Professor Michael Lisanti

Chair in Translational Medicine

  • Cockcroft 202D
  • T: +44 (0)161 295 0240
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I have been an active research scientist for over 30 years.

I began my education at New York University, graduating Magna Cum Laude in Chemistry. I obtained his MD-PhD degrees at Cornell University Medical College in Cell Biology and Genetics. From 1992-96, I was a Fellow at the Whitehead Institute at MIT. After several distinguished appointments at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the Kimmel Center, I joined the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Unit in 2012 as Professor of Cancer Biology, at The University of Manchester, in the United Kingdom (UK).

Following my appointment to the Kimmel Cancer Center in 2006, I was selected for the leadership of the Program in Molecular Biology and Genetics of Cancer. In 2009, I became the Chair of the Department of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University. I also served as the former Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Pathology. In Manchester, I previously held the Muriel Edith Rickman Chair of Breast Oncology.



Previously, I have lectured in various MD and PhD level graduate courses in Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Pharmacology, Pathology and Clinical Medicine, among others. 

Research Interests

Recent advances have highlighted the important role of the stroma in breast cancer development. My research programme focuses on the role of Caveolin-1 (Cav-1) in the pathogenesis of human breast cancer, with a strong emphasis on its role in signalling, cancer, metabolism and stem cell biology. Cav-1 status in the stroma provides important information about the aggressiveness of the cancer and may be a valuable and accessible biomarker to predict breast cancer recurrence and metastasis. With the discovery and validation of biomarkers that allow us to identify patients most likely to have poor prognosis, we now have the tools with which to drive the continued development of personalised medicine approaches. These biomarkers will also have a role to play in informing patient selection for clinical trials, allowing new treatments to be tested in patient populations likely to derive the most benefit.

1. Compartmentalisation of Signal Transduction: The “Caveolae Signalling Hypothesis”. In 1993-94, my laboratory was among the first to propose that signal transduction takes place in an organized fashion, within lipid rafts and caveolae, which are specialized domains at the cell surface. This mechanism includes G-proteins, Src-like kinases, NOS, and the Ras-MAP kinase signaling, as well as many other pathways. This signalling model was heretical in the early 1990s, and is now well accepted today.

2. Compartmentalisation of Tumor Metabolism: In 2009, my laboratory was the first to propose the “Reverse Warburg Effect”. This new model for cancer metabolism will facilitate the development of novel diagnostics and therapeutics, driving personalised cancer therapy.

3. Stromal Cav-1 as a Biomarker: In 2009, my laboratory discovered a new prognostic biomarker, which has now been validated in >10 different countries word-wide for breast cancer. Its prognostic value has also been extended to DCIS lesions (early breast cancers), prostate cancers, and metastatic melanoma, and it may well represent a universal or widely-applicable cancer biomarker for stratified medicine. More specifically, my laboratory has shown that a loss of stromal Cav-1 predicts early tumour recurrence, metastasis, drug-resistance, and overall poor survival in breast cancer patients, at diagnosis, before poor clinical outcome has occurred.

Qualifications and Memberships

American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP)

American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)

1981-85       BA in Chemistry, Magna Cum Laude, New York University, New York, USA

1985-92       MD-PhD, Cornell University Tri-Institutional MD-PhD Program (Cornell University, together with Rockefeller University and Memorial Sloan-Kettering), New York, USA

1992-97      Whitehead Institute Fellow, Affiliated with Dr. Harvey Lodish's Laboratory, Whitehead Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT),


Martinez-Outschoorn UE, Sotgia F, Lisanti MP. Caveolae and signalling in cancer. Nat Rev Cancer. 2015 Apr;15(4):225-37.

Martinez-Outschoorn UE, Peiris-Pagés M, Pestell RG, Sotgia F, Lisanti MP. Cancer metabolism: a therapeutic perspective. Nat Rev Clin Oncol. 2016 May 4. doi: 10.1038/nrclinonc.2016.60. [Epub ahead of print].

Peiris-Pagès M, Martinez-Outschoorn UE, Pestell RG, Sotgia F, Lisanti MP. Cancer stem cell metabolism. Breast Cancer Res. 2016 May 24; 18(1):55.

Fiorillo M, Lamb R, Tanowitz HB, Cappello AR, Martinez-Outschoorn UE, Sotgia F, Lisanti MP. Bedaquiline, an FDA-approved antibiotic, inhibits mitochondrial function and potently blocks the proliferative expansion of stem-like cancer cells (CSCs). Aging (Albany NY). 2016 Aug; 8(8): 1593-607.

Farnie G, Sotgia F, Lisanti MP. High mitochondrial mass identifies a sub-population of stem-like cancer cells that are chemo-resistant. Oncotarget. 2015 Oct 13;6(31):30472-86.