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Jayanta Debnath, MD

Research and Clinical Interests

My laboratory wishes to understand the role and regulation of autophagy in epithelial homeostasis and cancer pathogenesis. Autophagy is a genetically-controlled catabolic process through which a cell “eats itself” during times of stress or starvation. Autophagy has important therapeutic implications for numerous human diseases, including cancer, yet how this fundamental process influences cancer progression remains unclear. Using in vitro and in vivo approaches, our goals are to investigate the role and regulation of autophagy in:

  1. Epithelial cell fate and oncogenic transformation
  2. Chemotherapeutic response in cancer cells
  3. Tissue homeostasis and tumor formation

Selected Publications

  • Radoshevich L, Murrow L, Chen N, Fernandez E, Roy S, Fung C, Debnath J. ATG12 conjugation to ATG3 regulates mitochondrial homeostasis and cell death. Cell. 2010; 142(4):590-600.
  • Gupta A, Roy S, Lazar AJ, Wang WL, McAuliffe JC, Reynoso D, McMahon J, Taguchi T, Floris G, Debiec-Rychter M, Schoffski P, Trent JA, Debnath J*, Rubin BP*. Autophagy inhibition and antimalarials promote cell death in gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST). Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010; 107(32):14333-8. *co-senior author
  • Lock R, Roy S, Kenific CM, Su JS, Salas E, Ronen SM, Debnath J. Autophagy facilitates glycolysis during Ras-mediated oncogenic transformation. Mol Biol Cell. 2011 Jan 15; 22(2):165-78.
  • Chen N, Eritja N, Lock R, Debnath J. Autophagy restricts proliferation driven by oncogenic phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase in three-dimensional culture. Oncogene. 2012; 32(20):2543-54.
  • Chen N, Debnath J. I-kappa B kinase complex (IKK) triggers detachment-induced autophagy in mammary epithelial cells independently of the PI3K-AKT-MTORC1 pathway. Autophagy. 2013; 9(8).
  • Warr MR, Binnewies M, Flach J, Reynaud D, Garg T, Malhotra R, Debnath J, Passegu√© E. FOXO3A directs a protective autophagy program in haematopoietic stem cells. Nature. 2013; 494(7437):323-7.

Selected Awards

  • 2006 Charles E. Culpeper Scholarship in Medical Sciences
  • 2006 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Physician-Scientist Early Career Award
  • 2006 American Association of Cancer Research-Genentech BioOncology Career Award
  • 2011 Department of Defense Breast Cancer Era of Hope Scholar Award
  • 2013 Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation Award
  • 2013 Elected Member, American Society of Clinical Investigation

Additional Information

Jayanta Debnath, MD
  • Associate Professor of Pathology
  • Pathology

Specialty Area

Cancer Research

Contact Information

Mailing/Shipping Address:

  • UCSF
  • Jayanta Debnath, MD
  • Pathology, Box 0502
  • 513 Parnassus Avenue, Room HSW-450B
  • San Francisco, CA 94143

Other UCSF Organizational Association(s)


  • Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program
  • UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center

Hospital Affiliation(s)

  • Moffitt-Long
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