Rosie SimmenRosalia C.M. Simmen, Ph.D.
Professor and Graduate Programs Director
Vice Co-Chair of Education
Department of Physiology & Biophysics
And The Winthrop P Rockefeller Cancer Institute


Research focus

My laboratory conducts basic and translational research in hormone-related aspects of women’s diseases, with emphasis on steroid hormone receptors, signaling pathways, and tumor biology. We employ diverse cellular and molecular techniques and experimental models including transcriptional profiling and proteomics for gene discovery, cell lines for analyses of signaling pathways, and human and mouse models of diseases to address basic goals with translational potential. Studies conducted by my group were the first to identify the Sp-related transcription factors Kruppel-like (KLF) family members KLF9 and KLF13, as novel regulators of steroid receptor signaling with tumor suppressive functions. Current studies focus on their mechanisms of gene activation and functional interactions with immune components in uterine endometrial and myometrial cells. Another area of investigation focuses on metabolic networks and pathways that are regulated/dys-regulated by diet and dietary components to understand the metabolic basis of breast and endometrial cancers and endometriosis.

I oversee an accomplished research laboratory which rotates through a team of graduate, medical and undergraduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and international visiting scientists. I have a strong interest and commitment in guiding the next generation of scientists and in that capacity, am an active contributor to graduate and medical education.



Simmen RCM, Brown DM, Quick CM, Alhallak I, Rose TK, Liu S, Kelley AS. Co-morbidity of type 1 diabetes and endometriosis: bringing a new paradigm into focus [published online ahead of print, 2019 Aug 1]. J Endocrinol. 2019;JOE-19-0248.R1. doi:10.1530/JOE-19-0248

Montales MT, Melnyk SB, Liu SJ, Simmen FA, Liu YL, Simmen RC. Metabolic history impacts mammary tumor epithelial hierarchy and early drug response in mice. Endocr Relat Cancer. 2016;23(9):677-690. doi:10.1530/ERC-16-0136 

Pabona JM, Zhang D, Ginsburg DS, Simmen FA, Simmen RC. Prolonged pregnancy in women is associated with attenuated myometrial expression of progesterone receptor co-regulator Krüppel-like Factor 9. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2015;100(1):166-174. doi:10.1210/jc.2014-2846

Heard ME, Simmons CD, Simmen FA, Simmen RC. Krüppel-like factor 9 deficiency in uterine endometrial cells promotes ectopic lesion establishment associated with activated notch and hedgehog signaling in a mouse model of endometriosis. Endocrinology. 2014;155(4):1532-1546. doi:10.1210/en.2013-1947

Rahal OM, Machado HL, Montales MT, Pabona JMP, Heard ME, Nagarajan S, Simmen RCM. Dietary suppression of the mammary CD29(hi)CD24(+) epithelial subpopulation and its cytokine/chemokine transcriptional signatures modifies mammary tumor risk in MMTV-Wnt1 transgenic mice. Stem Cell Res. 2013;11(3):1149-1162. doi:10.1016/j.scr.2013.08.006



  1. Pathogenesis of Endometriosis
  2. Metabolic Pathways in Breast and Endometrial Cancers
  3. Kruppel-like Factors as Tumor Suppressors


Grant funding (2015-present)

The Sturgis Diabetes Foundation: Co-Morbid Conditions of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes and Endometriosis-A Pilot Study (2020-present). Dr. Rosalia CM Simmen, PI

UAMS Development Enhancement Award: Targeting Progesterone Resistance in Endometriosis (2018-2020). Dr. Rosalia CM Simmen, PI.

UAMS Barton Pilot Grant: Novel Pathways Linking Mammary Epithelial Hierarchy and Adiposity (2016-2018). Dr. Rosalia CM Simmen, PI

Arkansas Breast Cancer Research Program: Small Molecule Chemical Screening for Inhibitors of Breast Cancer Tumor-Initiating Cells (2014-2016). Dr. Rosalia CM Simmen, Co-I.

Arkansas Breast Cancer Research Program/UAMS Translational Research Institute: Biomarkers of Maternal History in Breast Cancer (2013-2015). Dr. Rosalia CM Simmen, PI

National Institutes of Health-National Cancer Institute 1RO1 CA136493-01A1: Dietary Factors in Colon Cancer Prevention. (2009-2014; NCE to 2015). Dr. Rosalia CM Simmen, Co-I



Graduate Students (UAMS)

Michael Velarde, 2002-2007, Ph.D. student;
Current Position: Professor and Deputy Director of Research and Extension, Institute of Biology, University of the Philippines

Ying Su, 2004-2009, Ph.D. student
Current Position: Medical Director, Clinical Development, Deciphera Pharmaceuticals (Waltham, MA)

Christian Simmons, 2007-2010, M.D./Ph.D. student
Current Position: Vascular Surgeon, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (Little Rock, AR)

Omar Rahal, 2007-2012, Ph.D. student (Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences Program);
Current Position: Research Associate, MD Anderson Cancer Institute (Houston, TX)

Melissa Heard, 2009-2014, Ph.D. student
Current Position: Discipline Chair and Assistant Professor, University of Louisiana at Monroe-Osteopathic Medical School (LA)

Ana Castro Munoz, 2020-present, MSc student


Postdoctoral Fellows (UAMS)

Bhuvanesh Dave, Ph.D., 2004-2007
Current Position: Chief Science Officer at Netnoids- DBA Spanios

Mary Iruthuyanathan, Ph,D., M.D., 2005-2006
Current Position:  Private Practice, India

Zhaoyang Zeng, Ph.D., 2006-2008
Current Position:  Professor, The Key Laboratory of Carcinogenesis of the Chinese Ministry of Health, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan

John Mark Pabona, M.D., 2007- 2014
Current Position:  Internal Medicine Staff Physician, St. Vincent’s Hospital System (Arkansas)

Maria Theresa Montales, M.D., 2010-2015
Current Position: Internal Medicine Staff Physician, St. Vincent’s Hospital System (Arkansas)


International Visiting Scientists (UAMS)

Hiroshi Matsushita, M.D., 2012
Asst. Professor, Department of OB-GYN, Aichi Medical University School of Medicine, Aichi, Japan

Dr. Yanqing Yang, Ph.D., M.D., 2014-2015
Practicing OB-GYN, Aerospace Central Hospital, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing, China

Sofia Jade Saguyod, 2019
Visiting Academic Scholar, Department of Science and Technology and The University of the Philippines, Philippines