faculty photo

Ben Z. Stanger, MD, PhD

Hanna Wise Professor in Cancer Research
Department: Medicine

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
Graduate Group Affiliations
SB (Life Sciences)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1988.
PhD (Genetics)
Harvard Medical School, 1997.
MD (Medicine)
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.
Permanent link

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
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
Kia Perez-Vale, PhD - Postdoctoral Researcher
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

Description of Other Expertise

I am the author, most recently, of a book entitled FROM ONE CELL, which tells the incredible story of embryonic development through the eyes of the scientists who shaped our knowledge over the past century. See www.bstanger.com for more information.

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 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.

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.

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Last updated: 08/27/2023
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