Photo of Pepper J. Schedin, Ph.D.

Pepper J. Schedin Ph.D.

  • (503) 494-9341
    • Professor of Cell, Developmental and Cancer Biology School of Medicine
    • Cell and Developmental Biology Graduate Program School of Medicine
    • Program in Molecular and Cellular Biosciences School of Medicine
    • Cancer Biology Graduate Program School of Medicine

The focus of the Schedin Lab research program is on understanding how normal breast development contributes to breast cancer risk and patient outcomes. We focus on the unique windows of breast development that occur during puberty, pregnancy and peri-menopause, as these developmental windows associate with high risk for breast cancer development and progression. Because tissue remodeling is the hallmark of these risk windows, our lab focuses on mammary epithelial-stromal interactions and how these interactions are modulated by physiology and life choices. My lab is at the forefront of investigating the normal mammary gland tissue environment and has shown that extracellular matrix proteins and immune cells are highly malleable, remodeling in response to puberty, pregnancy, menopause and even dietary intake. This stromal ‘plasticity’ contributes significantly to breast cancer risk, but also identifies unique developmental windows that can be targeted for the prevention and treatment of breast cancer. Current areas of research focus include understanding how pregnancy or menopause/diet interactions increase risk for breast cancer progression. From a prevention perspective, the strength in this ‘window of risk’ approach lies in the ability to limit duration of treatment, thus reducing treatment-related side effects associated with current breast cancer chemoprevention strategies. From a treatment perspective, our work identifies novel stromal markers, as well as potential drivers of breast cancers diagnosed in specific ‘developmental windows’ such as pregnancy and menopause, which can be exploited for targeted drug development. For our studies we utilize the rat MNU model, breast cancer xenograft, transgenic, and immunocompetent mouse models, 3D multi-cell co-culture systems, and human breast tissue. Our systems approach has yielded promising results for prevention and treatment of pregnancy-associated breast cancer and obesity-induced postmenopausal breast cancer.

Areas of interest

  • young women's breast cancer,
  • breast cancer prevention
  • metastasis
  • tumor micro-environment
  • immune suppression, extracellular matrix, fibrosis, ECM proteomics
  • 3D cell culture modeling


  • Ph.D., University of Colorado, Boulder 1988

Memberships and associations

  • American Association for Cancer Research Women in Cancer Research
  • Metastasis Research Society


  • "Semaphorin 7A promotes macrophage-mediated lymphatic remodeling during postpartum mammary gland involution and in breast cancer." Cancer Research  In: , Vol. 78, No. 22, 15.11.2018, p. 6473-6485.
  • "Ibuprofen supports macrophage differentiation, T cell recruitment, and tumor suppression in a model of postpartum breast cancer 11 Medical and Health Sciences 1112 Oncology and Carcinogenesis 11 Medical and Health Sciences 1107 Immunology." Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer  In: , Vol. 6, No. 1, 98, 01.10.2018.
  • "Mucosal immunity in the female murine mammary gland." Journal of Immunology  In: , Vol. 201, No. 2, 15.07.2018, p. 734-746.
  • "Metformin inhibits stromal aromatase expression and tumor progression in a rodent model of postmenopausal breast cancer." Breast Cancer Research  In: , Vol. 20, No. 1, 50, 14.06.2018.
  • "A method for quantification of calponin expression in myoepithelial cells in immunohistochemical images of ductal carcinoma in situ."   2018 IEEE 15th International Symposium on Biomedical Imaging, ISBI 2018. Vol. 2018-April IEEE Computer Society, 2018. p. 796-799.
  • "RNA-seq and expression arrays : Selection guidelines for genome-wide expression profiling."   Methods in Molecular Biology. Humana Press Inc., 2018. p. 7-33 (Methods in Molecular Biology; Vol. 1783).
  • "Erratum to : RNA-Seq and Expression Arrays: Selection Guidelines for Genome-Wide Expression Profiling." Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.)  In: , Vol. 1783, 01.01.2018, p. E1.
  • "The Androgen Receptor Supports Tumor Progression After the Loss of Ovarian Function in a Preclinical Model of Obesity and Breast Cancer." Hormones and Cancer  In: , 24.07.2017, p. 1-17.
  • "IFPA meeting 2016 workshop report III : Decidua-trophoblast interactions; trophoblast implantation and invasion; immunology at the maternal-fetal interface; placental inflammation." Placenta  In: , 13.04.2017.
  • "Metformin accumulation correlates with organic cation transporter 2 protein expression and predicts mammary tumor regression in vivo." Cancer Prevention Research  In: , Vol. 10, No. 3, 01.03.2017, p. 198-207.
  • "The rodent liver undergoes weaning-induced involution and supports breast cancer metastasis." Cancer Discovery  In: , Vol. 7, No. 2, 01.02.2017, p. 177-187.
  • "Mammary extracellular matrix directs differentiation of testicular and embryonic stem cells to form functional mammary glands in vivo." Scientific Reports  In: , Vol. 7, 40196, 10.01.2017.
  • "Mammary gland involution provides a unique model to study the TGF-β cancer paradox." Journal of Clinical Medicine  In: , Vol. 6, No. 1, 01.01.2017.
  • "Mammary gland involution provides a unique model to study the TGF-β cancer paradox." Journal of Clinical Medicine  In: , Vol. 6, No. 1, 01.01.2017.
  • "A portal vein injection model to study liver metastasis of breast cancer." Journal of Visualized Experiments  In: , Vol. 2016, No. 118, e54903, 26.12.2016, p. 1-10.
  • "Quantitative extracellular matrix proteomics to study mammary and liver tissue microenvironments." International Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology  In: , Vol. 81, 01.12.2016, p. 223-232.
  • "Myoepithelial cells in lobular carcinoma in situ : Distribution and immunophenotype." Human Pathology  In: , Vol. 55, 01.09.2016, p. 126-134.
  • "COX-2 modulates mammary tumor progression in response to collagen density." Breast Cancer Research  In: , Vol. 18, No. 1, 35, 22.03.2016.
  • "Mammary epithelial cell phagocytosis downstream of TGF-β3 is characterized by adherens junction reorganization." Cell Death and Differentiation  In: , Vol. 23, No. 2, 01.02.2016, p. 185-196.
  • "Breast cancer risk factor associations differ for pure versus invasive carcinoma with an in situ component in case–control and case–case analyses." Cancer Causes and Control  In: , Vol. 27, No. 2, 01.02.2016, p. 183-198.
  • "XactMice : Humanizing mouse bone marrow enables microenvironment reconstitution in a patient-derived xenograft model of head and neck cancer." Oncogene  In: , Vol. 35, No. 3, 21.01.2016, p. 290-300.
  • "Myoepithelial cell differentiation markers in ductal carcinoma in situ progression." American Journal of Pathology  In: , Vol. 185, No. 11, 01.11.2015, p. 3076-3089.
  • "Important Role of Menarche in Development of Estrogen Receptor-Negative Breast Cancer in African American Women." Journal of the National Cancer Institute  In: , Vol. 107, No. 9, djv172, 01.09.2015.
  • "Molecular phenotype of breast cancer according to time since last pregnancy in a large cohort of young women." Oncologist  In: , Vol. 20, No. 7, 29.05.2015, p. 713-718.
  • "Wound healing-like immune program facilitates postpartum mammary gland involution and tumor progression." International Journal of Cancer  In: , Vol. 136, No. 8, 15.04.2015, p. 1803-1813.
  • "Tumor mechanics and metabolic dysfunction." Free Radical Biology and Medicine  In: , Vol. 79, 2015, p. 269-280.
  • "A case-control analysis of oral contraceptive use and breast cancer subtypes in the African American Breast Cancer Epidemiology and Risk Consortium." Breast cancer research : BCR  In: , Vol. 17, 2015, p. 22.
  • "Parity, lactation, and breast cancer subtypes in African American Women : Results from the AMBER Consortium." Journal of the National Cancer Institute  In: , Vol. 106, No. 10, dju237, 01.10.2014.
  • "Cyclooxygenase-2-dependent lymphangiogenesis promotes nodal metastasis of postpartum breast cancer." Journal of Clinical Investigation  In: , Vol. 124, No. 9, 02.09.2014, p. 3901-3912.
  • "Postpartum breast involution reveals regression of secretory lobules mediated by tissue-remodeling." Breast Cancer Research  In: , Vol. 16, No. 2, R31, 28.03.2014.

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