Sophia Ran, PhD

Professor
Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Cell Biology

    About me

    Contact
    phone: 217.545.7026
    sran@siumed.edu

    Dr. Ran is a Professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Cell Biology at SIU School of Medicine and a member of the Simmons Cancer Institute. Dr. Ran has served on the Research Advisory Board of American Cancer Society and grant review committees of multiple funding agencies in USA, Italy, Switzerland, Poland, Israel, Canada, and UK. She also served as a chartered member of the Tumor Microenvironment study section at the National Institute of Health as well as an ad-hoc on multiple other NIH study sections. She served on the Editorial Boards of several journals including Frontiers in Vascular Physiology, Journal of Cancer Science and Therapy, Pathology Discovery and others. Dr. Ran currently serves on multiple committees at the SIU School of Medicine

    Research Focus

    Main Research Interest: Breast Cancer & Metastasis ¨ Tumor-induced Formation of Lymphatic Vessels ¨ Bone Marrow Derived Lymphatic Endothelial Progenitors ¨ Breast Cancer Mouse Models in vivo ¨ Tumor Macrophages ¨ Toll-like Receptor-4 (TLR4) ¨ Chemoresistance and Metastasis ¨ Tumor Microenvironment

    Background for Main Projects

    Metastases are secondary tumors that grow in organs other than the primary site. It is well established that metastatic lesions are primarily responsible for mortality from cancer. The goal of my lab is to delineate mechanisms that promote metastasis to lymph nodes, the first site in the metastatic cascade in breast and many other cancers. Expansion of tumor lymphatic vasculature significantly increases the rate of metastasis to the nodes. Therefore, we focus on understanding the process of generation of new lymphatic vessels at molecular and cellular levels. We discovered that this process is directly supported by tumor-recruited monocytes and macrophages that have been differentiated into lymphatic endothelial progenitors. We call these cells M-LECP which stands for Monocyte-derived Lymphatic Endothelial Cell Progenitors. M-LECP have combined properties of macrophages and lymphatic endothelial cells both of which contribute to new vessel formation. Generation of M-LECP in the bone marrow depends, among other factors, on activation of Toll-like Receptor-4 (TLR4). This receptor can be activated by a variety of ligands including paclitaxel, a common clinical anti-cancer drug. TLR4 activation in tumor cells by paclitaxel or other ligands promotes tumor cell survival and resistance to therapy. Our current projects are focused on understanding the TLR4-dependent and independent mechanisms driving differentiation of lymphatic endothelial progenitors, their recruitment to tumors, and their impact on tumor vessel formation and metastasis. We expect that these studies will advance understanding of how tumor vessels are formed which, in turn, will help development of new anti-metastatic drugs.  

    Methods and Techniques Used in the Laboratory

    Cell culture of human and mouse epithelial and endothelial cell lines; cell plasmid transfection and lentivirus infection; differentiation of myeloid and lymphatic cell lineages from stem and progenitor cells; migration assays; real-time PCR and in-house construction of gene arrays; protein analysis on Western blots; growth of hybridoma lines, isolation and characterization of  monoclonal antibodies; ELISA; luciferase-based reporter assays; immunofluorescence and immunohistochemistry; tissue and cell imaging; flow cytometry; breast cancer animal models including analysis of tumor growth, vessels and metastasis in vivo; various analyses of clinical cancer specimens.

    Gender

    Female

    Education & training

    Undergraduate Degree
    1991-1992 Postdoctoral training in Cellular Physiology, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada
    1989-1991 Postdoctoral training in Ion Transport, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Alabama, USA
    1984-1989 Ph.D. in Biochemistry, the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
    1981-1983 M.S. in Immunology, Ben-Gurion University, Beer Sheva, Israel
    1979-1981 B.S. in Biology, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel

    Publications

    Selected Publications   Pub Med

    NCBI Public Bibliography

    Patents

    1. Patent number 8,709,430 (March 4, 2014). Cancer treatment kits comprising therapeutic antibody conjugates that bind to aminophospholipids.
    2. Patent number 8,486,391 (March 6, 2014). Cancer treatment kits using antibodies to aminophospholipids.
    3. Patent number 7,906,115 (March 15, 2011). Combinations kits and methods for treating viral infections using antibodies and immunoconjugates to aminophospholipids.
    4. Patent number 7,790,860 (September 7, 2010). Targeting and imaging tumor vasculature using conjugates that bind to aminophospholipids.
    5. Patent number 7,790,159 (September 7, 2010). Methods, combinations and kits for treating viral infections using immunoconjugates and antibodies to aminophospholipids.
    6. Patent number 7,714,109 (May 11, 2010). Combinations and kits for cancer treatment using selected antibodies to aminophospholipids.
    7. Patent number 7,678,386 (March 16, 2010). Liposomes coated with selected antibodies that bind to aminophospholipids.
    8. Patent number 7,625,563 (December 01, 2009). Cancer treatment using selected immunoconjugates for binding to aminophospholipids.
    9. Patent number 7,622,118 (November 24, 2009). Cancer treatment methods using selected antibodies to aminophospholipids.
    10. Patent number 7,615,223 (November 10, 2009). Selected immunoconjugates for binding to aminophospholipids.
    11. Patent number 7,611,704 (November 03, 2009). Compositions and methods for treating viral infections using antibodies and immunoconjugates to aminophospholipids.
    12. Patent number 7,572,448 (August 11, 2009). Combined cancer treatment methods using selected antibodies to aminophospholipids.
    13. Patent number 7,572,442 (August 11, 2009). Selected antibody compositions for binding to aminophospholipids.
    14. Patent number 7,550,141 (June 23, 2009). Methods for imaging tumor vasculature using conjugates that bind to aminophospholipids.
    15. Patent number 7,455,833 (November 25, 2008). Methods and compositions for treating viral infections using antibodies and immunoconjugates to aminophospholipids.
    16. Patent number 7,422,738 (September 9, 2008). Combined cancer treatment methods using antibodies to aminophospholipids.
    17. Patent number 7,247,303 (July 24, 2007). Selected antibody CDRs for binding to aminophospholipids.
    18. Patent number 7,067,109 (June 27, 2006). Cancer treatment kits comprising therapeutic conjugates that bind to aminophospholipids.
    19. Patent number 6,818,213 (November 16, 2004). Cancer treatment compositions comprising therapeutic conjugates that bind to aminophospholipids.
    20. Patent number 6,783,760 (August 31, 2004). Combined cancer treatment methods using therapeutic conjugates that bind to aminophospholipids.
    21. Patent number 6,406,693 (June 18, 2002). Cancer treatment methods using antibodies to aminophospholipids.
    22. Patent number 6,312,694 (November 06, 2001). Cancer treatment methods using therapeutic conjugates that bind to aminophospholipids.

    Awards

    2006 - Nominee for the Excellence through Commitment Outstanding Teaching Award conferred by Southern Illinois University.

    2007 - Invited participant for Early Career Women Faculty Professional Development Seminar in Washington, DC. Travel award was received from SIU School of Medicine to attend the conference.

    2007 - Invited participant in the Seventh Annual New Grantee Workshop supported by National Cancer Institute Division of Cell Biology (NCI-DCB).

    2007 - Published work (Int. J. Cancer, 121:2181, 2007) was highlighted in Breast Cancer Net News, a national online website providing breaking news on breast cancer research and treatment.

    2009 - Selected participant for Mid-Career Women Faculty Development Seminar in Scottsdale, AZ. Travel award was received from SIU School of Medicine to attend the conference.

    2009 - Invited to serve on Research Advisory Board of American Cancer Society, IL Division.

    2010 - Invited participant in the Tenth Annual New Grantee Workshop supported by National Cancer Institute Division of Cell Biology (NCI-DCB).

    2010 - Research presented orally at the 101st AACR meeting, Washington, DC (New model for triple-negative breast cancer) was highlighted in Lymphatic Research MATTERS, e-newsletter of Lymphatic Research Foundation, as groundbreaking work.

    2010 - Recognized by the American Cancer Society as an Outstanding Mentor in Summer High School Research Training Program. 

    2010 - Nominated for Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).

    2012 - Keynote Speaker for the 2nd World Congress on Cancer Science and Therapy, San Antonio, TX

    2013 - Recognized by Illinois Board of Directors of the American Cancer Society for dedicated service in the Research Advisory Committee