Deborah Lang, PhD

Associate Professor of Dermatology

Academic Titles

Associate Professor of Dermatology


Our research goals are to discover innovative and effective treatments for melanoma by targeting innate pathways that occur during normal melanocyte development and stem cell maintenance.  We find that the normal molecular processes that regulate cellular differentiation, homeostasis, growth, and migration of adult and embryonic melanocytes are corrupted during melanoma tumorigenesis, progression, and metastasis.  The discovery of these molecular pathways and knowledge on how they function will reveal new targets for future melanoma therapies.


1992 B.S., Chemistry, Philadelphia University, Philadelphia PA
1998 Ph.D. Molecular Pathobiology, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA
2004 Fellowship, Molecular and Developmental Biology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Research Interests

  • Melanoma, melanocytes, molecular biology, gene transcription and transcription factors.

Selected Publications

  1. Kubic, J. D., Little, E. C., Kaiser, R.S., Young, K.P., Lang, D. 2016 FOXD3 promotes PAX3 expression in melanoma cells. Journal of Cellular Biochemistry 117(2):533-41PMID: 26252164
  1. Kubic, J.D., Lui, J.W., Little, E.C., Ludvik, A.E., Konda, S., Salgia, R., Aplin, A.E., Lang, D. 2015 PAX3 and FOXD3 promote CXCR4 expression in melanoma. Journal of Biological Chemistry 290:(36)21901-14. PMID: 26205821, PMCID: PMC4571945
  1. Kubic, J.D., Little, E.C., Lui, J.W., Iizuka, T., Lang, D. 2015 PAX3 and ETS1 synergistically activate MET expression in melanoma cells. Oncogene 34:(38)4964-74. PMID: 25531327, PMCID: PMC4476961
  1. Kubic, J.D., Mascarenhas, J.B., Iizuka, T., Wolfgeher, D., Lang, D. 2012. Glycogen Synthase Kinase promotes cell survival, growth, and PAX3 levels in human melanoma cells. Molecular Cancer Research 10:(8)1065-1076. PMID: 22679108, PMCID: PMC3422428  *Manuscript selected as a highlighted article by AACR.
  1. Mascarenhas, J.B., Littlejohn, E.L., Wolsky, R.J., Young, K.P., Salgia, R., Lang, D. 2010. PAX3 and SOX10 activate MET receptor expression in melanoma. Pigment Cell & Melanoma Research 23:225-37.  PMID: 20067553 PMCID: PMC2979310
  1. Mascarenhas, J.B., Young, K.P., Littlejohn, E.L., Yoo, B.K., Salgia, R., Lang, D. 2009. PAX6 is expressed in pancreatic cancer and actively participates in cancer progression through the activation of the MET tyrosine kinase receptor gene. Journal of Biological Chemistry 284:(40)27524-32. PMID: 19651775
  2. Lang, D., Lu, M.M., Huang, L., Engleka, K., Zhang, M., Chu, E.Y., Lipner, S., Skoultchi, A., Millar, S., and Epstein, J.A. 2005. Pax3 functions at a nodal point in adult melanocyte stem cell differentiation. Nature 433:884-7.