Sherine Elsawa

Sherine Elsawa

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

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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Courses Taught

  • BIOL 999: Doctoral Dissertation Research
  • BMCB 401: Persp Biochem/Mole&Cell Bio
  • BMCB 605: Principles of Cell Biology
  • BMCB 799H: Honors Senior Thesis
  • BMS 705: Immunology
  • BMS 715: Immunology Laboratory
  • BMS 715W: Immunology Laboratory
  • BMS 730: Ethical Issues in Biomed Sci
  • BMS 790: Undergrad Teaching Experience
  • BMS 799H: Senior Honors Thesis
  • BMS/MICR 705/805: Immunology
  • BMS/MICR 715/815: Immunology Laboratory
  • INCO 403: Healthcare Professions Seminar
  • INCO 590: Student Research Experience
  • INCO 790: Adv Rsrch Exp/MCBS
  • MCBS 999: Doctoral Thesis
  • MICR 805: Immunology
  • NSB 795W: Special Investigations


  • 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

Selected Publications

  • Matissek, S. J., Han, W., Karbalivand, M., Sayed, M., Reilly, B. M., Mallat, S., . . . Elsawa, S. F. (2021). Epigenetic targeting of Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia cells with BET inhibitors synergizes with BCL2 or histone deacetylase inhibition. EPIGENOMICS, 13(02), 129-144. doi:10.2217/epi-2020-0189

  • Han, W., Sklavanitis, B. L., Jackson, D. A., Matissek, S. J., & Elsawa, S. F. (2018). The tumor microenvironment protects against ibrutinib but not rituximab-mediated control of Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia (WM) in vivo. In CANCER RESEARCH Vol. 78. doi:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2018-193

  • Li, W., Gupta, S. K., Knudson, R., Han, W., Elsawa, S. F., Griepp, P., & Gupta, M. (2017, December 8). Targeting Bromodomain and external domain epigenetic reader protein as effective strategy for double hit and triple-hit B-cell lymphoma. In 2017 American Society of Hematology Annual meeting Vol. 1472. Atlanta, GA. Retrieved from

  • Cummings, H., Han, W., Elkwae, K., Vahabzadeh, S., & Elsawa, S. F. (2018, April 11). Effects of Copper on Physical, Mechanical, and Biological Properties of Brushite Cement. In 2018 Society for Biomaterial. Atlanta, GA. Retrieved from

  • Han, W., Cummings, H., Fleck, S., Vahabzadeh, S., & Elsawa, S. F. (2018, April 11). Copper Doped Tricalcium Phosphate; Phase Composition and in vitro Interaction with Osteoblast Cells. In 2018 Society for Biomaterials. Atlanta, GA. Retrieved from