Donald P. Bottaro, Ph.D.

Donald P. Bottaro, Ph.D.
Staff Scientist
Head, Molecular Therapeutics Facility

Dr. Bottaro’s research on the role of epithelial growth factors in the onset and progression of solid tumors began with the discovery of the cell surface receptors for keratinocyte growth factor (KGF) and hepatocyte growth factor (HGF). Later work helped define the structural basis of growth factor-receptor interaction and the role of heparan sulfate proteoglycans as co-receptors. Recent efforts include translating basic knowledge of growth factor signaling to support the development of diagnostic and therapeutic agents that target HGF signaling in genitourinary and other malignancies.

Visit Experimental Cancer Therapeutics Targeting the Hepatocyte Growth Factor/Met Signaling Pathway to view a list of clinical trials for cancer therapeutics targeting the HGF/Met signaling pathway.

Areas of Expertise

1) regulation of epithelial cell growth and motility, 2) cellular and molecular oncogenesis,
4) growth factor inhibitors, 5) biomarker development

Contact Info

Donald P. Bottaro, Ph.D.
Center for Cancer Research
National Cancer Institute
Building 10 - Hatfield CRC, Room 2-3952
Bethesda, MD 20892-1107
Ph: 240-858-3967

Research in Urologic Oncology Branch is aimed at identifying the genetic and biochemical defects that contribute to genitourinary malignancies, and to translating these discoveries into safe and effective treatment strategies. The discovery of germline mutations in the hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) receptor, Met, that predispose affected individuals to papillary renal cell carcinoma (HPRC) type 1, significantly strengthened mounting evidence of the oncogenic potential of this signaling pathway. Normally, HGF stimulates proliferation, motility and morphogenesis in a wide spectrum of cell types, contributing to embryonic development and to tissue repair in adulthood. Abnormal activation of the HGF pathway has been found in many human cancers, including carcinomas of the bladder, breast, colon, liver, lung, kidney and thyroid, sarcomas of bone and muscle, leukemia, lymphoma, glioblastoma and melanoma. In many of these cancers, HGF/Met signaling drives cell invasiveness and tumor metastasis, advancing disease beyond current effective therapies. Understanding the molecular basis of oncogenic signaling and developing strategies for its selective disruption in cancer are our highest priorities.

NIH Scientific Focus Areas:
Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Molecular Pharmacology
View Dr. Bottaro's Full PubMed Summary.

Selected Key Publications

  1. Bottaro DP, Rubin JS, Faletto DL, Chan AM, Kmiecik TE, Vande Woude GF, Aaronson SA.
    Science. 251: 802-4, 1991. [ Journal Article ]
  2. Bottaro DP, Liotta LA
    Nature. 423: 593-5, 2003. [ Journal Article ]
  3. Peruzzi B, Athauda G, Bottaro DP
    Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 103: 14531-6, 2006. [ Journal Article ]
  4. Cecchi F, Pajalunga D, Fowler CA, Peruzzi B, MacDonald N, Blackman DK, Stahl SJ, Byrd RA, Bottaro DP
    Cancer Cell. 22: 250-62, 2012. [ Journal Article ]
  5. Lee YH, Morrison BL, Bottaro DP.
    J Biol Chem. 289: 20448-61, 2014. [ Journal Article ]

Dr. Bottaro received his B.A. from The University of Chicago and Ph.D. in cellular and molecular biology from Boston University. For his doctoral research he was named Young Investigator of the Year by the American Microcirculatory Society in 1986. He trained as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School before joining the NCI's Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology in 1987, where he helped identify keratinocyte growth factor (KGF), hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and their respective cell surface receptors. In 2003, Dr. Bottaro joined the NCI's Urologic Oncology Branch, where he continues to study growth factor signaling pathways and their subversion in cancer.

Name Position
Dinuka de Silva Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (CRTA)
Molly Lee Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (CRTA)
Arpita Roy Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (CRTA)