Benita S Katzenellenbogen

Personal profile

Research Interests

Research Topics

Cell-Cell Interactions, Endocrinology, Genomics, Protein-Nucleic Acid Interactions, Receptor Biochemistry, Regulation of Gene Expression, Reproductive Biology, Signal Transduction

Disease Research Interests

Cancer, Reproductive Diseases, Infertility, and Menopause


B.A. City University of New York
M.A. Harvard University
PhD. Harvard University
Postdoc. University of Illinois

Professional Information

Regulation of gene expression, signal transduction, and cell proliferation and phenotypic properties by hormones and growth factors; functional analyses of nuclear hormone receptors and their genome-wide activities; mechanisms of hormone and antihormone action in normal and cancer cells and tumors; biomarker discovery and cellular changes underlying resistance to therapeutic agents in breast cancer

We are interested in understanding the biochemistry, physiology, and molecular biology of nuclear hormone (estrogen, progesterone) receptors, intracellular proteins that mediate the biological actions of these hormones in target cells, and the mechanisms by which these proteins regulate gene expression and the growth and functioning of target cells, especially cells of the reproductive system and mammary gland, and of tumors that develop in these tissues. Our studies focus on the characterization of these receptors and their coregulator protein partners; the interaction of receptor agonist versus antagonist ligand complexes with hormone-regulated genes; the interrelationships among hormones, growth factors, and various signal transduction pathways in the regulation of proliferation and phenotypic properties of breast cancer cells and tumors; and the mechanisms by which antihormones (antiestrogens and antiprogestins) antagonize hormone-dependent gene transcription and cell growth. We are doing genome-wide analyses of receptor and other transcription factor cistromes (chromatin binding sites by ChIP-Seq) and transcriptomes (gene expression, miRNAs, other RNAs by RNA-Seq) and are examining the bidirectional cross-talk between nuclear hormone receptors and cell signaling pathways. Our studies involve detailed biochemical and structure-function analyses of the receptors (and of mutant receptor forms) and coregulators and their gene interactions, and examination of their biological activities in normal and cancer, in particular breast cancer, cells and tumors. We have a major interest in hormones and breast cancer and in mechanisms of endocrine sensitivity and resistance to cancer therapies; biomarker discovery and improving cancer treatment effectiveness; and also a strong focus on reproductive biology and the improvement of fertility.

Honors & Awards

Ernst Oppenheimer Memorial Award of The Endocrine Society for Meritorious Research, 1984
Thomas A. Murphy University Scholar, 1987-1990
MERIT Award from National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, 1991-1999
Faculty Member of the Year Award, University of Illinois College of Medicine, 1994
American Academy of Arts and Sciences, elected Fellow, 1993
Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Scientific Distinction Award, 1996
The Kroc Lectureship, Univ. Texas-Houston Health Science Center and M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1998
Jill Rose Award for Breast Cancer Research, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, 1998
NIEHS Distinguished Lectureship, NIEHS/NIH, 2000, 2005, 2012, 2019
President, The Endocrine Society, 2000-2001
Swanlund Professorship, University of Illinois, 2000-present
Professor in the Center for Advanced Studies, University of Illinois, 2000-present
City University of New York Distinguished Alumni Award, 2002
Roy O. Greep Lecture Award, The Endocrine Society, 2006
Laurea ad Honorem (Honorary Degree) from University of Milan, Italy, 2007
Nobel Conference on Estrogen Signaling: From Molecular Insights to Clinical Understanding, Keynote Address, Stockholm, 2008
Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction, 2009
Mentor Award, Women in Endocrinology, 2011
Plenary Lecturer, The Endocrine Society of Australia, Melbourne, 2014
Fred Conrad Koch Lifetime Achievement Award, The Endocrine Society, 2016

Office Address

Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology
524 Burrill Hall
407 S. Goodwin Ave
Urbana, IL 61801-3704

Office Phone

(217) 333-9769


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