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Eric Lau, PhD

Program: Tumor Biology


Dr. Lau's innovative research programs focus on defining the molecular mechanisms controlling the development, metastatic progression, and therapeutic resistance of melanoma, with the goal of identifying novel therapeutic, diagnostic and prognostic modalities. 


    • Tumor Biology
    • Cutaneous Oncology
    • Molecular Medicine Program
    • Melanoma Research Center of Excellence
    • Molecular Medicine Program

Education & Training


  • Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, Fellow - Research Fellowship

Dr. Lau's innovative research programs focus on defining the molecular mechanisms controlling the development, metastatic progression, and therapeutic resistance of melanoma, with the goal of identifying novel therapeutic, diagnostic and prognostic modalities. In particular, his two research programs are focused on: (1) The regulation and role of a PKCε-to-ATF2 circuit in melanoma, chemoresistance and metabolism; and (2) The regulation and roles of fucokinase, fucosyltransferases and fucosylated target proteins in signaling networks, tumor progression, metastasis and immune evasion.


  • Watson G, Lester D, Ren H, Forsyth CM, Medina E, Gonzalez Perez D, Darville L, Yao J, Luca V, Koomen J, Cen L, Lau E. Fucosylated Proteome Profiling Identifies a Fucosylated, Non-Ribosomal, Stress-Responsive Species of Ribosomal Protein S3. Cells. 2021 May.10(6). Pubmedid: 34070332. Pmcid: PMC8228307.
  • Ketcher DE, Bidelman A, Le LQ, Otto AK, Lester DK, Amtmann-Beuttner KK, Gonzalez B, Wright KL, Vadaparampil ST, Reblin M, Lau EK. Partnering patients, caregivers, and basic scientists: an engagement model that fosters patient- and family-centered research culture. Transl Res. 2021 Jan.227:64-74. Pubmedid: 32739418. Pmcid: PMC7719089.
  • Emmons MF, Faião-Flores F, Sharma R, Thapa R, Messina JL, Becker JC, Schadendorf D, Seto E, Sondak VK, Koomen JM, Chen YA, Lau EK, Wan L, Licht JD, Smalley KSM. HDAC8 Regulates a Stress Response Pathway in Melanoma to Mediate Escape from BRAF Inhibitor Therapy. Cancer Res. 2019 Jun.79(11):2947-2961. Pubmedid: 30987999. Pmcid: PMC6548652.
  • Keeley TS, Yang S, Lau E. The Diverse Contributions of Fucose Linkages in Cancer. Cancers (Basel). 2019 Aug.11(9). Pubmedid: 31450600. Pmcid: PMC6769556.
  • Keeley T, Lin S, Lester DK, Lau EK, Yang S. The fucose salvage pathway inhibits invadopodia formation and extracellular matrix degradation in melanoma cells. PLoS One. 2018 Jun.13(6):e0199128. Pubmedid: 29924834. Pmcid: PMC6010265.
  • Watson G, Ronai Z, Lau E. ATF2, a paradigm of the multifaceted regulation of transcription factors in biology and disease. Pharmacol Res. 2017 May.119:347-357. Pubmedid: 28212892. Pmcid: PMC5457671.
  • Claps G, Cheli Y, Zhang T, Scortegagna M, Lau E, Kim H, Qi J, Li JL, James B, Dzung A, Levesque MP, Dummer R, Hayward NK, Bosenberg M, Brown KM, Ronai ZA. A Transcriptionally Inactive ATF2 Variant Drives Melanomagenesis. Cell Rep. 2016 May.15(9):1884-1892. Pubmedid: 27210757. Pmcid: PMC4889472.
  • Lau E, Feng Y, Claps G, Fukuda MN, Perlina A, Donn D, Jilaveanu L, Kluger H, Freeze HH, Ronai ZA. Regulation of melanoma metastasis by ATF2-mediated control of protein fucosylation. Sci Signal. 2015 Nov. Pubmedid: 0000001.
  • Jeon YJ, Khelifa S, Ratnikov B, Scott DA, Feng Y, Parisi F, Ruller C, Lau E, Kim H, Brill LM, Jiang T, Rimm DL, Cardiff RD, Mills GB, Smith JW, Osterman AL, Kluger Y, Ronai ZA. Regulation of glutamine carrier proteins by RNF5 determines breast cancer response to ER stress-inducing chemotherapies. Cancer Cell. 2015 Mar.27(3):354-369. Pubmedid: 25759021. Pmcid: PMC4356903.
  • Lau E, Sedy J, Sander C, Shaw MA, Feng Y, Scortegagna M, Claps G, Robinson S, Cheng P, Srivas R, Soonthornvacharin S, Ideker T, Bosenberg M, Gonzalez R, Robinson W, Chanda SK, Ware C, Dummer R, Hoon D, Kirkwood JM, Ronai ZA. Transcriptional repression of IFNβ1 by ATF2 confers melanoma resistance to therapy. Oncogene. 2015 Mar. Pubmedid: 25728676. Pmcid: PMC4558399.
  • Senft D, Sorolla A, Dewing A, Claps G, Lau E, Walker GJ, Ronai ZA. ATF2 alters melanocyte response and macrophage recruitment in UV-irradiated neonatal mouse skin. Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. 2015 Jul.28(4):481-484. Pubmedid: 25963442. Pmcid: PMC4996074.
  • Feng Y, Pinkerton AB, Hulea L, Zhang T, Davies MA, Grotegut S, Cheli Y, Yin H, Lau E, Kim H, De SK, Barile E, Pellecchia M, Bosenberg M, Li JL, James B, Hassig CA, Brown KM, Topisirovic I, Ronai ZA. SBI-0640756 Attenuates the Growth of Clinically Unresponsive Melanomas by Disrupting the eIF4F Translation Initiation Complex. Cancer Res. 2015 Dec.75(24):5211-5218. Pubmedid: 26603897. Pmcid: PMC4681635.
  • Lau E, Feng Y, Claps G, Fukuda MN, Perlina A, Donn D, Jilaveanu L, Kluger H, Freeze HH, Ronai ZA. The transcription factor ATF2 promotes melanoma metastasis by suppressing protein fucosylation. Sci Signal. 2015 Dec.8(406):ra124. Pubmedid: 26645581. Pmcid: PMC4818095.
  • Scortegagna M, Lau E, Zhang T, Feng Y, Sereduk C, Yin H, De SK, Meeth K, Platt JT, Langdon CG, Halaban R, Pellecchia M, Davies MA, Brown K, Stern DF, Bosenberg M, Ronai ZA. PDK1 and SGK3 Contribute to the Growth of BRAF-Mutant Melanomas and Are Potential Therapeutic Targets. Cancer Res. 2015 Apr.75(7):1399-1412. Pubmedid: 25712345. Pmcid: PMC4383687.
  • Scortegagna M, Kim H, Li JL, Yao H, Brill LM, Han J, Lau E, Bowtell D, Haddad G, Kaufman RJ, Ronai ZA. Fine tuning of the UPR by the ubiquitin ligases Siah1/2. PLoS Genet. 2014 May.10(5):e1004348. Pubmedid: 24809345. Pmcid: PMC4014425.
  • Varsano T, Lau E, Feng Y, Garrido M, Milan L, Heynen-Genel S, Hassig CA, Ronai ZA. Inhibition of melanoma growth by small molecules that promote the mitochondrial localization of ATF2. Clin Cancer Res. 2013 May.19(10):2710-2722. Pubmedid: 23589174. Pmcid: PMC3690798.
  • Feng Y, Lau E, Scortegagna M, Ruller C, De SK, Barile E, Krajewski S, Aza-Blanc P, Williams R, Pinkerton AB, Jackson M, Chin L, Pellecchia M, Bosenberg M, Ronai ZA. Inhibition of melanoma development in the Nras((Q61K)) ::Ink4a(-/-) mouse model by the small molecule BI-69A11. Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. 2013 Jan.26(1):136-142. Pubmedid: 23035722. Pmcid: PMC3632643.
  • Rico-Bautista E, Zhu W, Kitada S, Ganapathy S, Lau E, Krajewski S, Ramirez J, Bush JA, Yuan Z, Wolf DA. Small molecule-induced mitochondrial disruption directs prostate cancer inhibition via UPR signaling. Oncotarget. 2013 Aug.4(8):1212-1229. Pubmedid: 23902736. Pmcid: PMC3787152.
  • Lau E, Ronai ZA. ATF2 - at the crossroad of nuclear and cytosolic functions. J Cell Sci. 2012 Jun.125(Pt 12):2815-2824. Pubmedid: 22685333. Pmcid: PMC3434827.
  • Lau E, Kluger H, Varsano T, Lee K, Scheffler I, Rimm DL, Ideker T, Ronai ZA. PKCε promotes oncogenic functions of ATF2 in the nucleus while blocking its apoptotic function at mitochondria. Cell. 2012 Feb.148(3):543-555. Pubmedid: 22304920. Pmcid: PMC3615433.
  • Lau E, Ronai Z. RAF-isotype switching: from B to C through PDE. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2011 May.18(5):517-518. Pubmedid: 21540889. Pmcid: PMC4560464.
  • Shah M, Bhoumik A, Goel V, Dewing A, Breitwieser W, Kluger H, Krajewski S, Krajewska M, Dehart J, Lau E, Kallenberg DM, Jeong H, Eroshkin A, Bennett DC, Chin L, Bosenberg M, Jones N, Ronai ZA. A role for ATF2 in regulating MITF and melanoma development. PLoS Genet. 2010 Dec.6(12):e1001258. Pubmedid: 21203491. Pmcid: PMC3009656.
  • Lau E, Chiang GG, Abraham RT, Jiang W. Divergent S phase checkpoint activation arising from prereplicative complex deficiency controls cell survival. Mol Biol Cell. 2009 Sep.20(17):3953-3964. Pubmedid: 19587119. Pmcid: PMC2735493.
  • Tsuji T, Lau E, Chiang GG, Jiang W. The role of Dbf4/Drf1-dependent kinase Cdc7 in DNA-damage checkpoint control. Mol Cell. 2008 Dec.32(6):862-869. Pubmedid: 19111665. Pmcid: PMC4556649.
  • Lau E, Tsuji T, Guo L, Lu SH, Jiang W. The role of pre-replicative complex (pre-RC) components in oncogenesis. Faseb J. 2007 Dec.21(14):3786-3794. Pubmedid: 17690155.
  • Lau E, Jiang W. Is there a pre-RC checkpoint that cancer cells lack?. Cell Cycle. 2006 Aug.5(15):1602-1606. Pubmedid: 16880740.
  • Lau E, Zhu C, Abraham RT, Jiang W. The functional role of Cdc6 in S-G2/M in mammalian cells. EMBO Rep. 2006 Apr.7(4):425-430. Pubmedid: 16439999. Pmcid: PMC1456921.
  • Zhu C, Lau E, Schwarzenbacher R, Bossy-Wetzel E, Jiang W. Spatiotemporal control of spindle midzone formation by PRC1 in human cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Apr.103(16):6196-6201. Pubmedid: 16603632. Pmcid: PMC1458854.


Title: Enhancing TIL populations and immunotherapy efficacy in melanoma by modulating fucosylation
Sponsor: Nat Institutes of Health
PI: Lau, E.