Marian Waterman, Ph.D.


Wnt signaling, cancer, gene expression, development; intestine; stem cells; LEF and TCF transcription factors

Research Interests

The goal of research in the Waterman laboratory is to understand how the Wnt signaling pathway regulates target genes through the actions of LEF/TCF transcription factors. Dysfunctional Wnt signals misregulate gene expression and cause cancer and most of our work on LEF/TCFs is within the context of the final step of this dysregulated pathway. LEF/TCF proteins bind to Wnt Response Elements in target genes and recruit ß-catenin for gene activation or repressors for gene silencing. There are two main areas of research: 1) Regulation of LEF/TCF expression, and 2) Structure and activities of LEF/TCFs. Our work in these two areas has led to new insights on LEF/TCF structure, Wnt response element recognition, signals from the tumor microenvironment and chromatin regulators that modify the types and amounts of LEF/TCFs. In almost every aspect LEF/TCF expression and/or function has been distorted in cancer.



224 Sprague Hall
(949) 824-2885


240 Sprague Hall
(949) 824-3096