Melanoma Genetics

A researcher conducts an experiment

Genetic testing and photoprotective behavior

As a member of both the GenoMEL International Melanoma Consortium and the American Academy of Dermatology Melanoma Committee, Dr. Leachman led the development of the first international consensus guidelines for melanoma genetic counseling and testing. Dr. Leachman’s work with familial melanoma patients and her ongoing behavioral studies bridge the gap between molecular genetic technologies that predict risk and implementation of behavioral changes that are necessary to reduce disease. Dr. Leachman and her colleagues at the University of Utah were part of the first group to demonstrate that genetic test reporting in a high-risk cohort increases compliance with prevention recommendations.

Melanoma cohort development and genome-wide association analyses

The cornerstone of Dr. Leachman’s research program is two unique populations of hereditary and high-risk melanoma patients in Utah and Oregon. The Utah cohort is comprised of over 1,800 hereditary melanoma family members, and the Oregon cohort, the Melanoma Community Registry contains nearly 10,000 melanoma patients (primarily sporadic), family members and controls. This group continues to use the hereditary melanoma cohort to identify additional melanoma predisposition genes and add to our understanding of the basis and biology of the disease. Additionally, Dr. Leachman collaborates with Dr. Elizabeth Berry on projects focused on elucidating the complex underpinnings of germline melanoma risk, given the likelihood of a significant number of rare genetic polymorphisms that combine to give rise to this risk.


For questions or inquires, please call 503-418-2191

Our Team

Zalfa Abdel-Malek, Ph.D.
Professor, University of Cincinatti

Elizabeth Berry, M.D.
Assistant Professor, OHSU Dermatology

Sancy Leachman, M.D. Ph.D.
Professor and Chair , OHSU Dermatology
Director, Melanoma Program, OHSU Knight Cancer Institute

Rick Sturm, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, The University of Queensland, AU

Yelena Wu, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, University of Utah

Utah Population Database Team

Knight Diagnostic Laboratories