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Ben Z. Stanger, MD, PhD

Hanna Wise Professor in Cancer Research
Member, Abramson Cancer Center
Member, Institute for Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism
Member, Institute for Regenerative Medicine
Member, Institute for Medicine and Engineering
Director, Penn Pancreatic Cancer Research Center (PCRC)
Investigator, Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute (AFCRI)
Department: Medicine
Graduate Group Affiliations

Contact information
Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute
Division of Gastroenterology
Department of Medicine
University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine
512 Biomedical Research Bldg II/III (Office)
527 Biomedical Research Bldg II/III (Lab)
421 Curie Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: 215-746-5560
Fax: 215-573-2486
SB (Life Sciences)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1988.
MD (Medicine)
Harvard Medical School, 1997.
PhD (Genetics)
Harvard Medical School, 1997.
Post-Graduate Training
Intern and Resident in Internal Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, CA, 1997-1999.
Research and Clinical Fellow in Gastroenterology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA Fellowship Director: Daniel Podolsky, MD, 1999-2003.
Research Fellow in Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA Laboratory of Douglas Melton, PhD, 2000-2006.
American Board of Internal Medicine - Internal Medicine (Inactive), 2000.
American Board of Internal Medicine - Gastroenterology (Active), 2003.
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Description of Research Expertise

Research Interests

Cellular Plasticity
Pancreatic Cancer
Tumor Immunology

Key words: Metastasis, Pancreatic Cancer, Tumor Immunology, Cell Plasticity

Description of Research
Pancreas Cancer
Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is poised to become the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. This poor outcome is attributable to two facts: (1) pancreatic cancers metastasize early, before clinical detection, and (2) current anti-cancer therapies are inadequate. Our laboratory tackles these problems by understanding how tumors metastasize and identifying vulnerabilities that will lead to better therapies. Our efforts include studies of the tumor microenvironment (including the immune microenvironment), metabolism, cellular plasticity and metastasis biology. We rely on genetically engineered mice that recapitulate salient features of the human disease, functional genomics, epigenetics, and in vitro culture methods that recapitulate the unique microenvironment of the tumor. In addition, we maintain a strong interest in liver plasticity and the pathogenesis of type I diabetes.

Rotation Projects
Rotation projects may be available based upon applicant interest. Please contact Dr. Stanger directly to discuss potential projects.

Lab personnel:
Ben Stanger, MD, PhD - Principal Investigator
Chenghua Yang, MA - Research Specialist, Lab Manager
Will Vostrejs - Research Specialist
Austin Good, MD PhD - Postdoctoral Researcher
Samantha Kemp, PhD - Postdoctoral Researcher
Il-Kyu Kim, PhD - Postdoctoral Researcher
Feiyan Mo, PhD - Postdoctoral Research
Minh Than, MD PhD - Postdoctoral Researcher
Erin Hollander - Graduate Student
Benjamin Kahn – Graduate Student
Jayne McDevitt - Graduate Student
Margo Orlen - Graduate Student
Jane Xie - Graduate Student
Cody Eskandarian - Penn Undergraduate
Rosemary Flock - Penn Undergraduate

Executive Administrator:
Fran Tucker

Selected Publications

Katsuda T, Sussman JH, Ito K, Katznelson A, Yuan S, Takenaka N, Li J, Merrell AJ, Cure H, Li Q, Rasool RU, Asangani IA, Zaret KS, Stanger BZ: Cellular reprogramming in vivo initiated by SOX4 pioneer factor activity. Nat Commun 15(1): 1761, Feb 2024.

Kim I-K, Diamond MS, Yuan S, Kemp SB, Kahn BM, Li Q, Lin JH, Li J, Norgard RJ, Thomas SK, Merolle M, Katsuda T, Tobias JW, Baslan T, Politi K, Vonderheide RH, Stanger BZ: Plasticity-induced repression of Irf6 underlies acquired resistance to cancer immunotherapy in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Nat Commun 15(1): 1532, Feb 2024.

Kemp SB, Cheng N, Markosyan N, Sor R, Kim I-K, Hallin J, Shoush J, Quinones L, Brown NV, Bassett JB, Joshi N, Yuan S, Smith M, Vostrejs WP, Perez-Vale KZ, Kahn B, Mo F, Donahue TR, Radu CG, Clendenin C, Christensen JG, Vonderheide RH, Stanger BZ: Efficacy of a small molecule inhibitor of KrasG12D in immunocompetent models of pancreatic cancer. Cancer Discov 13(2): 298-311, Feb 2023.

Maddipati R, Norgard RJ, Baslan T, Rathi KS, Zhang A, Saeid A, Higashihara T, Wu F, Kumar A, Annamalai V, Bhattacharya S, Raman P, Adkisson CA, Pitarresi JR, Wengyn MD, Yamazoe T, Millstein ID, Bermeo J, Carpenter EL, McAuliffe, Oktay MH, Brekken RA, Lowe SW, lacobuzio-Donahue CA, Notta F, Stanger BZ.: MYC levels regulate metastatic heterogeneity in pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Cancer Discov 12(2): 542-561, Feb 2022.

Sela Y, Li J, Maheswaran S, Norgard RJ, Yuan S, Hubbi ME, Doepner M, Xu JP, Ho ES, Mesaros C, Sheehan C, Croley G, Muir A, Blair IA, Shalem O, Dang CV, Stanger BZ: Bcl-xL enforces a slow-cycling state necessary for survival in the nutrient-deprived microenvironment of pancreatic cancer. Cancer Res 82(10): 1890-1908, May 2022.

Li J, Yuan S, Norgard RJ, Yan F, Sun YH, Kim IK, Merrell AJ, Sela Y, Jiang Y, Bhanu NV, Garcia BA, Vonderheide RH, Blanco A, Stanger BZ.: Epigenetic and Transcriptional Control of the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Regulates the Tumor Immune Microenvironment in Pancreatic Cancer. Cancer Discov. 11(3): 736-753, Mar 2021.

Kahn BM, Lucas A, Alur RG, Wengyn MD, Schwartz GW, Li J, Sun K, Maurer HC, Olive KP, Faryabi RB, Stanger BZ.: The vascular landscape of human cancer. J Clin Invest. 131(2): e136655, Jan 2021.

Li J, Stanger BZ: The tumor as organizer model. Science 363(6431): 1038-1039, Mar 2019.

Ben Stanger: From One Cell: A Journey into Life's Origins and the Future of Medicine. W.W. Norton Aug 2023.

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Last updated: 07/10/2024
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