Photo of Mara Sherman, Ph.D.

Mara Sherman Ph.D.

  • (503) 346-9012
    • Assistant Professor of Cell, Developmental and Cancer Biology School of Medicine
    • Co-leader, Cancer Biology Program 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

The Sherman Lab aims to understand the transcriptional and epigenetic gene-regulatory networks that underlie tumor-stroma interactions in pancreatic cancer, and to target these networks for therapeutic benefit. Our research focuses on the tumor-permissive molecular mechanisms underlying cancer-associated fibroblast function, and how these stromal mechanisms affect cell fate and function in the pancreatic epithelium with respect to gene expression, metabolism, and growth. Our laboratory uses a multidisciplinary approach to investigate the mechanistic underpinnings of the pancreatic tumor microenvironment, including mouse models of pancreatic cancer, three-dimensional cell culture systems such as patient-derived organoids, and diverse molecular- and cell-biological techniques focused on gene regulation.

Areas of interest

  • pancreatic cancer, tumor microenvironment, cancer metabolism, epigenetics


  • B.A., Cornell University 2005
  • Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles 2010
  • Fellowship:

    • Postdoctoral fellow, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, 2010-2016

Memberships and associations

  • American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)


  • "Metformin-mediated bambi expression in hepatic stellate cells induces prosurvival Wnt/β-catenin signaling" Cancer Prevention Research April 2012
  • "Nuclear receptors as modulators of the tumor microenvironment" Cancer Prevention Research January 2012
  • "Regulation of cell differentiation by the DNA damage response" Trends in Cell Biology May 2011
  • "AID-induced genotoxic stress promotes B cell differentiation in the germinal center via ATM and LKB1 signaling" Molecular Cell September 2010
  • "TORC2 regulates germinal center repression of the TCL1 oncoprotein to promote B cell development and inhibit transformation" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America June 12 2007
  • "Targeting transcriptional and epigenetic reprogramming in stromal cells in fibrosis and cancer"   2016
  • "Epigenetic alterations in a murine model for chronic lymphocytic leukemia" Cell Cycle November 15 2009
  • "A vitamin D receptor/SMAD genomic circuit gates hepatic fibrotic response" Cell April 25 2013
  • "BRD4 is a novel therapeutic target for liver fibrosis" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America December 22 2015
  • "Epigenetic changes during disease progression in a murine model of human chronic lymphocytic leukemia" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America August 11 2009
  • "Calcipotriol targets LRP6 to inhibit wnt signaling in pancreatic cancer" Molecular Cancer Research November 1 2015
  • "Vitamin D receptor-mediated stromal reprogramming suppresses pancreatitis and enhances pancreatic cancer therapy" Cell September 25 2014
  • "Epigenetic silencing of Stk39 in B-cell lymphoma inhibits apoptosis from genotoxic stress" American Journal of Pathology  2009
  • "Stromal cues regulate the pancreatic cancer epigenome and metabolome" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America January 31 2017
  • "Pancreatic stellate cells support tumour metabolism through autophagic alanine secretion" Nature August 10 2016
  • "Vitamin D Switches BAF Complexes to Protect β Cells" Cell May 17 2018
  • "Stellate Cells in Tissue Repair, Inflammation, and Cancer" Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology October 6 2018
  • "A Stromal Lysolipid-Autotaxin Signaling Axis Promotes Pancreatic Tumor Progression" Cancer Discovery May 1 2019
  • "Fibroblasts as modulators of local and systemic cancer metabolism" Cancers May 1 2019

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