LaTonia Taliaferro-Smith

Associate Teaching Professor of Biology and Director of Undergraduate Laboratories


BS| Dillard University| 1999

Ph.D.| Howard University| 2004


2008-2011 NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship in Research and Science Teaching (FIRST), Emory University School of Medicine

2008 Novartis Oncology Basic Science Scholars Award, 31st Annual CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, San Antonio, TX

2007 Edward A. Smuckler Memorial Pathobiology of Cancer Workshop Award, American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Snowmass Village, Colorado

2004 2nd Place-Oral Presentation, Howard University’s Annual Graduate Research Symposium

2003 1st Place-Oral Presentation, 14th Annual Graduate Research Day, Dept. of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Howard University

2003 1st Place-Poster Presentation, Howard University’s 13th Annual Graduate Research Symposium

2001-2002 NIH Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) Award, Howard University Human Genome Center

1999-2004 NIH Summer Research Training Award (SRTA) Award, National Cancer Institute, Urological Oncology Department Pre-doctoral Fellowship, National Science Foundation/Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) Fellowship, Howard University

1997-1999 Dean’s List, Howard University Presidential Scholar, Dillard University 



1. L Taliaferro-Smith, E Oberlick, T Liu, TZ McGlothen, TY Alcaide, R Tobin, S Donnelly, R Commander, E Kline, PN Ganji, L Havel, AI Marcus, R Nahta, R O’Regan (2015) FAK activation is required for IGF1R mediated regulation of EMT, migration, and invasion in mesenchymal triple negative breast cancer cells. Oncotarget Mar 10:6(7):4757-4772. (PMID: 25749031)

2. E Sanabria-Figueroa, S Donnelly; K Foy; M Buss; RC Castellino; E Paplomata; L Taliaferro-Smith; P Kaumaya; R Nahta (2014) Insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor signaling increases the invasive potential of HER2-overexpressing breast cancer cells via Src-FAK and FoxM1. Molecular Pharmacology Feb:87(2):150-161. (PMID: 25391374)

3. Smith BN, Burton LJ, Henderson V, Randle DD, Morton DJ, Smith BA, Taliaferro-Smith L, Nagappan P, Yates C, Zayzaffon M, Chung LW, Odero-Marah VA. (2014) Snail Promotes Epithelial Mesenchymal Transition in Breast Cancer Cells in Part via Activiation of Nuclear ERK2. PLoS One. 2014 Aug 14; 9(8):e104987. (PMID: 25122124)

4. PN Ganji, TE Long, W Park, JC Landry, L Taliaferro-Smith, AB Farris, R Diaz, BF El-Rayes (2014) Heat Shock Protein 90 Promotes Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition, Invasion, and Migration in Colorectal Cancer. (Molecular Carcinogenesis, Epub ahead of print). (PMID: 24861206).

5. PN Ganji, P Wungki, J Wen, H Mahaseth, J Landry, AB Farris, F Willingham, PS Sullivan, DA Proia, I El-Hariry, L Taliaferro-Smith, R Diaz, BF El-Rayes. (2013) Antiangiogenic effects of ganatespib in colorectal cancer mediated through inhibition of HIF1-aplha and STAT-3. Angiogenesis, Epub ahead of print. (PMID:23838996)

6. L Taliaferro-Smith, A Nagalingam, BB Knight, E Oberlick, NK Saxena, and D Sharma. (2013) Integral Role of PTP1B in Adiponectin-Mediated Inhibition of Oncogenic Actions of Leptin in Breast Carcinogenesis. Neoplasia 15(1)23-38. (PMID: 23358729)

7. Tongrui Liu, Rami Yacoub, LaTonia Taliaferro-Smith, Shi-Yong Sun, Tisheeka R. Graham, Ryan Dolan, Mourad Tighiouart, Lily Yang, Adams Amy, and Ruth M. O’Regan (2011) Combinatorial effects of lapatinib and rapamycin in triple-negative breast cancer cells. Mol. Cancer Ther 10(8)1460-1469. (PMID:21690228)

8. Nagaraju GP, Prasad GL, Taliaferro-Smith L, Aruna BV, Naik BR, Sekhar YN. Computational analysis of the structural basis of ligand binding to the crustacean retinoid X receptor. (2010) Comp Biochem Physiol Part D Genomics Proteomics 5(4):317-324. (PMID: 20937572)

9. Hill, KM., Kalifa, S., Das, J.R.,Bhatti, T., Gay, M., Williams, D., Taliferro-Smith, L. (last name misspelled), and De Marzo, A.M. (2010) The Role of PI3-Kinase p110? in AKT Signally, Cell Survival, and Proliferation in Human Prostate Cancer Cells. Prostate, 70(7):755-764. (PMID:20058239)

10. Tisheeka R. Graham, Rami Yacoub, LaTonia Taliaferro-Smith, Adeboye O. Osunkoya, Valerie A. Odero-Marah, Tongrui Liu, K. Sean Kimbro, Dipali Sharma, Ruth M. O’Regan. (2009) Reciprocal Regulation of ZEB1 and AR in Triple Negative 1 Breast Cancer Cells. Breast Cancer Res. Treat. 123(1):139-147. (PMID: 19921427)

11. Taliaferro-Smith, L, Nagalingam, A., Zhong, D., Zhou, W., Saxena, N.K., and Sharma, D. (2009) LKB1 is required for adiponectin-mediated modulation of AMPK-S6K axis and inhibition of migration and invasion in breast cancer cells. Oncogene 28(29):2621-2633. (PMID: 19483724)

12. Saxena, N. K., Taliaferro-Smith, L., Knight, B. B., Merlin, D., Anania, F. A., O'Regan, R. M., and Sharma, D. (2008) Bidirectional crosstalk between leptin and insulin-like growth factor-1 signaling promotes invasion and migration of breast cancer cells via transactivation of epidermal growth factor receptor. Cancer Research 68(23): 9712-9722. (PMID: 19047189)

13. C Bonilla, R K Panguluri, L Taliaferro-Smith, G Argyropoulos, G Chen, A A Adeyemo, A Amoah, S Owusu, J Acheampong, K Agyenim-Boateng, B A Eghan Jr, J Oli, G Okafor, F Abbiyesuku, T Johnson, T Rufus, O Fasanmade, Y Chen, F S Collins, G M Dunston, C Rotimi and R A Kittles. (2006) Agouti-related protein promoter variant associated with leanness and decreased risk for diabetes in West Africans. Int. J. Obesity 30: 715-721. (PMID:16130030)

14. Friedberg, F. and Taliaferro, L. (2005) Calmodulin genes in zebrafish (revisited). Mol. Biol. Reports 32:55-60. (PMID: 15865211)

1. Laronna S. Colbert and LaTonia Taliaferro-Smith. Chapter 11-“Tumor Angiogenesis Regulators in Breast Cancer: Does Race Matter?” Tumor Angiogenesis Regulators. Edited by Ruben R. Gonzalez-Perez and Bo R. Rueda (2013) CRC Press, pages 387-410. Print ISBN: 978-1-4665- 8097-8. DOI: 10.1201/b14842-12.


  1. Howard University Graduate School Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 25th Year Celebration of Graduate Research Day Symposium, Keynote Speaker “Identifying Alternative Therapeutic Targets for Treating Triple Negative Breast Cancer.” Washington, DC April 14, 2014
  2. Jean Sindab Triple Negative Research Symposium, Guest Speaker “IGF1R Signaling in Triple Negative Breast Cancer” Buckhead Marriott, Atlanta, GA May 12, 2012.
  3. Grady Hospital Avon Foundation Comprehensive Breast Cancer Community Education and Outreach Initiative (CEOI) 2012 Patient Navigator Training, Opening Plenary Speaker “Obesity, Metabolic Syndrome, and Breast Cancer” Emory University School of Medicine, February 18, 2012.
  4. Clark Atlanta University Department of Biology Seminar Series, Guest Speaker “TripleNegative Breast Cancers: A Critical Need for Alternative Therapeutic Targets” Clark Atlanta University, February 3, 2012.
  5. Spelman College MBRS-RISE Seminar Series, Guest Speaker “Triple-Negative Breast Cancers: A Critical Need for Alternative Therapeutic Targets” Spelman College, November 17, 2011.
  6. Office of Clinical Research ‘Research Matters Educational Seminar, Keynote Speaker “Triple Negative Breast Cancers: Potential Therapeutic Targets” Emory University Hospital Auditorium, October 27, 2011.
  7. Winship Cancer Institute 2011 Community Town Hall, Keynote Speaker “Triple Negative Breast Cancer: What You Need to Know” Emory University Hospital Midtown, June 23, 2011.
  8. Winship Cancer Institute Joint Lecture Series, Cancer Cell Biology (CCB) Program, Guest Speaker “Targeting insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1R) in triple negative breast cancer” Emory University May 5, 2011
  9. Howard University Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 18th Annual Graduate Research Symposium, Keynote Speaker. “Role of c-kit receptor and stem cell factor ligand in prostate cancer proliferation and apoptosis.” Washington, D.C., May 5, 2007. 

Research Interests

Triple-negative breast cancer