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Katie DeCicco-Skinner

Associate Professor Department of Biology

Broadly speaking our laboratory studies molecular changes that contribute to cancer development as well as the role of the tumor microenvironment in the initiation and progression of cancer. We have two active areas of research in our laboratory. (1) The first area of research investigates one specific signaling pathway defect and how it predisposes to squamous cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer. The tumor progression locus 2 (Tpl2) gene is involved in a variety of cellular functions including inflammatory processes and immune function. We have recently identified a novel tumor suppressor role of Tpl2 in chemically-induced skin cancer. Tpl2-/-mice have higher incidences of cutaneous papillomas than wildtype mice and these papillomas convert to cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma more readily than in wildtype mice. Currently, we are working to understand the stromal-epithelial interactions that drive skin cancer development and progression in Tpl2-/- mice. (2) Multiple myeloma is the second most common blood cancer in the United States. Epidemiological studies have identified obesity as a risk factor for multiple myeloma. Obesity increases both the risk of developing multiple myeloma and decreases overall patient survival. However, the molecular underpinnings by which adipocytes (fat cells) contribute to multiple myeloma growth and progression is relatively unknown. Our laboratory is working to understand the hormonal, lipid, and signaling factor dysregulation in obese adipocytes that contribute to MM growth and progression.


Postdoc, National Cancer Institute, NIH PhD, Nutritional Sciences, Pennsylvania State University BS, Biochemistry, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University

CAS - Biology
Hurst - 112C
Contact Info
(202) 885-2193 (Office)
(202) 885-2182 (Fax)

Send email to Katie DeCicco-Skinner

For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.
See Also
Biology Department

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Grants and Sponsored Research




Faculty Research Support Grant,   2016-7

Faculty Research Support Grant,  2015-6

American University Mellon Grant, 2013                                                                                                   

American University Mellon Grant, 2012                                                                                                      

American University Faculty Research Award, 2011                                                                                 

American University Mellon Grant, 2008                                                                                                         



NIH R15 grant  (2R15CA152907-02)

  • 2015-2018
  • Title = The role of Tpl2 in carcinogenesis-related inflammation

NASA grant (13-14RadStep2-0012)

  • 2015-2017
  • Title = Neurobehavioral and CNS-Related Physiological Changes 
  •   DeCicco-Skinner = collaborator.  PI = Catherine Davis, Johns Hopkins University



 NIH R15 grant  (1UA5CA152907-01A1)

  • 2011-2014
  • Title = The role of Tpl2 in carcinogenesis-related inflammation

NIH R21 grant (1R21NS080585-01)

  • 2012-2014
  • Title = Neural estrogen synthesis by astrocytic aromatization, and neuroinflammation
  • Role = Collaborator (Saldanha = PI)

NSBRI grant (11-11_NSBRI_2-0035

  • 2012-2015
  • Title = Detection & Prevention of Neurobehavioral Vulnerability to Space Radiation
  • DeCicco-Skinner = collaborator.  PI = Bob Hienz, Johns Hopkins

DC NASA Stem Grant

  • 2012
  • Title = Radiation-induced brain changes:  An immersive interdisciplinary undergraduate research experience 


Media Appearances

“Genetic Tests Coming To A Drugstore Near You”,  WAMA 88.5, 2010

AU News and Achievements