Alan Wells, MD, DMSc

  • Executive Vice-Chairman of the Section of Laboratory Medicine
  • Medical Director for the UPMC Clinical Laboratories
  • Thomas J. Gill III Professor of Pathology

Education & Training

  • Graduate School – Karolinska Institute, Sweden – DMSc – Tumor Biology
  • Medical School – Brown University – MD
  • Residency – University of California, San Diego – Laboratory Medicine
  • Fellowship – University of California, San Francisco – Tumor Biology

Research Grants

NIH Grants:  R01, J01

Research Summary

The Wells Laboratory research program is integrating the knowledge gained from our biochemical and biophysical mechanistic studies into our investigations concerning conditions of dysregulated (tumor dissemination) and orchestrated (wound healing and organogenesis) cellular phenotypic plasticity. As part of understanding the tissue biology, we are investigating both how integrated cell responses are selected from among others and the metabolic consequences thereof.  The two central foci are tumor progression and wound repair.  In tumor progression, we examine breast and prostate carcinoma and melanoma invasion and metastases in terms of molecular signals and the special micro-environments. For this, the laboratory uses human tissues, animal models, and unique all human 4-dimensional liver, skin, and gut microtissues. In would repair, the current model system is skin wound healing, in which the communications between the epidermis, dermis, and blood vessels is parsed at the molecular levels. The role of stem cells in the natural repair process and as a rationale therapeutic is also being investigated. These two areas are re-inforcing as many of the key molecules and cellular processes are part of the generalizable onco-fetal-wound program.

Representative Publications

  1. A Wells, A Clark, A Bradshaw, B Ma, H Edington (2019). The great escape: how metastases of melanoma, and other carcinomas, avoid elimination. Experimental Biology and Medicine, in press.
  2. C Beckwitt, AM Clark, B Ma, DL Whaley, ZN Oltvai, A Wells (2018). Statins attenuate outgrowth of breast cancer metastases. British Journal of Cancer 119, 1094-1105. 
  3. A Bradshaw, K Sylakowski, A Wells (2018). The pro-reparative engine: stem cells aid healing by dampening inflammation. Current Pathobiology Reports 6, 109-115.    
  4. AM Clark, MP Kumar, SE Wheeler, CL Young, R Venkataramanan, DB Stolz, LG Griffith, DA Lauffenburger, A Wells (2018). A model of dormant-emergent metastatic breast cancer progression enabling exploration of biomarker signatures. Molecular and Cellular Proteomics 17, 619-630.    
  5. CC Yates, M Rodrigues, A Nuschke, Z Johnson, D Whaley, D Stolz, J Newsome, A Wells (2017). Multipotent stromal cells/mesenchymal stem cells and fibroblasts combine to minimize skin hypertrophic scarring. Stem Cell Research and Therapy 8, e173. 
  6. AM Clark, SE Wheeler, CL Young, L Stockdale, J Shepard-Neiman, W Zhao, DB Stolz, R Venkataramanan, D Lauffenburger, L Griffith, A Wells (2017). A liver microphysiological system of tumor cell dormancy and inflammatory responsiveness is affected by scaffold properties. Lab on a Chip 17, 156-168.