Lisa Coussens PhD

The overarching mission of the OHSU Department of Cell, Developmental & Cancer Biology is to advance the understanding of problems relevant to human health and disease. To accomplish this mission, research groups in the department have historically focused on questions regarding cell structure, organelles, life cycle, differentiation, and regulated communication between cells and extracellular signals and cues. An ultimate application of knowledge gained from these studies has been to understand important cell physiologic processes that effect human biology. These issues directly link to problems of interest to developmental biologists, including molecular and cellular mechanisms regulating tissue morphogenesis, tissue polarity and patterning. Read full welcome message here.


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Drs. Lisa Coussens, Robert Eil, Alex Bartlett_2024 OHSU Innovation Awards.jpg
(Left-to-right) Drs. Robert Eil, Lisa Coussens, Alex Bartlett following the 2024 OHSU Innovation Awards ceremony.

Two CDCB members are recipients of 2024 OHSU Innovation Awards:

  • Dr. Robert Eil, Assistant Professor jointly appointed in CDCB and Surgical Oncology, is the recipient of this year’s New Innovator of the Year for his work on a new approach to make CAR T-cell therapies useful to more patients.
  • Dr. Alex Bartlett, postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Eil’s, is the recipient of this year’s Early Career Innovator for her work with Dr. Eil and co-founding the start-up company VertaBio, Inc.

Drs. Eil and Bartlett were honored at the ceremony held on March 14th, 2024. Read more here.

Lisa Coussens, Pepper Schedin, Brian Druker at the Schnitzer Investiture event
(Left-to-right) Drs. Lisa Coussens, Pepper Schedin, and Brian Druker during the 2023 summer investiture ceremony.

Congratulations to Dr. Pepper Schedin, Professor of Cell, Developmental & Cancer Biology, who has been appointed the inaugural recipient of the Leonard Schnitzer Chair in Breast Oncology. The Leonard Schnitzer Family established this endowed chair in Leonard’s memory to help advance clinically relevant cancer research and the work of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute to end cancer as we know it. An investiture ceremony will be held later this summer to honor the family and Schedin. Read more here.

Lisa Coussens

In recognition of her scientific work and contributions to the field of cancer research, Lisa Coussens, Ph.D. was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, among 143 other newly elected members. Membership is a widely recognized mark of excellence in science, and one of the highest honors that a scientist in the United States can receive. Congratulations, Dr. Coussens! Read more on OHSU Now.

Recent Accolades & Funding

Congratulations to Dr. Aaron Grossberg who was invited to participate in the NCI Systemic Effects of Cancer Think Tank that was held this April 2024 at the NCI Shady Grove campus in Maryland. The Think Tank invites discussion from experts in cancer cachexia, metastasis, and systems biology to assess the current state of understanding of the systemic effects of cancer and what would be needed to promote and accelerate progress to impact patient outcomes.

Dr. Hatun Duran Cete, postdoctoral scholar in the Schedin lab, has been awarded an appointment with the IRACDA at OHSU training grant. The goal of the IRACDA at OHSU program is to develop a diverse group of highly trained scientists to become leaders in biomedical research and scholarship. Congratulations!

Congratulations to Margaret Haerr, graduate student in the Byrne lab, who was selected give a talk at the AACR 2024 Annual Meeting. Margaret presented her talk titled, "CD40 agonism induces CD4 T cell mediated rejection of MHC I deficient pancreatic tumors" during the New Insights for Therapies Modulating Antitumor T-Cell Responses session.

Congratulations to Tori Schuster, graduate student in the Ruhland lab, who has received a GSO travel award to sponsor her trip to present a talk and poster at the Keystone Symposia Innate Immunity conference. Tori presented her work titled, "Multi-antigen management by dendritic cells within the melanoma microenvironment."

Congratulations to Katie Blise, graduate student in the Coussens lab, whose paper “Machine learning links T-cell function and spatial localization to neoadjuvant immunotherapy and clinical outcome in pancreatic cancer” published in Cancer Immunology Research is the School of Medicine’s Paper of the Month. The study was led by a team including first author Katie Blise, Ph.D. ‘24, computational biologist, Brenden-Colson Center for Pancreatic Care, Jeremy Goecks, Ph.D., associate professor of biomedical engineering, Lisa Coussens, Ph.D., chair and professor of cell, developmental and cancer biology, and senior author Kate Byrne, Ph.D., assistant professor of cell, developmental and cancer biology, OHSU School of Medicine, member of the Knight Cancer Institute and Brenden-Colson Center for Pancreatic Care. Read more here.

Congratulations to Dr. Paige Arneson-Wissink, postdoc in the Grossberg lab, who was selected for an oral presentation and travel award for the 2024 Keystone Symposium on Cachexia and Wasting Syndrome in Cancer and Chronic Diseases for her talk, "PDAC recovery associates with impaired hepatic metabolism, delayed muscle recovery, and decreased activity levels."

Recent Publications

The Schedin lab in collaboration with Dr. Zhenzhen Zhang has published "Postpartum Breast Cancer and Survival in Women With Germline BRCA Pathogenic Variants" in JAMA Network Open.

The Grossberg lab has several publications to announce:

The Lind lab has published a paper featuring Patrick Flynn (graduate student) as first author and Dr. Anupriya Agarwal as co-author. The paper is titled, "Leukemic mutation FLT3-ITD is retained in dendritic cells and disrupts their homeostasis leading to expanded Th17 frequency" in Frontiers in Immunology.

Dr. Shahrose Rahman, Resident in the Department of Surgery, has a recent publication based on his work in the Anand lab, "Combinatorial Inhibition of Complement Factor D and BCL2 for Early-Onset Colorectal Cancer" in Diseases of the Colon & Rectum.

Respect For All Flowchart

Respect For All Flowchart

CDCB labs recruiting

Careers with an emphasis on preclinical and translational science

CDCB welcomes

Molly Thomas

CDCB is pleased to announce that Molly Thomas, M.D., Ph.D., will be joining us as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Cell, Developmental & Cancer Biology, with a joint appointment in the Division of Gastroenterology. Dr. Thomas is an inflammatory bowel disease specialist and mucosal immunologist. Her lab will focus on understanding gastrointestinal and hepatic complications of immune checkpoint blockade and how these immune related adverse events inform our understanding of tissue-resident memory T cells in these organ systems. Welcome, Dr. Thomas!

Joshua Moreau

CDCB is please to welcome Joshua Moreau, Ph.D., who will be joining us as a joint faculty along with the Division of Oncological Sciences, Department of Dermatology, and a member of CEDAR. He aims to explore the earliest interactions between cancer and the immune system, within the tissues where cancer cells arise. Welcome, Dr. Moreau!

Megan Burger

CDCB is excited to welcome Megan Burger, Ph.D. who will be joining us as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Cell, Developmental & Cancer Biology, with a joint appointment in the Division of Hematology Oncology. Dr. Burger's research program will initially be investigating the interplay of anti-tumor T cell responses in thoracic malignancies with the goal of identifying targets for new therapy. Welcome, Dr. Burger!