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

Research Summary

Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) is a bioactive lipid that plays important roles in development, vascular biology, immune cell trafficking, carcinogenesis and other physiological processes. S1P mediates its actions primarily by signaling through a family of G protein-coupled receptors. Our research group is investigating the role of S1P metabolism and signaling in development and disease using cellular and animal models, translational approaches and metabolomics profiling. Our recent findings demonstrate that defects in S1P metabolism underlie a novel childhood syndrome characterized by defects of kidney, adrenal gland, neurological system, skin and immune system.

Education

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. Zhao P, Aguilar AE, Lee JY, Paul LA, Suh JH, Puri L, Zhang M, Beckstead J, Witkowski A, Ryan RO, Saba JD. Correction to: Sphingadienes show therapeutic efficacy in neuroblastoma in vitro and in vivo by targeting the AKT signaling pathway. Invest New Drugs. 2019 Apr 29.
    View on PubMed
  2. Saba JD. Fifty years of lyase and a moment of truth: sphingosine phosphate lyase from discovery to disease. J Lipid Res. 2019 Mar; 60(3):456-463.
    View on PubMed
  3. Choi YJ, Saba JD. Sphingosine phosphate lyase insufficiency syndrome (SPLIS): A novel inborn error of sphingolipid metabolism. Adv Biol Regul. 2019 Jan; 71:128-140.
    View on PubMed
  4. Saba J, Turati J, Ramírez D, Carniglia L, Durand D, Lasaga M, Caruso C. Astrocyte truncated tropomyosin receptor kinase B mediates brain-derived neurotrophic factor anti-apoptotic effect leading to neuroprotection. J Neurochem. 2018 09; 146(6):686-702.
    View on PubMed
  5. Suh JH, Degagné É, Gleghorn EE, Setty M, Rodriguez A, Park KT, Verstraete SG, Heyman MB, Patel AS, Irek M, Gildengorin GL, Hubbard NE, Borowsky AD, Saba JD. Sphingosine-1-Phosphate Signaling and Metabolism Gene Signature in Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Matched-case Control Pilot Study. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2018 05 18; 24(6):1321-1334.
    View on PubMed
  6. Zhao P, Aguilar AE, Lee JY, Paul LA, Suh JH, Puri L, Zhang M, Beckstead J, Witkowski A, Ryan RO, Saba JD. Sphingadienes show therapeutic efficacy in neuroblastoma in vitro and in vivo by targeting the AKT signaling pathway. Invest New Drugs. 2018 10; 36(5):743-754.
    View on PubMed
  7. Ashok Kumar, Julie D. Saba. Sphingosine-1-Phosphate. Encyclopedia of Signaling Molecules. 2018 Jan 1; 5128-5137.
    View on PubMed
  8. Saba JD. The low down on sphingosine-1-phosphate lyase as a regulator of thymic egress. J Immunol Sci. 2017; 1(1):1-8.
    View on PubMed
  9. Kumar A, Zamora-Pineda J, Degagné E, Saba JD. S1P Lyase Regulation of Thymic Egress and Oncogenic Inflammatory Signaling. Mediators Inflamm. 2017; 2017:7685142.
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  10. Hahn C, Tyka K, Saba JD, Lenzen S, Gurgul-Convey E. Overexpression of sphingosine-1-phosphate lyase protects insulin-secreting cells against cytokine toxicity. J Biol Chem. 2017 12 08; 292(49):20292-20304.
    View on PubMed
  11. Suh JH, Makarova AM, Gomez JM, Paul LA, Saba JD. An LC/MS/MS method for quantitation of chemopreventive sphingadienes in food products and biological samples. J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci. 2017 Sep 01; 1061-1062:292-299.
    View on PubMed
  12. Mitroi DN, Karunakaran I, Gräler M, Saba JD, Ehninger D, Ledesma MD, van Echten-Deckert G. SGPL1 (sphingosine phosphate lyase 1) modulates neuronal autophagy via phosphatidylethanolamine production. Autophagy. 2017 May 04; 13(5):885-899.
    View on PubMed
  13. Saba J, Logan AC. Obinutuzumab-induced serum sickness following salvage therapy for chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Clin Case Rep. 2017 06; 5(6):891-893.
    View on PubMed
  14. Lovric S, Goncalves S, Gee HY, Oskouian B, Srinivas H, Choi WI, Shril S, Ashraf S, Tan W, Rao J, Airik M, Schapiro D, Braun DA, Sadowski CE, Widmeier E, Jobst-Schwan T, Schmidt JM, Girik V, Capitani G, Suh JH, Lachaussée N, Arrondel C, Patat J, Gribouval O, Furlano M, Boyer O, Schmitt A, Vuiblet V, Hashmi S, Wilcken R, Bernier FP, Innes AM, Parboosingh JS, Lamont RE, Midgley JP, Wright N, Majewski J, Zenker M, Schaefer F, Kuss N, Greil J, Giese T, Schwarz K, Catheline V, Schanze D, Franke I, Sznajer Y, Truant AS, Adams B, Désir J, Biemann R, Pei Y, Ars E, Lloberas N, Madrid A, Dharnidharka VR, Connolly AM, Willing MC, Cooper MA, Lifton RP, Simons M, Riezman H, Antignac C, Saba JD, Hildebrandt F. Mutations in sphingosine-1-phosphate lyase cause nephrosis with ichthyosis and adrenal insufficiency. J Clin Invest. 2017 Mar 01; 127(3):912-928.
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  15. Carniglia L, Ramírez D, Durand D, Saba J, Turati J, Caruso C, Scimonelli TN, Lasaga M. Neuropeptides and Microglial Activation in Inflammation, Pain, and Neurodegenerative Diseases. Mediators Inflamm. 2017; 2017:5048616.
    View on PubMed
  16. Mitroi DN, Deutschmann AU, Raucamp M, Karunakaran I, Glebov K, Hans M, Walter J, Saba J, Gräler M, Ehninger D, Sopova E, Shupliakov O, Swandulla D, van Echten-Deckert G. Sphingosine 1-phosphate lyase ablation disrupts presynaptic architecture and function via an ubiquitin- proteasome mediated mechanism. Sci Rep. 2016 11 24; 6:37064.
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  17. Zamora-Pineda J, Kumar A, Suh JH, Zhang M, Saba JD. Dendritic cell sphingosine-1-phosphate lyase regulates thymic egress. J Exp Med. 2016 11 14; 213(12):2773-2791.
    View on PubMed
  18. Ashok Kumar, Julie D. Saba. Sphingosine-1-Phosphate. Encyclopedia of Signaling Molecules. 2016 Jan 1; 1-10.
    View on PubMed
  19. Kumar A, Saba JD. Regulation of Immune Cell Migration by Sphingosine-1-Phosphate. Cell Mol Biol (OMICS). 2015; 61(2).
    View on PubMed
  20. Suh JH, Saba JD. Sphingosine-1-phosphate in inflammatory bowel disease and colitis-associated colon cancer: the fat's in the fire. Transl Cancer Res. 2015 Oct 01; 4(5):469-483.
    View on PubMed

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