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Associate Professor, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
UNC-Chapel Hill
Cancer Cell Biology
UNC Blood Research Center

Areas of Interest

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has the highest mortality rate of all cancers, is rapidly becoming the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., and is estimated to cost the health care system $2.4 billion each year. Patients with PDAC have a five-year survival rate of 7%, and that number drops to 2% for individuals with metastatic disease. Unfortunately, there has been little progress in shifting patient outcome over the past 40 years, highlighting the need for innovative approaches to define the molecular pathways that influence PDAC development. PDAC is typically initiated by acinar cells acquiring an activating mutation in the KRAS proto-oncogene. A key transcriptional response early in PDAC development is dramatically increased expression of the physiological activator of the coagulation system, Tissue Factor (TF). Our research builds on a known relationship between pancreatic cancer and high-level activity of the blood coagulation system, but is unique in that it seeks to discover and define new mechanisms of crosstalk by which specific coagulation factors in the tumor microenvironment promote PDAC pathogenesis.

Awards and Honors

  • Elected Councilman, International Fibrinogen Research Society, 2018
  • Member, Elected Vice Chair/Chair of 2020/2022 Gordon Research Conference on Plasminogen Activation and Extracellular Proteolysis, 2018
  • Member, Committee Member, Scientific Committee on Hemostasis, American Society of Hematology, 2016
  • Committee Member, International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis Scientific and Standardization Committee (SSC) on Fibrinogen and Factor XIII, 2014 – 2018

News and Stories

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Matthew Flick, PhD