Doing What He Does Best - In A New Lab And Town
Dr. Denis Guttridge joined MUSC in 2018.
Dr. Denis Guttridge, PhD, recently relocated to Charleston, SC in 2018 to join the MUSC faculty and serve as the Director of the Darby Children’s Research Institute and Associate Director of Translational Sciences at Hollings Cancer Center. Additionally, regardless of his full plate, Dr. Guttridge was also named the Pancreatic Cancer Team lead at Hollings Cancer Center AND was one of the first LOWVELO19 registrants! When the LOWVELO team decided to spotlight brilliant cancer research developments on campus, we knew Dr. Guttridge had to be LOWVELO’s first ‘Science Powerhouse’ honoree. Stem cells, muscles, and why he rides a bike – here’s what we learned when we caught up with Dr. Guttridge.
Inspiration and Education
Wednesday, July 18 Dr. Guttridge began his research career as a college student in San Diego, but owes much of his passion for becoming a biologist and cancer researcher to his high school biology teacher. Guttridge shared, “He was the one who taught me the principles of science and how cool molecular biology was.” As a result, Dr. Guttridge received his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry and Cell Biology at the University of California, San Diego and PhD in Molecular Genetics from the University of California, Irvine. He then performed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Dr. Guttridge has always been interested in the cancer stem cell hypothesis. Once he realized that skeletal muscle has stem cells that they use to regenerate, he applied muscle to his research by asking, “Is NF-κB involved in cancer by regulating stem cells?” He then began using muscle as his system to pursue the research question. When asked how to describe his research to a first grader (for those of us who don’t understand lab talk!), Guttridge said, “If we can understand how muscle cells grow, we can better understand why cancer cells don’t act like muscle, and, importantly, we can try to figure out how to make the cancer cells stop growing.”
Commitment to LOWVELO
When asked why he committed to participate in LOWVELO, Dr. Guttridge replied, “…because of personal experience with several of my family members that were afflicted with cancer, including my mom, who passed away with breast cancer. Also, because I realize that cancer can’t be beat with only the effort from one lab at one university. It takes a complete team to make a difference in cancer, including scientists, physicians, and the community. I ride to show the community that we are in this together, and together we will make a difference to find new cures for cancer.”
Training for the 100-Mile Route
Dr. Guttridge has committed to train, ride and fundraise for the 100-mile route. When asked what he thinks while training, he said, “I enjoy riding on a bike because it gives me the freedom to have personal ‘think time’, either reflecting on new ideas for the lab or sometimes a new project I want to develop that will involve several of my colleagues. I also just enjoy being outside on a country road absorbing the beautiful scenery around me.”
Since Dr. Guttridge is a new resident of Charleston, he’s yet to find a favorite local bike route; however, he says he’s “looking to discover one in the miles to come.” We certainly hope he enjoys exploring his new hometown while prepping for the big LOWVELO19 ride on November 2nd, and we look forward to riding with him in honor of his loved ones and his life-changing cancer research.