Headshot photo of Laura M. Heiser, Ph.D.

Laura M. Heiser, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, School of Medicine
  • Vice Chair, Biomedical Engineering, School of Medicine
  • OHSU Center for Spatial Systems Biomedicine
  • Program Co-Leader, Quantitative Oncology, OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, School of Medicine
  • Associate Director of Complex Systems Modeling, CEDAR, OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, School of Medicine


My laboratory uses integrated computational and experimental techniques to uncover mechanisms of therapeutic response and disease progression in cancer. We use a variety of state-of-the-art imaging and molecular techniques to deeply examine how diverse cells that make up tumors respond to various stimuli so that this information can be used to develop predictive computational models. 

I have served as vice chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering since 2019 and as co-leader of the Quantitative Oncology Program at the Knight Cancer Institute since 2018. The QO program develops and applies advanced measurement capabilities and computational techniques to understand the behavior of cancer cells and tissues as they evolve, respond to therapy, and interact with their microenvironments. 

I have led multiple collaborative interdisciplinary projects, including serving as co-PI on an NHGRI U54 LINCS Center grant designed to interrogate the influence of microenvironmental factors on epithelial cells. I have also served as PI on an NCI U54 Cancer Systems Biology Consortium Center grant focused on understanding the role of microenvironmental signals in modulating cell state heterogeneity and therapeutic response. Finally, I have led the development of international DREAM challenges, which uses crowdsourcing to solve complex biomedical research questions. 

Education and training

  • Degrees

    • B.A., 1998, University of California
    • Ph.D., 2004, University of Pittsburgh



  • {{ pub.journalAssociation.journal.name.text[0].value }}