Headshot photo of Ellen Langer, Ph.D.<span class="profile__pronouns"> (she/her)</span>

Ellen Langer, Ph.D. (she/her)

  • Assistant Professor of Division of Oncological Sciences, School of Medicine
  • Member, Brenden-Colson Center for Pancreatic Care, School of Medicine
  • Member, CEDAR, OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, School of Medicine
  • Genome Sciences Hub, Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences, School of Medicine
  • Integrated Cancer Biology Hub, Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences, School of Medicine


Dr. Langer’s major research interest is in identifying mechanisms of cellular plasticity in both tumor and stromal cells, and understanding how interactions between these populations impact tumorigenic development and progression. Throughout her career, Dr. Langer has sought to understand how physiologic processes that occur during development or in response to injury are corrupted to contribute to tumor development and progression. Her early research focused on the transcriptional regulators that control epithelial to mesenchymal transitions (EMT) in developmental systems including Xenopus neural crest development and embryonic stem cell differentiation. During her postdoc, Dr. Langer interrogated mechanisms of phenotypic plasticity in breast cancer cells to understand how extrinsic stressors such as low nutrients or therapeutic treatments mediate changes in tumor cell phenotypes. She also co-led an effort to develop manipulable, heterotypic, 3D bioprinted tumor models to support investigations of how tumor-stromal crosstalk affects tumor phenotype and response to treatment. Current work in her group utilizes 2-dimensional tissue culture, 3-dimensional bioprinted tissues, and mouse models in order to identify and target mechanisms of crosstalk between tumor cells and their microenvironment in breast and pancreatic cancer. Dr. Langer received her Ph.D. in Molecular Cell Biology from Washington University in St. Louis under the mentorship of Dr. Greg Longmore, and she completed postdoctoral training with Dr. Ken Murphy, Dr. Mario Capecchi, and Dr. Rosalie Sears.

Education and training

    • B.S., 2001, University Notre Dame
    • Ph.D., 2007, Washington University

Memberships and associations:

  • American Association of Cancer Research



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