UHealth - University of Miami Health System

Fulvia Verde, Ph.D.

General Information

Fulvia  Verde, Ph.D.


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  • English


  • Professor of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology


Research Interests

Dr. Verde's research focuses on mechanisms regulating the generation of cell form, or cell morphogenesis, which requires the formation of specialized cellular domains that promote polarized cell growth and a tight coordination of cell growth with cell division. This process, which is regulated by the cell cycle and by extracellular signals, is often disturbed during the development hyper-proliferative diseases, degenerative diseases, and cancer. Her laboratory identified the fission yeast Orb6p protein that plays a role in the control of both cell morphology and the cell cycle, functioning as a dose-dependent inhibitor of mitosis. Orb6p kinase belongs to an evolutionarily conserved AGC kinase subfamily (NDR/LATS), whose members have been
shown to regulate cell morphology and cell proliferation across philogeny. The expression level or activity of human NDR kinases (NDR1 and NDR2), which are closely related to Orb6, are abnormal in several tumors, including breast carcinoma. The NDR2 gene has been shown to be disrupted in lymphoma and solid tumors, indicating that loss of NDR2 may be involved in tumor initiation or progression. Furthermore, human LATS and Drosophila WARTS/LATS, which also belong to the NDR/LATS kinase family, are thought to be novel tumor suppressors. Murine models deficient in expression of the LATS show mammary hyperplasia and adenomas, further supporting relevance of this work to breast cancer. Thus, function of Orb6p in the regulation of the cell shape and proliferation appear to be highly evolutionarily conserved. The substrates and effectors of the NDR/LATS family of kinases, which mediate their effects on cell morphogenesis and cell cycle control, are under investigation in the Verde lab in both S. pombe and in mammalian models of breast cancer. Their objective is to identify Orb6p kinase effectors that regulate and potentially link cell morphology and the cell cycle and to understand the mechanisms of Orb6 kinase activation. The elucidation of the Orb6p pathway in a genetically amenable model system (fission yeast) aims to reveal novel mechanisms regulating these processes in human cells.


1996 Postdoctoral
Imperial Cancer Research Fund
1993 Postdoctoral
Imperial Cancer Research Fund
1992 Ph.D.
1992 Postdoctoral
European Molecular Biology Laboratory
1987 B.S.
Scuola Normale Superiore



Dr. Verde is an Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology. She garnered extramural funding as a Research Assistant Professor prior to her present appointment and has mentored many graduate students and post-docs at University of Miami. She brings a unique perspective and expertise in the area of mentorship. Her work addresses regulation of cell shape and motility, processes germaine to cancer metastasis, using yeast models and the powerful tools of yeast genetics.