Lisa M. Coussens, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), is Professor & Chairwoman of Cell, Developmental & Cancer Biology, and Deputy Director in the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Sciences University (OHSU), and holds the Hildegard Lamfrom Endowed Chair in Basic Science. She earned her B.A. in Biology from San Francisco State University, and Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry from University of California, Los Angeles. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Francisco where she then became faculty in 1999, and relocated to OHSU in 2012. She is a fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), Association of ImmunoOncology, and the National Academy of Sciences, and was President of AACR (2022-2023). Her awards include the AACR Gertrude B. Elion Award, AACR-Women in Cancer Research Charlotte Friend Memorial Lectureship, 13th Rosalind E. Franklin Award, a Doctor in Medicine (honoris causa) from University of Buenos Aires Argentina, 12th AACR-Princess Takamatsu Memorial Lectureship, Career Award from the European Academy of Tumor Immunology, Susan G. Komen Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science, and the 15th Margaret L. Kripke Legend Award for advocacy and promotion of women in academic medicine and science.

Research Interests

Dr. Coussens’ research focuses on dissecting the roles of normal immune cells in regulating various facets of solid tumor development, identifying leukocyte activities that are co-opted by early tumors to support ongoing cancer development, and in understanding the role leukocytes play in regulating responses to cytotoxic, targeted and immune-based anti-cancer therapies. Utilizing mouse models of mesothelioma, cutaneous, head and neck, pancreas and mammary carcinoma, her research identified critical immune-regulated pathways representing vulnerabilities amenable for therapeutic targeting. Several of her laboratories basic science discoveries have been translated in proof-of-concept human clinical trials in metastatic triple negative breast cancer, pancreas cancer, head & neck squamous cancer, and late-stage solid tumors; these have demonstrated that targeting immune vulnerabilities impacts both innate and adaptive systemic immunity to bolster anti-tumor immune programs. While still firmly rooted in discovery-based science utilizing murine models of human cancer, her research has played a critical role in clinical trials where her laboratory has developed innovative technology platforms to evaluate longitudinal biopsies and blood to audit peripheral and in situ changes in immune contexture. A goal for these efforts is to ultimately identify immune-based predictive biomarkers for patient stratification, and further hypothesis testing.

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Section 41: Medical Genetics, Hematology, and Oncology