Marine Biomedical & Biotechnology Research

Esther Guzmán, Ph.D.


Principal Investigator

Esther Guzmán, Ph.D.
Associate Research Professor



Postdoctoral Investigator, 2005-2007, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, Ft. Pierce, Florida
Postdoctoral Fellow, 2004- 2005, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, Michigan
Ph.D. Immunology, 2004, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas
B.S. Molecular Biology/Biotechnology, 1996, Salem-Teikyo University, Salem, West Virginia


Research Interests

My research focuses on finding marine natural products that have the potential to be novel therapeutics against pancreatic cancer, novel chemo-preventive drugs that target the link of inflammation and pancreatic cancer development and progression or novel tools to help us further our understanding of this dreaded disease. Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Patients diagnosed have a survival rate of about 8% five years after diagnosis, highlighting the urgent need for new therapies to treat this disease. I lead the Cancer Cell Biology Group of the Marine Biomedical and Biotechnology Research Program at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (HBOI). I aim to discover novel cancer therapeutics through both the development of novel molecular target cell-based assays and the determination of the mechanism of action of compounds discovered at HBOI. My work at Harbor Branch has resulted in the discovery of novel anti-metastatic properties and inhibition of autophagy  for manzamine A; the inhibition of topoisomerase II by isobatzelline E; the anti-mitotic effects of aphrocallistin and its derivatives, the inhibition of NFκB by spongiatriol and microsclerodermin A, and the development of assays to detect compounds that target important signaling pathways that are aberrant in pancreatic cancer. This work has resulted in 18 publications and 3 patents.