redox Medicine Division of Genetics, Department of Medicine, Brigham & Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School; Petra (Peko) Tsuji, Towson University; Ulrich Schweizer, Institut fur Biochemie und Molekularbiologie, Bonn, Germany; Stuart Yuspa, Laboratory of Cancer Biology and Genetics, NCI, NIH; Byeong Jae Lee, Seoul National University, Korea; Cindy Davis, Office of the Director, NCI, NIH; and Marcus Conrad, Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology and Tumor Genetics, GSF, Munich, Germany.

This page was last updated on 12/17/2013.