Department of Surgery »  Faculty »  General Surgery »  Valerie M. Weaver, Ph.D.

Valerie M. Weaver, Ph.D.

Professor
Departments of Surgery, Anatomy, and Bioengineering & Therapeutics Sciences
Director, Center for Bioengineering & Tissue Regeneration
Co-Director, Bay Area PSOC
Co-Director, UCSF Brain TMEN Program


Contact Information

513 Parnassus Avenue, Room HSE 560
San Francisco, CA 94143-0456
Telephone: 415-476-3826
Fax: 415-476-3985
Email: Valerie.Weaver@ucsfmedctr.org
 

Education

  • University of Ottawa, Canada, B.Sc. (Honors), 1986
  • University of Ottawa, Canada, Ph.D., 1992

Fellowships

  • Institute for Biological Sciences, National Research Council of Canada, Postdoctoral Fellow, Molecular Cell Biology, 1992-94
  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, UC Berkeley, Postdoctoral Fellow, Cancer and Cell Biology, 1994-98

Biography

Valerie M. Weaver, Ph.D., is the Director of the Center for Bioengineering and Tissue Regeneration in the Department of Surgery. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Waterloo in Biochemistry/Chemistry in 1985, continuing her education for an Honors Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry at the University of Ottawa (graduating Summa cum Laude). Dr. Weaver earned her doctorate degree, Ph.D, from the University of Ottawa in Biochemistry in 1992.

After receiving her doctorate, Dr. Weaver was awarded the Molecular Cell Biology and Apoptosis Research Group and the Institute for Biological Sciences of Canada Postdoctoral Fellow from 1992-1994.  From 1994-1998, she was distinguished as the Postdoctoral Fellow at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, in the Cancer and Cell Biology Group, Life Sciences Division.

Following her fellowships, Dr. Weaver has held principle positions within academia. Prior to her appointment at UCSF, she was an Adjunct Associate Professor with the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania from 1999 to 2006. In her current position, she is an Professor with the Department of Surgery at the Universality of California, San Francisco.

Additionally, Dr. Weaver is the Director for the Center for Bioengineering & Tissue Regeneration with the Department of Surgery and UCSF, an Associate Professor in the Department of Anatomy at UCSF, and Adjunct Associate Professor for the department of Bioengineering at UPenn. From 1999 to 2006 she was a member at the Institute for Medicine and Engineering at UPenn.

Dr. Weaver's extensive honors and awards include: the Breast Cancer Scholar Award with the Department of Defense, the International Society of Differentiation Young Investigator Travel Award, the Alberta Heritable Foundation for Medical Research Lecturer Award, and the University of California Breast Cancer Research Program Postdoctoral Grant.

She also proudly serves on the Editorial Board for Cancer Biology & Therapy, was a guest editor in 2004 for J. Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia, and is currently an Ad Hoc Reviewer for several distinguished journals, including: Cancer Research, American Journal of Cell Biology, European Journal of Cell Biology, Molecular Carcinogenesis, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Oncogene, FASEB Journal, Journal of Cell Science, Laboratory Investigation, Cancer Letters, Breast Cancer Research, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Molecular Biology of the Cell, Molecular and Cellular Biology, & Clinical Cancer Research. 

Research Overview

Dr. Weaver has over 20 years of experience in leading interdisciplinary research in oncology, including leadership of significant program projects merging approaches in the physical/engineering sciences and biology.  Her research focuses on the contribution of force, cell-intrinsic as well as extracellular matrix, to oncogenesis and tumor development. Her group employs 2- and 3-D in vitro cell culture techniques, clinical samples and animal models with force application techniques, and traction force and atomic force microscopy to assess the influence of the mechanical aspects of the cell environment on cell behavior and tumor progression. Dr. Weaver has been awarded many distinctions for her work demonstrating the critical importance of tissue structure in the treatment response of tumors, including the prestigious Department of Defense Era of Hope Breast Cancer Scholar Award for her innovative interdisciplinary research efforts on the effect of mechanical force on breast cancer progression and treatment response. Along with Dr. Jan Liphardt, PhD, UC Berkeley, she was awarded the prestigious Physical Sciences and Oncology Center Grant, whose aim is to integrate physical sciences approaches toward better understanding tumor biology. The Center encompasses close to 100 investigators in physics, engineering, mathematics, chemistry, cell and molecular biology, and clinical sciences from UC Berkeley, UCSF, and LBNL. In addition, Dr. Weaver a Co-PI on an NIH U01 grant with Dr. Werb on environmental stressors in mammary gland development and a Co-PI with Drs. Kalluri and Moses on role of fibroblasts, myeloid cells and matrix in PDAC.

Dr. Weaver is the TMEN-BCC co-PI with Dr. Bergers, as well as the leader of Project 3,in which she is testing the hypothesis that the mechanoproperties of SVZ-derived GBM, together with elevated cranial pressure and ECM stiffness, promote GBM aggressiveness and recurrence, in part by affecting the vascular and tumor stem cell compartment.

 

Publications

Most recent publications from a total of 89
  1. Mouw JK, Ou G, Weaver VM. Extracellular matrix assembly: a multiscale deconstruction. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2014 Dec; 15(12):771-85. View in PubMed
  2. Weaver VM. The microenvironment matters. Mol Biol Cell. 2014 Nov 1; 25(21):3254-8. View in PubMed
  3. Rubashkin MG, Cassereau L, Bainer R, DuFort CC, Yui Y, Ou G, Paszek MJ, Davidson MW, Chen YY, Weaver VM. Force engages vinculin and promotes tumor progression by enhancing PI3K activation of phosphatidylinositol (3,4,5)-triphosphate. Cancer Res. 2014 Sep 1; 74(17):4597-611. View in PubMed
  4. Venugopalan G, Camarillo DB, Webster KD, Reber CD, Sethian JA, Weaver VM, Fletcher DA, El-Samad H, Rycroft CH. Multicellular architecture of malignant breast epithelia influences mechanics. PLoS One. 2014; 9(8):e101955. View in PubMed
  5. Paszek MJ, DuFort CC, Rossier O, Bainer R, Mouw JK, Godula K, Hudak JE, Lakins JN, Wijekoon AC, Cassereau L, Rubashkin MG, Magbanua MJ, Thorn KS, Davidson MW, Rugo HS, Park JW, Hammer DA, Giannone G, Bertozzi CR, Weaver VM. The cancer glycocalyx mechanically primes integrin-mediated growth and survival. Nature. 2014 Jul 17; 511(7509):319-25. View in PubMed
  6. Ozdemir BC, Pentcheva-Hoang T, Carstens JL, Zheng X, Wu CC, Simpson TR, Laklai H, Sugimoto H, Kahlert C, Novitskiy SV, De Jesus-Acosta A, Sharma P, Heidari P, Mahmood U, Chin L, Moses HL, Weaver VM, Maitra A, Allison JP, LeBleu VS, Kalluri R. Depletion of carcinoma-associated fibroblasts and fibrosis induces immunosuppression and accelerates pancreas cancer with reduced survival. Cancer Cell. 2014 Jun 16; 25(6):719-34. View in PubMed
  7. Michor F, Weaver VM. Understanding tissue context influences on intratumour heterogeneity. Nat Cell Biol. 2014 Apr 1; 16(4):301-2. View in PubMed
  8. Rubashkin MG, Ou G, Weaver VM. Deconstructing signaling in three dimensions. Biochemistry. 2014 Apr 8; 53(13):2078-90. View in PubMed
  9. Mouw JK, Yui Y, Damiano L, Bainer RO, Lakins JN, Acerbi I, Ou G, Wijekoon AC, Levental KR, Gilbert PM, Hwang ES, Chen YY, Weaver VM. Tissue mechanics modulate microRNA-dependent PTEN expression to regulate malignant progression. Nat Med. 2014 Apr; 20(4):360-7. View in PubMed
  10. Shi Q, Ghosh RP, Engelke H, Rycroft CH, Cassereau L, Sethian JA, Weaver VM, Liphardt JT. Rapid disorganization of mechanically interacting systems of mammary acini. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Jan 14; 111(2):658-63. View in PubMed
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