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Allison Sharrow, PhD

Research Assistant Professor
5051 Centre Avenue
Room 2050
Pittsburgh, PA 15232


BS (Molecular Biology, Biochemistry Track), University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, 2004
PhD (Pathobiology), Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, 2014
Headshot of Allison Sharrow, PhD
My research interests focus on better understanding the causes of ovarian cancer chemoresistance and relapse.  Accordingly, I have primarily studied a relatively quiescent and chemoresistant subpopulation of ovarian cancer cells.  Quiescent cells are in a transient state of cell cycle arrest and can readily reenter the cell cycle and proliferate.  These cells have been found to be enriched after chemotherapy treatment and are the cells best able to engraft tumors in mouse models.  My work seeks to better understand their characteristics to identify vulnerabilities that could be targeted clinically to improve patient survival.  Currently, I am focusing on their cellular metabolism.  Quiescent cells have long been thought to be metabolically silent.  However, recent data indicates that their metabolism is active but reprogramed compared to proliferative cells.  Quiescent cell metabolism is also distinct from another nonproliferative cell type: senescent cells.  Senescence is a form of stable cell cycle arrest also important in ovarian cancer that has its own distinct metabolic reprogramming relative to proliferative cells.  Better understanding the metabolism of both quiescent and senescent ovarian cancer cells could reveal insight into the regulation of these two important programs for growth arrest and potentially reveal novel therapeutic approaches for treating ovarian cancer.

In addition to the crucial insight we can gain from studying the cancerous cells within a tumor, it is important to also consider the influence of noncancerous host cells within the tumor and how they can impact treatment failure.  As such, my second project examines the interaction between these quiescent, chemoresistant ovarian cancer cells and components of the host tumor immune microenvironment, particularly tumor-associated macrophages.  Disrupting the supportive interactions between tumor-associated macrophages and chemoresistant ovarian cancer cells could potentially improve chemotherapy effectiveness and reduce relapse.

Journal Articles

de Rutte J, Dimatteo R, Archang MM, van Zee M, Koo D, Lee S, Sharrow AC, Krohl PJ, Mellody MP, Zhu S, Eichenbaum J, Kizerwetter M, Udani S, Ha K, Bertozzi AL, Spangler JB, Damoiseaux R and Di Carlo D. (2022) Suspendable microcontainers for massively parallel single-cell functional analysis and sorting. ACS Nano., 16 (5): 7242-7257.
Zhang Z, Hu J, Ishihara M, Sharrow AC, Flora K, He Y, Wu L. (2022) The miRNA-21-5p payload in exosomes from M2 macrophages drives tumor cell aggression via PTEN/Akt signaling in renal cell carcinoma. Int J Mol Sci 23: 3005.
Hu J, Guan W, Liu P, Dai J, Tang K, Xiao H, Qian Y, Sharrow AC, Ye Z, Wu L, Xu H.  Endoglin is wssential for the maintenance of self-renewal and chemoresistance in renal cancer stem cells.  Stem Cell Reports. 2017 Aug 8; 9(2): 464-477.
Sharrow AC, Ishihara M, Hu J, Kim IH and Wu L. Using the chicken chorioallantoic membrane in vivo model to study gynecological and urological cancers. J Vis Exp. 2020 Jan 28; (155), e60651.
Sharrow AC, Perkins BP, Collector MI, Yu W, Simons BW, and Jones RJ. Characterization of aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 high ovarian cancer cells: Towards targeted stem cell therapy.  Gynecologic Oncology. 2016 Aug; 142(2): 341-8. 
Sharrow AC, Ronnett BM, Thoburn CJ, Barber JP, Giuntoli RL, Armstrong DK, Jones RJ, and Hess AD.  Identification and characterization of a spontaneous ovarian carcinoma in Lewis rats. J Ovarian Res. 2010 Mar 31; 3:9.
Sharrow AC, Li Y, Micsenyi A, Griswold RD, Wells A, Monga SS and Blair HC.  Modulation of osteoblast gap junction connectivity by serum, TNFalpha, and TRAIL. Exp Cell Res. 2008 Jan 15; 314(2): 297-308.