Sara Courtneidge, Ph.D.

Sara Courtneidge, Ph.D.

Associate Director for Translational Sciences, Knight Cancer Institute
Professor, Departments of Cell, Developmental & Cancer Biology and Biomedical Engineering
Member, OHSU Center for Spatial Systems Biomedicine

Graduate Program Memberships

Cancer Biology


Sara A. Courtneidge was born in the UK, and received her B.Sc. from the University of Leeds and her Ph.D. from the National Institute for Medical Research, London. Following postdoctoral study at the University of California, San Francisco, and an independent position at the National Institute for Medical Research, she joined the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany in 1985, where she rose to the position of Senior Scientist. Changing course in 1994, Dr. Courtneidge joined SUGEN Inc., where as Chief Scientist she guided novel kinase discovery and validation efforts in oncology. From 2001-2005 she was Distinguished Scientific Investigator at the Van Andel Research Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and from 2005-2014 she served as Professor and Director of the Tumor Microenvironment and Metastasis Program, and Director of Academic Affairs, at the Sanford|Burnham Medical Research Institute. She joined OHSU in 2014, where she is an Associate Director of Translational Sciences for the Knight Cancer Institute, a Professor in the Department of Cell, Developmental & Cancer Biology, and a member of the Center for Spatial Systems Biomedicine. Dr. Courtneidge’s laboratory has studied the Src family of protein tyrosine kinases for a number of years, and has contributed to the understanding of Src transformation, regulation, substrate selection and function. Currently, her research on Src and it substrates focuses on cancer invasion and metastasis, with particular emphasis on the role of membrane structures called podosomes or invadopodia. She also retains an interest in translational research, with the goal of defining novel therapeutic points of intervention for cancer treatment. Dr. Courtneidge’s contributions to cancer research have been recognized with numerous honors, including election to the European Molecular Biology Organization, the Jubilee Lecture and Harden Medal of the British Biochemical Society, the Feodor Lynen Lecture and Lynen Medal, an honorary doctorate from the University of Leeds, and, most recently, the 2015 AACR-WICR Charlotte Friend Memorial Lectureship.

Courtneidge Lab

Ronn Leon

Senior Research Associate
Education: Ph.D., 2007, Biophysics and Genetics, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, CO

Ronn is Dr. Courtneidge’s lab manager and research coordinator, and responsibilities include ordering laboratory supplies, managing ongoing research projects, and providing research support for postdocs and graduate students. Currently Ronn is working on 3D culture systems to elucidate Tks5 knockdown transcriptional response in collagen and other 3D matrices. He also helps Dr. Courtneidge with grant proposals, publications and financial budgeting for laboratory expenses. When he's not in the lab he enjoys spending time outdoors, especially fishing and camping.

Shinji Iizuka, D.D.S., Ph.D.

Assistant Staff Scientist
Education: Ph.D., 2009 Hiroshima University, Japan; D.D.S., 2005 Kanagawa Dental University, Japan 

Shinji is an Assistant Staff Scientist in Dr. Courtneidge’s lab. He joined the lab in 2011 and moved with the lab to OHSU in 2014 from Sanford-Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (La Jolla, CA). His research interest is the cancer progression by invadopodia and 3D imaging of invading cancer cells in vivo animal model.

Elyse Paterson

Postdoctoral Fellow
Education: B.S., 2009, Biochemistry & Biology, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA; Ph.D., 2015, Biomedical Sciences, University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA.

Elyse was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. She moved to Orange County after completing her B.S. degree to pursue her Ph.D. at the University of California, Irvine. For her Ph.D. work, she investigated a novel role for retinoids in the regulation of melanogenesis under the guidance of Dr. Anand Ganesan.  While in the Courtneidge lab, Elyse will utilize in vitro and in vivo methods to study how invadopodia control melanoma formation, progression and metastasis.  In her free time, she enjoys playing with her cats, watching sports, reading, crafting, listening to music and exploring her new home. 

Jose Ceja Navarro

Research Assistant
Education: B.S., 2015, Biology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR

Jose was born in Michoacán, Mexico and provides lab support and general lab maintenance. In addition, he is working with Dr. Leon to help uncover the roles of Tks5 in 2D and 3D culture. Outside of lab, Jose enjoys spending time in the outdoors, fishing, hiking, and playing billiards.

Kyle Gribbin

Research Assistant II
Education: B.S., 2013, Biology, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR

Kyle was born and raised in Eugene Oregon and moved to Portland after graduating from the University of Oregon. Along with general lab duties, he helps Shinji with maintenance of mouse colonies and investigating the structure and roll of invadopodia in cancer progression. When not in the lab, Kyle enjoys cooking, biking, playing soccer and playing music.

Leann Linson

Administrative Assistant 
Education:  B.S., 1984, Psychology – Child Development, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR

Leann's duties in the Courtneidge lab include providing general administrative support, purchasing, scheduling meetings, travel planning, and budget assistance. In her free time, she enjoys photography, handcrafts, repurposing old things, and the outdoors.