Shawn E. Holt, Ph.D.

Lynne W. Elmore, PhD

Associate Professor
Director of Aging and Cancer Laboratory
Department of Pathology, Department of Human and Molecular Genetics, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology
Member of the Massey Cancer Center
Virginia Commonwealth University
Richmond, VA 
Office: (804) 827-0458  Fax: (804) 828-9749




Research Interests

Molecular Mechanisms of Aging and Cancer Initiation and Progression

Grants & Fellowships


B.A. in Biology 1985-1989
The Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO 

PhD in Genetics 1989-1994
Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Dissertation: Sequence determinants for DNA binding specificity and transient DNA replication by the BPV-1 E1 protein; Major Professor: Van G. Wilson, PhD 

Postdoctoral Training 1994-1998
Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience
The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX
Sponsors: Jerry W. Shay, PhD and Woodring E. Wright, MD, PhD

The V Foundation Scholars Program, Cary, NC, 2000-2002
Outstanding Presenter, Research Symposium, Texas A&M Health Science Center, College Station, TX 1994
Outstanding Graduate Student Government Member, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 1994

Professional and Community Service

Professional Organizations

Recent Publications

Xing,J.G., L.E.J.Lee, L.Fan, P.Collodi, S.E.Holt, and N.C.Bols. 2008. Initiation of a Zebrafish Blastula Cell Line on Rainbow Trout Stromal Cells and Subsequent Development under Feeder-Free Conditions into a Cell Line, ZEB2J. Zebrafish 5: 49-63.

Elmore,L.W., R.Forsythe, M.C.Liu, H.L.Forsythe, S.Nasim, and S.E.Holt. 2008. Association of chaperones and telomerase in prostate tumor samples. Oncology Reports 20: 613-617.

Elmore,L.W., M.Norris, A.T.Bright, P.A.McChesney, R.Winn, and S.E.Holt. 2008. Upregulation of Telomerase Function during Tissue Regeneration in Aquatic Animals. Exp. Biol. Med. 233: 958-967

Di,X., R.Bellotti, A.T.Bright, E.Gaskins, J.Roberts, D.A.Gewirtz, S.E.Holt and L.W.Elmore. 2008. Induction of a senescence bystander effect in breast cancer cells: implications for treatment design and response. Cancer Biology and Therapy, 7:1-9.

Strub,G.M., A.N.Depcrynski, L.W.Elmore, and S.E.Holt. 2008. Recovery from Stress is a Function of Age and Telomere Length. Cell Stress and Chaperones, 13:475-82.

Gewirtz,D.A., S.E.Holt, and L.W.Elmore. 2008. Accelerated senescence: an emerging role in tumor cell response to chemotherapy and radiation. Biochem Pharm, 76:947-57.

Au, D.W.T., H.O.L.Mok, L.W.Elmore, and S.E.Holt. 2008. Japanese medaka: a new vertebrate model for studying telomere biology. Comp. Biochem & Phys., in press.

Poynter, K.R., M.S.Breed, A.T.Bright, L.W.Elmore, and S.E.Holt. 2008. Genetic inhibition of telomerase: implications for recovery and chemosensitization. Submitted, Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, in press.

Elmore,L.W. and S.E.Holt. 2007. Telomerase inhibition as an adjuvant anti-cancer therapy: it’s more than just a waiting game. Expert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets 11:427-430.

Richardson,R.M., B.Nguyen, S.E.Holt, W.C.Broaddus, and H.L.Fillmore. 2007. Ectopic telomerase expression inhibits neuronal differentiation of NT2 neural progenitor cells. Neuroscience Letters, 421:168-72.

Poynter,KP., L.W.Elmore, and S.E.Holt. 2006. Telomeres and telomerase in aging and cancer: lessons learned from experimental model systems. Drug Discovery Today: Disease Models. 3:155-160.

Bryson, S.P., E.M. Joyce, D.J. Martell, L.E.J. Lee, S.E. Holt, K. Fujiki, B. Dixon and N.C. Bols. 2006. Development of a cell line, HEW, from embryos of haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinius) and defining its capacity to tolerate environmental extremes. Marine Biotechnology 8:641-653.

Compton, S.A., L.W.Elmore, K.Haydu, C.K.Jackson-Cook and S.E.Holt. 2005. Induction of NOS-Dependent Telomere Shortening after Functional Inhibition of Hsp90 in Human Tumor Cells. Molecular and Cellular Biology, in press.

Lai,G.H., Z.Zhang. X.N.Shen, D.J.Ward, J.L.DeWitt, S.E.Holt, R.A.Rozich, D.C.Hixson, and A.E.Sirica. 2005. erbB2/neu transformed rat cholangiocytes recapitulate key cellular and molecular features of human bile duct cancer. Gastroenterology, 129:2047-2057.

JonesK.R., L.W.Elmore, L.Povirk, S.E.Holt, and D.A.Gewirtz. 2005. Reciprocal regulation of senescence and apoptosis in response to radiation in the breast tumor cell. International Journal of Radiation Biology, 81:445-458.

Elmore,L.W., X.Di, Y.M.Di, S.E.Holt, and D.A.Gewirtz. 2005. Evasion of chemotherapy-induced senescence in breast cancer cell: implications for treatment response. Clin. Cancer Res. 11:2637-43.

McChesney,P.A., L.W.Elmore, and S.E.Holt. 2005. Vertebrate Marine Species as Model Systems for Studying Telomeres and Telomerase. Zebrafish, 1:349-355.

Leach,N.T., C.Rehder C, K.Jensen K, S.Holt, and C.Jackson-Cook. 2004. Human chromosomes with shorter telomeres and large heterochromatin regions have a higher frequency of acquired somatic cell aneuploidy. Mech Aging Dev. 125:563-73.

McChesney,P.A., K.C.Turner, L.W.Elmore, C.K.Jackson-Cook, and S.E.Holt. 2004. Telomerase resets the homeostatic telomere length and prevents telomere dysfunction in immortalized human cells. DNA and Cell Biology 23:293-300.

Wise,S.S., L.W.Elmore, P.G.Antonucci, S.E.Holt, B.H.Bryant, J.P.Wise. 2004. Telomerase-mediated lifespan extension of human bronichal cells does not affect hexavalent chromium-induced cytotoxicity or genotoxicity. Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry 255:103-111.

Nguyen,B., L.W.Elmore, and S.E.Holt. 2003. Telomerase as a target for cancer immunotherapy. Cancer Biol & Ther 2:131-136.

Elmore,L.W., C.W.Rehder, M.Di, P.A.McChesney, C.K.Jackson-Cook, D.A.Gewirtz, and S.E.Holt. 2002. Adriamycin-induced replicative senescence in tumor cells requires functional p53 and telomere dysfunction. J. Biol. Chem. 277:35509-35515.

Elmore,L.W. K.C.Turner, L.S.Gollahon, M.R.Landon, C.K.Jackson-Cook, and S.E.Holt. 2002. Telomerase protects cancer-prone cells from chromosomal instability and spontaneous immortalization. Cancer Bio & Ther 1:395-401.

Elmore,L.W., H.L.Forsythe, A.Ferreira-Gonzalez, C.T.Garrett, G.M.Clark, and S.E.Holt. 2002. Real-Time Quantitative Analysis of Telomerase Activity in Breast Tumor Specimens using a Highly Specific and Sensitive Fluroescent-based Assay. Diagnostic Molecular Pathology 11:177-185.

Harvey,S.A., K.O.Jensen, L.W.Elmore, and S.E.Holt. 2002. Pharmacological approaches to defining the role of chaperones in aging and prostate cancer progression. Cell Stress and Chaperones 7:230-234.

Akalin,A., L.W.Elmore H.L.Forsythe, B.A.Amaker, E.D.McCollum, P.S.Nelson, J.L.Ware, and S.E.Holt. 2001. A novel mechanism for chaperone-mediated telomerase regulation during prostate cancer progression. Cancer Research. 61:4791-4796.

Forsythe,H.L. J.L.Jarvis, J.W.Turner, L.W.Elmore, and S.E.Holt. 2001. Stable association of hsp90 and p23 with human telomerase. J Biol. Chem. 276:15571-15574.

Elmore,L.W. and S.E.Holt. 2000. Telomerase and telomere stability: A new class of tumor suppressor? Molecular Carcinogenesis 28:1-4.

Ouellette,M., M.Liao, B.Shea-Herbert, M.Johnson, S.E.Holt, H.S.Liss, J.W.Shay, and W.E.Wright. 2000. Subsenescent Telomere Lengths in Fibroblasts Immortalized by Limiting Amounts of Telomerase. Journal of Biological Chemistry 275:10072-10076.

Savre-Train,I., L.S.Gollahon, and S.E.Holt. 2000. Clonal heterogeneity in telomerase activity and telomere length in tumor-derived cell lines. Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology & Medicine 223:379-388.

Tesmer,V.M., L.P.Ford, S.E.Holt, B.C.Frank, X.Yi, D.L.Aisner, M.Ouellette, J.W.Shay, and W.E.Wright. 1999. Two inactive fragments of the integral RNA cooperate to assemble active telomerase with the human protein catalytic subunit (hTERT) in vitro. Molecular and Cellular Biology 19:6207-6216.

Holt,S.E. and J.W.Shay. 1999. The role of telomerase in cellular proliferation and cancer. Journal of Cellular Physiology 180:10-18.

Holt,S.E., V.M.Tesmer, D.L.Aisner, J.Baur, M.Dy, M.Ouellette, D.O.Toft, J.B.Trager, G.B.Morin, W.E.Wright, J.W.Shay, and M.A.White. 1999. Functional requirement of p23 and hsp90 in telomerase complexes. Genes and Development 13:817-82

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Updated February 19, 2010