Research Members

Diane M. Simeone, M.D.

Diane M. Simeone, M.D.
Lazar J. Greenfield Professor of Surgery
Professor of Surgery, Molecular & Integrative Physiology
Director of the University of Michigan Pancreatic Cancer Center
Simeone Lab

Dr. Simeone received her bachelor's degree from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island and a medical degree from Duke University Medical School in Durham, North Carolina. She completed her General Surgery residency training in 1995 at the University of Michigan Medical Center. She joined the faculty at the University of Michigan Medical Center in 1995. Dr. Simeone's clinical interests are in the area of gastrointestinal oncology. She has a special interest in the surgical treatment of pancreatic adenocarcinoma, and is the Surgical Director of the Multidisciplinary Pancreatic Cancer Clinic. Dr. Simeone is the principal director of a research laboratory that is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Her basic science laboratory investigates mechanisms of pancreatic growth regulation and molecular events important in the development and progression of pancreatic adenocarcinoma. She is also an associate member of the Early Detection Research Network (EDRN), an NCI-funded initiative to identify and validate early detection biomarkers for the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.


Michelle A. Anderson, M.D., M.Sc.

Michelle A. Anderson, M.D., M.Sc.
Associate Professor of Internal Medicine
Division of Gastroenterology
Co-Director of the University of Michigan Pancreatic Cancer Center
Research Profilegoing to a new website

Dr. Michelle A. Anderson completed her Internal Medicine residency and Gastroenterology fellowship at the University of Michigan where she trained in advanced endoscopy including endoscopic ultrasound and ERCP. Following fellowship training, she joined the faculty at Michigan. Dr. Anderson's clinical and research interests focus on diseases of the pancreas and biliary system with a special emphasis on chronic pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer and therapeutic EUS and ERCP as they relate to these diseases. In 2005, she received a Masters' of Science degree in Clinical Research and Statistical Analysis from the University of Michigan's School of Public Health. Dr. Anderson combines her clinical and research training to conduct research to identify biomarkers to distinguish pancreatic cancer from chronic pancreatitis under funding from the NIH. She performs EUS and ERCP in clinical practice as well as in teaching forums both nationally and internationally. She is an active member of the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE), the American Gastroenterological Association and the American College of Gastroenterology. Dr. Anderson is a Fellow of the ASGE and has served on the ASGE Standards of Practice Committee and the ASGE Institute for Training and Technology for almost 10 years.


Marina Pasca di Magliano, Ph.D.
Photo credit: Eric Bronson, Michigan Photography

Marina Pasca di Magliano, PhD.
Associate Professor of Surgery
Pasca Labgoing to a new website

Dr. Pasca di Magliano is an Associate Professor in the Division of Surgical Oncology, Section of General Surgery. Dr. Pasca di Magliano holds a joint appointment in Cell and Developmental Biology. Dr. Pasca di Magliano earned her B.S. in 1996 at the University of Napoli in Italy before going on to receive her Ph.D. in 2002 at the Institute for Molecular Pathology in Vienna, Austria. Dr. Pasca di Magliano completed her postdoctoral training at the University of California Diabetes Center in San Francisco.

Dr. Pasca di Magliano's research concentrates on the formation and progression of pancreatic cancer, with a focus on signaling pathways, such as Hedgehog and Wnt, that are activated during carcinogenesis. In particular, how these signaling pathways mediate the interactions of tumor cells with components of the tumor stroma. Her work also explores the link between inflammation and pancreatic cancer.


Mats Ljungman, Ph.D.

Mats Ljungman, PhD.
Professor, Radiation Oncology
Professor of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health
Ljungman Labgoing to a new website

Dr. Ljungman's lab is assisting with the examination of ATDC in DNA damage response. Over-expression of ATDC results in increased proliferation both in vitro and in vivo and leads to increased radiation resistance. The collaboration has found that ATDC is rapidly phosphorylated by the ATM kinase following irradiation and this leads to the re-localization of ATDC to sites of DNA damage. The lab is currently further investigating the mechanisms by which ATDC stimulates proliferation and protects cells from ionizing radiation and are screening for compounds that inactivates ATDC.


Rajasree Menon, Ph.D.

Rajasree Menon, Ph.D.
Computational Medicine & Bioinformatics

Dr. Menon's main research is focused on studying alternative splice isoforms/variants that are involved in different types of human cancers. She has developed an approach to integrate transcriptomic data with mass-spectrometric data for the identification of splice isoforms. The functional role of the distinct splice variant of a gene is not well understood. She uses different computational tools to understand the potential functions and interactions of these variants. She collaborate with other University of Michigan cancer specialists to experimentally validate our splice variant predictions in human normal and tumor tissue samples.


Sunitha Nagrath, Ph.D.

Sunitha Nagrath, PhD.
Assistant Professor, Chemical Engineering
Nagrath Labgoing to a new website

Dr. Nagrath's lab is developing microfluidic devices for isolating and studying cancer cells as related to metastasis.

Metastasis occurs when cells disseminate from the primary tumor site and travel through the body's vasculature, then exit the vessels into distant tissues, adapt to the microenviroment and proliferate into new tumors.

She is using microfluidic devices to study cell migration, specifically how cancer cells enter and exit the vasculature, detecting circulating cancer cells in the blood, and studying the microenvironmental cues needed to sustain and grow tumor metastases.

Microfluidic devices allow for studying individual cell behavior, capturing rare cells, such as circulating tumor cells (CTCs), and sustaining cell cultures. Microfluidics are being created to mimic in vivo environments and will become more widely used in biology as the devices become more automated for general use.


Andrew Rhim, MD

Andrew D. Rhim, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine
Division of Gastroenterology

Dr. Rhim's research program is focused on the biology of pre-cancerous lesions of epithelial organs and the molecular and cellular events that occur during their transition to cancer. He employs unique genetically engineered mouse models of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) as a model for cancer development and progression. The overarching goal of these studies is to learn more about how cancer evolves so that we may devise new strategies for early diagnosis and treatment for patients with clinically occult advanced precancerous lesions and early forms of cancer.


Vaibhav Sahai, MBBS, MS

Vaibhav Sahai, M.B.B.S.
Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine
Division of Hematology/Oncology

Dr. Sahai's focus lies in experimental therapeutics in pancreatic and biliary ductal carcinomas via a molecular-based approach in the laboratory with the aim to perform translational and clinical research. In collaboration with Diane Simeone, M.D., the objective is to investigate potential compounds in collaboration with investigators at the University of Michigan, as well as pharmaceutical companies across a platform of in-vitro and in-vivo models with the goal to take promising compounds to phase I clinical trials.


updated 11.2015

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