Elaine Alarid

Contact Information

Elaine T. Alarid, PhD, Professor of Oncology and Co-Director of the Cancer Biology Graduate Program

608-265-9315 (office); 608-265-9318 (lab)
6151 WI Institute Medical Research


BA, 1985, Genetics, University of California at Berkeley
PhD, 1991, Physiology, University of California at Berkeley
Postdoctoral Research, University of California-San Francisco and University of California-San Diego


Professor of Oncology
Cell Signaling Program Member, UW Carbone Cancer Center

Research Description

The focus of our research is on understanding the molecular mechanisms governing the activity of estrogen receptor (ER), a member of the nuclear receptor transcription factor family that is critical in normal reproduction and is implicated in the pathogenesis of breast cancer.

ER is an intracellular receptor that when activated by estrogen and other estrogen-like compounds, binds directly to DNA and activates or represses gene transcription. It serves as an important model for the understanding of basic mechanisms of transcription, as well as the regulatory pathways that control the cellular responses to steroid hormones.

Figure 1: Model of a "Transcriptional Clock"
Figure 1: Model of a “Transcriptional Clock”

Currently, we are pursuing projects that address the role of post-translational regulation in the control of ERa protein activity, with emphasis on proteasome-mediated proteolysis. Experiments are aimed at better defining the signals that target ER for destruction and understanding how protein stability affects ERa transcriptional function.

In trying to elucidate the link between protein stability and transactivation, our research has identified novel regulatory and activation mechanisms for ERa and is placed into an emerging model of a “transcriptional clock” (Figure 1) that explores the dynamics and specificity of macromolecular complexes governing gene expression.


National Committees

National Science Foundation Dissertation and Postdoctoral Fellowship
National Cancer Institute-Review Panels
Ford Foundation Dissertation and Postdoctoral Fellowship-Biological Sciences Panel
Future Leaders Advancing Research in Endocrinology (FLARE) Program Me

PubMed Publication Search