Alana L. Welm, Ph.D.
Full ProfessorUniversity of Utah, Department of Oncological Sciences
Alana Welm, PhD, is Full Professor in the Department of Oncological Sciences at the University of Utah, an Investigator at the Huntsman Cancer Institute, and Co-Leader of the Cell Response and Regulation Program at HCI. Welm's laboratory studies breast cancer metastasis.
Dr. Welm completed her PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX under the supervision of Gretchen Darlington, PhD. She then went on to conduct postdoctoral training in Dr. J. Michael Bishop’s laboratory at the University of California, San Francisco where her work focused on developing new models of breast cancer metastasis. Dr. Welm started her laboratory at the University of Utah’s Huntsman Cancer Institute in 2007, was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2013, and granted Full Professorship in 2019.
The research in Dr. Welm’s laboratory is focused on solving the problem of breast cancer metastasis using in vivo modeling of mouse and human breast cancers. Dr. Welm’s group discovered that the Ron kinase pathway is an important facilitator of breast cancer metastasis through its unique dual function in tumor cells and in resident macrophages. Current areas of research include (1) pre-clinical studies of various Ron inhibitors for treatment and prevention of metastatic breast cancer; (2) pre-clinical and early clinical studies of Ron/Met inhibitors in bone metastatic cancers; (3) discovering molecular mechanisms by which Ron kinases promote metastasis through cell-autonomous and non cell-autonomous pathways; and (4) refining “precision medicine” for metastatic breast cancer using functional assays in patient-derived breast tumor grafts.