Lisa M. Coussens, Ph.D.

  • Professor of Cell, Developmental and Cancer Biology, School of Medicine
  • Associate Director for Basic Research, OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, School of Medicine
  • Chair, Department of Cell, Developmental & Cancer Biology
  • 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 Endowed 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 was 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 were 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  supported 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.  The Coussens lab continues to investigate mechanisms of inflammation-associated carcinogenesis using mouse models of multi-stage carcinogenesis, while also developing, validating and utilizing technology platforms for examining clinical specimens to identify immune-based biomarkers for patient stratification, as well as biomarkers reflecting therpaeutic responsive verus resistant disease.


  • B.A., 1980, San Francisco State University
  • Ph.D., 1993, University of California
  • Fellowship:

    • Post doctoral fellow, Univ. of Calif., San Francisco; Lab of Douglas Hanahan, Ph.D.

Honors and awards

  • American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Gertrude B. Elion Award (2001)
  • AACR-Women in Cancer Research Charlotte Friend Memorial Lectureship (2012)
  • 13th Rosalind E. Franklin Award, National Cancer Institute (2015)
  • Doctor of Medicine (honoris causa), University of Buenos Aires, Argentina (2018)
  • 12th AACR-Princess Takamatsu Memorial Lectureship (2018)
  • Career Award, European Academy of Tumor Immunology (2018)
  • 2018 Susan G. Komen Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science
  • Fellow (lifetime), American Association for Advancement of Science (2018)
  • Fellow of the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) Academy (2019)

Memberships and associations

  • American Association for Cancer Research
  • American Association for Advancement of Science
  • Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer
  • American Society for Investigative Pathology
  • American Association of Immunology

Areas of interest

  • cancer, inflammation, tumor immunology, preclinical mouse models



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