Claudia A Benavente

picture of Claudia A Benavente

Assistant Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences
Pharmaceutical Sciences

Program Member, Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Joint Faculty, Developmental & Cell Biology
School of Biological Sciences

B.S., Universidad de Chile, 2001, Molecular Biotechnology Engineering
M.S., Universidad de Chile, 2002, Molecular Biotechnology Engineering
Ph.D., The University of Arizona, 2007, Cancer Biology

Phone: (949) 824-7845

University of California, Irvine
108 Sprague Hall
Mail Code: 3958
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
Genetics, epigenetics, cancer, pediatric cancer, retinoblastoma, osteosarcoma, Rb
Academic Distinctions
2018 – 2020 AACR-Aflac Career Development Award for Pediatric Cancer Research
2013 – 2017 NIH Pathway to Independence Award
2003 – 2005 Fulbright Scholar
St Jude Children's Research Hospital - 2009-2014 (Michael A. Dyer Lab)
Research Abstract
Our laboratory is focused on understanding the chromatin remodeling
processes that establish the normal epigenetic landscape in developing tissue,
how it can be perturbed to promote carcinogenesis, and provide insight for the
development of new therapies. We are particularly interested in how the RB
pathway, which is altered in virtually every cancer, control epigenetic events
that control cell fate specification and differentiation in normal cells - aiming to
elucidate the relationship between cell differentiation and tumorigenesis in the
absence of the RB family. We are currently studying the role of chromatin
remodelers regulated by the RB pathway in the formation of retinal, bone, and
lung cancers. Our work will likely influence the development of new therapeutic
interventions for retinoblastoma, osteosarcoma, small cell lung cancer, and
other cancers with RB pathway inactivation.
18. Wang S, Drummond ML, Guerrero-Juarez CF, Tarapore E, MacLean AL, Stabell AR, Wu SC, Gutierrez G, That BT, Benavente CA, Nie Q, Atwood SX. (2020) Single cell transcriptomics of human epidermis reveals basal stem cell transition states. Nature Communications. In press. bioRxiv, 784579; doi:
17. Zocchi L, Wu SC, Benavente CA. (2020). Heavenly HELLS? – A potential new therapeutic target for retinoblastoma. Oncoscience, 7:23-15. PMC7217136
16. Zocchi L, Mehta A, Wu SC, Wu J, Gu Y, Wang J, Suh S, Spitale RC, Benavente CA. (2020). Chromatin remodeling protein HELLS is critical for retinoblastoma tumor initiation and progression. Oncogenesis, 9:25. PMC7028996.
15. Zocchi, L., Benavente, C. A. (2018) DNA repair and epigenetic regulation in cancer (Ch. 18). Molecular Medicines for Cancer: Concepts and Applications of Nanotechnology. CRC Press/Taylor & Francis Group.
14. Wu SC, Benavente CA. Chromatin remodeling protein HELLS is upregulated by inactivation of the RB-E2F pathway and is dispensable for osteosarcoma tumorigenesis. (2018) Oncotarget, 9(66):32580-32592. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.25953. PMC6135699.
13. Zocchi L., Wu S.C., Wu J., Hayama K., Benavente, C.A. (2018) The Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor Flavopiridol (Alvocidib) Inhibits Metastasis of Human Osteosarcoma Cells. Oncotarget, 9(34):23505-23518. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.25239. PMC5955096.
12. Aldiri I, Ajioka I, Beisi X, Zhang J, Chen X, Benavente C, Finkelstein D, Johnson D, Akiyama J, Pennacchio L, Dyer MA. Brg1 coordinates multiple processes during retinogenesis and is a tumor suppressor in retinoblastoma. (2015) Development 142(23):4092-106.
11. Benavente CA, Dyer MA. Genetically engineered mouse and orthotopic human tumor xenograft models of retinoblastoma. (2015) Methods in Molecular Biology, Humana Press 1267:307-17.
10. Benavente CA, Dyer MA. Genetics and epigenetics of human retinoblastoma. (2015) Annual Reviews of Pathology: Mechanisms of Disease 10:547-562.
9. Benavente CA, Finkelstein D, Johnson DA, Marine JC, Ashery-Padan R, Dyer MA. Chromatin remodelers HELLS and UHRF1 mediate the epigenetic deregulation of genes that drive retinoblastoma tumor progression. (2014) Oncotargets 5(20): 9594-608.
8. Stewart E, Goshorn DR, Bradley C. Parker M, Ma X, Griffiths LM, Benavente CA, Twarog NR, Miller GM, Caufield W, Freeman BB, Bahrami A, Pappo A, Wu J, Loh A, Karlström A, Krafcik F, Calabrese C, Gordon B, Tsurkan L, Hatfield MJ, Potter PM, Snyder S, Thiagarajan S, Shirinifard A, Sablauer A, Nagahawatte P, Rusch M, Hedlund E, Easton J, Shurtleff S, Mardis ER, Wilson RK, Zhang J, Downing J, Shelat A, Dyer MA. Targeting the DNA repair pathway in Ewing sarcoma. (2014) Cell Reports 9, 829–840.
7. Benavente CA, McEvoy JD, Finkelstein D, Wei L, Kang G, Wang Y, Neale G, Ragsdale S, Valentine V, Bahrami A , Temirov J, Pounds S, Zhang J, Dyer MA. Cross-species genomic and epigenomic landscape of retinoblastoma. (2013) Oncotarget 4(6): 844-859.
6. Zhang J*, Benavente CA*, McEvoy J*, Flores-Otero J*, Ding L, Chen X, Ulyanov A, Wu G, Wilson M, Wang J, Brennan R, Rusch M, Manning AL, Ma J, Easton J, Shurtleff S, Mullighan C, Pounds S, Mukatira S, Gupta P, Neale G, Zhao D, Lu C, Fulton RS, Fulton LL, Hong X, Dooling DJ, Ochoa K, Naeve C, Dyson NJ, Mardis ER, Bahrami A, Ellison D, Wilson RK, Downing J and Dyer MA. A Novel Retinoblastoma Therapy from Genomic and Epigenetic Analyses. (2012) Nature, 481, 329-334. doi: 10.1038/nature10733. Faculty of 1000 (F1000)
5. Benavente CA, Schnell SA, Jacobson EL. Effects of niacin restriction on Sirtuin and PARP responses to photodamage. (2012) PLoS ONE 7(7): e42276. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0042276
4. Bermudez Y, Benavente CA, Meyer RG, Coyle WR, Jacobson MK, Jacobson EL. Nicotinic Acid Receptor Abnormalities in Human Skin Cancer: Implications for a Role in Epidermal Differentiation. (2011) PLoS ONE 6(5): e20487. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0020487
3. Benavente CA, Jacobson MK, Jacobson EL. NAD in skin: therapeutic approaches for niacin. (2009) Current Pharmaceutical Design 15(1): 29-38.
2. Benavente CA, Jacobson EL.Niacin restriction upregulates NADPH oxidase and ROS in human keratinocytes. (2008) Free Radical Biology and Medicine Feb 15; 44(4): 527-37.
1. Benavente CA, Conget P, Sierralta W, Minguell JJ. Subcellular distribution and mitogenic effect of basic fibroblast growth factor in mesenchymal uncommitted stem cells. (2003) Growth Factors Jun; 21(2): 87-94.
American Association for Cancer Research – Aflac Inc.
NIH/NCI CA229696
American Cancer Society - Research Scholar Grant
Professional Society
Graduate Programs
Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacology

Cellular and Molecular Biosciences

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