Member Database

Nathan Merrill

Research Investigator
Internal Medicine - Hematology/Oncology

Postdoc, Experimental Therapeutics, University of Michigan
PhD, Cell and Molecular Genetics, Van Andel Institute Graduate School
BS, Biochemistry, University of Michigan

My long-term goal is to build a foundation to function as an independent investigator. My long-term research interests involve the identification of biomarkers of drug efficacy in highly aggressive forms of cancer. My academic training and research experiences have provided me with background in many disciplines, including chemistry, biochemistry, genetics, and molecular biology. As an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, I was able to conduct research with Dr. Mi Hee Lim working to develop small-molecule metal chelators that target Aβ plaques in Alzheimer’s disease. From this work I was second author on a publication characterizing metal chelators and their corresponding metal complexes. As a doctoral student with Dr. Jeff MacKeigan, my research focused on the elucidation of the role of PI3K-C2α in the autophagy pathway and the identification of small molecule inhibitors of the kinase domain. I identified PI3K-C2 α as a node that for the first time connects the endocytic and autophagy pathways, suggesting that PI3K-C2 α may be a critical component in the complex that directly incorporates endocytic membrane sources into the autophagy pathway and authored a first author publication. As a postdoctoral researcher, I expanded my skills in experimental therapeutics and drug testing. I authored a publication on molecular correlates of drug response in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC).

As a research investigator I will build on the skills and experiences from my postdoctoral work. I have a strong foundation of data that I will build on, closely guided by an exceptional mentorship team. We have applied many of the components from our 2D breast cancer drug-testing platform to my current work on 3D molecular correlates in TNBC and bladder cancer. These projects utilize a novel platform with potential to improve translational science and shift the paradigm of patient treatment, encouraging an integrative and personalized approach, where individual tumors are evaluated for biomarkers to pair the right patient with the right drug.


Biomarkers of drug response

Research Area(s)

Biomarkers | Head & neck cancer | Neuro-oncology | Targeted therapies


  • Principal investigator of: Biomarkers of Drug Efficacy in TNBC
  • Co-investigator of: Integrated personalized medicine approach to Bortezomib + Capecitabine for TNBC
  • Principal investigator of: Optimizing gemcitabine in metastatic TNBC by biomarker validation and rational PI3K/AKT combination
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