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  Home > About Lab Medicine & Pathology > Faculty and Staff > James B. McCarthy, Ph.D.

James B. McCarthy, Ph.D.

MEDPATHOLOGY James B. McCarthy, Ph.D. - Portrait
Contact Information

Phone: 612-625-7454
Fax: 612-626-2696




MMC 609 Mayo
420 Delaware
Minneapolis, MN 55455


Research Interests

Dr. McCarthy’s research focus is on elucidating active domains within extracellular matrix (ECM) components that can promote cellular adhesion and motility. The approach has included isolating larger proteolytic fragments of specific ECM components and evaluating these fragments for cell adhesion/motility promoting activity and for other biological properties. Active fragments are then used as a basis for generating synthetic peptides, with the major goal being to identify active structures within ECM components that have cell adhesion/motility-promoting activities. One purpose for generating these synthetic peptides is to use them as tools for the identification of cell-surface receptors important in the recognition of the extracellular matrix. Receptors currently identified using this approach include two main types: cell-surface proteoglycans and integrins. A central and basic question currently being addressed by Dr. McCarthy's group concerns how these two classes of cellular recognition receptors, as well as others, may work in concert to modulate the adhesive phenotype of both normal and transformed cell types. Coincident with this line of research are efforts to elucidate potential signal transduction mechanisms that are involved in cellular recognition, adhesion, and motility.

These synthetic peptides potentially have several additional uses, including therapeutic applications in controlling tumor invasion and metastasis, control of inflammatory or immune responses, nerve regeneration, or conditioning of various biomaterials to improve their performance. Ongoing collaborations with investigators in the Biomedical Engineering Center and elsewhere are designed to explore these and other potential applications of synthetic peptide technology.


  • Gan L, Liu P, Lu H, Chen S, Yang J, McCarthy JB, Knudsen KE, Huang H. Cyclin D1 promotes anchorage-independent cell survival by inhibiting FOXO-mediated anoikis. Cell Death Differ. 2009 Jul 3.
  • Lee PK, Windsperger AP, Wilson CM, McCarthy JB, Wasiluk KR, Rothenberger DA, Bullard Dunn KM. The effect of a hyaluronan-carboxymethylcellulose membrane vs. polyglactin 910 mesh on intra-abdominal tumor formation in mice. Dis Colon Rectum. 2008 Sep;51(9):1403-7.
  • Iida J, McCarthy JB. Expression of collagenase-1 (MMP-1) promotes melanoma growth through the generation of active transforming growth factor-beta. Melanoma Res. 2007 Aug;17(4):205-13.
  • Yang JB, McCarthy JB. Syntenin: a novel PDZ domain-containing scaffolding protein associated with human melanoma metastasis. Zhong Nan Da Xue Xue Bao Yi Xue Ban. 2007 Apr;32(2):204-12.
  • Iida J, Wilhelmson KL, Ng J, Lee P, Morrison C, Tam E, Overall CM, McCarthy JB. Cell surface chondroitin sulfate glycosaminoglycan in melanoma: role in the activation of pro-MMP-2 (pro-gelatinase A). Biochem J. 2007 May 1;403(3):553-63.
  • Ochsenhirt SE, Kokkoli E, McCarthy JB, Tirrell M. Effect of RGD secondary structure and the synergy site PHSRN on cell adhesion, spreading and specific integrin engagement. Biomaterials. 2006 Jul;27(20):3863-74. Epub 2006 Mar 24.
  • Iida J, Skubitz AP, McCarthy JB, Skubitz KM. Protein kinase activity is associated with CD63 in melanoma cells. J Transl Med. 2005 Nov 30;3:42.
  • Zhao LR, Spellman S, Kim J, Duan WM, McCarthy JB, Low WC. Synthetic fibronectin peptide exerts neuroprotective effects on transient focal brain ischemia in rats. Brain Res. 2005 Aug 23;1054(1):1-8.
For a full listing of Dr. McCarthy's publications, please see the National Library of Medicine's PubMed Search.


Invited Lectures

  • University of Texas Medical Branch (Galveston, TX). Distinguished Professor Lectureship: Melanoma proteoglycan in Growth and Progression. April 2007
  • University of Arkansas: Distinguished Professor Lectureship – Melanoma Proteoglycan in Growth and Progression: March 2007
  • University of Arizona (Tucson) – Melanoma Proteoglycan in Growth and Progression: January 2007
  • University of Nebraska Experimental Therapeutics Program. Invited Presentation. Melanoma Proteoglycan Mediated Growth and Motility. Omaha, NE. May, 2004.
  • Lifecore Biomedical. Chaska, MN. Invited Presentation. Hyaluronan in Prostate Cancer Progression and Metastasis. May, 2004
  • University of Iowa Pathology Grand Rounds. Invited Presentation. Hyaluronan in Prostate Cancer Progression and Metastasis. Iowa City, IA March 2004.
  • London Regional Cancer Center. Invited Presentation. Hyaluronan in Prostate Cancer Progression and Metastasis. London, Ontario. March 2004.
  • Louisiana State University. Department of Pathology. Invited Presentation. Hyaluronan in Prostate Cancer Progression and Metastasis. March, 2003.
  • University of Minnesota Medical School. Department of Dermatology. Invited Presentation. Melanoma Proteoglycan Mediated Growth and Motility February. 2003.


  • Gordon Conference on Proteoglycans. Discussion Leader. Cancer, Heart Disease and Proteoglycans. July, 2008.
  • Midwest Connective Tissue Conference. Chicago. Invited Presentation. Melanoma Proteoglycan Signal Transduction and Progression. November, 2006.
  • Melanoma X. Invited Presentation. Melanoma Proteoglycan Mediated Growth and Motility. Noordvik, NE September 2006
  • Hyaluronan 2003 Meeting. Invited Presentation. Hyaluronan in Prostate Cancer Progression and Metastasis. October, 2003.
  • Melanoma Research Congress Meeting. Melanoma Proteoglycan Mediated Growth and Motility. Invited Presentation. Philadelphia PA. July 2003


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