Alana Welm, PhD
U.S. Department of Defense Era of Hope Scholar Award, Breast Cancer Research Program (2008-2017)
Susan G. Komen for the Cure Career Catalyst Research Grant (2008-2011)
Department of Defense, CDMRP Integration Panel (2013-2015)
Dr. Welm completed her PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX under the supervision of Gretchen Darlington, PhD. She then went on to conduct postdoctoral training in Dr. J. Michael Bishop’s laboratory at the University of California, San Francisco where her work focused on developing new models of breast cancer metastasis. Dr. Welm started her laboratory at the University of Utah’s Huntsman Cancer Institute in 2007, and was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2013.
The research in Dr. Welm’s laboratory is focused on solving the problem of breast cancer metastasis using in vivo modeling of mouse and human breast cancers. Dr. Welm’s group discovered that the Ron kinase pathway is an important facilitator of breast cancer metastasis through its unique dual function in tumor cells and in resident macrophages. Current areas of research include (1) pre-clinical studies of various Ron inhibitors for treatment and prevention of metastatic breast cancer; (2) pre-clinical and early clinical studies of the Ron/Met inhibitor BMS777607/ASLAN002 in bone metastatic cancers; (3) discovering molecular mechanisms by which Ron kinases promote metastasis through cell-autonomous and non cell-autonomous pathways; and (4) refining “precision medicine” for metastatic breast cancer using functional assays in patient-derived breast tumor grafts.