Department of Medicine
Faculty Profiles by Division

Department of Medicine

Faculty Profiles

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photo Deborah L. Galson, PhD


Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology

Associate Professor of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics

Member, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

Member, Molecular and Cellular Cancer Biology Program

Director, Pittsburgh Center for Bone & Mineral Research

Member, McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine


Phone: 412-623-1112

Office: Hillman Cancer Center Research Pavilion, Rm 1.19b
5117 Centre Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Phone: 412-623-1112
Fax: 412-623-1415
Administrative Assistant:
Dianna Fennell
Address: UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
Research Pavilion, 1.19a
Pittsburgh, PA
Phone: 412-623-1114
Fax: 412-623-1415
Education and Training
PhD, Brandeis University, 1984
B.S., Cornell University, 1976
Postdoctoral, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1990
Instructor, Harvard Medical School/Brigham & Women's Hospital, 1995
Research Interest
We investigate signal transduction pathways and gene regulation in osteoclasts (OCL) and osteoblasts (OB) both during normal differentiation and in pathological states. The aim is to better understand pathological changes in the bone microenvironment, particularly OCL and OB, in Paget’s disease of bone and Multiple Myeloma (MM) bone disease. Our current studies focus on four main areas: (1) Determine the mechanism by which Measles virus nucleocapsid protein (MVNP) alters expression of cellular genes and increases osteoclast differentiation in Paget’s disease of bone. We’ve shown that MVNP signals through interaction with the IKK family members TBK1 and optineurin to generate pagetic OCL. Additional studies aim to determine the mechanism of cooperation between MVNP and p62 (SQSTM1) with pagetic mutations (eg. p62P392L) to generate Paget's lesions. (2) Determine the mechanism by which MM cells suppress the differentiation capacity of osteoblast progenitor cells, which persists even after removal of the MM cells. These MM-altered bone marrow stromal cells also enhance osteoclastogenesis and microenvironmental support of myeloma growth. The focus is on understanding signaling mechanisms and the epigenetic changes induced in BMSC by MM cells. (3) Determine the roles of Gfi1 and EZH2 in osteoclasts. These studies derive from finding a key role for these proteins in MM-induced epigenetic changes in BMSC. (4) Determine if inhibition of TBK1/IKKe signaling is a useful therapeutic strategy to inhibit MM bone disease. Inhibition of TBK1/IKKe signaling blocks OCL formation and slows MM growth in vitro. These studies are being extended to in vivo MM models.
For my complete bibliography, Click Here.
Selected Publications:
Adamik J, Jin S, Sun Q, Zhang P, Weiss KR, Anderson JL, Silbermann R, Roodman GD, Galson DL. EZH2 or HDAC1 inhibition reverses multiple myeloma-induced epigenetic suppression of osteoblast differentiation. Mol Can Res. 2017; 15(4): 405-417.
Sun Q, Sammut B, Wang FM, Kurihara N, Windle JJ, Roodman GD, Galson DL. TBK1 mediates critical effects of measles virus nucleocapsid protein (MVNP) on pagetic osteoclast formation. J Bone Miner Res. 2014; 29 (1): 90-102.
Teramachi J, Zhou H, Subler MA, Kitagawa Y, Galson DL, Dempster DW, Windle JJ, Kurihara N, Roodman G. Increased IL-6 expression in osteoclasts is necessary but not sufficient for the development of Paget's disease of bone. J Bone Miner Res. 2014; 29 (6): 1456-65.
Adamik J, Wang KZ, Unlu S, Su A-J, Tannahill GM, Galson DL, O’Neill LA, Auron PE. Distinct mechanisms for induction and tolerance regulate the immediate early genes encoding interleukin 1ß and Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha. PLoS One. 2013; in press June 19.
Zhu K, Jiao H, Li S, Cao H, Galson DL, Zhao Z, Zhao X, Lai Y, Fan J, Im H-J, Chen D, Xiao G. ATF4 promotes bone angiogenesis by increasing VEGF expression and release in the bone environment. J Bone Miner Res:. 2013; in press Apr 2: Epub2013May3.
Teramachi J, Hiruma Y, Ishizuka S, Ishizuka H, Brown JP, Michou L, Cao H, Galson DL, Subler MA, Zhou H, Dempster DW, Windle JJ, Roodman GD, Kurihara N. Role of ATF7-TAF12 interactions in the vitamin D response hypersensitivity of osteoclast precursors in Paget’s disease. J Bone Miner Res. 2013; 28: 1489-500.
Wang F-M, Sarmasik A, Hiruma Y, Sun Q, Sammut B, Windle JJ, Roodman GD, Galson DL. Measles virus nucleocapsid protein, a key contributor to Paget's disease, increases IL-6 expression via down-regulation of FoxO3/Sirt1 signaling. Bone. 2013; 53: 269-76.
D’Souza S, Del Prete D, Jin S, Sun Q, Huston, AJ, Kostov FE, Sammut B, Hong, C-S, Anderson JL, Patrene KD, Yu S, Velu CS, Xiao G, Grimes HL, Roodman GD, Galson DL. Gfi1 expressed in bone marrow stromal cells is a novel osteoblast suppressor in patients with multiple myeloma bone disease. Blood. 2011; 118: 6871-80.
Li S, Pal R, Monaghan SA, Schafer P, Ouyang H, Mapara M, Galson DL, Lentzsch S. IMiD® immunomodulatory compounds block C/EBPß translation through eIF4E downregulation resulting in inhibition of multiple myeloma. Blood. 2011; 117: 5157-65.
Kurihara N, Hiruma Y, Yamana K, Michou L, Rousseau C, Morissette J, Galson DL, Zhou H, Dempster DW, Windle JJ, Brown JP, Roodman GD. Contributions of the Measles virus nucleocapsid gene and the SQSTM1/p62P392L mutation to Paget’s disease. Cell Metabolism. 2011; 13: 23-34.
Notable Achievements
Member, Finance Committee, American Society for Bone and Mineral Reserach, 2016-2019
Chair, Program Committee, Multidiscplinary and Translational Musculoskeletal Retreat, UPSOM, 2018
Abstract Reviewer, Annual Meeting Program Committee, American Society for Bone and Mineral Reserch, 2003,2007,2013, 2016-2018
Member, Membership Engagement and Education Committee, American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, 2012-2015
Ad Hoc Reviewer, NIH Skeletal Biology Development and Disease Study Section, 2014
Ad hoc Reviewer, DOD Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP), 2012
Ad hoc Reviewer, NIH Special Emphasis Panel/Scientific Review Group, 2012
Member, Women in Bone and Mineral Research Committee, American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, 2004-2008
NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship (National Cancer Institute), 1984-1987
Member, American Society for Bone & Mineral Research, 1996-present