Dr. Schmelz is an Associate Professor in Pathology with a background in molecular biology. She is a comprehensive member of the Arizona Cancer Center and of the BIO5 institute.
Her primary research interest is to study how tumor cells escape immunosurveillance, which is a hallmark of cancer, in aggressive diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Major histocompatibility complex class II (MHCII) molecules are cell surface glycoproteins, which play a major role in tumor immunosurveillance. MHCII proteins are involved in antigen processing and presentation, and are important for the adaptive immune response. The expression of MHCII is essential for patient outcome. The loss of MHCII expression leads to a worse outcome for patients diagnosed with DLBCL. The lab is studying the underlying mechanisms of MHCII deregulation.
The lab also hosts the Biorepository (ANCHOR-Arizona Biorepository) for a “Anal Cancer/HSIL Outcomes Research" (ANCHOR) study, which is sponsored by the National Cancer Institute’s Office of HIV and AIDS Malignancy (OHAM). It is a Phase III multi-site clinical trial. During the course of the 8-year clinical trial, the Biorepository will receive ~320,000 specimens for future NCI-approved correlative studies.