University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Ortiz Lab

Ortiz Lab, UCSF
Research Program | Publications | Lab Members | Support | Contact Info


Contact Info:

Ortiz Lab
2340 Sutter Street, N461
San Francisco, CA 94115
Dr. Susana Ortiz, MD, PhD, MBA
(415) 353-9900 (Clinic appointment)
Ernesto Llamado, Lab Operations
(415) 514-9769 (Office)
(415) 476-8733 (Fax)

Clinic Info:

How to get an appointment:

For Cutaneous melanoma, call (415) 353-9900 (Call Center) or (415) 353-7817 (Aisling Oflynn) and book a new patient appointment.  If you have access problems to our system via phone, email Aisling Oflynn:

For Metastatic melanoma, call (415) 353-9900 (Call Center). Any problems please call or email directly our assistants: Sarah Rankin 415 353 9922 ( or Emily Mooney: 415 353-7022 (

For faxing records, our fax number is (415) 353-7893

If you don’t hear from us within 24 hours, email the doctors directly:
Dr. Susana Ortiz:, (650) 224-8265 or Dr. Adil Daud:

Related links:



Melanoma Research Discretionary Fund
Unrestricted gifts of any size allow Dr. Ortiz-Urda to explore novel projects.

Melanoma Postdoctoral Training Program: $60,000 - $1M. The purpose of a postdoctoral fellowship is to conduct research in melanoma genetics and epigenetics. Postdoctoral fellows are scientists dedicated to perform basic and translational research in the lab.

Endowed Chair: $1M
Among UCSF’s highest faculty honors, endowed chairs enable the University to make permanent, substantial commitment to Dr. Ortiz-Urda and her research. Reserved for leaders in their fields, endowed chairs signify UCSF’s belief in a faculty member’s past contributions and future promise.

Click to donate online
For more information on supporting Melanoma at UCSF, please contact Darrell Young at or 415/502-8389.


Susana Ortiz-Urda, MD, PhD, MBA  [ Full Biosketch ]
Dr. Susana Ortiz-Urda, MD, PhD, MBA, co-director of the UCSF Melanoma Center, treats patients with early and advanced melanoma. Her lab has a broad expertise in human models of epithelial neoplasia and melanoma. She studies in depth cancer signaling to identify novel transcripts, their functions and the factors that promote resistance to drugs and/or cancer progression via transcriptome (RNA-Seq) to capture the implicated coding and non-coding elements in this process. These findings might serve as key biomarkers and/or new targets for therapeutics in melanoma.

Dr. Ortiz-Urda earned a medical degree and doctorate at the University of Vienna in Austria. She completed a residency in dermatology and a postdoctoral fellowship in epithelial biology, both at Stanford University, followed by a cutaneous oncology fellowship in dermatology at UCSF and an MBA at NYU. She is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, Austrian Society of Dermatology and Venerology, and Dermatology Foundation. Dr. Ortiz-Urda has received several awards, including the Kardinal-Innitzer Award for Outstanding Science in Dermatology and the Unilever Award from the Austrian Society for Dermatology and Venerology. She is an assistant professor of dermatology at UCSF.


Research Program

The Ortiz lab is interested in the study of the functions of promoter and intronic sequences of melanoma related genes. Our lab studies the mechanisms of cancer progression and the resistance mechanisms to drugs. In addition, Ortiz’s lab uses novel nanotechnology approaches to detect mutations and to deliver specific drugs to the cells of interest.

Cancer progression models

To study cancer progression, the Ortiz lab uses epithelial tissue and organotypic constructs as a model system. The latter encompass human skin regenerated on immune-deficient mice. Grafts can express different combination of genes allowing this the elucidation of factors that stimulate tumor progression. Furthermore, the Ortiz lab uses laser micro-dissection to study single cell genetics.

Integration of genomic datasets and biomarker discovery
In order to elucidate mechanisms of resistance to targeted therapeutics the Ortiz lab analyzes resistance melanoma cell lines at the level of genome and transcriptome.

The ability to characterize tumors by genome analysis represent a key step in the development of personalized cancer medicine. This analysis has revealed transcriptomic signatures reflecting key oncogenic pathways associated with tumor progression providing high quality material to explore the complexity and heterogeneity of drug resistance. This technology is crucial to identify predictive biomarkers.

SAM analysis identifies receptor tyrosine kinase(RTK) pathway genes related to PLX resistance.

Molecular Therapeutics

Nano particles
A new technology relying on gold nanoparticles (GoldNPs) modified with distinc molecular beacons enables to detect single point mutations. Moreover GoldNPs are modified with oligonucleotides and aptamers resulting in molecules that can target specifically tumor target cells with minimal toxicity.


Selected Peer Reviewed Publications

  1. Bauer JW, Ortiz-Urda S, Hengstschläger M, Pulkinnen L, Uitto J, Hintner H, Rappersberger K. Prenatal diagnosis of recessive hereditary dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa with haplotype analysis of the type VII collagen gene. Hautarzt 50: 121-126, 1999.
  2. Schaeppi H, Bauer JW, Hametner R, Metze D, Ortiz-Urda S, Salmhofer W, Rappersberger K, Hintner H. A localized variant of paraneoplastic pemphigus: acantholysis associated with malignant melanoma. Br J Dermatol. 2001 Jun; 144(6):1249-54. PMID: 11422052
  3. Schmuth M, Yosipovitch G, Williams ML, Weber F, Hintner H, Ortiz-Urda S, Rappersberger K, Crumrine D, Feingold KR, Elias PM. Pathogenesis of the permeability barrier abnormality in epidermolytic hyperkeratosis. J Invest Dermatol. 2001 Oct; 117(4):837-47. PMID: 11676820
  4. Ortiz-Urda S, Thyagarajan B, Keene DR, Lin Q, Fang M, Calos MP, Khavari PA. Stable nonviral genetic correction of inherited human skin disease. Nat Med. 2002 Oct; 8(10):1166-70. PMID: 12244305
  5. Ortiz-Urda S, Lin Q, Green CL, Keene DR, Marinkovich MP, Khavari PA. Injection of genetically engineered fibroblasts corrects regenerated human epidermolysis bullosa skin tissue. J Clin Invest. 2003 Jan; 111(2):251-5. PMID: 12531881
  6. Ortiz-Urda S, Rappersberger K. [New immunosuppressive agents for treating psoriasis]. Hautarzt. 2003 Mar; 54(3):230-6. PMID: 12634991
  7. Ortiz-Urda S, Thyagarajan B, Keene DR, Lin Q, Calos MP, Khavari PA. PhiC31 integrase-mediated nonviral genetic correction of junctional epidermolysis bullosa. Hum Gene Ther. 2003 Jun 10; 14(9):923-8. PMID: 12828862
  8. Ortiz-Urda S, Lin Q, Yant SR, Keene D, Kay MA, Khavari PA. Sustainable correction of junctional epidermolysis bullosa via transposon-mediated nonviral gene transfer. Gene Ther. 2003 Jul; 10(13):1099-104. PMID: 12808440
  9. Ortiz-Urda S, Elbe-Bürger A, Smolle J, Marquart Y, Chudnovsky Y, Ridky TW, Bernstein P, Wolff K, Rappersberger K. The plant lectin wheat germ agglutinin inhibits the binding of pemphigus foliaceus autoantibodies to desmoglein 1 in a majority of patients and prevents pathomechanisms of pemphigus foliaceus in vitro and in vivo. J Immunol. 2003 Dec 1; 171(11):6244-50. PMID: 14634141
  10. Valencak J, Ortiz-Urda S, Heere-Ress E, Kunstfeld R, Base W. Carbamazepine-induced DRESS syndrome with recurrent fever and exanthema. Int J Dermatol. 2004 Jan; 43(1):51-4. PMID: 14693022
  11. Marker M, Ortiz-Urda S, Lilgenau N, Rappersberger K. [Erythema induratum-nodular vasculitis]. J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. 2004 Mar; 2(3):206-14; quiz 215. PMID: 16281639
  12. Ortiz-Urda S, Garcia J, Green CL, Chen L, Lin Q, Veitch DP, Sakai LY, Lee H, Marinkovich MP, Khavari PA. Type VII collagen is required for Ras-driven human epidermal tumorigenesis. Science. 2005 Mar 18; 307(5716):1773-6. PMID: 15774758
  13. Waterman EA, Sakai N, Nguyen NT, Horst BA, Veitch DP, Dey CN, Ortiz-Urda S, Khavari PA, Marinkovich MP. A laminin-collagen complex drives human epidermal carcinogenesis through phosphoinositol-3-kinase activation. Cancer Res. 2007 May 1; 67(9):4264-70. PMCID: PMC3593920
  14. Reuter JA, Ortiz-Urda S, Kretz M, Garcia J, Scholl FA, Pasmooij AM, Cassarino D, Chang HY, Khavari PA. Modeling inducible human tissue neoplasia identifies an extracellular matrix interaction network involved in cancer progression. Cancer Cell. 2009 Jun 2; 15(6):477-88. PMCID: PMC3050547
  15. Chong K, Daud A, Ortiz-Urda S, Arron ST. Cutting edge in medical management of cutaneous oncology. Semin Cutan Med Surg. 2012 Jun; 31(2):140-9. PMID: 22640435. PMCID: PMC3367308
  16. Posch C, Moslehi H, Feeney L, Green GA, Ebaee A, Feichtenschlager V, Chong K, Peng L, Dimon MT, Phillips T, Daud AI, McCalmont TH, Leboit PE, Ortiz-Urda S. Combined targeting of MEK and PI3K/mTOR effector pathways is necessary to effectively inhibit NRAS mutant melanoma in vitro and in vivo. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Mar 5; 110(10):4015-20. PMID: 23431193
  17. Posch C, Ortiz-Urda S. NRAS mutant melanoma--undrugable? Oncotarget. 2013 Apr; 4(4):494-5. PMID: 23660168. PMCID: PMC3720596
  18. Posch C, Pinney E, Ortiz-Urda S, Montes-Camacho M, Naughton GK. Human Multipotent Stem Cell Proteins Induce Apoptosis in Skin Cancer Cells. Journal of Cancer Therapy. 2013 July 4.
  19. Posch C, Weihsengruber F, Bartsch K, Feichtenschlager V, Sanlorenzo M, Vujic I, Monshi B, Ortiz-Urda S, Rappersberger K. Low-dose inhalation of interleukin-2 bio-chemotherapy for the treatment of pulmonary metastases in melanoma patients. Br J Cancer. 2014 Mar 18; 110(6):1427-32. PMID: 24518593. PMCID: PMC3960625
  20. Sanlorenzo M, Vujic I, Posch C, Dajee A, Yen A, Kim S, Ashworth M, Rosenblum MD, Algazi A, Osella-Abate S, Quaglino P, Daud A, Ortiz-Urda S. Melanoma immunotherapy. Cancer Biol Ther. 2014 Jun 1; 15(6):665-74. PMID: 24651672. PMCID: PMC4049781
  21. Latorre A, Posch C, Garcimartín Y, Ortiz-Urda S, Somoza Á. Single-point mutation detection in RNA extracts using gold nanoparticles modified with hydrophobic molecular beacon-like structures. Chem Commun (Camb). 2014 Mar 21; 50(23):3018-20. PMID: 24496380. PMCID: PMC4339280
  22. Latorre A, Posch C, Garcimartín Y, Celli A, Sanlorenzo M, Vujic I, Ma J, Zekhtser M, Rappersberger K, Ortiz-Urda S, Somoza Á. DNA and aptamer stabilized gold nanoparticles for targeted delivery of anticancer therapeutics. Nanoscale. 2014 Jul 7; 6(13):7436-42. PMID: 24882040
  23. Curl P, Vujic I, van 't Veer LJ, Ortiz-Urda S, Kahn JG. Cost-effectiveness of treatment strategies for BRAF-mutated metastatic melanoma. PLoS One. 2014; 9(9):e107255. PMID: 25198196. PMCID: PMC4157865
  24. Vujic I, Posch C, Sanlorenzo M, Yen AJ, Tsumura A, Kwong A, Feichtenschlager V, Lai K, Arneson DV, Rappersberger K, Ortiz-Urda SM. Mutant NRASQ61 shares signaling similarities across various cancer types--potential implications for future therapies. Oncotarget. 2014 Sep 15; 5(17):7936-44. PMID: 25277205. PMCID: PMC4202171
  25. Sanlorenzo M, Choudhry A, Vujic I, Posch C, Chong K, Johnston K, Meier M, Osella-Abate S, Quaglino P, Daud A, Algazi A, Rappersberger K, Ortiz-Urda S. Comparative profile of cutaneous adverse events: BRAF/MEK inhibitor combination therapy versus BRAF monotherapy in melanoma. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014 Dec; 71(6):1102-1109.e1. PMID: 25440439. PMCID: PMC4254519
  26. Vujic I, Shroff A, Grzelka M, Posch C, Monshi B, Sanlorenzo M, Ortiz-Urda S, Rappersberger K. Mycoplasma pneumoniae-associated mucositis--case report and systematic review of literature. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2015 Mar; 29(3):595-8. PMID: 24665876
  27. Sanlorenzo M, Wehner MR, Linos E, Kornak J, Kainz W, Posch C, Vujic I, Johnston K, Gho D, Monico G, McGrath JT, Osella-Abate S, Quaglino P, Cleaver JE, Ortiz-Urda S. The Risk of Melanoma in Airline Pilots and Cabin Crew: A Meta-analysis. JAMA Dermatol. 2015 Jan 1; 151(1):51-8. PMID: 25188246. PMCID: PMC4482339
  28. Curl P, Vujic I, van 't Veer LJ, Ortiz-Urda S, Kahn JG. Correction: Cost-Effectiveness of Treatment Strategies for BRAF-Mutated Metastatic Melanoma. PLoS One. 2015; 10(4):e0126988. PMID: 25893993. PMCID: PMC4404367
  29. Vujic I, Sanlorenzo M, Posch C, Esteve-Puig R, Yen AJ, Kwong A, Tsumura A, Murphy R, Rappersberger K, Ortiz-Urda S. Metformin and trametinib have synergistic effects on cell viability and tumor growth in NRAS mutant cancer. Oncotarget. 2015 Jan 20; 6(2):969-78. PMID: 25504439. PMCID: PMC4359268
  30. Posch C, Latorre A, Crosby MB, Celli A, Latorre A, Vujic I, Sanlorenzo M, Green GA, Weier J, Zekhtser M, Ma J, Monico G, Char DH, Jusufbegovic D, Rappersberger K, Somoza Á, Ortiz-Urda S. Detection of GNAQ mutations and reduction of cell viability in uveal melanoma cells with functionalized gold nanoparticles. Biomed Microdevices. 2015 Feb; 17(1):9908. PMID: 25653058
  31. Dillon AB, Lin K, Kwong A, Ortiz S. Immunotherapy in Melanoma, Gastrointestinal (GI), and Pulmonary Malignancies. Aims Public Health. 2015 March. Volume 2, Issue 1, 86-115 (PMC In process)
  32. Vujic I, Marker M, Posch C, Mühlehner D, Monshi B, Breier F, Steiner A, Ortiz-Urda S, Rappersberger K. Merkel cell carcinoma: mitoses, expression of Ki-67 and bcl-2 correlate with disease progression. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2015 Mar; 29(3):542-8. PMID: 25088273
  33. Sanlorenzo M, Vujic I, Posch C, Cleaver JE, Quaglino P, Ortiz-Urda S. The Risk of Melanoma in Pilots and Cabin Crew: UV Measurements in Flying Airplanes. JAMA Dermatol. 2015 Apr 1; 151(4):450-2. PMID: 25517516. PMCID: PMC4476387
  34. Algazi AP, Cha E, Ortiz-Urda SM, McCalmont T, Bastian BC, Hwang J, Pampaloni MH, Behr S, Chong K, Cortez B, Quiroz A, Coakley F, Liu S, Daud AI. The combination of axitinib followed by paclitaxel/carboplatin yields extended survival in advanced BRAF wild-type melanoma: results of a clinical/correlative prospective phase II clinical trial. Br J Cancer. 2015 Apr 14; 112(8):1326-31. PMID: 25867272. PMCID: PMC4402449
  35. Sanlorenzo M, Vujic I, Daud A, Algazi A, Gubens M, Luna SA. Ortiz-Urda S. Pembrolizumab treatment: cutaneous adverse events and correlation with disease progression. JAMA Derm. 2015 May. (PMC in process).
  36. Posch C, Cholewa BD, Vujic I, Sanlorenzo M, Ma J, Kim ST, Kleffel S, Schatton T, Rappersberger K, Gutteridge R, Ahmad N, Ortiz-Urda S. Combined Inhibition of MEK and Plk1 has Synergistic Anti-Tumor Activity in NRAS Mutant Melanoma. J Invest Dermatol. 2015 May 27. PMID: 26016894. PMCID: PMC4567913
  37. Goldenberg A, Vujic I, Sanlorenzo M, Ortiz-Urda S. Melanoma risk perception and prevention behavior among African-Americans: the minority melanoma paradox. Dovepress. 2015 August. 2015:8. 423—429.
  38. Vujic I, Sanlorenzo M, Esteve-Puig R, Vujic M, Kwong AT, Tsumura A, Murphy RM, Moy AT, Posch C, Monshi, B, Rappersberger K, Ortiz-Urda S. Acyl protein thioesterase 1 and 2 (APT-1, APT-2) inhibitors palmostatin B, ML348 and ML349 have different effects on NRAS mutant melanoma cells" Oncotarget. 2015 Nov.
  39. Posch C, Vujic I, Monshi B, Sanlorenzo M, Weihsengruber F, Rappersberger K, Ortiz-Urda S. Searching for the chokehold of NRAS mutant melanoma - Vertical inhibition, horizontal inhibition and immunotherapy. JID advance online publication.
  40. Vujic I, Sanlorenzo M, Esteve-Puig R, Vujic M, Kwong A, Tsumura A, Murphy RM, Moy A, Posch C, Monshi B, Rappersberger K, Ortiz-Urda S. Acyl protein thioesterase 1 and 2 (APT-1, APT-2) inhibitors palmostatin B, ML348 and ML349 have different effects on NRAS mutant melanoma cells. Accepted in Oncotarget.
  41. Posch C, Sanlorenzo M, Vujic I, Oses-Prieto JA, Cholewa BD, Kim ST, Ma J, Lai K, Zekhtser M, Esteve-Puig R, Green G, Chand S, Burlingame AL, Rappersberger K, Ortiz-Urda S. Phospho-proteomic analysis reveals increased CK2a kinase activity in NRAS(Q61) mutant melanoma. Under review at JID.
  42. Posch C, Moslehi H, Sanlorenzo M, Green G, Vujic I, Panzer-Grümayer ER, Rappersberger K, Ortiz-Urda S. Imatinib and nilotinib block mutant c-KIT mediated migration of melanocytes and melanoma cells in vitro and in vivo. Under review at Oncotarget.
  43. Sanlorenzo M, Vujic I, Posch C, Ma J, Lin K, Lai K, Oses-Prieto JA, Chand S, Rodriguez-Peralto JL, Burlingame A, Ortiz-Urda S. Oncogenic KIT mutations in different exons lead to specific changes in melanocyte phospho-proteome. Under review at Journal of Proteomics.

Books and Chapters

  1. Abnormal Pigmentation. Posch C, Ortiz-Urda S. In: GEMSoft [electronic media]. Lin M, Chin RL (eds). GEMSoft (General Emergency Medicine Software).Queensland, Australia: Pemsoft Pty Ltd. Accepted for publication 2013
  2. Drug reactions. Posch C, Ortiz-Urda S. In: GEMSoft [electronic media]. Lin M, Chin RL (eds). GEMSoft (General Emergency Medicine Software).Queensland, Australia: Pemsoft Pty Ltd. Accepted for publication, 2013.


  1. U.S. provisional patent application, serial no. 61/933,881 “Detection and Treatment of GNAQ mutant uveal melanoma cells with gold nanoparticles.”
  2. European patent application, serial no. EP14382033.0 “Nanoparticulas Metalicas Funcionalizadas y Usos de Las Mismas Para La Deteccion de Acidos Nucleicos."

Lab Members:

Martina SanlorenzoMartina Sanlorenzo, MD
University of Torino
Igor Vujic, MD
University of Vienna

Rosaura Esteve-Puig, PhD
University of Barcelona

marin vujicMarin Vujic, MD
University of Vienna
kevin laiKevin Lai
BS/Bioengineering, UC Santa Cruz
andrew kwongAndrew Kwong
Medical Student, USC
danny leeDanny Lee
BS/Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, UCLA
Radhika Gulhar
Undergrad/Human Biology, UC San Diego
gregory owGregory Ow
Undergrad, UC Berkeley
kevin wuKevin Wu
Undergrad, UC Berkeley
Wilson HoWilson Ho
BS/Molecular and Cell Biology, UC Berkeley