My laboratory focuses on trying to unravel the molecular mechanisms that lead to metastatic progression and therapy resistance. We are investigating the link between changes in the tumor microenvironment and melanoma progression, and further, how these changes may affect response to therapy. More recently, we have become very interested in how the aging microenvironment guides changes leading to increased metastasis and therapy resistance, as well as cell-autonomous aspects of therapy resistance, and have demonstrated that normal age-related changes in the microenvironment can contribute to multiple aspects of melanomagenesis and therapy resistance.
Kaur A, Webster MR, Marchbank K, Behera R, Ndoye A, Kugel CH 3rd, Dang VM, Appleton J, O'Connell MP, Cheng P, Valiga AA, Morissette R, McDonnell NB, Ferrucci L, Kossenkov AV, Meeth K, Tang HY, Yin X, Wood WH 3rd, Lehrmann E, Becker KG, Flaherty KT, Frederick DT, Wargo JA, Cooper ZA, Tetzlaff MT, Hudgens C, Aird KM, Zhang R, Xu X, Liu Q, Bartlett E, Karakousis G, Eroglu Z, Lo RS, Chan M, Menzies AM, Long GV, Johnson DB, Sosman J, Schilling B, Schadendorf D, Speicher DW, Bosenberg M, Ribas A, Weeraratna AT. sFRP2 in the aged microenvironment drives melanoma metastasis and therapy resistance. Nature. 2016 PMID: 27042933.
Kugel CH 3rd, Douglass SM, Webster MR, Kaur A, Liu Q, Yin X, Weiss SA, Darvishian F, Al-Rohil RN, Ndoye A, Behera R, Alicea GM, Ecker BL, Fane M, Allegrezza MJ, Svoronos N, Kumar V, Wang DY, Somasundaram R, Hu-Lieskovan S, Ozgun A, Herlyn M, Conejo-Garcia JR, Gabrilovich D, Stone EL, Nowicki TS, Sosman J, Rai R, Carlino MS, Long GV, Marais R, Ribas A, Eroglu Z, Davies MA, Schilling B, Schadendorf D, Xu W, Amaravadi RK, Menzies AM, McQuade JL, Johnson DB, Osman I, Weeraratna AT. Age Correlates with Response to Anti-PD1, Reflecting Age-Related Differences in Intratumoral Effector and Regulatory T-Cell Populations. Clin Cancer Res. 2018 PMID: 29898988.
Kaur A, Ecker BL, Douglass SM, Kugel CH 3rd, Webster MR, Almeida FV, Somasundaram R, Hayden J, Ban E, Ahmadzadeh H, Franco-Barraza J, Shah N, Mellis IA, Keeney F, Kossenkov A, Tang HY, Yin X, Liu Q, Xu X, Fane M, Brafford P, Herlyn M, Speicher DW, Wargo JA, Tetzlaff MT, Haydu LE, Raj A, Shenoy V, Cukierman E, Weeraratna AT. Remodeling of the Collagen Matrix in Aging Skin Promotes Melanoma Metastasis and Affects Immune Cell Motility. Cancer Discov. 2019 PMID: 30279173.
Ecker BL, Kaur A, Douglass SM, Webster MR, Almeida FV, Marino GE, Sinnamon AJ, Neuwirth MG, Alicea GM, Ndoye A, Fane M, Xu X, Sim MS, Deutsch GB, Faries MB, Karakousis GC, Weeraratna AT. Age-Related Changes in HAPLN1 Increase Lymphatic Permeability and Affect Routes of Melanoma Metastasis. Cancer Discov. 2019 PMID: 30279172.
O'Connell MP, Marchbank K, Webster MR, Valiga AA, Kaur A, Vultur A, Li L, Herlyn M, Villanueva J, Liu Q, Yin X, Widura S, Nelson J, Ruiz N, Camilli TC, Indig FE, Flaherty KT, Wargo JA, Frederick DT, Cooper ZA, Nair S, Amaravadi RK, Schuchter LM, Karakousis GC, Xu W, Xu X, Weeraratna AT. Hypoxia induces phenotypic plasticity and therapy resistance in melanoma via the tyrosine kinase receptors ROR1 and ROR2. Cancer Discov. 2013 PMID: 24104062.