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Weyemi, Urbain

Urbain Weyemi

Assistant Professor
Molecular Biosciences

Genomic instability and redox homeostasis in human diseases


Office Location

Postal Address
AUSTIN, TX 78712

Dr. Weyemi received his Master and Ph.D. from the University of Paris-Sud in France. His Ph.D. thesis work uncovered the interplay between oncogenes activation, redox homeostasis, and DNA damage responses. 

He then trained as a postdoc under Dr. William M. Bonner at the National Cancer Institute (NCI/NIH), focusing on redox homeostasis and genomic instability in cancer. He went on a second postdoc at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine where he worked under the mentorship of Dr. Solomon H. Snyder, a Lasker Award Laureate and a recipient of National Medal of Science. At Johns Hopkins, Dr. Weyemi used mouse models to explore the interplay between genomic instability and redox homeostasis in neurodegeneration.

Dr. Weyemi joined the Department of Molecular Biosciences as a CPRIT Scholar in Cancer Biology. In February 2021, he was selected as a Sloan Research Fellow in Neuroscience.

Research in the lab aims to explore the interplay between Deficiency in DNA repair and redox homeostasis in human diseases. Disease models include cancer and Neurodegeneration. 

Dr. Weyemi is a Member of the Center for Learning and Memory of the Department of Neuroscience, and the LIVEStrong Cancer Institutes at the Dell Medical School. 



Cancer Biology
Genomic instability and metabolic reprogramming 
are integral part of cellular processes involved in cancer cells progression to form distant metastatic nodules. Our lab explores the interplay between genomic instability and metabolism in cancer progression. We use mouse models to map cellular and metabolic changes associated with genomic instability during cancer progression. Our ultimate goal is to improve our understanding of cancer biology and discover effective targets for cancer therapy.

A major component of our research includes investigation of the dialogue between genomic stability and mitochondrial homeostasis in the brain.  Investigating the nexus of genomic instability and mitochondrial damage during aging will profoundly reshape our understanding of the etiology and progression of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's (PD) and Alzheimer's (AD) diseases. Our research aims to provide comprehensive clues for an appropriate mitigation and treatment of age-related neurological disorders.
​We aim to extend our fundamental findings on mitochondrial dysfunction and redox homeostasis in cancer to neurological diseases in which defective DNA repair coupled with oxidative stress lead to Neurodegeneration.



  1. Weyemi U, Paul BD, Bhattacharya D, Malla AP, Boufraqech M, Harraz MM, Bonner WM, Snyder SH. Histone H2AX promotes neuronal health by controlling mitochondrial homeostasis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A; 116:7471-7476, 2019.
  1. Weyemi U, Paul BD, Snowman AM, Jailwala P, Nussenzweig A, Bonner WM, Snyder SH. Histone H2AX deficiency causes neurobehavioral deficits and impaired redox homeostasis. Nature Communications, 9:1526, 2018.
  1. Kim J, Sturgill D, Sebastian R, Khurana S, Tran AD, Edwards GB, Kruswick A, Burkett S, Hosogane EK, Hannon WW, Weyemi U, Bnner WM, Luger K, Oberdoerffer P. Replication Stress Shapes a Protective Chromatin Environment across Fragile Genomic Regions. Mol Cell.; 69:36-47.e7, 2018.
  1. Imre L, Simándi Z, Horváth A, Fenyőfalvi G, Nánási P, Niaki EF, Hegedüs É, Bacsó Z,Weyemi U, Mauser R, Ausio J, Jeltsch A, Bonner W, Nagy L, Kimura H, Szabó G. Nucleosome stability measured in situ by automated quantitative imaging. Sci Rep.; 7:12734, 2017.
  1. Weyemi U, Redon CE, Choudhuri R, Aziz T, Maeda D, Boufraqech M, Parekh PR, Sethi TK, Kasoji M, Abrams N, Merchant A, Rajapakse VN, Bonner WM. The histone variant H2A.X is a regulator of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Nat Commun.,7:10711, 2016
  1. Parekh PR, Choudhuri R, Weyemi U, Martin OA, Bonner WM, Redon CE. Evaluation of surrogate tissues as indicators of drug activity in a melanoma skin model. Cancer Med., 5(8): 1731-1741, 2016.
  1. Weyemi U, Redon CE, Sethi TK, Burrell AS, Jailwala P, Kasoji M, Abrams N, Merchant A, Bonner WM. Twist1 and Slug mediate H2AX-regulated Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition in breast cells. Cell Cycle, 15:2398-404, 2016
  1. Boufraqech M, Wei D, Weyemi U, Zhang L, Quezado M, Kalab P, Kebebew E. LOX is a novel mitotic spindle-associated protein essential for mitosis. Oncotarget. 2016 Apr 7:29023-29035, 2016
  1. Weyemi U, Redon CE, Bonner WM. H2AX and EMT: deciphering beyond DNA repair. Cell Cycle. 15:1305-6, 2016 (Review)
  1. Weyemi U, Redon CE, Aziz T, Choudhuri R, Maeda D, Parekh PR, Bonner MY, Arbiser JL, Bonner WM. NADPH oxidase 4 is a critical mediator in Ataxia telangiectasia disease. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A., 112:2121-6, 2015
  1. Weyemi U, Redon CE, Aziz T, Choudhuri R, Maeda D, Parekh PR, Bonner MY, Arbiser JL, Bonner WM. Inactivation of NADPH oxidases NOX4 and NOX5 protects human primary fibroblasts from ionizing radiation-induced DNA damage. Radiat. Res., 183:262-70, 2015
  1. Weyemi U, Redon CE, Parekh PR, Dupuy C, Bonner WM, NADPH Oxidases NOXs and DUOXs As Putative Targets for Cancer Therapy.Anticancer Agents Med Chem, 13(3):502-14, 2013 (Review)
  1. Weyemi U, Dupuy C, The emerging role of ROS-generating NADPH oxidase NOX4 in DNA-damage responses. Mutat Res, 751(2):77-81, 2012 (Review)
  1. Redon CE, Weyemi U, Parekh PR, Huang D, Burrell AS, Bonner WM,γ-H2AX and other histone post-translational modifications in the clinic. Biochim Biophys Acta,1819(7):743-56, 2012 (Review)
  1. Weyemi U, Parekh PR, Redon CE, Bonner WM. SOD2 deficiency promotes aging phenotypes in mouse skin. Aging (Albany NY), 4(2):116-8, 2012 (Review)
  1. Weyemi U, Lagente-Chevallier O, Boufraqech M, Prenois F, Courtin F, Caillou B, Talbot M, Dardalhon M, Al Ghuzlan A, Bidart JM, Schlumberger M, Dupuy C, ROS-generating NADPH oxidase NOX4 is a critical mediator in oncogenic H-Ras-induced DNA damage and subsequent senescence. Oncogene. 2012 31(9):1117-29, 2012
  1. Caillou B, Talbot M, Weyemi U, Pioche-Durieu C, Al Ghuzlan A, Bidart JM, Chouaib S, Schlumberger M, Dupuy C, Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) form an interconnected cellular supportive network in anaplastic thyroid carcinoma. PLoS One. 6(7):e22567, 2011
  1. Redon CE, Nakamura AJ, Martin OA, Parekh PR, Weyemi US, Bonner WM, Recent developments in the use of γ-H2AX as a quantitative DNA double-strand break biomarker. Aging (Albany NY), 3(2):168-74, 2011 (Review)
  1. Fortunato RS, Lima de Souza EC, Ameziane-el Hassani R, Boufraqech M, Weyemi U, Talbot M, Lagente-Chevallier O, de Carvalho DP, Bidart JM, Schlumberger M, Dupuy C, Functional consequences of dual oxidase-thyroperoxidase interaction at the plasma membrane. J Clin Endocrinol Metab, 95(12):5403-11. 2010
  1. Ameziane-El-Hassani R, Boufraqech M, Lagente-Chevallier O, Weyemi U, Talbot M, Métivier D, Courtin F, Bidart JM, El Mzibri M, Schlumberger M, Dupuy C, Role of H2O2 in RET/PTC1 chromosomal rearrangement produced by ionizing radiation in human thyroid cells. Cancer Res, 70(10):4123-32, 2010
  1. Weyemi U, Caillou B, Talbot M, Ameziane-El-Hassani R, Lacroix L, Lagent-Chevallier O, Al Ghuzlan A, Roos D, Bidart JM, Virion A, Schlumberger M, Dupuy C, Intracellular expression of reactive oxygen species-generating NADPH oxidase NOX4 in normal and cancer thyroid tissues. Endocr Relat Cancer, 17(1):27-37, 2010.



2021                Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow in Neuroscience 

2021                1000 inspiring black scientists in America. Cell Press, Cell Mentor.

2019                CPRIT Scholar. Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas. 2019

2019                Finalist for the Trans-NIH Earl Stadtman Tenure-Track Investigators search

2019                The American Society for Cell Biology “Accomplishing Career Transition (ACT)” Award

2018                The American Society for Cell Biology “Faculty Research and Education Development” Award

2014                NIH Fellow Award for Research Excellence (FARE 2014), NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA

2013                NIH Fellow Award for Research Excellence (FARE 2013), NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA

2009                French Foundation for Medical Research Award (FRM), France

2006                Department of Research and Education (MRT) Graduate Studies Award, France (3 years)



March 2020   Texas Conference on Genome Repair 2020: Decoding the Dialogue between Genomic instability and epithelial differentiation in cancer progression (Invited Speaker, event postponed)

May 2019      NIH Earl Stadtman Finalist speaker: Decoding the Dialogue between Genomic instability and Redox Homeostasis in Human Diseases; NIA, Baltimore, USA

April 2019       Invited Speaker, Department of Cell and Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Medical University of South Carolina: Decoding the Dialogue between Genomic instability and Redox Homeostasis in Human Diseases; Charleston, USA 

January 2019 NIH Earl Stadtman Finalist speaker: Decoding the Dialogue between Genomic instability and Redox Homeostasis to assess Human Diseases, NIEHS, Durham, North Carolina, USA.

June 2018      NIA Scientific Director invited Speakers Panel: Decoding the Dialogue between Genome Stability and Redox Homeostasis to assess Human Diseases.

April 2018      Invited Speaker, Laboratory of Human Carcinogenesis, NCI, NIH: The Interplay of Genome Stability and Redox Homeostasis in Human Diseases.

Oct. 2017         Annual Radiation Research Society meeting, Cancun, Mexico: The new role of histone H2AX in EMT and metastasis: deciphering beyond DNA repair (Invited Speaker).

Nov. 2015       CCR Chromatin Biology Symposium in the Honor of Bill Bonner, NIH, Bethesda, MD: Oxidative stress, DNA repair and the new starring role of the histone H2AX in cancer.

Sept. 2009       European Thyroid Association meeting; Lisbon - Portugal: Role of ROS-generating NADPH oxidase NOX4 in DNA-damage responses induced by oncogenic H-Ras in thyroid cells (Nominated for Young Investigator Prize).

Dec. 2007        European Fourth Course on DNA metabolism, Institut Curie, Orsay – France: Role of reactive oxygen species in Ras-induced oncogenesis.


We welcome undergraduate students for research training, and graduate students for rotation.