Department of Cell Systems & Anatomy

CSA Faculty


Babatunde Oyajobi, Ph.D.

Professor and Deputy Chair for Education & Training


The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, England, 1992


MED 518D
(210) 567-0909


The Oyajobi laboratory is primarily interested in the interface between skeletal biology and cancer biology. Currently, research in the lab is focused on multiple myeloma (MM), a malignancy of antibody-producing terminally differentiated B-cells (plasma cells) in which the primary site is the bone marrow cavity. Our studies aim to elucidate mechanisms mediating the osteolysis and bone deficit characteristic of MM. However, we are also interested in other tumors (e.g. breast cancer, lung cancer, neuroblastoma, etc) that are associated with skeletal metastastic lesions since the mechanistic basis for the associated bone diseases in these cases are likely to be similar to those underlying MM bone disease. Overall, our studies have a translational goal and involve identification of novel molecular targets for rational development of anti-tumor strategies and pre-clinical evaluation of novel anti-cancer agents effective against cancer-induced bone diseases in general.
We are particularly interested in the translation of novel insights into the biology of MM-induced bone disease into therapies for patients and employ a variety of complementary in vitro and in vivo approaches. As part of this effort and in collaboration with other groups, we are currently refining existing mouse models of cancer-induced bone diseases (primarily MM and breast cancer) as well as developing and characterizing newer models that are better at predicting anti-tumor and anabolic bone efficacy of novel compounds. An example of this is the Radl 5T model of MM that we developed that replicates many of the features seen in the human disease. In this model, when murine 5TGM1 myeloma cells genetically engineered to express either green fluorescent protein (GFP) or luciferase are injected intravenously in naïve syngeneic C57BL/kaLwRijHsd mice, they home to the skeleton where they form tumors in the medullary cavities (Oyajobi et al., 2007).
Dr Oyajobi serves as the Deputy Chair for Education & Training for the department of Cell Systems & Anatomy (CSA) and as the Chair of the Committee on Graduate Studies (COGS) for the CSA Graduate program that oversees students in four tracks (Biology of Aging; Cancer Biology; Cell & Molecular Medicine; Genetics, Genomics & Development) within the Integrated Multidisciplinary Graduate program (IMGP). He also serves as the Deputy Director of the Cancer Biology Discipline in the Integrated Biomedical Sciences (IBMS) Program. He is Principal Investigator/Program Director (PI/PD) on the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT)-funded institutional Research Training Award and Co-I/Co-PD on the NIH/NCI-funded Institutional Ruth Kirschstein (T32) National Research Service Award. He also serves as one of the PI/PDs on the NIH/NIGMS-funded R25E Bridge-to-the-Doctorate Training Grant that supports the South Texas Doctoral Bridge Program and on the K12 IRACDA that supports the San Antonio Biomedical Education & Research (SABER) Program.


Dr. Oyajobi is Co-Course Director on TSCI 5070 "Responsible Conduct of Research" (RCR) course, the only institution-wide course that meets current NIH guidelines on RCR. This course, which is open to all graduate and other health profession students engaged in research activities serve several graduate programs including the Integrated Biomedical Sciences (IBMS), Radiological Sciences, PhD in Translational Sciences, Joint UTHSCSA-UTSA PhD in Biomedical Engineering, PhD in Nursing, MD/PhD and DDS/PhD programs as well as various MS programs (Cell Systems & Anatomy, Clinical Investigation-Translational Sciences, Immunology & Infection and Personalized Molecular Medicine).


Dr. Oyajobi is also Co-Course Director on INTD 5035 "UTeach" (formerly University Teaching Excellence Course; UTEC). This course introduces enrollees, interested in a career in teaching, to contemporary pedagogic theories and helps them develop educational planning, teaching and assessment skills to enhance their "teaching tool-kit." The course is open to all graduate students, postdoctoral trainees as well as junior faculty from across the five schools in the institution.


Dr. Oyajobi also teaches on, and co-directs the Interdisciplinary Human Gross Anatomy Course (CSBL 5022) for graduate students in the MS in Cell Systems & Anatomy, IBMS and Biomedical Engineering Graduate Programs as well as for health profession students in the Occupational Therapy (OT), Physical Therapy (PT), Physician Assistant Studies (PAS) programs. He is also a lecturer on other graduate school courses including the Cancer Biology Core I Course (CSBL 6068).


Dr. Oyajobi has been honored for his contributions by the Cell Systems & Anatomy department with the 2013 Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Education and by the institution with a 2018 Presidential Teaching Excellence Award.

Recent Publications:
McDonald MM, Reagan MR, Youlten SE, Mohanty ST, Seckinger A, Terry RL, Pettitt JA, Simic MK, Cheng TL, Morse A, Le LMT, Abi-Hanna D, Kramer I, Falank C, Fairfield H, Ghobrial IM, Baldock PA, Little DG, Kneissel M, Vanderkerken K, Bassett JHD, Williams GR, Oyajobi BO, Hose D, Phan TG, Croucher PI. Inhibiting the osteocyte-specific protein sclerostin increases bone mass and fracture resistance in multiple myeloma. Blood. 2017 Jun 29;129(26):3452-3464.


Nyman JS, Merkel AR, Uppuganti S, Nayak B, Rowland B, Makowski AJ, Oyajobi BO, Sterling JA. Combined treatment with a transforming growth factor beta inhibitor (1D11) and bortezomib improves bone architecture in a mouse model of myeloma-induced bone disease. Bone. 2016 Oct;91:81-91.


Paiva B, Azpilikueta A, Puig N, Ocio EM, Sharma R, Oyajobi BO, Labiano S, San-Segundo L, Rodriguez A, Aires-Mejia I, Rodriguez I, Escalante F, de Coca AG, Barez A, San Miguel JF, Melero I. PD-L1/PD-1 presence in the tumor microenvironment and activity of PD-1 blockade in multiple myeloma. Leukemia. 2015 Oct;29(10):2110-3.


Sharma R,* Williams PJ,* Gupta A, McCluskey B, Bhaskaran S, Muñoz S, Oyajobi BO. A dominant-negative F-box deleted mutant of E3 ubiquitin ligase, β-TrCP1/FWD1, markedly reduces myeloma cell growth and survival in mice. (*Equal contribution). Oncotarget. 2015 Aug 28;6(25):21589-602.


De Veirman K, Van Ginderachter JA, Lub S, De Beule N, Thielemans K, Bautmans I, Oyajobi BO, De Bruyne E, Menu E, Lemaire M, Van Riet I, Vanderkerken K, Van Valckenborgh E. Multiple myeloma induces Mcl-1 expression and survival of myeloid-derived suppressor cells. Oncotarget. 2015 Apr 30;6(12):10532-47.


Medina EA, Oberheu K, Polusani SR, Ortega V, Velagaleti GV, Oyajobi BO. PKA/AMPK signaling in relation to adiponectin's antiproliferative effect on multiple myeloma cells. Leukemia. 2014 Oct;28(10):2080-9.


Kelly KR, Espitia CM, Mahalingam D, Oyajobi BO, Coffey M, Giles FJ, Carew JS, Nawrocki ST. Reovirus therapy stimulates endoplasmic reticular stress, NOXA induction, and augments bortezomib-mediated apoptosis in multiple myeloma. Oncogene. 2012 Jun 21;31(25):3023-38.


Representative Publications:
Dairaghi DJ, Oyajobi BO, Gupta A, McCluskey B, Miao S, Powers JP, Seitz LC, Wang Y, Zeng Y, Zhang P, Schall TJ, Jaen JC. CCR1 blockade reduces tumor burden and osteolysis in vivo in a mouse model of myeloma bone disease. Blood. 2012 Aug 16;120(7):1449-57.


Murillo O, Arina A, Hervas-Stubbs S, Gupta A, McCluskey B, Dubrot J, Palazón A, Azpilikueta A, Ochoa MC, Alfaro C, Solano S, Pérez-Gracia JL, Oyajobi BO, Melero I. Therapeutic antitumor efficacy of anti-CD137 agonistic monoclonal antibody in mouse models of myeloma.. Clin Cancer Res. 2008 Nov 1;14(21):6895-6906.


Oyajobi BO, Muñoz S, Kakonen R, Williams PJ, Gupta A, Wideman CL, Story B, Grubbs B, Armstrong A, Dougall WC, Garrett IR, Mundy GR. Detection of myeloma in skeleton of mice by whole-body optical fluorescence imaging. Mol Cancer Ther. 2007 Jun;6(6):1701-8.