Department of Medicine
Faculty Profiles by Division

Division of Hematology/Oncology

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, Genome Stability Program

Co-Director, Pittsburgh Center for Interdisciplinary Bone & Mineral Research

Member, McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine

Site Director, Cancer Biology Site of the Hillman Academy


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 and osteoblasts both during normal differentiation and in bone pathological states. The aim is to better understand pathological changes in the bone microenvironment in Paget’s disease of bone (PDB) 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 PDB. 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 with pagetic mutations 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 via GFI1 and EZH2. (3) Determine the roles and mechanisms of action of GFI1 and EZH2 in osteoclasts and in MM cells. 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:
Petrusca, D.N., Mulcrone, P.L., Macar, D.A., Bishop, R.T., Berdyshev, E., Suvannasankha, A., Anderson, J.L., Sun, Q., Auron, P.E., Galson, D.L., Roodman, G.D. GFI1-Dependent Repression of SGPP1 Increases Multiple Myeloma Cell Survival. Cancers (Basel). 2022; 14(3): 772.
Adamik, J., Pulugulla, S.H., Zhang, P., Sun, Q., Lontos, K., Macar, D.A., Auron, P.E., Galson, D.L. EZH2 Supports Osteoclast Differentiation and Bone Resorption Via Epigenetic and Cytoplasmic Targets. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. 2020; 35(1): 181.
Petrusca, D.N., Toscani, D., Wang, F.M., Park, C., Crean, C.D., Anderson, J.L., Marino, S., Mohammad, K.S., Zhou, D., Silbermann, R., Sun, Q., Kurihara, N., Galson, D.L., Giuliani, N., Roodman, G.D. Growth factor independence 1 expression in myeloma cells enhances their growth, survival, and osteoclastogenesis. Journal of Hematology and Oncology. 2018; 11(1): 123.
Adamik, J., Silbermann, R., Marino, S., Sun, Q., Anderson, J.L., Zhou, D., Xie, X.Q., Roodman, G.D., Galson, D.L. XRK3F2 Inhibition of p62-ZZ Domain Signaling Rescues Myeloma-Induced GFI1-Driven Epigenetic Repression of the Runx2 Gene in Pre-osteoblasts to Overcome Differentiation Suppression. Frontiers in Endocrinology (Lausanne). 2018; 9: 344.
Adamik, J., Jin, S., Sun, Q., Zhang, P., Weiss, K.R., Anderson, J.L., Silbermann, R., Roodman, G.D., Galson, D.L. EZH2 or HDAC1 inhibition reverses multiple myeloma-induced epigenetic suppression of osteoblast differentiation. Molecular Cancer Research. 2017; 15(4): 405-417.
Sun, Q., Sammut, B., Wang, F.M., Kurihara, N., Windle, J.J., Roodman, G.D., Galson, D.L. TBK1 mediates critical effects of measles virus nucleocapsid protein (MVNP) on pagetic osteoclast formation. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. 2014; 29(1): 90-102.
Wang, F.-M., Sarmasik, A., Hiruma, Y., Sun, Q., Sammut, B., Windle, J.J., Roodman, G.D., Galson, D.L. 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(1): 269-76.
D’Souza, S., Del Prete, D., Jin, S., Sun, Q., Huston, A.J., Kostov, F.E., Sammut, B., Hong, C.-S., Anderson, J.L., Patrene, K.D., Yu, S., Velu, C.S., Xiao, G., Grimes, H.L., Roodman, G.D., Galson, D.L. Gfi1 expressed in bone marrow stromal cells is a novel osteoblast suppressor in patients with multiple myeloma bone disease. Blood. 2011; 118(26): 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
Fellow of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, 2019-present
Member, Women in Bone and Mineral Research Committee, American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, 2020-2023, 2004-2008
Member, Program Advisory Committee for the 2021 Annual Meeting Program, American Society for Bone and Mineral Reserch, 2020-2021
Chair, Program Committee, Multidiscplinary and Translational Musculoskeletal Retreat, UPSOM, 2018
Member, Finance Committee, American Society for Bone and Mineral Reserach, 2016-2019
Ad Hoc Reviewer, NIH Skeletal Biology Development and Disease Study Section, 2020, 2014
Ad hoc Reviewer, NIH SEP ZRG1 MOSS-F (02) S - SBSR/SBDD Conflicts, 2019, 2012
Ad hoc Reviewer (grants), Blood Cancer, UK, 2018-2020, 2014
Ad hoc Reviewer, NIH SEP ZRG1 MOSS-R (02) M - Director’s New Innovator (DP2) Award, 2018
NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship (National Cancer Institute), 1984-1987