Hilary Coller, PhD

Hilary Coller, Ph.D. 

Associate Professor


Hilary A. Coller, PhD, focuses her research on understanding the molecular basis of quiescent cells (cells in a temporary non-dividing state). Quiescence is a common state for many somatic cells including stem cells and the failure to appropriately regulate the transition between quiescence and proliferation underlies several common and lethal disorders (such as cancer). While the commonly held perception of quiescence is as a sleepy or default state, her research instead suggests that quiescence is an active and highly regulated process.

Using sophisticated technologies and computational approaches to understand the cellular networks that underlie quiescence, Dr. Coller’s lab is applying next generation sequencing, mass spectrometry proteomics and mass spectrometry metabolomics to generate high-quality datasets defining the characteristics of proliferating and quiescent cells. She has also developed specific computational and algorithmic approaches for analyzing and interpreting these datasets.

A key goal of Dr. Coller’s work is translating these findings to better understand the changes that occur during tumor dormancy as well as utilize similar approaches to understand the changes that occur when fibroblasts become activated to cancer-associated fibroblasts. Her research continues to suggest new strategies to improve the efficiency with which stem cells can be generated and differentiated, and could potentially revolutionize treatment of patients who need to replace a damaged or diseased tissue or organ.

An associate professor of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology, and Biological Chemistry, Dr. Coller is a member of the UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center. She’s also affiliated with UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, Bioinformatics IDP, Molecular Biology IDP and Metabolism Theme Committee.

She works with the American Society for Cell Biology, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Association for Cancer Research, Genetics Society of America, Women in Cancer Research and American Chemical Society. She joined the UCLA faculty in 2013 after doing her postdoctoral fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dr. Coller’s work is funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and Leukemia Lymphoma Society.