Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Melissa D. Landis Ph.D.

Melissa D. Landis, Ph.D.


Melissa D. Landis, Ph.D.

Melissa D. Landis, Ph.D.

Assistant Member
Cancer Research Program
The Methodist Hospital Research Institute
Director, Preclinical Testing Core Facility
Methodist Cancer Center
The Methodist Hospital

E-mail: mdlandis@houstonmethodist.org
Phone: 713-441-7369


B.A.   University of Texas, Austin, TX (Biology)
M.S.   Texas A&M, College Station, TX (Biochemistry)
Ph.D.   Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH (Pharmacology)

Postdoctoral Training

Postdoctoral Fellowship, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX



Dr. Landis earned her Ph.D. in Pharmacology from Case Western Reserve School of Medicine in 2006. During her postdoctoral training at Baylor College of Medicine, Dr. Landis trained in cancer stem cell experimentation. She was a senior scientist at Baylor College of Medicine before becoming a member of The Methodist Hospital Research Institute in 2011. As Director of the Preclinical Testing Core, she is leading efforts to identify novel therapeutic interventions that eliminate tumor initiating cells and cancer stem cells.

Description of Research

Dr. Landis’s research focus is the identification of novel therapeutic regimens that target tumor-initiating cells, or breast cancer stem cells, and ultimately eliminate tumor recurrence.  The primary therapeutic approaches being tested currently are: 1) identifying and targeting inflammatory mechanisms that induce cancer stem cells in response to traditional treatment regimens; 2) treating tumors with tumor suppressor microRNAs to modulate multiple pathways concurrently; and 3) treating with combined targeted therapies with or without traditional chemotherapy.

Major Areas of Research

Cancer, stem cells, breast, targeted therapy, preclinical models

Recent Publications  

Dave B, Landis MD, Tweardy DJ, Chang JC. Selective small molecule stat3 inhibitor reduces breast cancer tumor-initiating cells and improves recurrence free survival in a human-xenograft model. PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e30207. Epub 2012 Aug 6.

Creighton CJ, Sada YH, Zhang Y, Tsimelzon A, Wong H, Dave B, Landis MD, Bear HD, Rodriguez A, Chang JC. A gene transcription signature of obesity in breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2012 Apr;132(3):993-1000.

Debeb BG, Zhang X, Krishnamurthy S, Gao H, Cohen E, Li L, Rodriguez AA, Landis MD, Lucci A, Ueno NT, Robertson F, Xu W, Lacerda L, Buchholz TA, Cristofanilli M, Reuben JM, Lewis MT, Woodward WA. Characterizing cancer cells with cancer stem cell-like features in 293T human embryonic kidney cells. Mol Cancer. 2010 Jul 8;9:180.

Creighton CJ, Li X, Landis M, Dixon JM, Neumeister VM, Sjolund A, Rimm DL, Wong H, Rodriguez A, Herschkowitz JI, Fan C, Zhang X, He X, Pavlick A, Gutierrez MC, Renshaw L, Larionov AA, Faratian D, Hilsenbeck SG, Perou CM, Lewis MT, Rosen JM, Chang JC. Residual breast cancers after conventional therapy display mesenchymal as well as tumor-initiating features. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 2009 Aug 18;106(33):13820-5.

Montanez-Wiscovich, ME, Seachrist, DD, Landis, MD, Visvader, J, Andersen, B, Keri, RA. LMO4 is an essential mediator of ErbB2/HER2/Neu-induced breast cancer cell cycle progression. Oncogene. 2009 Oct 15;28(41):3608-18.

Zhang M, Behbod F, Atkinson RL, Landis MD, Kittrell F, Edwards D, Medina D, Tsimelzon A, Hilsenbeck S, Green JE, Michalowska AM, Rosen, JM. Identification of tumor-initiating cells in a p53-null mouse model of breast cancer. Cancer Res. 2008 Jun 15;68(12):4674-82