Dr. M. Sharon Stack received her PhD degree in Biochemistry from the University of Louisville, completed post-doctoral training in biochemical pathology at Duke University Medical Center, and served for several years as a Research Assistant Professor in Pathology at Duke. In 1994, she joined the faculty in the Department of Cell & Molecular Biology at Northwestern University where she rose through the ranks to tenured Professor. While at Northwestern, Dr. Stack was also Program Leader of the Tumor Invasion, Metastasis and Angiogenesis Program of the NCI-designated RH Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center (RHLCCC) and a member of the RHLCCC Executive Committee.
She joined the University of Missouri in 2007 as Professor and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences. She is currently (since 2011) Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Ann F. Dunne and Elizabeth Riley Director of the Harper Cancer Research Institute, University of Notre Dame. Dr. Stack has served as a full member of the NIH/NCI Tumor Progression and Metastasis study section and on review panels for many other funding agencies, and is currently a member of the Department of Defense Ovarian Cancer Research Program (DOD OCRP) Integration Panel and Vision Setting Panel.
She is on the Editorial Board of Cancer Research and is a retired member of the Journal of Biological Chemistry and Biochemical Journal Editorial Boards. She has published over 130 peer-reviewed research articles and reviews. Her laboratory has been continuously funded by the NIH/NCI since 1989. Dr. Stack was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2012.
Dr. Stack’s overall research focus is in the area of molecular mechanisms of metastasis. Current research in the Stack Lab centers on regulation of adhesion and extracellular proteolysis in two model systems: epithelial ovarian carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity. Ongoing research utilizes an integrative approach involving examination of 2-dimensional (2D) and 3D tissue culture systems and organotypic cultures complemented by murine tumor models and analyses of human tumors. Understanding the molecular mechanisms by which tumor cells orchestrate multiple microenvironmental cues to regulate the expression and activity of metastasis-associated proteinases is the major focus of the laboratory.
Additional collaborative research with Dr. Laurie Hudson (Univ. of New Mexico) is examining areas of convergence between epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and cell adhesion (cadherin and integrin) signaling pathways in ovarian carcinoma metastatic dissemination. Collaborative research with Dr. Matthew Ravosa (Univ. of Notre Dame) focuses on the relationship between mechanical loading and tissue remodeling in development and ageing of the masticatory apparatus.