Faculty

Ben Z. Stanger, MD, PhD

faculty photo
Hanna Wise Professor in Cancer Research
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
Education:
SB (Life Sciences)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1988.
MD (Medicine)
Harvard Medical School, 1997.
PhD (Genetics)
Harvard Medical School, 1997.
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Description of Research Expertise

Research Interests

Cellular Plasticity
Pancreatic Cancer
Tumor Immunology
Metastasis

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
Molly Smith - Research Specialist
Will Vostrejs - Research Specialist (June '22)
Jason Pitarresi, PhD - Research Associate
Maimon Hubbi, MD PhD - Postdoctoral Researcher
Takeshi Katsuda, PhD – Postdoctoral Researcher
Samantha Kemp, PhD - Postdoctoral Researcher
Il-Kyu Kim, PhD - Postdoctoral Researcher
Feiyan Mo, PhD - Postdoctoral Research (Aug '22)
Kia Perez-Vale, PhD - Postdoctoral Researcher
Erin Hollander - Graduate Student
Benjamin Kahn – Graduate Student
Natalie Brown - Cheyney Undergraduate
Cody Eskandarian - Penn Undergraduate (June '22)
Rosemary Flock - Penn Undergraduate

Executive Administrator:
Fran Tucker
215-746-5515
ftucker@upenn.edu

Selected Publications

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 Online ahead of print., 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.

Sela Y, Li J, Kuri P, Merrell AJ, Li N, Lengner C, Rompolas P, Stanger BZ.: Dissecting phenotypic transitions in metastatic disease via photoconversion-based isolation. Elife. 10: e63270, Feb 2021.

Norgard RJ, Pitarresi JR, Maddipati R, Aiello-Couzo NM, Balli D, Li J, Yamazoe T, Wengyn MD, Millstein ID, Folkert IW, Rosario-Berrios DN, Kim I-K, Bassett JB, Payne R, Berry CT, Feng X, Sun K, Cioffi M, Chakraborty P, Jolly MK, Gutkind JS, Lyden D, Freedman BD, Foskett JK, Rustgi AK, Stanger BZ.: Calcium signaling induces a partial EMT. EMBO Rep. 22(9): e51872, Sept 2021.

Yuan S, Natesan R, Sanchez-Rivera FJ, Li J, Bhanu NV, Yamazoe T, Lin JH, Merrell AJ, Sela Y, Thomas SK, Jiang Y, Plesset JB, Miller EM, Shi J, Garcia BA, Lowe SW, Asangani IA, Stanger BZ: Global regulation of the histone mark H3K36me2 underlies epithelial plasticity and metastatic progression. Cancer Discov 10(6): 854-871, Jun 2020.

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

Markosyan N, Li J, Sun YH, Richman LP, Lin JH, Yan F, Quinones L, Sela Y, Yamazoe T, Gordon N, Tobias JW, Byrne KT, Rech AJ, FitzGerald GA, Stanger BZ, Vonderheide RH: Tumor cell-intrinsic EPHA2 suppresses anti-tumor immunity by regulating PTGS2 (COX-2). J Clin Invest 130: 3594-3609, Jun 2019.

Aiello NM, Maddipati R, Norgard RJ, Balli D, Li J, Yuan S, Yamazoe T, Black T, Sahmoud A, Furth EE, Bar-Sagi D, Stanger BZ: EMT subtype influences epithelial plasticity and mode of cell migration. Developmental Cell 45(6): 681-695, 2018.

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Last updated: 05/16/2022
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