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Rena S. Lapidus

Rena S. Lapidus Ph.D.

Academic Title: Assistant Professor
Primary Appointment: Medicine
Additional Title(s): Director, Translational Laboratory Shared Service
Location: Bressler Research Building, 9-037
Phone: (410) 328-8092
Lab: (410) 706-2171

Personal History:

After earning a Ph.D. in the lab of Patricia Sokolove Ph.D. in the Department of Pharmacology at University of MD School of Medicine, I worked as a post-doctoral fellow studying the epigenetics of the estrogen receptor in the breast cancer lab of Nancy Davidson M.D. at the Johns Hopkins Oncology Center.   In 1997, I was hired by Guilford Pharmaceutical to work in the R&D department.  For close to thirteen years, I worked in the pharmaceutical industry developing small molecules to either target cancer directly or treat the side effects of chemotherapy.  In 2009, I returned to UMB as the Director of the Translational Laboratory Shared Service (TLSS), a full shared service of the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center (UMGCC).  I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at UMSOM and a full member of the Experimental Therapeutics Program at UMGCC.

Research Interests:

My primary research interest is to develop novel drugs to treat cancer patients.

I am uniquely suited to be the director of the TLSS having spent twelve years in industry working on small molecule drug development. In industry, I worked as the representative ‘biologist’ on many multi-disciplinary project teams being exposed to many of the other ‘disciplines’ including toxicology and pharmacokinetics. My responsibilities included testing novel anti-cancer compounds in in vitro and in vivo cancer efficacy models as well as doing the ‘in-life’ for pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic assays.

Since my return to UMB, I have become primarily interested in establishing in vitro and in vivo models to test both novel compounds for cancer treatment and novel target in the cancer field for use by PIs at UMB and UMGCC. 

Lab Techniques and Equipment:

In Vitro Models:  50+ mycoplasma free human cancer cell lines including breast, prostate, colon, NSCLC, brain, melanoma, leukemia and lymphoma.

xCelligence System: Real-time proliferation, migration and invasion of cells.

xCelligence: RTCA DP Analyzer has three integrated stations for E-plates and CIM-Plates 16. It is located inside a tissue culture incubator. Each of the three 16-well plate holders can be used independently under the RTCA software. The RTCA DP Analyzer can automatically select wells for measurement and continuously transfer measured impedance data to the computer. Cell Index values, derived from the measured impedances, are continuously displayed in the Software user interface.

In Vivo Models:

  • Flank Models: human breast, colon, pancreatic, NSCL, prostate, head and neck, and liver cancer
  • Orthotopic Models: MDA-MB-231-luc in mammary fat pad (breast), MDA-MB-231-luc (IV –lung colonization), MOLM-14-luc (AML), MV4-11-luc (AML), ES-2-luc (ovarian), PC3-luc (prostate)
  • Primary Xenograft Models: primary human breast cancer (triple negative breast cancer) and primary human AML


  1. Lapidus RG and Sokolove PM The mitochondrial permeability transition: interactions of spermine, ADP and inorganic phosphate. J. Biol. Chem., 269(29):18931-18936, 1994
  2. Herman JG, Merlo A, Mao L, Lapidus RG, Issa J-P J, Davidson NE., Sidransky D and Baylin SB Inactivation of the CDKN2/p16/MTS1 gene is frequently associated with aberrant DNA methylation in all common human cancers. Cancer Res. 55: 4525-4530, 1995.Lapidus RG, Ferguson AT, Ottoviano YL, Parl FF, Smith HS, Weitzman SA, Issa J-P and Davidson NE Methylation of estrogen and progesterone receptor genes 5' CpG islands correlates with lack of ER and PR gene expression in breast tumors. Clin. Cancer Res. 2(5): 805-810, 1996.
  3. Lapidus RG, Tiffany CW, Isaacs JT, Slusher BS. Prostate specific membrane antigen (PSMA) enzyme activity is elevated in prostate cancer cells. The Prostate 45:350-354, 2000.
  4. Lapidus RG, Dang W, Rosen M, Gady AM, Zabelinka Y, O’Meally R, DeWeese TL, Denmeade SR. Antitumor effect of combination therapy with intratumoral controlled-release paclitaxel (PACLIMER¿ Microspheres) and radiation. The Prostate  58(3): 291-298, 2004.
  5. Khan K, Li G, Li X, Zhang J, Xu W, Hoover RK, O'Malley Jr BW, Lapidus RG  and Li D. GPI-15427, a novel poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 inhibitor, enhances the tumoricidal effect of radiation in head and neck cancer. Head Neck 32(3): 381-391, 2010.
  6. Carozzi VA, Chiorazzi A, Canta A, Lapidus RG, Slusher BS, Wozniak KM, Cavaletti G.  Glutamate carboxypeptidase inhibition reduces the severity of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neurotoxicity in rat. Neurotox Res 17: 380-391, 2010.
  7. Xie M, Ujjinamatada RK, Sadowska M, Lapidus RG, Edelman M and Hosmane RS. A novel, broad spectrum anti-cancer compound containing the Imidazo[4,5-e][1,3]diazepine Ring System. Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters 20(15):4386-9 2010
  8. Lee TY, Ezelle HJ, Venkataraman T, Lapidus RG, Scheibner K, Hassel BA: Regulation of human RNase L by the miR-29 family reveals a novel oncogenic role in chronic myelogenous leukemia J Interferon and Cytokine Res 33(1): 34-42, 2013
  9. Zimmer DB, Lapidus RG, Weber DJ. In vivo screening of S100B inhibitors for melanoma therapy Methods Mol Biol. 963:303-17, 2013.
  10. Gojo I, Tan M, Fang H-B, Sadowska M, Lapidus R, Baer MR, Carrier F, Beumer JH, Anyang BN, Holleran JL, Srivastava RK, Espinoza-Delgado I, Ross DD. Translational phase I trial of vorinostat combined with cytarabine and etoposide in patients with relapsed, refractory, or high-risk acute myeloid leukemia  Clin Cancer Res 19(7):1838-1851 2013
  11. Gojo I, Sadowska M, Walker A, Cooper M, Feldman EJ, Padmanabhan W, Baer MR, Sausville EA, Lapidus RG, Zhang D, Zhu Y, Jou Y-M, Poon J, Small K and Bannerji R. Clinical and laboratory studies of the novel cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor dinaciclib (SCH 727965) in acute leukemias.  Cancer Chemotherapy and Phar macology 72(4): 897-908, 2013
  12. Yu KH, Sangar V, Ricigliano M, Hidalgo M, O’Reilly EM, Abou-Alfa GK, Lowery M, Saltz LB, Crotty J, Gary K, Cooper B, Lapidus R, Sadowska M. Pharmacogenomic Modeling of Circulating Tumor and Invasive Cells for Prediction of Chemotherapy Response and Resistance in Pancreatic Cancer Clin Cancer Res 20(20): 5281-5289, 2014.
  13. Emadi A, Faramand R, Carter-Cooper B, Tolu S, Ford LA, Lapidus RG, Wetzler M, Wang ES, Etemadi A, Griffiths EA. Presence of Isocitrate dehydrogenase may predict clinical response to hyopmethylating agents with acute myeloid leukemia (AML)  Am J Hematology 90(5); E77-E79, 2015
  14. Emadi A, Sadowska M, Carter-Cooper B, Bhatnagar V, van der Merwe I, Levis MJ, Sausville EA, Lapidus RG. Perturbation of cellular oxidative stress induced by dichloroacetate and arsenic trioxide for treatment of acute myeloid leukemia. 2015 Leukemia Res 39(7): 719-729.