James Fackenthal, PhD

James Fackenthal, PhD

Associate Professor

Phone: 630-829-1353
Office Location: Birck 340


  • B.S. in Biology/Geology, University of Rochester, Department of Geology, Rochester, NY 1983
  • Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, Indiana University, Department of Biology 1993
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Chicago, Department of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology 1993-97

Courses taught:   

BIOL 199/299 Principles of Biology Lab; BIOL 250 Genetics; BIOL 251 Genetics Laboratory; BIOL 393 Great Ideas in Biology and Medicine; INPH 591 Special Topics: Cancer Biology

Recent Publications:

  • Catenacci DVT, Amico AL, Nielsen S, Geynisman DM, Rambo B, Carey GB, Gulden C, Fackenthal J, Marsh RD, Kindler HL, Olopade OI (2014) Tumor genome analysis includes germline genome: are we ready for surprises? Int J Cancer. Doi: 10.1002/ijc.29128 [Epub ahead of print]
  • Churpek JE, Walsh T, Zheng Y, Moton Z, Thornton AM, Lee MK, Casadei S, Watts A, Neistadt B, Churpek MM, Huo D, Zvosec C, Liu F, Niu Q, Zhang J, Fackenthal JD, King M-C, Olopade OI (2014) Inherited predisposition to breast cancer among African American women. Breast Cancer Res Treat 149:31
  • Sighoko D, Fackenthal JD, Hainaut P (2015) Changing in the pattern of breast cancer burden among African-Americans: Evidence based on 29 states and the District of Columbia during 1998-2010. Annals of Epidemiology 25:15.
  • Guindalini RSC, Song A, Fackenthal JD, Olopade OI, Huo D (in press) Genetic anticipation in BRCA1/2 families after controlling for ascertainment bias and cohort effect. 122:1913.
  • Fackenthal JD, Yoshimatsu T, Zhang B, de Garibay G, Colombo M, De Vecchi G, Ayoub S, Lal K, Olopade OI, Vega A, Santamariña M, Blanco A, Wappenschmidt B, Becker A, Houdayer C, Walker L, López-Perolio I, Thomassen M, Parsons M, Whiley P, Block M, Brandão RD, Tserpelis D, Baralle D, Montalban G, Gutiérrez-Enríquez S, Díez O, Lazaro C, kConFaB Investigators, Spurdle AB, Radice P, de la Hoya M, and the ENIGMA Splicing Working Group (2016). Naturally occurring BRCA2 alternate mRNA splicing events in clinically relevant samples. Journal of Medical Genetics 53:548.

In our laboratory we examine the regulation of tumor suppressor genes, especially the hereditary breast/ovarian (HBOC) cancer susceptibility genes BRCA1 and BRCA2. We focus on 1) epigenetic regulation of BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene transcription, 2) response of tumor suppressors to genomic damage, 3) evolutionary conservation of cis-acting regulators of alternate mRNA splicing, and 4) clinically identified gene sequence variants of unknown significance as they affect alternate splicing patterns and cancer risk.

Summer Research:

Jim Fackenthal, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Biological Sciences
[email protected]

Students in the Fackenthal group study regulation of tumor suppressor genes at the level of alternate mRNA splicing.  Students will use cancer and non-cancer derived tissue culture cells to learn basic cell culture techniques, end-point and quantitative RT-PCR, ELISA, and flow cytometry.  We explore the effects of DNA damage repair pathways and epigenetic genomic modifications on regulation of alternative splicing, cancer risk models, and therapy outcome predictions.