Colin R. Campbell, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology

Colin R. Campbell

Contact Info

Office Phone 612-625-8986

Office Address:
3-130 Nils Hasselmo Hall
312 Church St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Lab Address:
3-290 Nils Hasselmo Hall
312 Church St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology

Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Pharmacology

Faculty, MS and PhD Programs in Molecular Pharmacology and Therapeutics (MPaT)

Graduate Faculty Appointment in Biological Sciences (MBS)

Postdoctoral Fellowship, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY

Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL

PhD, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA

BS, Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT


Dr. Campbell emigrated to the US with his parents as a young lad and received his primary and secondary education in Connecticut. He received his B.S. degree in Biology from Fairfield University, and after a brief stint as a research technician at Yale University, matriculated in the Biochemistry PhD program at Boston University. After graduation he pursued postdoctoral training in human molecular genetics with Dr. Raju Kucherlapati, initially at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and subsequently at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York.


DNA repair, molecular genetics, DNA damage response

Awards & Recognition

University of Minnesota Office for Equity and Diversity Outstanding Faculty Award

University of Minnesota Outstanding Director of Graduate Studies Award

University of Minnesota President’s Distinguished Faculty Outstanding Mentor (3X)

University of Minnesota President’s Award for Outstanding Service

Chair, University of Minnesota Senate and Faculty Consultative Committees

NIH Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (University of Illinois at Chicago)

NIH Predoctoral Research Fellowship (Boston University School of Medicine)

Undergraduate Research Grant Award (Fairfield University)


Research Summary/Interests

The Campbell lab is interested in how mammalian cells recognize and respond to xenobiotic-induced DNA damage. In particular, we’re interested in DNA damage induced by anti-cancer agents. It is known that cells recognize this damage and respond by activating signal transduction pathways that dictate cellular responses such as: DNA repair, cell cycle arrest, and/or activation of programmed cell death. The consequences of this cellular decision-making can mean literally life or death. Mutations in key genes regulating this process can alter this DNA damage response in ways that render cancer cells unresponsive to the cytotoxic effects of anti-cancer drugs, resulting in drug resistance and patient death. On the other hand, many anti-cancer drugs evoke catastrophic levels of cell killing within normal cell populations, including stem cells within the bone marrow, gastrointestinal tract, reproductive tissues, etc. Developing a greater understanding of this highly regulated and complex cellular response has the potential to significantly impact the field of cancer chemotherapy. This insight can be utilized to develop novel therapeutics that target tumor-specific mutations in ways that enhance chemotherapeutic efficacy. In addition, it is conceivable that chemotherapy-induced death of normal cells can be mitigated in ways that reduce acute morbidity and mortality associated with aggressive anti-cancer therapies.

While our lab is primarily focused on the response to DNA damage induced within chromosomes in the cell nucleus, we are also actively investigating how cells respond to damage to the mitochondrial genome. As above, the long-term objective of these studies is to gain insight that can be used to improve the safety and efficacy of cancer chemotherapy.