Research Interests

Work in the F.A. Simmen laboratory is focused on the molecular actions of Malic Enzyme 1 (ME1) and Krüppel-like Factor-9 (KLF9) in the gastrointestinal tract and at the nexus of hyperinsulinemia and colorectal cancer development.  Projects use in vitro and in vivo approaches and mouse models.  Dr. Simmen is also a contributor to graduate student and medical student education and mentoring.

Research Projects

  1. The molecular actions of Malic Enzyme 1 (ME1) in colorectal cancer and at the nexus of hyperinsulinemia and tumor initiation.
  2. Mechanisms underlying tumor suppression by Krüppel-like Factor-9 (KLF9) within the gastrointestinal tract.

Recent Publications

Malic Enzyme 1 (ME1) is pro-oncogenic in ApcMin/+ mice.

Fernandes LM, Al-Dwairi A, Simmen RCM, Marji M, Brown DM, Jewell SW, Simmen FA.Sci Rep. 2018 Sep 24;8(1):14268. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-32532-w.PMID: 30250042

 

Metformin and soybean-derived bioactive molecules attenuate the expansion of stem cell-like epithelial subpopulation and confer apoptotic sensitivity in human colon cancer cells.

Montales MT, Simmen RC, Ferreira ES, Neves VA, Simmen FA.Genes Nutr. 2015 Nov;10(6):49. doi: 10.1007/s12263-015-0499-6. Epub 2015 Oct 28.PMID: 26506839

 

Krüppel-like factor 9 (KLF9) prevents colorectal cancer through inhibition of interferon-related signaling.

Brown AR, Simmen RC, Raj VR, Van TT, MacLeod SL, Simmen FA.Carcinogenesis. 2015 Sep;36(9):946-55. doi: 10.1093/carcin/bgv104. Epub 2015 Jul 25.PMID: 26210742

 

Enhanced gastrointestinal expression of cytosolic malic enzyme (ME1) induces intestinal and liver lipogenic gene expression and intestinal cell proliferation in mice.

Al-Dwairi A, Brown AR, Pabona JM, Van TH, Hamdan H, Mercado CP, Quick CM, Wight PA, Simmen RC, Simmen FA.PLoS One. 2014 Nov 17;9(11):e113058. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0113058. eCollection 2014.PMID: 25402228

 

Cytosolic malic enzyme 1 (ME1) mediates high fat diet-induced adiposity, endocrine profile, and gastrointestinal tract proliferation-associated biomarkers in male mice.

Al-Dwairi A, Pabona JM, Simmen RC, Simmen FA.PLoS One. 2012;7(10):e46716. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0046716. Epub 2012 Oct 4.PMID: 23056418

 

Grants

NIH  RO1 CA136493     grant (P.I.: F.A.                     Simmen; Co- I.: R.C.M.        Simmen) Dietary Factors in Colon Cancer Prevention $1,442,006 12/2009-5/16

 

Arkansas Biosciences Institute (P.I.: K. Gilbert; Co-I’s: S. Blossom, S. Erickson, F.A. Simmen) Developing an Immunotoxicology Center in Arkansas $125,000 2015-2016
 
The Development Enhancement Awards for Proposals Program, UAMS (P.I.: F.A. Simmen, Co-P.I.: R.C.M. Simmen) Dietary Factors and the Adipose-Regulated Mammary Epithelial Niche $24,991 2015-2016
 
Arkansas Biosciences Institute (P.I.: K. Gilbert; Co-I’s: S. Blossom, F.A. Simmen) Defining Additive Effects of Environmental Co-exposures on Postpartum Autoimmunity $104,950 2016-2017
 
CTSCO Intramural Mentoring Program (P.I.: S. Jewell; F.A. Simmen – Mentor) Assessing Efficacy of Cytosolic Malic Enzyme (ME1) Inhibitors in Treatment of Colorectal Cancer $10,000 2016-2017
 
UAMS Educators Academy (P.I.: I. Makhoul, Co-I: F.A. Simmen) Maintaining Attention Span and Concentration in the Classroom $2500 2016
 
Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences Program Pilot, UAMS (P.I.: F.A. Simmen) Inducible Adipose-specific Deletion of Malic Enzyme 1, a Putative Link between Obesity and Colorectal Cancer $10,000 2018-2019
 
Medical Research Endowment Grant Program, UAMS (P.I.: F.A. Simmen) Inducible Adipose-specific Deletion of Malic Enzyme 1, a Putative Link between Obesity and Colorectal Cancer $14,812 2019-2020

Trainees

Graduate students

Ahmed Al-Dwairi, Ph.D. in Physiology & Biophysics, UAMS; July 2009 – Dec. 2013.

Dissertation: Cytosolic Malic Enzyme (ME1) Mediates Effects of Adiposity on Colorectal Cancer Development.
Present position: Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Physiology, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid, Jordan.

Rinku Saha, M.S. in Bioinformatics, UALR; Aug. 2011 – Dec. 2013.

Thesis: Computer Aided Drug Design for Inhibition of Human Cytosolic Malic Enzyme. I was Co-Mentor; Dr. K.I. Varughese was primary Mentor.
Present position: IT Department, Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Adam R. Brown, Ph.D. student, Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences Program, UAMS; June 2010 – May 2015.  Dissertation: A Suppressive Role of Krüppel-like Factor 9 in Colon and Liver Pathogenesis.
Present position: Field Application Scientist, Bio-Rad Laboratories, Houston, TX.

Huyen Trang Thi Van, M.S. student, Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences Program, UAMS; Sept. 2011 – May 2013.
Present position: Physician, Family Medicine, Daytona Beach, FL.

Madhav K. Shroff, M.S. student, Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences Program, UAMS; Sept. 2013 – May 2014.
Present position: Attorney, Little Rock.

Lorenzo M. Fernandes, Ph.D. student, Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences Program, UAMS; April 2014 – March 2018.  Dissertation: Exploring Novel Roles for Cytosolic Malic Enzyme in Intestinal Tumorigenesis using Mouse and Human Models. 

Present position: Postdoctoral, Department of Orthopedics, Emory University, Atlanta, GA.

 

Postdocs

Dr. John Mark P. Pabona, M.D.; 2007 – 2014.  Dr. R.C.M. Simmen was mentor and I was co-mentor for Dr. Pabona.
Present position: Hospitalist; CHI St. Vincent Hospital, Hot Springs, AR.

Dr. Maria Theresa Montales, M.D.; 2013 – 2015. Dr. R.C.M. Simmen was mentor and I was co-mentor for Dr. Montales.
Present position: Hospitalist; CHI St. Vincent Hospital, Hot Springs, AR.