Raymond Runyan (retired)


PhD., Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center 1983

College Affiliations: 

College of Medicine

Research Interests: 

Dr. Runyan is Professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine in the College of Medicine.  He is an Embryologist/Developmental Biologist with interests in embryonic heart development, congenital heart disease, cell invasion in development and cancer and the effects of stem cell delivery into tissues. 

Environmental Health Research & Expertise: 

Dr. Runyan's cancer-related research focuses on the cellular process of epithelial-mesenchymal cell transition (EMT). Though it began as a developmental biology investigation in relation to congenital heart disease, Dr. Runyan's lab has continued to look for the links to cancer metastasis.

Dr. Runyan received his post-doctoral training at MD Anderson Cancer Center in a department where the underlying premise was that developmental and carcinogenic mechanisms are highly related. His lab was the first to identify TGFb as a mediator of EMT, Snail2 as a target of TGFb, and the Type III TGFb receptor as a critical part of the process. 

TGFb has since become the standard mediator of EMT during experimental metastasis.  Dr. Runyan's lab first showed the multi-step nature of EMT with evidence that tumor promoting phorbol esters only initiated a partial EMT and that multiple factors were required to complete cell invasion.  This concept has become central to investigations of tumor cell plasticity. 

Their recent work has focused on OLFM1 as an invasion-promoting or inhibiting extracellular matrix molecule depending on alternatively spliced isoforms.  They found that the invasion promoting isoforms are expressed during normal developmental invasion in the embryonic heart and in aggressive forms of rhabdomyosarcoma and esophageal adenocarcinoma.   Ongoing collaborations with UACC investigators, Ron Heimark and Justina McEvoy, are continuing to compare the developmental and oncogenic aspects of cell invasion.

Select Publications


Lencinas, A., D. C. Chhun, K. P. Dan, K. D. Ross, E. A. Hoover, P. B. Antin, and R. B. Runyan, "Olfactomedin-1 activity identifies a cell invasion checkpoint during epithelial-mesenchymal transition in the chick embryonic heart.", Dis Model Mech, vol. 6, issue 3, pp. 632-42, 2013 May. PubMed PMCID: PMC3634647  PMID: 23264563
Makwana, O., L. Ahles, A. Lencinas, O. I. Selmin, and R. B. Runyan, "Low-dose trichloroethylene alters cytochrome P450-2C subfamily expression in the developing chick heart.", Cardiovasc Toxicol, vol. 13, issue 1, pp. 77-84, 2013 Mar. PubMed PMCID: PMC3927724  PMID: 22855351


Lencinas, A., A. L. P. Tavares, J. V. Barnett, and R. B. Runyan, "Collagen gel analysis of epithelial-mesenchymal transition in the embryo heart: an in vitro model system for the analysis of tissue interaction, signal transduction, and environmental effects.", Birth Defects Res C Embryo Today, vol. 93, issue 4, pp. 298-311, 2011 Dec. PubMed PMID: 22271679


Lencinas, A., D. M. Broka, J. H. Konieczka, S. E. Klewer, P. B. Antin, T. D. Camenisch, and R. B. Runyan, "Arsenic exposure perturbs epithelial-mesenchymal cell transition and gene expression in a collagen gel assay.", Toxicol Sci, vol. 116, issue 1, pp. 273-85, 2010 Jul. PubMed PMCID: PMC2886855  PMID: 20308225
Makwana, O., N. M. P. King, L. Ahles, O. Selmin, H. L. Granzier, and R. B. Runyan, "Exposure to low-dose trichloroethylene alters shear stress gene expression and function in the developing chick heart.", Cardiovasc Toxicol, vol. 10, issue 2, pp. 100-7, 2010 Jun. PubMed PMCID: PMC3069695  PMID: 20186580