Komen-funded researcher focused on discovering more effective ways of preventing breast cancer recurrence and metastasis.

• Assistant Professor – UCSD Dept. of Pathology, 2014-present
• B.A. – Whitman College, 1997
• Ph.D. – Vanderbilt University, 2004


Dr. Desgrosellier received his B.A. in Biology and Chemistry from Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA. He then received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN with a fellowship from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) foundation. As a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. David Cheresh’s laboratory at UCSD he pursued his interest in integrin signaling in cancer. In studies funded by an NIH individual fellowship and published in Nature Medicine he discovered a surprising adhesion-independent role for the integrin αvβ3 that promoted tumor cell metastasis. This finding initiated his interest in adult stem cell biology and its relevance to cancer, now a major topic of his research as an independent investigator at the Moores Cancer Center. Dr. Desgrosellier was promoted to Assistant Professor in the UCSD Department of Pathology in 2014.


My laboratory is focused on discovering more effective ways of preventing breast cancer recurrence and metastasis, leading to a reduction in mortality from this disease. Considering that normal physiological pathways are often hijacked by tumor cells, I have closely studied the developmental signals that control stem cell behavior in the mammary gland with the goal of identifying new strategies for targeting stem-like cancer cells involved in disease progression. This multidisciplinary approach represents a synthesis of the knowledge and skills developed during my training in developmental biology, pharmacology, and integrin signaling in cancer, with the goal of “changing the game” with respect to identifying new treatment strategies for breast cancer. Toward this end, I have developed an independent and multidisciplinary research program in my laboratory focused on deciphering the role of stem-like cancer cells in metastatic disease and identifying vulnerabilities of these cells by investigating the key cell survival and differentiation signaling pathways required for their function.


1. Sun, Q, Lesperance, J, Wettersten, H, Luterstein, E, DeRose, YS, Welm, A, Cheresh, DA, and Desgrosellier, JS*. (2017). Pro-apoptotic PUMA targets stem-like breast cancer cells to suppress metastasis. J Clin Invest. Epub Dec. 11.
Featured Article; *Senior Author

2. Seguin, L, Camargo, M, Wettersten, H, Kato, S, Desgrosellier, JS, Von Schalscha, T, Elliott, K, Cosset, E, Lesperance, J, Weis, SM and Cheresh, DA. (2017). Galectin-3, a druggable vulnerability for KRAS-addicted cancers. Cancer Discovery. Epub Sept. 11. PMCID: 28893801

3. Seguin, L, Desgrosellier, JS, Weis, SM, and Cheresh, DA. (2015). Integrins and cancer: regulators of cancer stemness, metastasis, and drug resistance. Trends Cell Biol 25(4), 234-40. PMCID: PMC4380531

4. Desgrosellier, JS*, Lesperance, J, Seguin, L, Gozo, M, Kato, S, Franovic, A, Yebra, M, Shattil, SJ and Cheresh, DA. (2014). Integrin αvβ3 drives Slug activation and stemness in the pregnant and neoplastic mammary gland. Dev Cell 30(3), 295-308. PMCID: PMC4147869
Featured Article & Cover; *Corresponding Author

5. Desgrosellier, JS, Cheresh, DA. (2010). Integrins in cancer: Biological implications and therapeutic opportunities. Nat Rev Cancer 10(1), 9-22.

6. Desgrosellier, JS, Barnes, LA, Shields, DJ, Huang, M, Lau, SK, Prevost, N, Tarin, D, Shattil, SJ, Cheresh, DA. (2009). An integrin v3-c-Src oncogenic unit promotes anchorage-independence and tumor progression. Nat Med 15(10), 1163-9. PMCID: PMC2759406