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Deanna Edwards, Ph.D.

  • Research Assistant Professor

Deanna Edwards, Ph.D.

  • Research Assistant Professor



The overall goal of my research is to determine the mechanisms of how microenvironmental metabolism within tumors influences immune responses and metastasis. In the long term, it is my goal to understand how the local and distant tumor microenvironment utilizes metabolism to support metastatic progression and identify novel therapies to treat metastatic disease. My training as a cancer biologist began as a graduate student where I trained with Dr. David Orren in DNA repair mechanisms associated with tumor development and progression, leading to breakthroughs published in Nature Communications, among others. To gain valuable experience in basic and translational cancer research, I transitioned to a postdoctoral position under Dr. Jin Chen at Vanderbilt University, where I studied how the receptor tyrosine kinase EphA2 drives glutamine metabolism in cancer cells. This work evolved into a study to how tumor cell-driven glutamine metabolism impacts the microenvironmental niche, specifically in regulating T lymphocyte anti-tumor immunity, and identified a novel pharmacological agent that selectively targets this metabolic pathway in tumor cells but not T cells, recently published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. My selected contributions to the fields of cancer metabolism and tumor immunity are shown below.


  • Ph.D., University of Kentucky, Louisville, KY (2012)
  • B.S. Liscomb University, Nashville, TN (2005)

Post-Doctoral Training

  • Post-doctoral Fellowship, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN (2019)
  • Post-doctoral Fellowship, University of Kentucky, Lousiville, KY (2014)

Research Emphasis

Research Description


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