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Thea D. Tlsty, PhD


Professor, Department of Pathology and Director of the Center for Translational Research in the Molecular Genetics of Cancer, UCSF; Director for the Program in Cell Cycling and Signaling, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center


Phone: (415) 502-6116 (voice)
Box 0506, UCSF
San Francisco, CA 94143-0506

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University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, B.S., 1973, Zoology
Washington University, St. Louis, MO, Ph.D., 1980, Molecular Biology
Washington University, St. Louis, MO, 1976-1980, Predoctoral Fellow
Stanford University, Stanford, CA, 1981-1984, Postdoctoral Fellow
Stanford University, Stanford, CA, 1984-1985, Senior Research Associate

Professional Experience

  • 1974-1976
    Ph.D. Candidate, Dept. of Pathology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (transferred)
  • 1976-1980
    Pre-doctoral Fellow in Program for Cellular & Molecular Biology, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri (advisor, Dr. M. Lieberman)
  • 1980-1981
    Postdoctoral Fellow in Dept. of Microbiology & Immunology, Washington Univ., St. Louis, MO
  • 1981-1985
    Postdoctoral Fellow/Senior Research Associate in Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, California (advisor, Dr. R.T. Schimke)
  • 1985-1994
    Assistant/Associate Professor of Pathology and Member: UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • 1994-Present
    Professor of Pathology, Director of the Center for Translational Research in the Molecular Genetics of Cancer, Member: UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center – Director for the Program in Cell Cycling and Signaling; Program in Biological Sciences (PIBS); Program in Biomedical Sciences (BMS), University of California at San Francisco, CA

Selected Publications

  1. Wu A, Loutherback K, Lambert G, Estévez-Salmerón L, Tlsty TD, Austin RH, Sturm JC. Cell motility and drug gradients in the emergence of resistance to chemotherapy. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Oct 1; 110(40):16103-8.
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  2. Zhang B, Zhou Y, Lin N, Lowdon RF, Hong C, Nagarajan RP, Cheng JB, Li D, Stevens M, Lee HJ, Xing X, Zhou J, Sundaram V, Elliott G, Gu J, Shi T, Gascard P, Sigaroudinia M, Tlsty TD, Kadlecek T, Weiss A, O'Geen H, Farnham PJ, Maire CL, Ligon KL, Madden PA, Tam A, Moore R, Hirst M, Marra MA, Zhang B, Costello JF, Wang T. Functional DNA methylation differences between tissues, cell types, and across individuals discovered using the M&M algorithm. Genome Res. 2013 Sep; 23(9):1522-40.
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  3. Xie M, Hong C, Zhang B, Lowdon RF, Xing X, Li D, Zhou X, Lee HJ, Maire CL, Ligon KL, Gascard P, Sigaroudinia M, Tlsty TD, Kadlecek T, Weiss A, O'Geen H, Farnham PJ, Madden PA, Mungall AJ, Tam A, Kamoh B, Cho S, Moore R, Hirst M, Marra MA, Costello JF, Wang T. DNA hypomethylation within specific transposable element families associates with tissue-specific enhancer landscape. Nat Genet. 2013 Jul; 45(7):836-41.
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  4. López-Díaz FJ, Gascard P, Balakrishnan SK, Zhao J, Del Rincon SV, Spruck C, Tlsty TD, Emerson BM. Coordinate transcriptional and translational repression of p53 by TGF-ß1 impairs the stress response. Mol Cell. 2013 May 23; 50(4):552-64.
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  5. Roy S, Gascard P, Dumont N, Zhao J, Pan D, Petrie S, Margeta M, Tlsty TD. Rare somatic cells from human breast tissue exhibit extensive lineage plasticity. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Mar 19; 110(12):4598-603.
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  6. Dumont N, Liu B, Defilippis RA, Chang H, Rabban JT, Karnezis AN, Tjoe JA, Marx J, Parvin B, Tlsty TD. Breast fibroblasts modulate early dissemination, tumorigenesis, and metastasis through alteration of extracellular matrix characteristics. Neoplasia. 2013 Mar; 15(3):249-62.
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  7. A physical sciences network characterization of non-tumorigenic and metastatic cells. Sci Rep. 2013; 3:1449.
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  8. Fordyce CA, Patten KT, Fessenden TB, DeFilippis R, Hwang ES, Zhao J, Tlsty TD. Cell-extrinsic consequences of epithelial stress: activation of protumorigenic tissue phenotypes. Breast Cancer Res. 2012; 14(6):R155.
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  9. DeFilippis RA, Tlsty TD. Hello out there...is anybody listening? Cancer Discov. 2012 Dec; 2(12):1084-6.
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  10. Liao D, Estévez-Salmerón L, Tlsty TD. Conceptualizing a tool to optimize therapy based on dynamic heterogeneity. Phys Biol. 2012 Dec; 9(6):065005.
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  11. Liao D, Estévez-Salmerón L, Tlsty TD. Generalized principles of stochasticity can be used to control dynamic heterogeneity. Phys Biol. 2012 Dec; 9(6):065006.
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  12. DeFilippis RA, Chang H, Dumont N, Rabban JT, Chen YY, Fontenay GV, Berman HK, Gauthier ML, Zhao J, Hu D, Marx JJ, Tjoe JA, Ziv E, Febbraio M, Kerlikowske K, Parvin B, Tlsty TD. CD36 repression activates a multicellular stromal program shared by high mammographic density and tumor tissues. Cancer Discov. 2012 Sep; 2(9):826-39.
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  13. Shah SP, Roth A, Goya R, Oloumi A, Ha G, Zhao Y, Turashvili G, Ding J, Tse K, Haffari G, Bashashati A, Prentice LM, Khattra J, Burleigh A, Yap D, Bernard V, McPherson A, Shumansky K, Crisan A, Giuliany R, Heravi-Moussavi A, Rosner J, Lai D, Birol I, Varhol R, Tam A, Dhalla N, Zeng T, Ma K, Chan SK, Griffith M, Moradian A, Cheng SW, Morin GB, Watson P, Gelmon K, Chia S, Chin SF, Curtis C, Rueda OM, Pharoah PD, Damaraju S, Mackey J, Hoon K, Harkins T, Tadigotla V, Sigaroudinia M, Gascard P, Tlsty T, Costello JF, Meyer IM, Eaves CJ, Wasserman WW, Jones S, Huntsman D, Hirst M, Caldas C, Marra MA, Aparicio S. The clonal and mutational evolution spectrum of primary triple-negative breast cancers. Nature. 2012 Jun 21; 486(7403):395-9.
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  14. Radisky DC, Santisteban M, Berman HK, Gauthier ML, Frost MH, Reynolds CA, Vierkant RA, Pankratz VS, Visscher DW, Tlsty TD, Hartmann LC. p16(INK4a) expression and breast cancer risk in women with atypical hyperplasia. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2011 Dec; 4(12):1953-60.
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  15. Tlsty TD. Tissue states provide novel insights into attributes that drive metastasis. Cancer Cell. 2011 Sep 13; 20(3):285-6.
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  16. Lambert G, Estévez-Salmeron L, Oh S, Liao D, Emerson BM, Tlsty TD, Austin RH. An analogy between the evolution of drug resistance in bacterial communities and malignant tissues. Nat Rev Cancer. 2011 May; 11(5):375-82.
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  17. Dvorak HF, Weaver VM, Tlsty TD, Bergers G. Tumor microenvironment and progression. J Surg Oncol. 2011 May 1; 103(6):468-74.
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  18. Tlsty TD. A twist of cell fate. Cell Stem Cell. 2011 Feb 4; 8(2):126-7.
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  19. Kerlikowske K, Molinaro AM, Gauthier ML, Berman HK, Waldman F, Bennington J, Sanchez H, Jimenez C, Stewart K, Chew K, Ljung BM, Tlsty TD. Biomarker expression and risk of subsequent tumors after initial ductal carcinoma in situ diagnosis. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2010 May 5; 102(9):627-37.
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  20. Berman HK, Gauthier ML, Tlsty TD. Premalignant breast neoplasia: a paradigm of interlesional and intralesional molecular heterogeneity and its biological and clinical ramifications. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2010 May; 3(5):579-87.
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