Phillip Buckhaults, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Office - (803)777-3621 | CLS 506A

Lab - (803)777-9192

Dr. Buckhaults Email

Dr. Phillip Buckhaults


Dr. Buckhaults is an experienced molecular biologist and cancer geneticists with extensive experience with next-gen sequencing applications for global gene expression analysis and gene mutation detection.

Dr. Buckhaults characterized the expression landscapes of colon tumors to identify signatures of recurrence, the mutation landscapes of breast and colon tumors to identify novel cancer genes, and has profiled cancer gene mutation signatures in melanomas to determine novel therapeutic modalities based on targeting PI3K and BRAF pathways.

Dr. Buckhaults uses somatic cell knockout technology to characterized variant alleles in human cells, and has discovered novel functions of a polymorphism in the TP53 gene.



The Buckhaults Lab Research Focus

1) Determining biochemical mechanisms by which germline variants contribute to cancer health disparities that exist between people of different ethnic ancestries. 

2) Using genome sequencing and functional genomics to develop novel personalized medicine approaches to treat colon cancer.

Courses Taught

USC BIOL 610: Hallmarks of Cancer.-Undergraduate

USC BMSC710: Medical Molecular Biology-Graduate

USC PATH760: Pathobiology-Graduate

USC PAMB D641: Pathology-Medical

USC EPID746: Investigative Epidemiology-Graduate

USC PAMB D650: Microbiology-Medical

USC PATH 710: Neoplasia-Graduate

GHSU COGS 8021:Biochemistry-Graduate (Course Co-director)



Bachelor of Science, Chemistry, 1988
University of South Florida

Masters of Science, Chemistry, 1990
University of California at San Diego

Doctor of Philosophy, Biochemistry 1996
University of Georgia

Postdoctoral Fellow, Molecular Genetics 2002
Johns Hopkins Oncology Center



Woster Pubmed



  1. Yang, S., Cho, Y., Jin, L., Yuan, G., Datta, A., Buckhaults, P., Datta, PK. (2015) An epigenetic auto-feedback loop regulates TGF-b type II receptor expression and function in NSCLC.  Oncotarget.  In press.
  2. Weige, CC., Birtwistle, MR., Mallick, H., Yi, N., Berrong, Z., Cloessner, E., Duff, K., Tidwell, J., Clendenning, M., Wilkerson, B., Farrell, C., Bunz, F., Ji, H., Shtutman, M., Creek, KE., Banister, CE., Buckhaults, P. (2014) Transcriptomes and shRNA Suppressors in a TP53 Allele-specific Model of Early-onset Colon Cancer in African Americans. (2014) Molecular Cancer Research July 12:1029
  3. Shull, AS., Clendenning, ML., Ghoshal-Gupta S., Farrell, CF, Vangapandu, H., Dudas L, Wilkerson B, Buckhaults P. (2013) Somatic Mutations, Allele Loss, and DNA Methylation of the Cub and Sushi Multiple Domains 1 (CSMD1) Gene Reveals Association with Early Age of Diagnosis in Colorectal Cancer Patients. PLOS ONE 8(3):e58731
  4. Xi, C., Hu, Y., Buckhaults, P., Moskophidis, D., Mivechi, NF. (2012) Heat Shock Factor Hsf1 Cooperates with ErbB2 (Her2/Neu) to Promote Mammary Tumorigenesis and Metastasis. J Biol Chem Oct 12:287(42) 35646-57.
  5. Shull, AY., Latham-Schwark, A., Ramasamy, P., Leskoske, K., Buckhaults, P. Novel somatic mutations to PI3K pathway genes in metastatic melanoma. (2012) PLOS ONE 7(8): e43369.
  6. Jiao X, Wood L, Lindman M, Jones S, Buckhaults P, Polyak K, Sukumar S, Carter H, Kim D, Karchin R, Sjöblom T. (2012) Somatic Mutations in the Notch, NF-KB, PIK3CA, and Hedgehog Pathways in Human Breast Cancers. Genes Chromosomes and Cancer 51(5):480-489
  7. Wang TL, Davidson B, Buckhaults PJ, Huang CS, Poul G. (2010) Molecular genetic markers in female reproductive cancers. J Oncol 2010:307460.
  8. Lauring J, Cosgrove DP, Fontana S, Gustin JP, Konish H, Abukdeir AM, Garay JP, Mohseni M, Wang GM, Higgins MJ, Gorkin D, Reis M, Vogelstein B, Polyak K, Cowherd M, Buckhaults PJ, Park BH.  (2010) Knock in of the AKT1 E17K mutation in human breast epithelial cells does not recapitualate oncogenic PIK3CA mutations. Oncogene, Jan 25.


  1. Meeh, P., Farrell, C., Croshaw R., Crimm, H., Miller, S.K., Oroian, D., Kowli, S., Zhu, J., Carver, W., Wu, W., Pena, E., Buckhaults, P. (2009) A gene expression classifier of node positive colon cancer. Neoplasia11(10):1074-83
  2. Lin, Y., Buckhaults, P., Lee, J., Xiong, H., Farrell, C., Podolsky, R., Schade, R., Dynan. W. (2009) Association of the actin-binding protein transgelin with lymph node metastasis in human colorectal cancer.Neoplasia 11(9):864-873.
  3. Cronin JC, Wunderlich J, Loftus SK, Prickett TD, Wei X, Ridd K, Vemula S, Burrell AS, Agrawal NS, Lin, JC, Banister C, Buckhaults PJ, Rosenberg SA, Bastian BC, Pavan WJ and Samuels Y. (2009) Frequent Mutations in the MITF Pathway in Melanoma. Pigment Cell & Melanoma Research 22(4):435-44.
  4. Palavalli LH, Prickett TD, Wunderlich JR, Wei X, Burrell AS, Porter-Gill P, Davis S, Wang C, Cronin JC, Agrawal NS, Lin JC, Westbroek W, Hoogstraten-Miller S, Molinolo AA, Fetsch P, Filie AC, O'Connell MP, Banister CE, Howard JD, Buckhaults, P, Weeraratna AT, Brody LC, Rosenberg SA, Samuels Y.  (2009)  Analysis of the matrix metalloproteinase family reveals that MMP8 is often mutated in melanoma.Nature Genetics 41(5):518-20.
  5. Farrell. C., Crimm, H. Meeh, P., Croshaw, R., Barbar, T., Vandersteenhoven, J., Butler, W.,Buckhaults, P.  (2008)  Somatic mutations to CSMD1 in colorectal adenocarcinomas.Cancer Biology & Therapy 7:1-5.19.
  6. Wood, L., Parsons, D. Jones, S. Lin, J., Sjoblom, T., Leary, R.J., Shen, D., Boca, S.M., Barber, T., Ptak, J., Sillman, N., Szabo, S., Dezso, Z., Ustyansky, V., Nikolskaya, T., Nikolsky, Y., Karchin, R., Wilson, P.A., Kaminker, J.S., Zhang, Z., Croshaw, R., Willis, J., Dawson, D., Shipitsin, M., Wilson, J.K., Sukumar, S., Polyak, K., Park, B.H., Pethiyagoda, C.L., Pant, P.V., Ballinger, D.G., Sparks, A.B., Hartigan, J., Smith, D.R., Suh, E., Papadopolous, N., Buckhaults, P., Markowitz, S., Parmigiani, G., Kinzler, K.W., Velculescu, V.E., Vogelstein, B. (2007) The Genomic Landscapes of Human Breast and Colorectal Cancers. Science 318: 1108–1113. 
  7. Sjoblom T, Jones S, Wood LD, Parsons DW, Lin J, Barber T, Mandelker D, Leary RJ, Ptak J, Silliman N, Szabo S, Buckhaults P, Farrell C, Meeh P, Markowitz SD, Willis J, Dawson D, Willson JK, Gazdar AF, Hartigan J, Wu L, Liu C, Parmigiani G, Park BH, Bachman KE, Papadopoulos N, Vogelstein B, Kinzler KW, Velculescu VE.  (2006) The Consensus Coding Sequences of Human Breast and Colorectal Cancers. Science 314:268-274.
  8. Buckhaults, P. (2006) Gene expression determinants of clinical outcome. Current Opinion in Oncology 18:57-61.
  9. Meeh, P. F., King, Michelle, O’Briend, R. L., Muga, S., Buckhaults, P.J., Neuberg, R., Lamb, L.S. (2006) Characterization of the cd T cell response to acute leukemia. Cancer Immunol Immunother  55: 1072–1080.
  10. Nanda, A., Buckhaults, P., Seaman, S., Boutin, P., Shankara, S., Nacht, M., Teicher, B., Stampfl, J., Singh, S., Vogelstein, B., Kinzler, K., St.Croix, B. (2004) Identification of a Binding Partner for the Endothelial Cell Surface Proteins TEM7 and TEM7R. Cancer Research 64 (23):8507-11.
  11. Koopman, J., Buckhaults, P., Brown, D., Zahurak,  M., Sato, N., Sokoll, L., Chan, D., Yeo, C., Hruban, R., Breit, S., Kinzler, K., Vogelstein, B., Goggins, M. (2004) Serum Macrophage Inhibitory Cytokine 1 as a Marker of Pancreatic and other Periampullary Cancers. Clinical Cancer Research 10 (7):2386-92.


  1. Brown, D., Ward, R., Buckhaults, P., Liu T., Romans, K., Hawkins, N., Bauskin, A., Kinzler, K., Vogelstein, B., Breit, S. (2003).  MIC-1 serum levels and genotype: associations with progress and prognosis of colorectal carcinoma. Clinical Cancer Research 9 (7):2642-2650.
  2. Buckhaults, P., Zhang, Z., Chen, Y-C., Wang, T., St. Croix, B., Saha, S., Bardelli, A., Morin, P., Polyak, K., Hruban, R., Velculescu, V., Shih, I-M. (2003). Identifying Tumor Origin Using a Gene Expression Based Classification Map. Cancer Research 63 (14):4144-4149.
  3. Gurulingappa, H., Buckhaults, P., Srinivas, K., Kinzler, K., Vogelstein, B., Kahn, S.  (2003) Design, Synthesis and Evaluation of New RDP Inhibitors. Tetrahedron Letters 44 (9):1871-1873.
  4. Saha, S., Bardelli, A., Buckhaults, P., Velculescu, V., Rago, C., St.Croix, B., Romans, K.E., Choti, M.A., Lengauer, C.L., Kinzler, K.W., Vogelstein, B. (2001) A Phosphatase Associated with Metastasis of Colorectal Cancer. Science 294(5545):1343-1346.
  5. Buckhaults, P., Rago, C., St. Croix, B., Romans, K.E., Saha, S., Zhang, L., Vogelstein, B., Kinzler, K.W. (2001) Secreted and Cell Surface Genes Expressed in Benign and Malignant Colorectal Tumors.  Cancer Research 61(19):6996-7001.
  6. Zawel, L., Le Dai J., Buckhaults, P., Zhou, S., Kinzler, K.W., Vogelstein, B.V., Kern, S.E. (1998) Human Smad3 and Smad4 are sequence-specific transcription activators. Mol Cell 1:611-617.
  7. Zhou, S., Buckhaults, P., Zawel, L., Bunz, F., Riggins, G., Le Dai J., Kern, S.E., Kinzler, K.W., Vogelstein, B. (1998) bTargeted deletion of Smad4 shows it is required for transforming growth factor  andactivin signaling in colorectal cancer cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 95(5):2412-2416.
  8. Zhou, S., Buckhaults, P., Zawel, L., Bunz, F., Riggins, G., Le Dai J., Kern, S.E., Kinzler, K.W., Vogelstein, B. (1998) bTargeted deletion of Smad4 shows it is required for transforming growth factor  andactivin signaling in colorectal cancer cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 95(5):2412-2416.
  9. Pierce, M., Buckhaults, P., Chen, L., Fregien, N. (1997) Regulation of N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase V and Asn-linked oligosaccharide (1,6) branching by a growth factor signaling pathway and effects on cell adhesion and metastatic potential. Glycoconj J 14(5):623-630.
  10. Buckhaults, P., Chen, L., Fregien, N., Pierce, M. (1997) Transcriptional regulation of N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase V by the src oncogene. J Biol Chem 272(31):19575-19581.
  11. Lee, J.K., Buckhaults, P., Wilkes, C., Teilhet, M., King, M.L., Moremen, K.W., Pierce, M. (1997) Cloning and expression of a Xenopus laevis oocyte lectin and characterization of its mRNA levels during early development. Glycobiology 7(3):367-372.
  12. Shoreibah, M., Perng, G.S., Adler, B., Weinstein, J., Basu, R., Cupples, R., Wen, D., Browne, J.K., Buckhaults, P., Fregien, N., and Pierce, M. (1993) Isolation, characterization, and expression of a cDNA encoding N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase V. J Biol Chem 268(21):15381-15385.
  13. Castle, S., Buckhaults, P., Baldwin, L., McKenney, J.D., and Castle, R.N.(1987) The Synthesis of Monomethoxy[1]benzythienol-2,3-c]quinolones. J. Heterocyclic Chem. 24:1103-1107.