Lisa M. Coussens, Ph.D.

Lisa Coussens

Hildegard Lamfrom Endowed Chair in Basic Science
Professor and Chairwoman, Department of Cell, Developmental & Cancer Biology
Associate Director for Basic Research, Knight Cancer Institute

Pubmed Search


Graduate Program Memberships

Professional Memberships

Research Assistant Professor

Sushil Kumar, Ph.D.


Education: Ph.D., Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Munich, Germany, 2007

Postdoctoral training: Institute of Molecular Cancer Research, University of Zurich, Switzerland, 2008 - 2011; Oregon Health & Science University 2012 - 2014

Scientific interests: My scientific interests are to understand the molecular basis of tumor related inflammation and translation of this knowledge into modern cancer therapy.

Project Manager

Courtney Betts, Ph.D.

Education: Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology, Oregon Health & Science University; M.S. in Cell Biology and Cancer Research, Albany Medical College (2010); B.S. in Biology, Hobart and William Smith Colleges (2007)

Scientific Interests: I am specifically interested in understanding if the dendritic cell-T cell axis is altered by mammary gland involution, and if this contributes to tumor progression. This work aims to bridge a gap between normal biology and cancer, as well as to investigate the potential use of immunotherapies within the unique developmental window of mammary gland involution.  

Adjunct Assistant Professor

Takahiro Tsujikawa, M.D., Ph.D.

Education: M.D., Ph.D., Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Japan, 2013

Scientific interests: My research focus has been the cancer-microenvironment interactions for cancer development. My long-term goal is to develop therapeutic strategies targeting the immunological tumor microenvironment in head and neck cancer.

Postdoctoral Scholars

Eivind Valen Egeland

Education: Ph.D., Department of Tumor Biology, Oslo University Hospital, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway, 2016.

Scientific interests: I am interested in how macrophages and cancer cells communicate, and how this contributes to tumor progression. 

Cecil Gomes, Ph.D.

Education: Ph.D., Department of Cell and Molecular Medicine, University of Arizona, 2018

Scientific interests: Understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms that drive pro- and anti-tumor immune responses within the tumor microenvironment. Specifically, my research focuses on how these interactions can be leveraged to enhance current cancer therapeutics. 

Dhaarini Murugan, Ph.D.

Education: Ph.D., Molecular Medicine Program, Hannover Medical School, Germany, 2014

Scientific interests:  To assess the changes in T and B cell repertoire diversity and clonality as biomarkers to evaluate the efficacy of cancer immunotherapy. To further study the antigenic specificity of selected clonotypes with the aim of designing antigen-loaded dendritic cells for cancer vaccination.

Amanda Poissonnier, Ph.D.

Education: Ph.D., French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, Rennes, France. 2017

Scientific interests: I’m interested in many aspects of cancer biology, especially the complex relationship between immunity and tumor pathogenesis. It is a key point to understand why inflammation can be a hallmark of cancer progression and how we can foster anti-tumor responses by modulating the tumor microenvironment. My work is focused on new combination therapies in order to improve efficacy of chemotherapy treatments for TNBC patients.

Graduate Student

Shannon Liudahl

Education: Ph.D. (in progress), Cancer Biology, Oregon Health & Science University; B.S., Molecular Biology, Portland State University (2012)

Scientific interests: Chronic inflammation as a driver of neoplasia, pancreatitis & pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, acinar cell plasticity, pancreatic regeneration following injury

Laboratory Manager

Justin Tibbitts

Education: M.S., Biology, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology; M.B.A., Technology, University of New Mexico

Interests: family, cancer biology, geosciences, hockey, fishing and all things outdoors.

Laboratory Staff

Konjit Betre

Education: B.S. in Biochemistry, University of Minnesota, December 2006, B.S. in in Genetics, Cell Biology and Development, University of Minnesota, May 2002

Scientific interests: Immunotherapeutic treatments of cancer and identifying new biomarkers that could potentially improve cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment. 

Gina Choe

Education: B.S., Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, Yale University

Scientific interests: Immunological microenvironment in pancreatic cancer.

Wes Horton
Computational Biologist
Education: M.S., 2016, Biology with an emphasis in Bioinformatics, University of Oregon; B.S., 2015, Biology and Spanish, minor in Chemistry, University of Oregon

Scientific Interests: Leveraging emerging technologies, such as DNA sequencing of T-Cell receptors and CRISPR-Cas9 knockouts as well as microarray and other high-throughput sequencing technologies, to provide insight into cancer progression and possible therapy targets.
Will Larson
Multiplex IHC Data Analyst
Education: B.S. in Biology Minoring in Chemistry, University of Portland

Scientific Interests: Multiplex Image Cytometry Analysis, Cancer immunotherapy, Drug development, Trauma and Emergency Medicine, Ornithology
Meghan Lavoie

Education: B.S. Health Studies, Concentration in Community Health, Portland State University

Scientific Interests: Proactive and preventative health care, efficient cancer diagnostic and treatment approaches, and epidemiology. 
Kenna Leis

Education: B.S. Cellular, Developmental and Molecular Biology, University of Oregon
Scientific Interests: Immunotherapeutic treatment for mesothelioma, tumor microenvironment, cancer biology.

Lab Alumni

Teresa Beechwood

Tiziana Cotechini

Education: Ph.D., Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada, 2014

Scientific interests: Resistance to conventional therapies (i.e. chemotherapy, radiation therapy) remains a significant obstacle to successful cancer treatment. I am interested in exploring the biology of pro-tumorigenic, pro-metastatic myeloid cell-lymphocyte interactions within the tumor microenvironment to better understand tumor-extrinsic factors contributing to therapeutic resistance. Ultimately, a thorough understanding of the immune-mediated mechanisms associated with resistance to conventional therapies may help improve the efficacy of novel immunotherapies and identify candidates most likely to benefit from treatment.

Patrick Flynn

Education: B.S., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Western Washington University

Scientific interests: Tumor associated inflammation, cancer immunotherapy, immunity regulation, autoimmunity, T cell biology

Charlie Gast

Education: M.D., Ph.D., (in progress), Cancer Biology, Oregon Health & Science University; B.A., Biochemistry/Molecular Biology, Lewis & Clark College (2006)

Scientific interests: My research interests focus on the role macrophages play in promoting the progression of cancer. Specifically, I am investigating phenotypic alterations in cancer that result from hybrid cells forming via fusion between cancer cells and macrophages. I am also testing specific immunotherapies that target macrophage function to treat metastatic disease. In my free time I enjoy hiking, skiing, brewing beer and changing diapers.

Mahsa He

Huanhuan (Mahsa) He, Ph.D.

Education: Ph.D., Department of Human Genetics, University of California - Los Angeles, 2013

Scientific Interests: I'm interested in studying the tumor microenvironment and the immune regulation in pancreatic cancer development and developing novel immunotherapies to cure cancers.

Rie Kawashima D.D.S., Ph.D.

Rie Kawashima D.D.S., Ph.D.

Education: D.D.S., Nippon Dental University, Japan, 2008; Ph.D., Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Jichi Medical University, Japan, 2014

Scientific Interests: As an oral surgeon I have participated in oral cancer treatment going through surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy. My research interest is the reaction of immune cells/cancer cells against the chemotherapy/immunotherapy in the microenvironment of cancer tissues. I also focus on the relationship between the characteristics of the immune cells and clinicopathological findings in head and neck cancer. Regarding the surgery, I am interested in vascularized bone grafts for reconstruction of maxilla/mandibular defects. My goal is to enhance the ability of chemotherapy/immunotherapy, and provide the appropriate treatment for cancer patients.

Elaine Lin

Elaine Lin, M.D., Ph.D.

Education: M.D., Department of Pediatrics, Capital Medical University, Beijing, 1982; Ph.D., Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA., 1995

Postdoctoral training: Department of Developmental and Molecular Biology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, 1996 - 2001

Faculty appointments: Associate, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, 2001 - 2006; Assistant Professor: Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, 2006 - 2014.

Scientific interests: Despite improved outcomes stemming from early detection, breast cancer remains the most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer death among American women. My research is focused on developing strategies to improve prevention and treatment by identifying host events that facilitate the progression of premalignant breast lesions to malignant disease, with particular attention to the regulation of pro-tumor and anti-tumor immune reactions and the promotion of angiogenesis in the tumor microenvironment.

Lauren Maloney

Education: B.S. Human Physiology, University of Oregon

Scientific Interests: Investigating the role of death receptor ligand Fas-L in the tumor microenvironment and its potential as an immunotherapy in treatment of solid tumors.

Terry Medler, Ph.D.

Education: Ph.D., Department of Pathology, Northwestern University, 2012

Scientific interests: The skin acts as both a physical and immunological barrier to a barrage of environmental insults, such as UV radiation, chemical carcinogens, and oncogenic viruses. The damage response (inflammation) is mediated by both innate and adaptive immunity to clear damaged cells and pathogens such that tissue homeostasis can be restored. When inflammation fails to resolve and instead becomes chronic, it acts as a promoting force for neoplastic progression. My interests lie in identifying mechanisms by which immune cells foster cancer development such that novel targeted immunotherapies can be developed. Other interests include identifying mechanisms by which autoimmune skin disorders (pemphigus vulgaris) occur and discovering targeted immunotherapies to help ameliorate disease with fewer side effects.

Padraic Robinson

Education: B.S. Cellular, Developmental, and Molecular Biology, University of Oregon

Scientific Interests: Cancer biology, tumor microenvironment, conservation genetics, herpetology.

Brian Ruffell PhD

Brian Ruffell, Ph.D.

Assistant Member, Moffitt Cancer Center, 2015
Assistant Professor, Dept of Oncologic Sciences, University of South Florida, 2015

Education: Ph.D., Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of British Columbia, 2008
Postdoctoral training: The University of California, San Francisco 2008 - 2012; Oregon Health & Science University, 2012 - 2013

Scientific interests: Immune suppression within the tumor microenvironment with the goal of improving the efficacy of chemotherapeutics and immunotherapies.