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


Disano, JA, Huffnagle, I, Gowda, R, Spiegelman, V, Robertson, G & Pameijer, CR 2019, 'Loss of miR-155 upregulates WEE1 in metastatic melanoma', Melanoma Research, vol. 29, no. 2, pp. 216-219.
Nicolae, C, O’Connor, MJ, Schleicher, EM, Song, C, Gowda, R, Robertson, G, Dovat, S & Moldovan, G-L 2019, 'PARI (PARPBP) suppresses replication stress-induced myeloid differentiation in leukemia cells', Oncogene, vol. 38, no. 27, pp. 5530-5540.


Bazewicz, CG, Dinavahi, SS, Schell, T & Robertson, G 2019, 'Aldehyde dehydrogenase in regulatory T-cell development, immunity and cancer', Immunology, vol. 156, no. 1, pp. 47-55.
Cheng, Y, Ren, X, Yuan, Y, Shan, Y, Li, L, Chen, X, Zhang, L, Takahashi, Y, Yang, JW, Han, B, Liao, JJ, Li, Y, Harvey, H, Ryazanov, A, Robertson, G, Wan, G, Liu, D, Chen, AF, Tao, Y & Yang, J-M 2018, 'Correction to: eEF-2 kinase is a critical regulator of Warburg effect through controlling PP2A-A synthesis (Oncogene, (2016), 35, 49, (6293-6308), 10.1038/onc.2016.166)', Oncogene, vol. 37, no. 33, pp. 4633-4634.
Dinavahi, SS, Noory, MA, Gowda, R, Drabick, J, Berg, A, Neves, R & Robertson, G 2018, 'Moving synergistically acting drug combinations to the clinic by comparing sequential versus simultaneous drug administrations', Molecular pharmacology, vol. 93, no. 3, pp. 190-196.
Gowda, R, Dinavahi, SS, Iyer, S, Banerjee, S, Neves, R, Pameijer, CR & Robertson, G 2018, 'Nanoliposomal delivery of cytosolic phospholipase A2 inhibitor arachidonyl trimethyl ketone for melanoma treatment', Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine, vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 865-875.
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.


Kuzu, OF, Toprak, M, Noory, MA & Robertson, G 2017, 'Effect of lysosomotropic molecules on cellular homeostasis', Pharmacological Research, vol. 117, pp. 177-184.
De Souza, LM, Robertson, BM & Robertson, G 2017, 'Future of circulating tumor cells in the melanoma clinical and research laboratory settings', Cancer Letters, vol. 392, pp. 60-70.
Kuzu, OF, Gowda, R, Sharma, A, Noory, MA, Kardos, G, Madhunapantula, SRV, Drabick, J & Robertson, G 2018, 'Identification of WEE1 as a target to make AKT inhibition more effective in melanoma', Cancer Biology and Therapy, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 53-62.
Gowda, R, Inamdar, GS, Kuzu, O, Dinavahi, SS, Krzeminski, J, Battu, MB, Voleti, SR, Amin, S & Robertson, G 2017, 'Identifying the structure-activity relationship of leelamine necessary for inhibiting intracellular cholesterol transport', Oncotarget, vol. 8, no. 17, pp. 28260-28277.
Kuzu, OF, Gowda, R, Sharma, A, Noory, MA, Dinavahi, SS, Kardos, G, Drabick, J & Robertson, G 2017, 'Improving pharmacological targeting of AKT in melanoma', Cancer Letters, vol. 404, pp. 29-36.
Taylor, MD, Bollt, O, Iyer, SC & Robertson, G 2018, 'Metastasis suppressor 1 (MTSS1) expression is associated with reduced in-vivo metastasis and enhanced patient survival in lung adenocarcinoma', Clinical and Experimental Metastasis, vol. 35, no. 1-2, pp. 15-23.
Kuzu, OF, Gowda, R, Noory, MA & Robertson, G 2017, 'Modulating cancer cell survival by targeting intracellular cholesterol transport', British Journal of Cancer, vol. 117, no. 4, pp. 513-524.
Gowda, R, Kardos, G, Sharma, A, Singh, S & Robertson, G 2017, 'Nanoparticle-based celecoxib and plumbagin for the synergistic treatment of melanoma', Molecular cancer therapeutics, vol. 16, no. 3, pp. 440-452.
Borland, MG, Yao, PL, Kehres, EM, Lee, C, Pritzlaff, AM, Ola, E, Wagner, AL, Shannon, BE, Albrecht, PP, Zhu, B, Kang, BH, Robertson, G, Gonzalez, FJ & Peters, JM 2017, 'PPARβ/δ and PPARγ inhibit melanoma tumorigenicity by modulating inflammation and apoptosis', Toxicological Sciences, vol. 159, no. 2, pp. 436-448.
Gowda, R, Sharma, A & Robertson, G 2017, 'Synergistic inhibitory effects of Celecoxib and Plumbagin on melanoma tumor growth', Cancer Letters, vol. 385, pp. 243-250.
Chen, YC, Gowda, R, Newswanger, RK, Leibich, P, Fell, B, Rosenberg, G & Robertson, G 2017, 'Targeting cholesterol transport in circulating melanoma cells to inhibit metastasis', Pigment Cell and Melanoma Research, vol. 30, no. 6, pp. 541-552.
Madhunapantula, SRV & Robertson, G 2017, 'Targeting protein kinase-b3 (akt3) signaling in melanoma', Expert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets, vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 273-290.


Cheng, Y, Ren, X, Yuan, Y, Shan, Y, Li, L, Chen, X, Zhang, L, Takahashi, Y, Yang, JW, Han, B, Liao, JJ, Li, Y, Harvey, H, Ryazanov, A, Robertson, G, Wan, G, Liu, D, Chen, AF, Tao, Y & Yang, J-M 2016, 'EEF-2 kinase is a critical regulator of Warburg effect through controlling PP2A-A synthesis', Oncogene, vol. 35, no. 49, pp. 6293-6308.
Koller, KM, Wang, W, Schell, T, Cozza, EM, Kokolus, KM, Neves, R, Mackley, H, Pameijer, CR, Leung, A, Anderson, B, Mallon, CA, Robertson, G & Drabick, J 2016, 'Malignant melanoma—The cradle of anti-neoplastic immunotherapy', Critical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology, vol. 106, pp. 25-54.
Brys, AK, Gowda, R, Loriaux, DB, Robertson, G & Mosca, PJ 2016, 'Nanotechnology-based strategies for combating toxicity and resistance in melanoma therapy', Biotechnology Advances, vol. 34, no. 5, pp. 565-577.
Kuzu, OF, Noory, MA & Robertson, G 2016, 'The role of cholesterol in cancer', Cancer Research, vol. 76, no. 8, pp. 2063-2070.


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.
Song, C, Gowda, C, Pan, X, Ding, Y, Tong, Y, Tan, B, Wang, H, Muthusami, S, Ge, Z, Sachdev, M, Amin, S, Desai, D, Gowda, K, Gowda, R, Robertson, G, Schjerven, H, Muschen, M, Payne, KJ & Dovat, S 2015, 'Targeting casein kinase II restores Ikaros tumor suppressor activity and demonstrates therapeutic efficacy in high-risk leukemia', Blood, vol. 126, no. 15, pp. 1813-1822.
Kardos, GR & Robertson, G 2015, 'Therapeutic interventions to disrupt the protein synthetic machinery in melanoma' Pigment Cell and Melanoma Research, vol. 28, no. 5, pp. 501-519.

Clinical Trials Search

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