Melissa Runge-Morris

Melissa Runge-Morris

Professor of Oncology and Director of IEHS

Melissa Runge-Morris

Office Address

6135 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, MI 48202

Office Phone


Office Fax



Dr. Runge-Morris' primary research program is dedicated to understanding the molecular mechanisms that regulate the expression of the sulfotransferase multigene family. The cytosolic sulfotransferase conjugating enzymes are vitally important to drug metabolism. These enzymes detoxify many xenobiotic and endogenous substrates by forming more polar products that are amenable to excretion and elimination from the body. However, if the sulfated conjugate is unstable, loss of the labile sulfate group can create highly reactive electrophiles that may damage cellular macromolecules such as DNA. Many of the sulfotransferases in liver and other tissues, have been implicated in the bioactivation of environmental carcinogens. In addition to these important biological functions, the sulfotransferases also modulate intra-tissue hormone activity. Because sulfated hormones generally are receptor inactive, induction of sulfotransferase gene expression can reduce the levels of bioactive steroid hormone that are available to bind to cellular receptors. In human pathology, the sulfotransferases are in a prime position to influence the development and progression of hormone responsive tumors such as breast and prostate cancer.

Dr. Runge-Morris' laboratory is currently investigating the key transcription factor and cis-acting response elements that are responsible for regulating changes in sulfotransferase gene transcription. Recently, her research group reported that glucocorticoid hormones and xenobiotics such as 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) and phenobarbital produce differential effects on the mRNA expression of individual sulfotransferase isoforms in rat liver and in primary cultured rat hepatocytes. As an overall research objective, Dr. Runge-Morris maintains that identifying and characterizing the factors that control gene expression during critical periods of development and aging will lead to new insights on disease mechanisms in humans.


B.A., Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo, MI, 1975
M.D., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 1979


  • Dubaisi S, Fang H, Kocarek TA, and Runge-Morris M. Transcriptional Regulation of Human Cytosolic Sulfotransferase 1C3 by Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor γ in LS180 Human Colorectal Adenocarcinoma Cells. Mol Pharmacol 90:562-569, 2016.
  • Barrett KG, Fang H, Kocarek TA, and Runge-Morris M. Transcriptional Regulation of Cytosolic Sulfotransferase 1C2 by Vitamin D Receptor in LS180 Human Colorectal Adenocarcinoma Cells. Drug Metab Dispos 44:1431-4, 2016.
  • Barrett KG, Fang H, Cukovic D, Dombkowski AA, Kocarek TA, and Runge-Morris M. Upregulation of UGT2B4 Expression by 3'-Phosphoadenosine-5'-Phosphosulfate Synthase Knockdown: Implications for Coordinated Control of Bile Acid Conjugation. Drug Metab Dispos 43:1061-70, 2015.
  • Rondini EA, Fang H, Runge-Morris M, and Kocarek TA. Regulation of human cytosolic sulfotransferases 1C2 and 1C3 by nuclear signaling pathways in LS180 colorectal adenocarcinoma cells. Drug Metab Dispos 42):361-8, 2014.
  • Duniec-Dmuchowski Z, Rondini EA, Tibbs ZE, Falany CN, Runge-Morris M, and Kocarek TA. Expression of the orphan cytosolic sulfotransferase SULT1C3 in human intestine: Characterization of the transcript variant and implications for function. Drug Metab Dispos 42:352-60, 2014
  • Runge-Morris M and Kocarek TA. Expression of the sulfotransferase 1C family: implications for xenobiotic toxicity. Drug Metab Rev 45:450-9, 2013.
  • Barrett KG, Fang H, Gargano MD, Markovich D, Kocarek TA, and Runge-Morris M. Regulation of murine hepatic hydroxysteroid sulfotransferase expression in hyposulfatemic mice and in a cell model of 3'-phosphoadenosine-5'-phosphosulfate deficiency. Drug Metab Dispos 41:1505-13, 2013.

Faculty Status


← Return to listing