Jeffrey W. Norris, DVM, PhD

Assistant Professor of Pharmacology

Department of Pharmacology
Division of Basic Sciences2015 Faculty Directory
Primary Appointment: College of Graduate Studies (CGS) 
Joint Appointments: College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) and Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine (AZCOM)

214-7 Agave Hall
19555 N. 59th Ave., Glendale, AZ 85308

Office: (623) 572-3714



DVM Veterinary Medicine University of California - Davis 2012
PhD Biophysics University of California - Davis 2002
MS Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Colorado State University 1997
BS Physics University of New Mexico 1991


Mutations in the oncogene Kras occur in up to 80% of cancers and are most prevalent in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), pancreatic cancer, and colon cancer.  Mutant Kras proteins are continuously active and drive cancer by increasing cell proliferation, which leads to tumor formation.  While drugs that directly target mutant Kras proteins are under development, these mutant enzymes are difficult to inhibit.

Carcinogens in tobacco products cause mutations in Kras, and there is a significant association between tobacco use and Kras-driven cancer.  Epidemiological studies have also identified positive associations between the occurrence of these cancers and consumption of a Western diet. Elucidating the mechanisms by which Western diet promotes the development of Kras-driven cancer may provide new targets for the treatment and prevention of Kras-driven cancer.

Dr. Norris' laboratory, and others, have shown that Western diet increased tumorigenesis in preclinical models of Kras-driven NSCLC. Increased tumor cell survival seems to underlie this increase in tumorigenesis. Dr. Norris' laboratory is focused on understanding how changes in circulating hormones and cytokines associated with Western diet promote tumor cell survival directly and through diminished immune surveillance.

MBS students interested in this research are encouraged to email Dr. Norris regarding opportunities for rotating in the laboratory.  Students from other professional programs are welcome to do summer research in the laboratory provided they have arranged with Dr. Norris to first do a Spring Quarter research elective.