Dr. Pendergast is currently the Anthony R. Means Cancer Biology Professor and Vice Chair of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology at Duke University School of Medicine. The long-term goal of the research in the Pendergast laboratory is to define the pathways that integrate activation of diverse growth factor, chemokine and adhesion receptors to the regulation of cell polarity, migration, and invasion during normal development and cancer, with emphasis on the role of the Abl family of non-receptor tyrosine kinases and their targets.
Dr. Pendergast’s interest in normal and oncogenic tyrosine kinases began during her postdoctoral training at UCLA with Dr. Owen Witte where she made seminal discoveries that defined the critical pathways employed by the Bcr-Abl tyrosine kinase to induce human leukemias. In 1992 Dr. Pendergast joined the Department of Pharmacology at Duke University where she has developed an active research program that has uncovered critical roles for Abl kinases and actin nucleation machines in the regulation of diverse cellular processes. Dr. Pendergast rose through the ranks to tenured Professor of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology in 2004.
Dr. Pendergast’s scientific contributions have been recognized with numerous awards including the First Whitehead Scholar Award (1992-1997), Scholar of the Leukemia Society of America (1994-1999), the Gertrude Elion Cancer Research Award (1996-1997), the Frank Rose Memorial Lecture Award from the British and Irish Associations for Cancer Research (1998), the Stohlman Scholar Award (1999), and the James B. Duke Professor of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology at Duke University (2007-2012).
Dr. Pendergast has served in several NIH study section panels and the Board of Scientific Counselors-Basic Science of the National Cancer Institute. The research in the Pendergast laboratory is supported by grants from the Department of Defense and the NIH/NCI.