Clayton Yates, Ph.D.
Location: Carver Research Foundation, Room 22
Office Phone: 334-727-8949

Biographical Sketch:

My primary research interest is the dissection of dynamic tumor-host interactions during prostate cancer progression.  The host microenvironment that has long been recognized but under-appreciated, because cells in the tumor milieu are generally perceived only as silent bystanders. Therefore it is the focus of my research to extensively explore the general concept that the seeding of metastatic cancer cells is dependent upon the host organ microenvironment; i.e. “seed and soil” concept. To explore these dynamic interactions I utilize a tissue engineered bioreactor, that I previously developed, which fosters the recreation of a physiology relevant tissue-microenvironment with the advantage of real-time visualization.  The innovative aspects of this approach, is the feasibility of being all human for species-specific factors and responses, long term (2-4 weeks) viability with continuous monitoring, ex vivo manipulation of tumor and/or bone prior to testing, and potentially high throughput. Through the use of 3-D and 2-D co-cultures we critically explore the rate limiting events of metastatic seeding/attachment (i.e cell adhesion) events such as epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) or the reversal, MET (mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition) and correlate these finding to the clinical situation.  Within this context, I also explore in depth the associated signaling cascades associated with prostate cancer transdifferentiation, within the microenvironment, with emphasis on differences between African American and Caucasian men with prostate cancer.

Research Fields:

  • Identifying and disrupting signaling mechanisms  involved in the cancer progression
  • Targeted cancer drug delivery


  • Dr. Alan Wells, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University

1. Sajni Josson, Starlette Sharp, Ritu Aneja, Ruoxiang Wang, Timothy Turner, Leland W.K Chung, Clayton Yates “Tumor-Stromal Interactions Influence Radiation Sensitivity in Epithelial- versus Mesenchymal-Like Prostate Cancer Cells,” Journal of Oncology, vol. 2010, Article ID 232831, 10 pages, 2010

2. Shaniece Theodore, Timothy Turner, Johng Rhim, Clayton Yates (2010) “miRNA 26a Expression in a Novel Panel of African American Prostate Cancer Cell Lines”.  Ethnicity and Disease Volume 20, Supp 1, Pages S1-96-100 PMID: 20521394

3. R. Renee Reams, Krishna Rani Kalari, Honghe Wang, Folakemi T. Odedina, Clayton Yates “ Detecting gene-gene interactions in prostate disease in African American men”  Infectious Agents and Cancer 2011 6(Suppl 2):S1.  doi:10.1186/1750-9378-6-S2-S1

4. Jianjun Zhou, Honghe Wang, Virginetta Cannon, Karen Marie Scott, Hongbin Song, Clayton Yates “Side population rather than CD133+ cells distinguishes enriched tumorigenicity in hTERT-immortalized primary prostate cancer cell”  Molecular Cancer  2011 Sep 14;10(1):112. PMID: 21917149  [Highly Accessed]

5. Clayton Yates, “Prostate Tumor Cell Plasticity: A Consequence of the Microenvironment” Adv Exp Med Biol. 2011;720:81-90.PMID:  21901620

6. Prasanthi Karna, Tucker Ezell, Sushma Reddy Gundala, Margaret Long, Meenakshi Vij Gupta, Ralphenia D. Pace, Clayton Yates, Satya Narayan and Ritu Aneja “Polyphenol-rich sweet potato greens extract inhibits proliferation and induces apoptosis in prostate cancer cells in vitro and in vivo”  Carcinogenesis. 2011 Sep 26. PMID: 21948980

7. Honghe Wang, Jacqueline Jones, Qinghua P. He,  Shana Hardy, William E. Grizzle, Timothy Turner, Danny Welch, and Clayton Yates. Clinical and biological significance of KISS1 expression in prostate cancer. (Am J Pathol) 2012  180(3):1170-1178

8. Cerwinka WH, Sharp SM, Boyan BD, Zhau HE, Chung LWK and Yates C, “Differentiation of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cell