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Publications in VIVO

Orth, James D

Research Associate


Research Areas research areas


research overview

  • Professor Orth studies cancer therapies at the molecular and cellular level. During anti-cancer drug response there is often a disconnect in understanding molecular responses in cells and their fates. This is due to profound heterogeneity within the cancer cell population and tremendous variability in drug response that is difficult to study directly. These characteristics of cancer cells limits our ability to most effectively treat them, and could help explain drug resistance and treatment failure. Quantitative microscopy can add significantly to our understanding of therapeutic action. We relentlessly pursue how to apply advanced microscopy to the problem of cancer and develop single cell assays that allow us to study anti-cancer drug mechanism as it occurs. Through a direct and longitudinal approach, we develop a mechanistic model where we account for the response and fate of every single cell within a population. This powerful approach can be extended to in vivo tumor models.


  • cancer pharmacology, anti-cancer drug action, fractional response to therapy, adaptive drug resistance, anti-mitotic drugs, tumor biology, single-cell drug response, fluorescent microscopy, live-cell microscopy, xenograft tumors, cell culture, cell engineering, small molecule screening, DNA damage, apoptosis, cell stress


selected publications


courses taught

  • MCDB 2350 - Understanding Cancer: Introduction to the disease��s biology, medicine, and societ
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2020 / Spring 2021
    A course for students who want to learn about cancer but have little or no background in biology. It is based on a text that presents relevant science and medicine in a readable and comprehensible way. Classes will be discussion of material from the text with weekly quizzes for feedback. The ethics and economics of cancer treatments will be discussed, along with ways to minimize one's own cancer risk and live with cancer if necessary.
  • MCDB 3145 - Molecular Cell Biology II
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2021 / Spring 2022 / Fall 2022 / Spring 2023 / Fall 2023 / Spring 2024
    Examines intracellular mechanisms, including transport of ions and small molecules across membranes; protein targeting to organelles; membrane trafficking between organelles; signal transduction; the cytoskeleton; and the cell cycle. Recommended prerequisite or corequisite: MCDB 3140 concurrent with either this class or MCDB 3135.
  • MCDB 3150 - Biology of the Cancer Cell
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2019 / Fall 2020 / Summer 2021 / Summer 2022 / Summer 2023
    Highlights dimensions of the cancer problem; cancer as a genetic/cellular disease; chemicals, viruses, and radiation as causes of cancer; cancer and diet; cancer epidemiology; cancer risk factors; proto-oncogenes, oncogenes, and cancer suppressor genes; and prevention of cancer. Recommended prerequisite: MCDB 2150 or EBIO 2070 (minimum grade C-).
  • MCDB 6000 - Introduction to Laboratory Methods
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2023
    Introduces methodology and techniques used in biological research. Designed as a tutorial between a few students and one faculty member. Students are expected to read original research papers, discuss findings, and to plan and execute experiments in selected areas. May be repeated up to 15 total credit hours.


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