Lineberger Professor of Cancer Research
Director, UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
Director, UNC Cancer Care
Cancer Cell Biology, Breast Cancer
Area of Interest
My laboratory studies signal transduction in normal and neoplastic cells to determine new therapeutic options for a range of cancers including breast, lung, pancreatic, and prostate, as well as leukemias and melanoma.
We have studied members of the EGF Receptor family for almost 40 years and identified several other tyrosine kinases including MerTK, a kinase that we are studying in the innate immune system as a target that leads to an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. The lab has constructed a number of novel mouse models including fl/fl mertk, and tyro3 mice using CRISPR. These have been bred with Tamoxifen reducible Rosa cre mice to test postnatal deletion as well as mice with targeted deletion in the endothelial, myeloid, dendritic cell compartments. These have been used to test multiple syngeneic models. To inhibit the action of MerTK, we have teamed with UNC Lineberger’s Stephen Frye, PhD, to create small molecule MerTK inhibitors that can reverse immunosuppression and enhance immunotherapy. This collaboration has resulted in a UNC start-up company, Meryx, Inc, which now has advanced a candidate to an FDA approved Phase 1 clinical trial in solid tumor patients at UNC and Emory. Trials in AML and Osimertinib resistant lung cancer patients have been initiated.
Awards and Honors
- O. Max Gardner Award, UNC System, 2023
- Hyman L. Battle Distinguished Cancer Research Award, UNC, 2016
- UNC Inventor of the Year Award, UNC Office of Commercialization & Economic Development, 2016
- Distinguished Service Medal, UNC General Alumni Association, 2015
- Faculty Service Award, UNC General Alumni Association, 2009
- Thomas Jefferson Award, UNC, 2008
- Berryhill Lecturer, UNC School of Medicine, 2007
- AACI President, Association of American Cancer Institutes, 2005-2007
- AACI President-Elect, Association of American Cancer Institutes, 2003-2005
- AACI Board of Directors, Association of American Cancer Institutes, 2001-2009
- Director Endocrine Course “Best Course Award”, UNC, 1985, 1987, 1989
News and Stories
Earp to step down as director of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
Shelton “Shelley” Earp, MD, has announced his intention to step down as director of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, effective in June of 2024.
Top UNC cancer researcher receives 2023 Oliver Max Gardner Award
H. Shelton “Shelley” Earp, MD, director of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and UNC Cancer Care, received the prestigious Oliver Max Gardner Award.
Scientific retreat underscores impact and promise of cancer center’s research
UNC Lineberger's annual scientific retreat brought together faculty, staff and trainees to learn about the latest research at the cancer center.
NCI awards Earp, Pylayeva-Gupta five-year, $2.69 million pancreatic cancer research grant
The NCI has awarded has awarded Shelley Earp, MD, and Yuliya Pylayeva-Gupta, PhD, a research project grant to investigate approaches to overcome barriers to pancreatic cancer immunotherapies.