Dr. Willietta Gibson

Through December 2012, see our Fall 2012 Featured Faculty display of Dr.Willietta Gibson publications and professional achievements by the Circulation Desk on the main floor of the Holgate Library.

Dr. Willietta Gibson decided to further her education and pursue a Doctorate of Philosophy in biomedical sciences in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina. She completed the PhD in 2007 and her dissertation focused on the transcriptional regulation of the putative tumor suppressor, Human Beta Defensin-1, in prostate cancer. Dr. Gibson then completed a a 2 year postdoctoral fellowship at the Biomanufacturing Research Institute and Technology Enterprise (BRITE) at North Carolina Central University (NCCU) where she examined the sensitivity of inflammatory breast cancer cells to commercially available inhibitors of the sonic hedgehog signal transduction pathway.  Currently, Dr. Gibson teaches Principles of Biology I and II, Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy, Human Biology, Biotechnology and team teaches an Interdisciplinary Math/Biology course at Bennett College. Her research interests include cancer health disparities among African-Americans and other minority populations.


Gibson W, Green A, Bullard RS, Eaddy AC, and Donald CD. Inhibition of PAX2  expression results in alternate cell death pathways in prostate cancer cells differing in p53 status. Cancer Letters 248: 251-261, 2007

Bullard RS, Gibson W, Bose SK, Belgrave JK, Eaddy AC, Wright CJ, Hazen-Martin DJ, Lage JM, Keane TE, Ganz TA, and Donald CD. Functional Analysis of the Host Defense Peptide Human Beta Defensin-1: New Insight into its Potential Role in Cancer. Molecular Immunology 45(3):839-48, 2008

Bose SKGibson W, Bullard RS, Donald CD. PAX2 oncogene negatively regulates the expression of the host defense peptide human beta defensin-1 in prostate cancer. Molecular Immunology 46(6):1140-1148, 2000

Bose SK, Gibson W, Giri S, Nath N, Donald CD. Angiotensin II up-regulates Pax2 oncogene expression and activity in prostate cancer via the angiotensin type I receptor. The Prostate 69(12): 1334-42, 2009

Daye LR, GibsonW, and Williams KP.  Development of a high throughput screening assay for inhibitors of  hedgehog-heparin interactions.  International Journal of High Throughput Screening. 1:69-80, 2010

Thomas ZL, Gibson W, Sexton JZ, Aird, KM, Ingram SM, Aldrich A, Lylerly HK, Devi GR, Williams KP. Targeting GLI1 expression in human inflammatory breast cancer cells enhances apoptosis and attenuates migration.British Journal of Cancer 104: 1575-1586, May 2011


Comparison of RNA interference Silencing of PAX2 Expression in PC3, Du145, and LNCaP Cell Lines, Presented poster at American Association for Cancer Research 96th national annual meeting, Anaheim, California, April 2005

PAX2 Oncogene Regulates human Beta Defensin-1 Expression and Mediated Cell Death in Prostate Cancer Cell Lines, Presented poster at the American Association for Cancer Research 98th Annual Meeting, Los Angeles, California, April 2007

Dysregulation of the Hedgehog Pathway in Inflammatory Breast Cancer, Presented poster at Duke University Cancer Center Annual Meeting at the Nasher Museum, Durham, NC , March 2008

Hedgehog as a Therapeutic Target for Inflammatory Breast Cancer, Presented oral presentation at the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists & Chemical engineers 2009 Southeast Regional Meeting, Hyattsville, MD, November 2009.

Zainab I Thomas1, Jonathan Z. Sexton1Willietta Gibson1, Katherine M. Aird2, Amy Aldrich2, Gayathri R. Devi2 and Kevin P. Williams1.Establishment of a high-content assay to assess the affects of gene silencing on inflammatory breast cancer cell motility. Abstract:  Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention: October 2010; Volume 19, Issue 10, Supplement 1; Presented at AACR International Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities.

Achievements & Awards

2012               United Method Teaching Excellence Award                                        

2012               Natural and Behavioral Sciences Young Trailblazer’s Award received      May 3, 2012

2009               Poster Competition Winner of Duke’s Annual Cancer Conference

2007               American Association for Cancer Research Minority Scholar Award in Cancer Research

2007               Teaching Internship at The Citadel

2006-2007     F31 National Research Service Award from NIH National Cancer Institute

2006              1st Place Poster Winner of the 2nd Annual Prostate Cancer Symposium at Clark Atlanta

                        University in Atlanta, Georgia

2005-2009     Professional Membership for the American Association of Cancer Research

2003-2004     Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) grant by US Dept. of Ed

1998-2002     Chancellor Scholar Award Recipient