In This Section      

GI Biomarkers Laboratory

GI Cancer and Pre-cancer Biogenesis and Biomarkers Laboratory

Principal Investigator

Dr. Meltzer is an internationally renowned leader in the molecular pathobiology of gastrointestinal malignancy and premalignancy. He invented molecular methods to detect loss of heterozygosity in tiny biopsies, triggering an avalanche of research on precancerous lesions. He was the first to comprehensively study coding region microsatellite instability, leading to the identification of several important tumor suppressor genes. He performed several groundbreaking genomic, epigenomic and bioinformatic studies of esophageal and colonic neoplasms, shifting the GI research paradigm toward genome-wide approaches. He directed an ambitious nationwide validation study of DNA methylation-based biomarkers for the prediction of neoplastic progression in Barrett’s esophagus.

Dr. Meltzer founded and led the Aerodigestive Cancer and Biomarker Interdisciplinary Programs at the University of Maryland, also becoming associate director for core sciences at that school’s Cancer Center. He currently holds an endowed professorship and is the director of GI biomarker research at Johns Hopkins.

Research Team

John M. Abraham, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Medicine

Yulan Cheng, M.D.

Laboratory Director

Lisa Green, B.A.

Administrative Assistant

Hai Huang, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Shu Huang, M.D., Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Sariat Ibrahim, B.A.

Clinical Coordinator

Yuriko Mori, M.D., Ph.D.

Visiting Assistant Professor of Medicine

Jee Hoon Song, Ph.D.

Thesis Student, JHU Cellular & Molecular Medicine Program

Xue Yang

Predoctoral Fellow


  1. Wilson KT, Fu S, Ramanujam KS, Meltzer SJ. Increased expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase-2 in Barrett’s esophagus and associated adenocarcinomas. Cancer Res. 1998; 58:2929-2934. Number of citations: 384.
  2. Souza RF, Appel R, Yin J, Wang S, Smolinski KN, Abraham JM, Zou T-T, Shi Y-Q, Lei J, Cottrell J, Cymes K, Biden K, Simms L, Leggett B, Lynch PM, Frazier M, Powell SM, Harpaz N, Sugimura H, Young J, Meltzer SJ. Microsatellite instability in the insulin-like growth factor II receptor gene in gastrointestinal tumors. Nature Genet. 1996; 14:255-257. Number of citations: 372.
  3. Boynton RF, Blount PL, Yin J, Brown VL, Huang Y, Tong Y, McDaniel T, Newkirk C, Resau JH, Haggitt RC, Raskind WH, Reid BJ, Meltzer SJ. Loss of heterozygosity involving the APC and MCC genetic loci occurs in the majority of human esophageal cancers. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., USA 1992; 89:3385-3388. Number of citations: 208.
  4. Meltzer SJ, Yin J, Huang Y, McDaniel TK, Newkirk C, Iseri O, Vogelstein B, Resau JH. Reduction to homozygosity involving p53 in esophageal cancers demonstrated by the polymerase chain reaction. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., USA 1991; 88:4976-4980. Number of citations: 187.
  5. Kawakami, K., Brabender, J., Lord, R.V., Groshen, S., Greenwald, B.D., Krasna, M.J., Yin, J., Fleisher, A.S., Abraham, J.M., Beer, D.G., Sidransky, D., Huss, H.T., DeMeester, T.R., Eads, C.A., Laird, P.W., Ilson, D.H., Kelsen, D.P., Harpole, D., Moore, M.-B., Danenberg, K.D., Danenberg, P.V., Meltzer S.J. Hypermethylated APC promoter DNA in serum and prognosis in esophageal adenocarcinoma patients. J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 2000; 92:1805-1811. Number of citations: 192.
  6. Fleisher AS, Esteller M, Wang S, Tamura G, Suzuki H, Yin Y, Zou T-T, Abraham JM, Kong D, Smolinski KN, Shi Y-Q, Rhyu M-G, Powell SM, James SP, Wilson KT, Herman JG, Meltzer SJ. Hypermethylation of the hMLH1 gene promoter in human gastric cancers with microsatellite instability. Cancer Res. 1999; 59:1090-1095. Number of citations: 235
  7. Kong D, Suzuki A, Zou T-T, Sakurada A, Kemp LW, Wakatsuki S, Yokoyama T, Yamakawa H, Furukawa T, Sato M, Ohuchi N, Sato S, Yin J, Wang S, Abraham JM, Souza RF, Smolinski KN, Meltzer SJ, Horii A. PTEN1 is frequently mutated in primary endometrial carcinomas. Nature Genet. 1997; 17:143-144. Number of citations: 226
  8. Boynton RF, Huang Y, Boynton RF, Blount PL, Silverstein RJ, Yin J, Tong Y, McDaniel TK, Newkirk C, Resau JH, Sridhara R, Reid BJ, Meltzer SJ. Loss of heterozygosity involves multiple tumor suppressor genes in human esophageal cancers. Cancer Res. 1992; 52:6525-6530. Number of citations: 216
  9. Rhyu M-G, Park WS, Meltzer SJ. Microsatellite instability occurs frequently in human gastric carcinoma. Oncogene 1994; 9:29-32. Number of citations: 208
  10. Tamura G, Yin J, Wang S, Fleisher AS, Zou T, Abraham JM, Kong D, Smolinski KN, Wilson KT, James SP, Silverberg SG, Nishizuka S, Motoyama T, Meltzer SJ. E-cadherin gene promoter hypermethylation in primary gastric carcinomas. J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 2000; 92:569-573. Number of citations: 183