Lillianne Harris Wright, PhD

Dr. Wright is an accomplished cellular and molecular researcher with a primary focus on cancer and cardiovascular diseases.


Dr. Wright is an Assistant Professor of Biology at Claflin University.  She loves teaching and training the next generation of scientists as much as she loves scientific research.  Dr. Wright is an accomplished scientist with over 14 years of formal biomedical research training.  Her work has been published among top tier high impact journals and shared at researcher conferences across the United States.

Dr. Wright graduated from Clark Atlanta University with a B.S. in Biology from the Honors College.  While at Clark Atlanta, Dr. Wright was selected to participate in the prestigious R.I.S.E. Program and conducted mentored research with renowned scientists in the Atlanta University Center.  After college, Dr. Wright served two years as a team leader for the domestic voluntary community service program, AmeriCorps. After her two years of service Dr. Wright went to the University of South Alabama, Mitchell Cancer Institute where she would earn her Ph.D. in Medical Sciences with a focus on cancer biology.  Dr. Wright’s thesis research was published in the Nature Publishing Group- Oncogene and has been cited several times.  Dr. Wright would be offered postdoctoral fellowships from Stanford, Baylor, and MD Anderson yet she selected to return to her home state of South Carolina to train at the Medical University of South Carolina.  Dr. Wright was selected to be on the competitive, NIH T32 Training Fellowship and explored molecular mechanisms of heart disease.  She co-authored 5 publications while there.   

Dr. Wright is honored to become a part of the Claflin Family and to join the incredible researchers in the Biology department.  Dr. Wright serves as a research mentor, instructor and collaborator with her peers and trainees. She loves making learning experiences fun, memorable and helpful to future generations of STEM leaders.


  • B.S. Biology, Clark Atlanta University
  • Ph.D. Medical Sciences, University of South Alabama
  • Postdoctoral Training, Medical University of South Carolina
  • Certificate: Introduction to the Principles and Practices of Clinical Research, National Institutes of Health
  • Certificate: Foundations in Teaching and Learning-A Series for Educators, The Apple Tree Society/MUSC

Activities and Honors

  • Teaching Innovation Award, Medical University of South Carolina, 2016
  • American Society for Cell Biology Member, July 2014-Current
  • American Heart Association Member, Basic Cardiovascular Sciences Council, Words of Wisdom Project Co-Creator: December 2012-Current  
  • American Association for Cancer Research, Associate Member: Fall 2010-Current
  • Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated
  • National Society of Black Engineers, Charleston Professionals Chapter. Role: Professional Development Chair 2018-2019


Recent Publications

Kimbrough D, Wang SH, Wright LH, Mani SK, Kasiganesan H, LaRue AC, Cheng Q, Nadig SN, Atkinson C, Menick DR.  HDAC inhibition helps post-MI healing by modulating macrophage polarization.  Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology. 2018 Apr 19;119:51-63. doi: 10.1016/j.yjmcc.2018.04.011

Wright L.H.*, Herr D.J., Brown S.S., Kasiganesan H., Menick, D.R.  Angiokine Wisp-1 is increased in myocardial infarction and regulates cardiac endothelial signaling.  Journal of Clinical Investigation (JCI) Insight. 2018 Feb 22;3(4). pii: 95824. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.95824.  * Corresponding Author

Lillianne H(arris) Wright & Donald R. Menick. A class of their own: exploring the nondeacetylase roles of class IIa HDACs in cardiovascular disease.  American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology.Published 1 July 2016 Vol. 311 no. 1, H199-H206 DOI: 10.1152/ajpheart.00271.2016

Harris, L.G., Wang, S.H.,  Mani, S. K., Kasiganesan, Chou, J., Menick, D. R. Evidence for a non-canonical role of HDAC 5 in regulating the co-repressor sin3a complex.  Nucleic Acids Research.  2015.  doi: 10.1093/nar/gkv1496

Ludivine Renaud, MS, Lillianne G. Harris, PhD, Santhosh K. Mani, PhD, Harinath Kasiganesan, PhD, James C. Chou, PhD, Catalin F. Baicu, PhD, An Van Laer, MS, Adam W. Akerman, MS, Robert E. Stroud, MS, Jeffrey A. Jones, PhD, Michael R. Zile, MD and Donald R. Menick, PhD. HDACs Regulate miR-133a Expression in Pressure Overload–Induced Cardiac Fibrosis. Circulation: Heart Failure.  2015; 8: 1094-1104.

Lillianne G. Harris, Lewis K. Pannell, Seema Singh, Rajeev S. Samant, Lalita A. Shevde.  Increased Vascularity and Spontaneous Metastasis of Breast Cancer by Hedgehog Signaling Mediated Upregulation of CYR61. Nature: Oncogene.September 23rd, 2011 onc.2011.496.

Lillianne G. Harris, Rajeev S. Samant, Lalita A. Shevde.  Hedgehog Signaling: Networking to Nurture a Pro-Malignant Tumor Microenvironment.  Molecular Cancer Research.Vol. 9 No.9. pp.1165-1174, September 2011.

Complete List of Published Work in My PubMed Bibliography

Recent Presentations

(* indicates Travel Award Recipient)

ABRCMS (Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students), October 2017, * Travel Award/Selected to Judge Undergraduate Poster Presentations (Cancer and Cardiovascular expertise (Phoenix, AZ)

American Heart Association: Basic Cardiovascular Sciences Conference: July 2017 * Travel Award for New Investigator (Portland, OR)

Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology: Angiogenesis and Vascular Disease (Z3), May, 2017, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)/National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) Scholarship* (Santa Fe, New Mexico).

Lillianne H. Wright
Lillianne Harris Wright, PhD
Assistant Professor of Biology
  • School of Natural Sciences & Mathematics
Molecular Science Research Center, Office 108
(803) 535-5112