Sherine Elsawa

Phone: (603) 862-5359
Office: Molecular, Cellular, & Biomedical Sciences , Rudman Hall Rm 291, Durham, NH 03824
Sherine Elsawa

The long-term goal of our research program is to facilitate the development of novel therapies for cancer patients through a better understanding of the role of the tumor microenvironment in lymphoma.

Despite major therapeutic advances in the treatment of cancer, most malignancies remain incurable. There is compelling evidence to suggest that the crosstalk between malignant cells and stromal cells in the tumor microenvironment favors disease progression by promoting malignant cell functions as well as drug resistance. Therefore, disrupting this interaction between the tumor cells and their microenvironment is an attractive strategy for cancer treatment. As the paradigm in the treatment of cancer shifts toward combining therapies that target both malignant cells and the microenvironment, a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms that regulate the crosstalk between malignant cells and the microenvironment are clearly needed. Cytokines within the tumor microenvironment can profoundly affect tumor cells and targeting cytokines has been shown to have therapeutic efficacy in several neoplasms. Therefore, identification of cytokines that are dysregulated in cancer and understanding the mechanisms of their regulation may serve as a therapeutic avenue for targeted cancer therapy.

Our group is studying the following aspects of the tumor microenvironment (TME) using the bone marrow microenvironment as a model for the B cell lymphoma Waldenström macroglobulinemia (WM):

1. Identification and characterization of novel GLI target genes in the tumor microenvironment.
2. Characterizing novel epigenetic regulation of WM and the TME.
3. Identification and characterization of the role of GLI proteins in Waldenström macroglobulinemia and other B cell malignancies.
4. Identification and characterization of novel signaling pathways that regulate GLI proteins.
5. Characterization of the role of GLI in inflammation.
6. Characterization of the role of GLI in B cell biology and immunoglobulin secretion.

If you are interested in any aspect of our research program, please contact us to inquire about joining our group!


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  • Ph.D., Biology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • M.S., Florida Intl University
  • B.S., Alexandria University

Research Interests

  • Cancer Biology
  • Epigenetics
  • Immunology
  • Lymphoma
  • Tumor Immunology

Courses Taught

  • BCHM 999: Doctoral Research
  • BMCB 799H: Honors Senior Thesis
  • BMS 715: Immunology Laboratory\Honors
  • BMS 715W: Immunology Laboratory
  • BMS 730: Ethical Issues in Biomed Sci
  • BMS/MICR 705/805: Immunology
  • INCO 590: Rsrch Exp/MCBS
  • INCO 790: Adv Rsrch Exp/MCBS
  • MCBS 999: Doctoral Thesis

Selected Publications

Tolosa, E. J., Fernandez-Barrena, M. G., Iguchi, E., McCleary-Wheeler, A. L., Carr, R. M., Almada, L. L., . . . Fernandez-Zapico, M. E. (2020). GLI1/GLI2 functional interplay is required to control Hedgehog/GLI targets gene expression. Biochemical Journal, 477(17), 3131-3145. doi:10.1042/bcj20200335

Han, W., Allam, S. A., & Elsawa, S. F. (2020). GLI2-Mediated Inflammation in the Tumor Microenvironment. In Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology (pp. 55-65). Springer International Publishing. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-44518-8_5

Li, W., Gupta, S. K., Han, W., Kundson, R. A., Nelson, S., Knutson, D., . . . Gupta, M. (2019). Targeting MYC activity in double-hit lymphoma with MYC and BCL2 and/or BCL6 rearrangements with epigenetic bromodomain inhibitors. Journal of Hematology & Oncology, 12(1). doi:10.1186/s13045-019-0761-2

Han, W., Matissek, S. J., Jackson, D. A., Sklavanitis, B., & Elsawa, S. F. (2019). Targeting IL-6 receptor reduces IgM levels and tumor growth in Waldenström macroglobulinemia. Oncotarget, 10(36), 3400-3407. doi:10.18632/oncotarget.26946

Han, W., Cummings, H., Duvuuru, M. K., Fleck, S., Vahabzadeh, S., & Elsawa, S. F. (2019). In Vitro Osteogenic, Angiogenic, and Inflammatory Effects of Copper in β-Tricalcium Phosphate. MRS Advances, 4(21), 1253-1259. doi:10.1557/adv.2018.686

Lai, J. -P., Oseini, A. M., Moser, C. D., Yu, C., Elsawa, S. F., Hu, C., . . . Roberts, L. R. (2010). The oncogenic effect of sulfatase 2 in human hepatocellular carcinoma is mediated in part by glypican 3-dependent Wnt activation. Hepatology, 52(5), 1680-1689. doi:10.1002/hep.23848

Wilcox, R. A., Wada, D. A., Ziesmer, S. C., Elsawa, S. F., Comfere, N. I., Dietz, A. B., . . . Ansell, S. M. (2009). Monocytes promote tumor cell survival in T-cell lymphoproliferative disorders and are impaired in their ability to differentiate into mature dendritic cells. Blood, 114(14), 2936-2944. doi:10.1182/blood-2009-05-220111

Bischof, D., Elsawa, S. F., Mantchev, G., Yoon, J., Michels, G. E., Nilson, A., . . . Bram, R. J. (2006). Selective activation of TACI by syndecan-2. Blood, 107(8), 3235-3242. doi:10.1182/blood-2005-01-0256

Elsawa, S. F., Novak, A. J., Grote, D. M., Ziesmer, S. C., Witzig, T. E., Kyle, R. A., . . . Ansell, S. M. (2006). B-lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS) stimulates immunoglobulin production and malignant B-cell growth in Waldenström macroglobulinemia. Blood, 107(7), 2882-2888. doi:10.1182/blood-2005-09-3552

Zheng, X., Rumie Vittar, N. B., Gai, X., Fernandez-Barrena, M. G., Moser, C. D., Hu, C., . . . Roberts, L. R. (n.d.). The Transcription Factor GLI1 Mediates TGFβ1 Driven EMT in Hepatocellular Carcinoma via a SNAI1-Dependent Mechanism. PLoS ONE, 7(11), e49581. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0049581

Most Cited Publications