Director, George L. Wright Jr.
Center for Biomedical Proteomics

Associate Professor
Department of Microbiology and Molecular Cell Biology

Leroy T. Canoles Jr. Cancer Research Center
Harry T. Lester Hall 424
651 Colley Avenue
Norfolk, Virginia 23501
Office: (757) 446-5682
Lab: (757) 446-5703



  • Biomedical Sciences Program  (BSP)
  • Molecular Integrative Biosciences (MIB)


  • Ph.D. - Philips Universität Marburg, Germany.
  • Postdoctoral Fellow - Philips Universität Marburg, Germany.

Focus Areas:

  • Proteomics, Glycomics and Mass Spectrometry

Lab Members:


Stephen Mackay, Ph.D.

  • Ph.D. - University of Western Cape
    South Africa
  • Post Doc - University of Alabama
    Birmingham, Al

Phone: 757-446-5703


Naomi Hitefield, M.S.

  • B.S. - King University
    Bristol, Tn.
  • M.S. - Eastern Virginia Medical School
    Norfolk, VA

Phone: 757-446-5703

 Previous Lab Members:


Tanya C. Burch, Ph.D.

  • Ph.D. - University of North Carolina
    Chapel Hill, NC

Megan T. Watson, B.S.,
Research Technician

  • B.S. - Virginia Tech
    Blacksburg, VA

Research Interests:

Cancer, Cancer Progression and Metastasis, Biomarkers, Prostate Cancer, Health Disparities, Infectious Diseases, Host-Pathogen Interactions, Protein Biochemistry, Protein Post Translational Modifications, Proteomics, Glycomics, Metabolomics, Mass Spectrometry.

Mechanisms of Cancer Pathogenesis
Dr. Nyalwidhe’s laboratory focuses on molecular biology, functional genomics and proteomic approaches to study cancer for the purposes of understanding cancer biology as well as to discover clinical biomarkers. The focus is on understanding the molecular events and signaling mechanisms that are involved in cancer progression and disease severity. The objective is to identify and disrupt signaling mechanisms that are involved in cancer progression and severity. The molecules that are involved in these mechanisms are potential diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for disease and may also provide avenues for targeted cancer drug development. The emphasis is on mechanisms and targets that could explain cancer health disparities between different ethnic groups. Our recent research findings demonstrate the differential regulation of proteins and that their glycosylation patterns closely correlate with prostate cancer disease severity. We are also interested in determining the mechanisms of chemopreventive action of nutraceuticals against cancers. The objective is to identify and characterize the molecular targets and mechanisms of action of known nutraceuticals involved in cancer prevention.
Glycosylation and Cancer
Protein glycosylation plays a central role in mediating protein stability, function, and structure and the modulation of signal transduction pathways that drive carcinogenesis and progression to aggressive disease. The focus is on understanding the role of protein glycosylation in the development of aggressive forms of prostate and other cancers. Changes in glycosylation patterns are of great significance, as these may influence many cellular processes including cell adhesion, signaling, and stabilization of protein structure, protein trafficking, as well as oncogenesis. Aberrant glycosylation of glycoproteins has been observed in many malignancies, and these changes influence disease progression. Most known cancer biomarkers from bodily fluids that are currently utilized in the clinic are glycoproteins. We and others have demonstrated differential expression of glycans in PSA and PAP that correlate with disease severity. Our current focus is to utilize new generation high resolution, high mass accuracy and high sensitivity mass spectrometry instruments with high data acquisition speeds and flexibility in combining multiple stages of higher energy fragmentation techniques collision dissociation (HCD) with ion trap collision induced dissociation (CID) and electron transfer dissociation (ETD) for glycomic characterization. This has provided us with the opportunity to develop innovative multimode MS2/MS3 data acquisition and processing methods that best address the most relevant and challenging issues that have been associated LC/MS based glycomic analyses. We are currently using these methods for qualitative and quantitative analysis of potential biomarker targets of prostate cancer in clinical samples.

Mechanisms of Host pathogen Interactions
The focus of this project is on understanding the mechanisms of interactions between infectious pathogens and their host cells. A major research focus is the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, which invades and develops in red blood cells to cause disease pathologies that include severe malarial anemia, nephropathy and cerebral disease. The goal is to define unique and fundamental pathways and mechanisms in the microorganisms as well as human cells that provide molecular insights, targets and therapies in neglected diseases. Additionally, we are also focusing on understanding the mechanisms of pathogenesis of a variety of other infectious agents, and viral-induced carcinomas. The emphasis is on the application of molecular biology, functional and structural proteomics and mass spectrometry techniques to functionally characterize protein post-translational modifications to determine their influence in the progression and outcome of disease.

My Bibliography (NCBI)


Selected Publications:

Book Chapters:

Nyalwidhe J, Baumeister S, and Lingelbach K.
Surface biotinylation of infected erythrocytes:
In Methods in Malaria Research 5th Edition. (2008).
Ljungström, I, Perlmann, H., Schlichtherle, M., Scherf, A and Wahlgren, M (Editors).
Semmes OJ, Belgnaoui MS, Mitchell R and Nyalwidhe J0.
Application of proteomics to HTLV-1: Understanding pathogenesis and enhancing diagnostics:
In Recent Advances in Human Retroviruses: principles of replication and Pathogenesis. (2010).
Lever AML, Kuan-Teh, J and Berkhout B. (Editors).
Semmes OJ, Drake RR and Nyalwidhe J0.
Mass Spectrometry: Principles and Applications in Cancer Diagnosis and Management:
In Principles of Molecular Diagnostics and Personalized Cancer Medicine.