Rhonda Brown, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biology

“The faculty, staff, and students are incredibly supportive of each other and make WPU a really great place to work!”

A western NC native, Dr. Brown earned her BS in Biology from UNC-Chapel Hill and her Ph.D. from Northwestern University. Dr. Brown’s graduate research focused on the functional roles of RNA splice isoforms in breast cancer progression. When she is not in class, she enjoys reading and being outside, and can often be found jogging along Raleigh’s Greenway trails. Brown is also a huge sports fan and loves following Tar Heel Basketball and any Chicago teams, especially the Blackhawks and Cubs.


  • BS Biology, UNC-Chapel Hill
  • Ph.D., Northwestern University

Activities & Honors


  • 2008-2011 Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program Predoctoral Fellowship
  • 2007-2008 Carcinogenesis Training Grant Recipient, Northwestern University

Research & Publications


  • Zhang H, Brown RL, Wei Y, Zhao P, Liu S, Liu X, Deng Y, Hu X, Zhang J, Gao XD, Kang Y, Mercurio AM, Goel HL, and Cheng C. (2019) CD44 splice isoform switching determines breast cancer stem cell state. Genes and Development. 1;33(3-4): 166-179.   https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30692202/
  • Brown RL, Reinke LM, Damerow MS, Perez D, Chodosh LA, Yang J, Cheng C. (2011) CD44 splice isoform switching in human and mouse epithelium is essential for epithelial-mesenchymal transition and breast cancer progression. J Clin Invest. 121(3):1064–1074. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21393860/
  • Zhuo P, Goldberg M, Herman L, Lee BS, Wang H, Brown RL, Foster CB, Peters U, Diamond AM. (2009) Molecular consequences of genetic variations in the glutathione peroxidase 1 selenoenzyme. Cancer Res. 69:8183-90. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19826042/
  • Diamond AM and Brown RL. (2006) Chapter 24: Genetic variation among selenoprotein genes and cancer. Selenium: Its Molecular Biology and Role in Human Health, Second Edition, Hatfield DL, Berry MJ, and Gladyshev VN. (Springer-Verlag New York, LLC) pp.277-86.