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Colleen Sweeney

Professor and Director of the Breast Cancer Research Program @ UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center

Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine

Research Bldg. III, Room 1100A, UC Davis Medical Center, Sacramento


2000 Postdoctoral Fellow Harvard Medical School Cell Signaling
1995 PhD Tufts University School of Medicine Biochemistry
1990 BS University of Massachusetts Chemistry/Biochemistry

Research Interests:

Receptor tyrosine kinases in breast tumor progression and therapeutic resistance

Tumor suppressors & oncogenes in breast cancer

Mouse models of breast cancer

Impact of psychosocial stress on breast tumor initiation, progression, regression & recurrence


1987 Merck Index Award in Chemistry, University of Massachusetts; 1988 Louis Fenaux Award in Chemistry, University of Massachusetts; 1989 Kenneth A. Rose Award in Chemistry, University of Massachusetts; 1989 American Institute of Chemists Award; 1994 Charlton Research Poster Competition - First Place, Tufts University School of Medicine; 1994 Berlex BioSciences Predoctoral Fellowship; 1996 National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellowship; 1999 Massachusetts Department of Public Health Breast Cancer Award; 2001 California Breast Cancer Research Program New Investigator Award.; 2002 California Tobacco Related Diseases Research Program New Investigator Award; 2002 UC Davis Cancer Center Annual Research Symposium, Anne Kathryn Trelford Bell Award
2004 Anne Kathryn Trelford Bell Award/UC Davis Cancer Center Research Symposium
2005 UC Davis Health System Award
2006 UC Davis School of Medicine Excellence in Education Award
2008 Kaiser Award for Excellence in Teaching Basic Sciences
“Outstanding Instructor” Class of 2011 for Excellence in Teaching of the Sciences Basic to Medicine
2011 Dean’s Excellence Award in Education, UC Davis School of Medicine
“Outstanding Instructor” Class of 2012 for Excellence in Teaching of the Sciences Basic to Medicine

Department and Center Affiliations:

Cancer Center
Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine

Professional Societies:

American Association for Cancer Research, Active Member
International Association of Medical Science Educators

CBS Graduate Group Affiliations:

Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology  

Specialties / Focus:

Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
Cell Biology
Molecular Medicine
Signal Transduction and Gene Regulation

Graduate Groups not Housed in CBS:

Comparative Pathology  


Last updated 8/7/2013
Sweeney C, Carraway KL 3rd. 2004. Negative regulation of ErbB family receptor tyrosine kinases. British Journal of Cancer 90(2):289-93.

. Krig, S.R., Frietze, S., Simion, C, Miller, J.K., Fry, W.H., Rafidi, H., Kotelawala, L., Qi, L., Griffith, O., Gray, J.W., Carraway, K.L. III and Sweeney C. Lrig1 is an estrogen regulated growth suppressor and correlates with longer relapse-free survival in ERalpha-positive breast cancer. 2011 Molecular Cancer Research, 9(10):1406-17

Littlepage, L.E., Adler, A.S., Kouros-Mehr, H., Huang, G., Chou, J., Krig, S.R., Griffith, O.L., Korkola, J.E., Qu, K., Lawson, D.A., Xue, Q., Sternlicht, M.D., Dijkgraaf, G.J.P., Yaswen, P., Rugo, H.S., Sweeney, C., Collins, C.C., Gray, J.W., Chang, H.Y., Werb, Z. The transcription factor ZNF217 is a prognostic biomarker and therapeutic target during breast cancer progression. 2012 Cancer Discovery, Jul; 2(7): 638- 51.

Rafidi, H.R., Mercado, F.M., Astudillo, M., Fry, W.H., Carraway, K.L. III and Sweeney, C. Leucine-rich repeat and immunoglobulin domain-containing protein-1 (Lrig1) negative regulatory action towards ErbB receptor tyrosine kinases is opposed by Leucine-rich repeat and immunoglobulin domain-containing protein-3 (Lrig3). 2013 J. Biol. Chem. May 30th, epub ahead of print.

Wu, X., Yen, L., Irwin, L., Sweeney, C. and Carraway, K.L. III Stabilization of the E3 Ubquitin Ligase Nrdp1 by the Deubquitinating Enzyme Usp8. 2004 Molecular and Cellular Biology, 24(17), 7748-7757.

Laederich, M.B., Funes-Duran, M., Yen, L., Ingalla, E., Wu, X., Carraway K.L. III and Sweeney C. The Leucine-rich repeat protein Lrig1 is a negative regulator of ErbB family receptor tyrosine kinases. 2004 The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 279(45):47050-6.

Funes, M., Miller J.K., Lai, C., Carraway, K.L. III, and Sweeney C.. 2006 The Mucin Muc4 potentiates Neuregulin signaling by increasing the cell surface populations of ErbB2 and ErbB3. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 281(28): 19310-19319.

Sweeney, C., Miller, J.K., Shattuck, D.L., and Carraway K.L. III 2006. ErbB Receptor Negative Regulatory Mechanisms: Implications in Cancer. Journal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia, 11(1):89-99.

K.L. Carraway III and Sweeney, C. 2006. Co-opted integrin signaling in ErbB2 induced mammary tumor progression. Cancer Cell, 10(2):93-5.

Yen, L., Cao, Z., Wu, X., Ingalla, E., Baron, C., Young, L., Gregg, J.P., Cardiff, R.D., Borowsky, A.D., Sweeney, C. and Carraway K.L III. 2006. Loss of Nrdp1 enhances ErbB2-ErbB3 dependent breast tumor cell growth. Cancer Research 66(23):11279-86.

Carraway, K.L. III, Funes, M., Workman, H.C., and Sweeney, C. 2007. Contribution of Membrane Mucins to Tumor Progression through Modulation of Cellular Growth Signaling Pathways. Current Topics in Developmental Biology 78: 1-22.

*Shattuck, D.L., *Miller, J.K., Laederich, M., Funes, M., Petersen, H., Carraway, K.L, and Sweeney C. Lrig1 is a novel negative regulator of the Met receptor tyrosine kinase and opposes Met & Her2 synergy. Molecular and Cellular Biology 2007 March 27(5):1934-46. *co-first authors

Cao, Z., Wu, X., Yen, L., Sweeney, C. and Carraway, K.L. III. Neuregulin induced ErbB3 down-regulation is mediated by a protein stability cascade involving the E3 ubiquitin ligase Nrdp1. Molecular and Cellular Biology 2007 March 27(6):2180-8.

Shattuck, D.L., Miller, J.K. Carraway, K.L. III and Sweeney, C. The Met Receptor Contributes to Trastuzumab Resistance of Her2 overexpressing breast cancer cells. 2008. Cancer Research 68: 1471-1477.

Stutz, M.A., Shattuck, D.L., Laederich, M.B., Carraway, K.L. III and Sweeney, C. LRIG1 negatively regulates the oncogenic EGF receptor mutant EGFRvIII. 2008. Oncogene, 27(43):5741-52

Miller, J.K., Shattuck, D.L., Ingalla, E.Q., Yen, L., Young, L.G.T., Borowsky, A.D., Cardiff, R.D., Carraway, K.L. III and Sweeney, C. Suppression of the negative regulator LRIG1 contributes to ErbB2 overexpression in breast cancer. 2008. Cancer Research, Oct 15;68(20):8286-94.

Fry, W.H.D., Kotelawala, L., Sweeney, C. and Carraway K.L. III. Mechanisms of ErbB receptor negative regulation and relevance in cancer. 2008 Experimental Cell Research, in press

Workman, H.C., Sweeney, C. and Carraway K.L. III. 2009 The membrane mucin Muc4 inhibits apoptosis induced by multiple insults via ErbB2-dependent and -independent mechanisms. Cancer Research, 69(7):2845-52.

Trainor, B.C., Sweeney, C. and Cardiff, R.D. Isolating the effects of social interactions on cancer biology. 2009 Cancer Prevention Research, Oct;2(10):843-6. PMID: 19789296

Khan, I.H., Zhao, J., Ghosh, P., Ziman, M., Sweeney, C., Kung, H.J., and Luciw, P.A. Multiplex Microbead Suspension Arrays for Simultaneous Analysis of ErbB Family of Receptor Tyrosine Kinases: Activation and Dimerization Studies in Breast Cancer Cells. 2009 ASSAY and Drug Development Technologies, Feb;8(1):27-36.

Workman, H.C., Miller,J.K., Ingalla, E.Q., Kaur, R.P., Yamamoto, D.I., Beckett, L.A., Young, L.G.T., Cardiff, R.D., Borowsky, A.D., Carraway, K.L., Sweeney, C. and Carraway, K.L. III. The Membrane Mucin MUC4 is Elevated in Breast Tumor Lymph Node Metastases Relative to Matched Primary Tumors and Confers Aggressive Properties to Breast Cancer Cells. 2009. Breast Cancer Research Sep 18;11(5):R70.

Trainor, B.C., Crean, K.K., Fry, W.H.D. and Sweeney, C. Activation of extracellular related kinases in social behavior circuits during resident-intruder aggression tests. 2010 Neuroscience, 165(2):325-36

Silva, A., Fry, W.H.D., Sweeney, C. and Trainor, B.C. Effects of photoperiod and experience on aggressive behavior in female California mice. 2010 Behavioral Brain Research, 208(2):528-34.

Ingalla, E.Q., Miller, J.K., Wald, J.H., Workman, H.C., Kaur, R.P, Yen, L., Fry, W.H., Borowsky, A.D., Young, L.J.T., Sweeney, C., and Carraway, K.L. III. Post-transcriptional mechanisms contribute to the suppression of the ErbB3 negative regulator protein Nrdp1 in mammary tumors. 2010. J. Biol. Chem, Sep 10;285(37):28691-7. Epub 2010 Jul 13. PMID:20628057

Krig, S.R., Miller, J.K., Frietze, S., Beckett, L.A., Neve, R.M.,Farnham, P., Yaswen, P. and Sweeney, C. ZNF217, a candidate breast cancer oncogene amplified at 20q13, regulates expression of the ErbB3 receptor tyrosine kinase in breast cancer cells. 2010 Oncogene, Oct 7;29(40):5500-10. PMID: 20661224

Laboratory Personnel:

Sweeney laboratory Research III UC Davis Medical Center

Colleen Sweeney, Ph.D. (Principal Investigator), Francisco Mercado (graduate student), Hanine Rafidi (graduate student), Catalina Simion (graduate student), Maria Prieto (graduate student), Sumaira Amir, Ph.D. (project scientist), Herman Fennel, PhD (post-doctoral fellow), Nucharee Yokdang, PhD (post-doctoral fellow), Shadd Cabalatungan (undergraduate).

Teaching Interests:

Regulation of cell growth and perturbation in the disease state; metabolism & inborn errors of metabolism, team based learning and other non-lecture based formats of teaching.


IMD 405 Metabolism, Endocrinology, Reproduction & Nutrition - MERN Winter
MDS 430 Applications of Medical Principles Fall,Spring

Personal Interests:

Hiking http://
Kayaking http://
Pets! I have 5 dogs http://
Microloans http://www.kiva.org
Love to read!! http://