Monika Schmelz, PhD

Cancer Biology Program

Biography

Monika Schmelz earned her MS in Biology from the Karl Ruprecht University of Heidelberg, Germany. She then obtained her PhD in Cell and Tumor Biology from the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg working with Werner Franke on desmosomal glycoproteins. She then completed her postdoctoral training with Gareth Griffith at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg investigating vaccinia virus-host interactions. In 1998, she moved to the University of Arizona in Tucson working with Ray Nagle in the Department of Pathology on prostate cancer research. In 2000, she was promoted to Assistant Professor and in 2015 to Associate Professor.

Cancer Focus

Her primary research interest is to study how tumor cells escape immunosurveillance, which is a hallmark of cancer, in aggressive diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Major histocompatibility complex class II (MHCII) plays a major role in tumor immunosurveillance. The loss of MHCII expression leads to a worse outcome for patients diagnosed with DLBCL. The lab is studying the underlying mechanisms of MHCII deregulation.
The lab also hosts the ANCHOR Biorepository for a “Anal Cancer/HSIL Outcomes Research" study sponsored by the National Cancer Institute’s Office of HIV and AIDS Malignancy (OHAM).