University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Julie Saba, MD, PhD

Julie Saba, MD, PhD

Associate Adjunct Professor, Department of Pediatrics, UCSF

Cancer Center Program Memberships

Pediatric Malignancies


The Johns Hopkins University, MD, B.S., 05/1981, Natural Sciences
University of Maryland, School of Medicine, MD, M.D., 05/1985, Medicine
The Johns Hopkins University, MD, M.A., 05/1986, Creative Writing
Duke University, NC, Ph.D., 05/1996, Cell Biology

Professional Experience

  • 1986-1989
    Resident, Pediatrics, Duke U. Medical Center, Durham, NC
  • 1989-1993
    Research Fellow, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Duke U. Medical Center, Durham, NC
  • 1993-1995
    Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Duke U. Medical Center, Durham, NC
  • 1996-2000
    Assistant Scientist, Children’s Hospital of Oakland Research Institute (CHORI), Oakland, CA
  • 2000-2004
    Associate Scientist, CHORI, Oakland, CA
  • 2000-2004
    Medical Director, Hematopoietic Stem Cell Laboratory, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center
  • 2005-2007
    Scientist, CHORI, Oakland, CA 2007-present Senior Scientist, CHORI, Oakland, CA
  • 2012-present
    The John and Edna Beck Chair in Pediatric Cancer Research, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital
  • 2013-present
    Associate Adjunct Professor, Department of Pediatrics, UCSF

Honors & Awards

  • 1997
    International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Satellite Symposium on Sphingoglycolipids as Mediators of Molecular Events: Young Investigator Award
  • 2012
    John and Edna Beck Chair in Pediatric Cancer Research
  • 2014
    Women’s History Month Trailblazer in STEM, Alameda County
  • 2014
    STEM Woman of the Year, CA Assembly District 15
  • 2014
    Swim Across America National Pediatric Research Laboratory
  • 2016
    CHORI Lifetime Scientific Achievement Award

Selected Publications

  1. Fishbein WN, Davis JI, Winkert JW, Fishbein JD. Indicator enzyme assays. II. Adenylate kinase: application to human muscle biopsies and blood cells. Biochemical medicine. 1980; 24(2):130-42. PMID: 6257235
  2. Fishbein JD, Friedman HS, Bennett BB, Falletta JM. Catheter-related sepsis refractory to antibiotics treated successfully with adjunctive urokinase infusion. The Pediatric infectious disease journal. 1990; 9(9):676-8. PMID: 2235195
  3. Fishbein J. A piece of my mind. The poetry of medicine.JAMA. 1990; 264(23):2999.PMID: 2243427
  4. Tope WD, Fishbein JD, White PF, Prose NS. Large-cell lymphoma presenting with a distinctive inflammatory dermatosis. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 1991; 25(5 Pt 2):912-5. PMID: 1761769
  5. Fishbein JD, Falletta JM. Pelger-Huet anomaly in an infant with multiple congenital anomalies. American journal of hematology. 1991; 38(3):240-2. PMID: 1951327
  6. Fishbein JD, Bruggers CS, Friedman NJ, Graham ML, Kurtzberg J. A seven-month-old infant with fever and neutrophilic leukocytosis. The Journal of pediatrics. 1992; 120(5):819-24. PMID: 1578323
  7. Fishbein JD, Dobrowsky RT, Bielawska A, Garrett S, Hannun YA. Ceramide-mediated growth inhibition and CAPP are conserved in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The Journal of biological chemistry. 1993; 268(13):9255-61. PMID: 8387486
  8. Saba JD, Obeid LM, Hannun YA. Ceramide: an intracellular mediator of apoptosis and growth suppression. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences. 1996; 351(1336):233-40; discussion 240-1. PMID: 8650271
  9. Saba JD, Nara F, Bielawska A, Garrett S, Hannun YA. The BST1 gene of Saccharomyces cerevisiae is the sphingosine-1-phosphate lyase. The Journal of biological chemistry. 1997; 272(42):26087-90. PMID: 9334171
  10. Zhou J, Saba JD. Identification of the first mammalian sphingosine phosphate lyase gene and its functional expression in yeast. Biochemical and biophysical research communications. 1998; 242(3):502-7. PMID: 9464245
  11. Lanterman MM, Saba JD. Characterization of sphingosine kinase (SK) activity in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and isolation of SK-deficient mutants. The Biochemical journal. 1998; 332 ( Pt 2):525-31. PMID: 9601083 PMCID: PMC1219509
  12. Oskouian B, Saba JD. YAP1 confers resistance to the fatty acid synthase inhibitor cerulenin through the transporter Flr1p in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Molecular & general genetics : MGG. 1999; 261(2):346-53. PMID: 10102370
  13. Gottlieb D, Heideman W, Saba JD. The DPL1 gene is involved in mediating the response to nutrient deprivation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Molecular cell biology research communications : MCBRC. 1999; 1(1):66-71. PMID: 10329480
  14. Fyrst H, Oskouian B, Kuypers FA, Saba JD. The PLB2 gene of Saccharomyces cerevisiae confers resistance to lysophosphatidylcholine and encodes a phospholipase B/lysophospholipase. Biochemistry. 1999; 38(18):5864-71. PMID: 10231538
  15. Mao C, Saba JD, Obeid LM. The dihydrosphingosine-1-phosphate phosphatases of Saccharomyces cerevisiae are important regulators of cell proliferation and heat stress responses. The Biochemical journal. 1999; 342 Pt 3:667-75. PMID: 10477278 PMCID: PMC1220508
  16. Caligan TB, Peters K, Ou J, Wang E, Saba J, Merrill AH Jr. A high-performance liquid chromatographic method to measure sphingosine 1-phosphate and related compounds from sphingosine kinase assays and other biological samples. Analytical biochemistry. 2000; 281(1):36-44. PMID: 10847608
  17. Kim S, Fyrst H, Saba J. Accumulation of phosphorylated sphingoid long chain bases results in cell growth inhibition in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Genetics. 2000; 156(4):1519-29. PMID: 11102354 PMCID: PMC1461366
  18. Birchwood CJ, Saba JD, Dickson RC, Cunningham KW. Calcium influx and signaling in yeast stimulated by intracellular sphingosine 1-phosphate accumulation. The Journal of biological chemistry. 2001; 276(15):11712-8. PMID: 11278643
  19. Reed W, Smith R, Dekovic F, Lee JY, Saba JD, Trachtenberg E, Epstein J, Haaz S, Walters MC, Lubin BH. Comprehensive banking of sibling donor cord blood for children with malignant and nonmalignant disease. Blood. 2003; 101(1):351-7. PMID: 12393579
  20. Herr DR, Fyrst H, Phan V, Heinecke K, Georges R, Harris GL, Saba JD. Sply regulation of sphingolipid signaling molecules is essential for Drosophila development.Development (Cambridge, England). 2003; 130(11):2443-53. PMID: 12702658