Research Summary

I run a translational cancer research program focused on translating our understanding of tyrosine kinase signaling in epithelial cancers into better treatments for patients with cancer. My training and career encompasses both the clinical practice of Medical Oncology and clinical research in Oncology, as well as leading a scientific laboratory research program. This hybrid clinical-scientific involvement gives me the exposure, knowledge base, and insights required for the optimal pursuit of translational cancer research. I pursue clinically relevant scientific questions at the bench, and I translate our scientific discoveries into clinical trials. I have a track record of several clinical trials emerging directly from our laboratory discoveries. My role as co-chair of the early phase clinical trials unit puts me at the front lines of clinical drug development, aware of the challenges, early results, and pipelines.

A major focus of my research program has been on the oncogene HER2. I believe that HER2-amplified cancer should be a curable disease even in advanced stage, and my research program is focused on the pursuit of this mission. This endeavor requires the full spectrum of disciplines including the most basic structure and structure-function studies, to cell signaling and network topology, to tumor biology, mouse models and mouse prelicinical studies, to early phase clinical trials. Our work is greatly enhanced by the highly collaborative environment within which I work, with close collaborations with structural biologists including John Kuriyan and Natalia Jura, with the small-molecule discovery groups of Jim Wells, Michelle Arkin, and Adam Renslo, with investigators in Chemical Biology and Biochemistry & Biophysics including Kevan Shokat, Jack Taunton, and David Agard. I have a track record of assembling multi-disciplinary teams to focus on our disease-oriented mission of HER2-amplified cancer. This has included a Susan G. Komen for the Cure Promise Grant scientific project, a California Breast Cancer Research Program Translational Research Award project, and an AACR-BCRF Translational Breast Cancer Research project.

Research Funding

  • April 10, 2017 - October 9, 2018 - Development of first-in-class HER3 inhibitors, PI, with coPI Jack Taunton. Sponsor: UCSF Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute Catalyst, Sponsor Award ID: 000000
  • July 1, 2006 - May 31, 2018 - Understanding resistance in the HER2-HER3 tumor drive, PI. Sponsor: NIH/NCI, Sponsor Award ID: R01CA122216
  • September 30, 2004 - February 28, 2015 - Model-based predictions of responses to RTK pathway therapies, PI on sub-project. Sponsor: National Institutes of Health, Sponsor Award ID: U54 CA112970
  • September 30, 2004 - February 28, 2015 - Model-based predictions of responses to RTK pathway therapies, Co-investigator. Sponsor: NIH/NCI, Sponsor Award ID: U54 CA112970


University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, B.A., 1984
Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, M.D., 1988
The New York Hospital - Cornell Medical Center, New York, NY, 1988-1991, Internal Medicine (Residency)
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, 1991-1996, Medical Oncology (Fellowship)

Honors & Awards

  • 1984
    Phi Beta Kappa
  • 1992-1993
    Clinical and Molecular Cancer Research Training Fellowship Award
  • 1994
    American Society for Clinical Oncology Young Investigator Award (declined)
  • 1993-1995
    Charles A. Dana Fellowship Award
  • 1993-1995
    Clinical Scholars Award, Biomedical Research Training Program, Sloan-Kettering Institute
  • 1995-1996
    Ethel Abbott Fellowship Award
  • 1997-1999
    Byrne Fund Award
  • 1997-2000
    American Society for Clinical Oncology Career Development Award
  • 2002-2006
    American Cancer Society Research Scholar
  • 2005-2007
    Susan Komen Breast Cancer Research Foundation Award
  • 2005-2006
    California Breast Cancer Research Program Award
  • 2008
    Elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation

Selected Publications

  1. Ruiz-Saenz A, Zahedi F, Peterson E, Yoo A, Dreyer CA, Spassov DS, Oses-Prieto J, Burlingame A, Moasser MM Proteomic Analysis of Src Family Kinase Phosphorylation States in Cancer Cells Suggests Deregulation of the Unique Domain.  View on PubMed
  2. Kazemi S, Kawaguchi S, Badr CE, Mattos DR, Ruiz-Saenz A, Serrill JD, Moasser MM, Dolan BP, Paavilainen VO, Oishi S, McPhail KL, Ishmael JE Targeting of HER/ErbB family proteins using broad spectrum Sec61 inhibitors coibamide A and apratoxin A.  View on PubMed
  3. Abdel Aziz MH, Fan Y, Liu L, Moasser MM, Fu H, Jura N, Arkin MR Expression and purification of active human kinases using Pichia pastoris as a general-purpose host.  View on PubMed
  4. Terranova-Barberio M, Pawlowska N, Dhawan M, Moasser M, Chien AJ, Melisko ME, Rugo H, Rahimi R, Deal T, Daud A, Rosenblum MD, Thomas S, Munster PN Exhausted T cell signature predicts immunotherapy response in ER-positive breast cancer.  View on PubMed
  5. Wu CH, Yang CY, Wang L, Gao HX, Rakhshandehroo T, Afghani S, Pincus L, Balassanian R, Rubenstein J, Gill R, Bandyopadhyay S, McCormick F, Moasser M, Ai WZ Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma PDX Drug Screening Platform Identifies Cooperation between Inhibitions of PI3Ka/d and HDAC.  View on PubMed
  6. Kumar R, George B, Campbell MR, Verma N, Paul AM, Melo-Alvim C, Ribeiro L, Pillai MR, da Costa LM, Moasser MM HER family in cancer progression: From discovery to 2020 and beyond.  View on PubMed
  7. Coppé JP, Mori M, Pan B, Yau C, Wolf DM, Ruiz-Saenz A, Brunen D, Prahallad A, Cornelissen-Steijger P, Kemper K, Posch C, Wang C, Dreyer CA, Krijgsman O, Lee PRE, Chen Z, Peeper DS, Moasser MM, Bernards R, van 't Veer LJ Mapping phospho-catalytic dependencies of therapy-resistant tumours reveals actionable vulnerabilities.  View on PubMed
  8. Spassov DS, Ruiz-Saenz A, Piple A, Moasser MM A Dimerization Function in the Intrinsically Disordered N-Terminal Region of Src.  View on PubMed
  9. Ruiz-Saenz A, Dreyer C, Campbell MR, Steri V, Gulizia N, Moasser MM HER2 Amplification in Tumors Activates PI3K/Akt Signaling Independent of HER3.  View on PubMed
  10. Pollan SG, Huang F, Sperger JM, Lang JM, Morrissey C, Cress AE, Chu CY, Bhowmick NA, You S, Freeman MR, Spassov DS, Moasser MM, Carter WG, Satapathy SR, Shah K, Knudsen BS Regulation of inside-out ß1-integrin activation by CDCP1.  View on PubMed
  11. Ruiz-Saenz A, Moasser MM Targeting HER2 by Combination Therapies.  View on PubMed
  12. Dhawan MS, Bartelink IH, Aggarwal RR, Leng J, Zhang JZ, Pawlowska N, Terranova-Barberio M, Grabowsky JA, Gewitz A, Chien AJ, Moasser M, Kelley RK, Maktabi T, Thomas S, Munster PN Differential Toxicity in Patients with and without DNA Repair Mutations: Phase I Study of Carboplatin and Talazoparib in Advanced Solid Tumors.  View on PubMed
  13. Enyindah-Asonye G, Li Y, Ruth JH, Spassov DS, Hebron KE, Zijlstra A, Moasser MM, Wang B, Singer NG, Cui H, Ohara RA, Rasmussen SM, Fox DA, Lin F CD318 is a ligand for CD6.  View on PubMed
  14. Littlefield P, Moasser MM, Jura N Retraction Notice to: An ATP-Competitive Inhibitor Modulates the Allosteric Function of the HER3 Pseudokinase.  View on PubMed
  15. Chien AJ, Cockerill A, Fancourt C, Schmidt E, Moasser MM, Rugo HS, Melisko ME, Ko AH, Kelley RK, Korn WM, Esserman LJ, van't Veer L, Yau C, Wolf DM, Munster PN A phase 1b study of the Akt-inhibitor MK-2206 in combination with weekly paclitaxel and trastuzumab in patients with advanced HER2-amplified solid tumor malignancies.  View on PubMed
  16. Campbell MR, Zhang H, Ziaee S, Ruiz-Saenz A, Gulizia N, Oeffinger J, Amin DN, Ahuja D, Moasser MM, Park CC Effective treatment of HER2-amplified breast cancer by targeting HER3 and ß1 integrin.  View on PubMed
  17. Amin DN, Ruiz-Saenz A, Gulizia N, Moasser MM Chemical probing of HER2-amplified cancer cells identifies TORC2 as a particularly effective secondary target for combination with lapatinib.  View on PubMed
  18. Moasser MM, Krop IE The Evolving Landscape of HER2 Targeting in Breast Cancer.  View on PubMed
  19. Amin DN, Ahuja D, Yaswen P, Moasser MM A TORC2-Akt Feed-Forward Topology Underlies HER3 Resiliency in HER2-Amplified Cancers.  View on PubMed
  20. Chang YH, Korkola J, Amin DN, Moasser MM, Carmena JM, Gray JW, Tomlin CJ Disentangling multidimensional spatio-temporal data into their common and aberrant responses.  View on PubMed

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