Researcher Profile

Researcher Profile

Gavin Robertson, PhD

Gavin Robertson, PhD

Professor, Department of Pharmacology
Professor, Department of Dermatology
Scientific Program:Experimental Therapeutics
Disease Teams:
Institute for CyberScience (ICS) - Associate

Research Interests

Dr. Gavin Robertson's research program focuses on malignant melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. The central goal of his program is to unravel the biology and signaling pathways involved in melanoma tumor development in order to develop the next generation of therapeutic agents to treat this disease. Specifically, it involves identification and validation of novel therapeutic targets, discovery and development of new therapies and clinical evaluation of these drugs in patients.

Generally,the types of studies occurring the Robertson laboratory are:

Genetic and cell culture studies using animal and human models are used to identify and validate the involvement of candidate melanoma-causing genes. A recent example is the discovery of Akt3 involvement in approximately 70 percent of human melanomas.

Drug screens and medicinal chemistry are used to identify and develop new therapeutic agents. A recent example is the melanoma-treating drug ISC-4, which targets Akt3 signaling.

Nanotechnology and bioengineering are used to better deliver experimental agents into cancer cells. A recent example of this is the use of nanoliposomes and ultrasound that deliver therapeutic siRNA into melanoma cells.

Finally, agents are tested in the clinic for toxicity and tumor inhibitory efficacy. A recent example is a killed mycobacterium called CADI-5 that is being evaluated in clinical trials.

The ultimate goal of Dr. Robertson's translational research program is to develop better therapeutics for the treatment of melanoma based on the biology of the disease.

  • Melanoma
  • Neoplasms
  • Therapeutics
  • Genes
  • Growth
  • Proteins
  • Apoptosis
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Cell Line
  • Tumor Suppressor Genes
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases

Clinical Trials

Application for Discarded Tissue From Surgery For Research Use

Recent Publications




Kokolus, KM, Haley, JS, Koubek, EJ, Gowda, R, Dinavahi, SS, Sharma, A, Claxton, D, Helm, K, Drabick, J, Robertson, G, Neighbors, J, Hohl, R & Schell, T 2019, 'Schweinfurthin natural products induce regression of murine melanoma and pair with anti-PD-1 therapy to facilitate durable tumor immunity', OncoImmunology, vol. 8, no. 2, e1539614.






Sadashiva, MP, Gowda, R, Wu, X, Inamdar, GS, Kuzu, OF, Rangappa, KS, Robertson, G & Gowda, C 2015, 'A non-cytotoxic N-dehydroabietylamine derivative with potent antimalarial activity', Experimental Parasitology, vol. 155, pp. 68-73.
Kardos, GR, Wastyk, HC & Robertson, G 2015, 'Disruption of proline synthesis in melanoma inhibits protein production mediated by the GCN2 pathway', Molecular Cancer Research, vol. 13, no. 10, pp. 1408-1420.
Wyluda, EJ, Cheng, J, Schell, T, Haley, JS, Mallon, C, Neves, R, Robertson, G, Sivik, J, Mackley, H, Talamo, G & Drabick, J 2015, 'Durable complete responses off all treatment in patients with metastatic malignant melanoma after sequential immunotherapy followed by a finite course of BRAF inhibitor therapy', Cancer Biology and Therapy, vol. 16, no. 5, pp. 662-670.

Clinical Trials Search

Children (age < 18 years)
Adults (age >= 18 years)