Dr. Coussens is the Chair of the Department of Cell, Developmental & Cancer Biology, and Associate Director for Basic Research in the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Sciences University (OHSU) and holds the Hildegard Lamfrom Chair in Basic Science. She received her Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry from UCLA in 1993, and completed her postdoctoral fellowship in Cancer Biology at UCSF in Douglas Hanahans' laboratory. Dr. Coussens research focus is on elucidating the roles of immune cells and their mediators as critical regulators of solid tumor development. Her lab reported that lymphocytes selectively regulate myeloid cell functions in mouse models of squamous and mammary carcinoma, mesothelioma, and pancreatic adenocarcinoma, and that selective inhibition of key factors regulating either myeloid recruitment or function significantly enhances efficacy of chemo- and radiation therapy, and thereby extend long term survival of tumor-bearing mice. These discoveries are currently being translated into the clinical realm; Dr. Coussens is Lead PI on a KOMEN Promise grant conducting an investigator-initiated multi-center Phase Ib/II clinical trial evaluating a novel macrophage-antagonist in combination with chemotherapy in women with metastatic triple negative breast cancer. More recently, Dr. Coussens was awarded a Stand Up To Cancer – Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Convergence Dream Team Translational Research grant focused on clinical evaluation of immune-based therapies in pancreas cancer. Her contributions to this international team are based on her laboratories identification of B cells and humoral immune-mediated factors regulating T cells and immune suppression in squamous and pancreas cancer. Specifically, her studies are supporting evaluation of a Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor plus chemotherapy in Phase Ib/II clinical trials of pancreatic cancer and Head and Neck cancer patients. Dr. Coussens has received the prestigious Gertrude B. Elion Award from the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR), the Mallinckrodt Award for Medical Science, a V Foundation Scholar Award, and two sequential Era of Hope Scholar Awards from the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program. In 2012, she was the recipient of the AACR-Women in Cancer Research Charlotte Friend Memorial Lectureship, and the 2015 recipient of the 13th Rosalind E. Franklin Award from the National Cancer Institute.
Areas of interest
- cancer, inflammation, tumor immunology, preclinical mouse models
- Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles California 1993