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Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests

I am currently interested in studying how the microenvironment affects breast cancer risk, both in benign breast disease and normal breast tissue. In addition, I am interested in studying differences in the tumor microenvironment between white and African American, obese, and aging patients. Overall, I aim to uncover novel predictors of risk and potential treatment avenues in the world of immunotherapy for those at risk for breast cancer and breast cancer recurrence.

Selected publications

  • Walens A*, Lin J*, Damrauer JS*, Lupo R, Newcomb R, Fox DB, Mabe NW, Gresham J, De Buysscher T, Kelkar H, Mieczkowski PA, Owzar K, Alveraz JV. (2019) Adaptation and Selection Shape Clonal Evolution During Residual Disease and Recurrence, In Review Nature Communications
  • Walens A, DiMarco AV, Kroger BR, Damrauer JS, Lupo R, Alvarez JV. (2019) CCL5 promotes breast cancer recurrence through macrophage recruitment in residual tumors. eLife.
  • Damrauer JS*, Phelps SN*, Amuchastegui K, Lupo R, Mabe NW, Walens A, Kroger BR, Alvarez JV, (2018) Foxo-dependent Par-4 upregulation prevents the long-term survival of residual cells following inhibition of the PI3K-Akt pathway. Molecular Cancer Research. 16(4):599-609
  • Huang J, Chen M, Whitley MJ, Kuo HC, Walens A, et al., (2017) Generation and comparison of CRISPR-Cas9 and Cre-mediated genetically engineered mouse models of sarcoma. Nature Communications 9:15999
  • Eid RA, Friendman KM, Mkrtichyan M, Walens A, King W, Janik J, Khleif SN, (2015) Akt1 and -2 inhibition diminishes terminal differentiation and enhances central memory CD8+ T-cell proliferation and survival. Oncoimmunology 4(5): e1005448
  • Davis MB, Walens A, Hire R, Mumin K, Brown AM, Ford D, Howerth EW, Monteil M, (2015) Distinct Transcript Isoforms of the Atypical Chemokine Receptor 1 (ACKR1)/Duffy Antigen Receptor for Chemokines (DARC) Gene Are Expressed in Lymphoblasts and Altered Isoform Levels Are Associated wth Genetic Ancestry and Duffy-Null Allele. PLoS One 10(10): e0140098


Melissa Troester