Angela Hirbe, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Internal Medicine

Cancer Biology Program
Molecular Cell Biology Program
Molecular Genetics and Genomics Program

  • 314 747-3096



  • sarcoma, metastasis, genomics, cell signalling, NF1, MPNST

  • Utilization of genomic information from sarcomas to better understand the pathogenesis of these tumors and to identify biomarkers and therapeutic targets for these aggressive cancers.

Research Abstract:

As a practicing medical oncologist who treats sarcoma, my research focuses on utilization of genomic information from sarcomas to better understand the pathogenesis of these tumors and to identify biomarkers and therapeutic targets for these aggressive cancers. The focus of my laboratory will be to utilize genomic information from human sarcoma samples to better understand the development and progression of these cancers. My main interest is in the pathogenesis of malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs), an aggressive soft tissue sarcoma that occurs at an increased frequency in patients with the Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1) tumor predisposition syndrome. Approximately 13% of individuals with NF1 will develop MPNSTs during young adulthood. Currently there are few therapeutic options, and the vast majority of people with these cancers will die within 5 years of diagnosis. We have identified βIII-spectrin as a frequently mutated gene in human MPNSTs, whose function is critical for mouse MPNST growth in vivo. Initial studies in my lab will be aimed at defining the role of βIII-spectrin in MPNST development and growth using engineered primary MPNST cell lines in vitro and complementary murine Nf1 MPNST models in vivo. In addition, we will assess the utility of βIII-spectrin expression and amino acid-based PET imaging as potential diagnostic and prognostic markers for MPNST development and progression.

Mentorship and Commitment to Diversity Statement:

I promise to provide guidance and insights based on experience over the years to connect mentees to other faculty and collaborators so that mentees can utilize these insights to discover new avenues of study, enhance, and develop research interest and will serve as an advocate for my mentees connecting them to the greater scientific community.

It is my duty to be accessible to mentees for advising, mentoring, and discussion. I will meet with everyone individually each week. However, my door is always open when I am not in clinic or on a meeting. I am easily accessible by email and will always make extra time if needed.

Everyone who enters the realm of science has a shared curiosity about the world around them. This curiosity exists regardless of our gender identity, religion, culture, social, racial, or ethnic backgrounds. At the same time, our individual backgrounds shape the way in which that curiosity manifest. These factors influence our motivation and can shape our scientific ideas. Thus, science is enriched by the intersection of all of these diverse viewpoints. I pledge to maintain an environment that is respective and inclusive of all individuals to create a space in which our individual interest and strengths can be joined in a team effort to advance science. 

Selected Publications:

Aberrant ATRX Protein Expression Is Associated With Poor Overall Survival in NF1-MPNST Lu HC, Eulo V, Apicelli AJ, Pekmezci M, Tao Y, Luo J, Hirbe AC, Dahiya S Oncotarget 2018 May 1;9(33):23018-23028

Beta-III-Spectrin Immunohistochemistry as a Potential Diagnostic Tool With High Sensitivity for Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumors Hirbe AC, Zhang X, Dahiya S, Godec A, Chrisinger J, Tao Y, Luo J, Gutmann DH Neuro Oncol 2018 May 18;20(6):858-860

Qin W, Godec A, Zhang X, Zhu C, Shao J, Tao Y, Bu X, Hirbe AC. TYK2 promotes malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor progression through inhibition of cell death. Cancer Med. 2019 Jul 6. doi: 10.1002/cam4.2386.

Moon CI, Tompkins W, Wang Y, Godec A, Zhang X, Pipkorn P, Miller CA, Dehner C, Dahiya S, Hirbe AC. Unmasking Intra-tumoral Heterogeneity and Clonal Evolution in NF1-MPNST. Genes (Basel). 2020 May 1;11(5). pii: E499. doi: 10.3390/genes11050499.

Dehner CA, Moon CI, Zhang X, Zhou Z, Miller CA, Xu H, Wan X, Yang K, Mashl RJ, Gosline SJ, Wang Y, Zhang X, Godec A, Jones PA, Dahiya S, Bhatia H, Primeau T, Li S, Pollard K, Rodriguez FJ, Ding L, Pratilas CA, Shern JF, Hirbe AC. JCI Insight. 2021 Feb 16:146351. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.146351.

Last Updated: 3/24/2021 12:22:18 PM

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