Dr. Beth Conway

Associate Professor of Biology

For me, teaching at Lipscomb is far more than a job. It is a privilege and a calling. I am passionate about teaching students biology because of its elegant complexity and its direct relevance to human life and health. I also love interacting with students outside of the classroom and discovering novel biological truths with my students through independent research. I am currently mentoring graduate and undergraduate students in research projects relevant to tumor angiogenesis and breast cancer cell invasion. My hope is that Biology students at Lipscomb University will become excellent scientists who can approach difficult questions with knowledge and ingenuity, and who integrate faith and integrity into all aspects of their lives.

Research Interests:

Tumor angiogenesis, or the process of new blood vessel formation, is a hallmark of cancer that leads to increased tumor growth and metastasis. Therefore, understanding the complex mechanisms governing this pathogenic process may lead to development of new anti-angiogenic therapies. In our lab, we are specifically interested in understanding the role that prostate specific membrane antigen (PSMA) plays in angiogenesis. PSMA is up-regulated in the vasculature of many solid tumors, and loss of PSMA inhibits angiogenesis. We recently published a paper in Angiogenesis describing a novel proteolytic pathway involving digestion of the extracellular matrix protein laminin by both matrix metalloprotease-2 (MMP-2) and PSMA to reveal small, pro-angiogenic peptides. We are currently in the process of further characterizing these peptides in hopes of ultimately developing new anti-angiogenic therapies.

The endothelin axis is a pathway regulating cell proliferation, survival, invasion, and angiogenesis. However, its role in breast cancer is not fully understood. We are interested in the expression and function of endothelin converting enzyme-1 (ECE-1), CD-10/neprilysin, and the endothelin receptor proteins in human breast cancer invasion. We hypothesize that CD-10 is down-regulating in breast cancer cells, and particularly in highly invasive breast cancer cells, leading to enhanced endothelin receptor signaling and invasion.

Education: Ph.D in Biomedical Science, University of Connecticut Health Center, 2006
                    B.S. in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology, Abilene Christian University, 2002


Professional Experience:

Assistant Professor of Biology, Lipscomb University (2007-present)
Adjunct Instructor of Biochemistry, St. Joseph College (2006)
Graduate Research Assistant, University of Connecticut (2002-2006)

Courses Taught:  Genetics, Molecular Basis of Human Disease, Molecular Biology Cancer Biology, Advanced Cancer Biology

Scholarly Activities and Publications:

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Prostate specific membrane antigen produces pro-angiogenic laminin peptides downstream of matrix metalloprotease-2. Conway RE, Joiner K, Patterson A, Bourgeois D, Rampp R, Hannah BC, McReynolds S, Elder JM, Gilfilen H, Shapiro LH.
Angiogenesis. 2013 Oct;16(4):847-60. doi: 10.1007/s10456-013-9360-y. Epub 2013 Jun 18. PMID: 23775497

CD13/APN regulates endothelial invasion and filopodia formation.

Petrovic N, Schacke W, Gahagan JR, O'Conor CA, Winnicka B, Conway RE, Mina-Osorio P, Shapiro LH.
Blood. 2007 Jul 1;110(1):142-50. Epub 2007 Mar 15.

Prostate-specific membrane antigen regulates angiogenesis by modulating integrin signal transduction.

Conway RE, Petrovic N, Li Z, Heston W, Wu D, Shapiro LH.
Mol Cell Biol. 2006 Jul;26(14):5310-24.PMID:16809768

Role of prostaglandin E2-dependent angiogenic switch in cyclooxygenase 2-induced breast cancer progression.

Chang SH, Liu CH, Conway R, Han DK, Nithipatikom K, Trifan OC, Lane TF, Hla T.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Jan 13;101(2):591-6. Epub 2003 Dec 19.

Published Abstracts and Posters (since 2012)

Integrin-Dependent Endothelial Cell Activation by Synthetic Laminin Peptide QSLDL. Daniel Hutchison*, Amanda D. Williams, Beth Conway. Tennessee Academy of Sciences Annual Meeting, November 2013.

Investigation of Endothelial Cell Activation by Synthetic Laminin and Collagen Peptides. Noah Richardson*, Jake Dowler,* Amanda D. Williams, Beth Conway,Tennessee Academy of Sciences Annual Meeting, November 2013.

Epigenetic Regulation Of CD-10 In Breast Cancer And Its Role In Cell invasion. Rayz Khoury, Amanda Williams, Beth Conway. Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students, selected oral presentation in Cancer Biology, Opryland Hotel, Nashville, TN, November 2013.

Kyle Joiner and Beth Conway. Matrix Metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) and Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen (PSMA) generate small laminin peptides that activate endothelial cells through focal adhesion kinase (FAK), Journal of the Tennessee Academy of Science (March 2013; 1st place in Cellular and Molecular Biology section)

Elizabeth Belles and Beth Conway. ECE-1 and CD-10 Protein Expression in Invasive Breast Cancer. Journal of the Tennessee Academy of Science (March 2013; 1st place in poster presentations in Health and Medical Sciences).

Brenna Cosminsky and Beth Conway. Study of the effect of CD-10 on invasiveness of cancer cells using the cell line, MDA-231. Journal of the Tennessee Academy of Science (March 2013; 2nd place in poster presentations in Health and Medical Sciences).

David Bourgeois and Beth Conway. Prostate-Specific Membrane Antigen and its Role in Angiogenesis, Southeastern Association of Biologists Annual Meeting, Athens, GA (April 2012).

Reem Sidani and Beth Conway. Endothelin Converting Enzyme-1 Expression is Up-regulated in Invasive Human Breast Cancer, Journal of the Tennessee Academy of Science (March 2012).

Ben Hannah and Beth Conway. Small Laminin Peptides Made By Successive Digestions with Matrix Metalloprotienase-2 and Prostate-Specific Membrane Antigen Activate Angiogenesis In Vivo, Journal of the Tennessee Academy of Science (March 2012) (Awarded 2nd place).

Marina Salama and Beth Conway.  Neprilysin Negatively Regulates Human Breast Cancer Cell Invasion , Journal of the Tennessee Academy of Science (March 2012) (awarded 1st place).

Professional Organizations:

Tennessee Academy of Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Alpha Chi.

Church: Acklen Avenue Church of Christ

Personal: Married to JP Conway (2001) with 2 daughters (Nora and Caroline) and  a 3rd child on the way.