Photo of Lisa Coussens, Ph.D.

Lisa Coussens Ph.D.

  • (503) 494-7811
    • Professor of Cell, Developmental and Cancer Biology School of Medicine
    • Hildegard Lamfrom Endowed Chair in Basic Science
    • Associate Director for Basic Research OHSU Knight Cancer Institute School of Medicine
    • Cell and Developmental Biology Graduate Program School of Medicine
    • Cancer Biology Graduate Program School of Medicine
    • Program in Molecular and Cellular Biosciences School of Medicine

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


  • "Neutralizing tumor-promoting chronic inflammation" Science March 29 2013
  • "De novo carcinogenesis promoted by chronic inflammation is B lymphocyte dependent" Cancer Cell May 2005
  • "Human insulin receptor and its relationship to the tyrosine kinase family of oncogenes" Nature  1985
  • "Matrix metalloproteinases and the development of cancer" Cell Chemical Biology November 1996
  • "Optical imaging of the peri-tumoral inflammatory response in breast cancer" Journal of Translational Medicine November 11 2009
  • "Stromal regulation of vessel stability by MMP14 and TGFβ" DMM Disease Models and Mechanisms May 2010
  • "Delineating protease functions during cancer development." Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.)  2009
  • "Proteolytic pathways"   2008
  • "The tumor microenvironment" European Journal of Cell Biology  2003
  • "Deficiency for the cysteine protease cathepsin L promotes tumor progression in mouse epidermis" Oncogene March 2010
  • "The tumor-immune microenvironment and response to radiation therapy" Journal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia December 2010
  • "Leukocyte composition of human breast cancer" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America February 21 2012
  • "Leukocytes as paracrine regulators of metastasis and determinants of organ-specific colonization" International Journal of Cancer June 1 2011
  • "Distinctive features of angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis determine their functionality during de novo tumor development" Journal of Cancer Research June 1 2007
  • "Cancer" Nature September 23 2004
  • "A general method for genotyping mast cell-deficient KITW/KITWÏ… mice by allele-specific polymerase chain reaction" FASEB Journal March 20 1998
  • "Immune enhancement of skin carcinogenesis by CD4+ T cells" Journal of Experimental Medicine April 21 2003
  • "MRI of tumor-associated macrophages with clinically applicable iron oxide nanoparticles" Clinical Cancer Research September 1 2011
  • "RECKing MMP function" Trends in Cell Biology May 1 2002
  • "Stromal Matrix Metalloproteinase-9 Regulates the Vascular Architecture in Neuroblastoma by Promoting Pericyte Recruitment" Journal of Cancer Research March 1 2004
  • "The complete primary structure of protein kinase C - The major phorbol ester receptor" Science  1986
  • "Accessories to the Crime" Cancer Cell March 20 2012
  • "MMP-9 supplied by bone marrow-derived cells contributes to skin carcinogenesis" Cell October 27 2000
  • "The inflammatory tumor microenvironment and its impact on cancer development." Contributions to microbiology.  2006
  • "Poker face no more" Nature Medicine December 2013
  • "Cancer and inflammation" Journal of Immunotherapy May 2010
  • "Leukocyte complexity predicts breast cancer survival and functionally regulates response to chemotherapy" Cancer Discovery June 2011
  • "Leukocytes in mammary development and cancer" Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in biology March 2011
  • "Hu/Mu protin oligonucleotide microarray" Molecular Cancer Research May 2007
  • "Q&A" Cancer Discovery June 2012

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