James R. Goldenring, Ph.D., M.D.

Professor of Surgery
Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology
Vice Chair, Surgical Research
Paul W. Sanger Professor of Experimental Surgery
10435-G Medical Research Building IV
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Epithelial Biology, Gastric Cancer, Colon Cancer, Neonatal Diarrhea

James received his AB degree from Harvard College and MD and PhD degrees from Yale University. Following residency training in general surgery from 1986 to 1988 at Yale New Haven Hospital, he completed a postdoctoral fellowship in surgical research as an American College of Surgeons Research Fellow. Dr. Goldenring is presently the Paul Sanger Professor of Surgery and Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Dr. Goldenring’s research spans multiple topics across the broad area of epithelial biology. He has been a leader in the investigation of the specific roles of Rab small GTPases in regulating vesicle trafficking and membrane recycling in polarized cells. Dr. Goldenring was also one of the earliest investigators in the field of A-kinase anchoring proteins (AKAPs) focusing on the characterization of a large multiply spliced gene coding for the AKAP350 family of scaffolding proteins. Finally, Dr. Goldenring has been a leader in the field of gastric cancer research, studying the mechanisms responsible for the induction of metaplasia. His recent findings have shown that pre-neoplastic metaplasia (Spasmolytic polypeptide-expressing metaplasia or SPEM) does not arise from professional mucosal stem cells, but rather from transdifferentiation of mature chief cells into a proliferative metaplasia. Dr. Goldenring was previously Associate Editor of American Journal of Physiology—Gastrointestinal & Liver Physiology.

Research Information

Dr. Goldenring’s research spans multiple topics across the broad area of epithelial biology. He has been a leader in investigation of the roles of specific roles of Rab small GTPases and their effectors in regulating vesicle trafficking, membrane recycling and polarity in polarized cells. His recent studies are focused on how these small GTPases may regulate cell polarity and the initiation of gastrointestinal cancers. He is presently studying the role of specific defects in apical vesicle trafficking in the etiology of neonatal diarrhea syndromes in human. His recently published work defined the role of Rab11a and Rab8a interactions with myosin Vb in the development of severe neonatal diarrhea in children with Microvillus Inclusion Disease and he has recently published work on the phenotypes of mouse models of MYO5B KO. The laboratory is now analyzing the newly developed mouse models for targeted loss of MYO5B, Rab11a and Rab11-FIP2 in the intestines and other organs. Other work in the Goldenring laboratory is defining the role of Par1b/MARK2 phosphorylation of Rab11-FIP1 and Rab11-FIP2 on the establishment and maintenance of polarity. These studies are utilizing phosphorylation site-specific antibodies as well as Rab11-FIP mutants to define defects in trafficking and polarity. Finally, Dr. Goldenring’s laboratory is also investigating the role of Rab25 as a tumor suppressor in the colon using the Rab25-/-;Smad3+/- mouse model, which develops spontaneous invasive distal colon cancers. In addition to his studies of epithelial polarity, Dr. Goldenring also studies the mechanisms responsible for the development of pre-neoplastic lineages from metaplasias in the stomach and their roles in gastric carcinogenesis. These investigations focus on defining how mature chief cells transdifferentiate into pre-neoplastic metaplasia in the stomach. Recent work has demonstrated that M2 macrophages are necessary for conversion of metaplasia into a proliferative and intestinalizing metaplasia. Other studies have demonstrated that activation of Ras is critical for multiple stages of induction and progression of metaplasia and may represent a focus for clinical intervention in gastric pre-cancer. On going studies focus on understanding the mechanisms responsible for the process of transdifferentiation and how immune regulators influence this process. 

Publications on PubMed.gov