Erin Dickerson, PhD

Associate Professor, Oncology, Veterinary Clinical Sciences


Post-Doctoral, University of Wisconsin, Madison

PhD, University of Wisconsin, Madison

BS, University of California, Davis

Expand all


Research summary/interests

The long-term goal of our work is to design targeted therapeutic approaches that can cross the boundaries of both human and veterinary medicine. The laboratory has several lines of ongoing research that focus on targeted therapy using peptides in conjunction with novel delivery approaches. We are interested in developing targeted delivery strategies that overcome drug resistance of tumors and strategies that target the drivers of tumor formation and maintenance. One of the current projects focuses on identifying and isolating cancer stem cells from canine hemangiosarcoma cell lines and tissues. Once these cells are identified, studies will move toward identifying genes necessary for the survival of these cells since cancer stem cells are thought to be the main culprits behind tumor initiation and formation. Identification of specific genes will allow for the design of novel targeted approaches for this disease in dogs. In human medicine, one project in the laboratory deals with using peptides to target certain proteins overexpressed by ovarian tumors. Here to, we are looking at cancer stem cells from cell lines with the idea of designing novel targeted approaches to eliminate these cells. Targeted approaches include peptides alone, peptides conjugated to nanoparticle delivery vehicles, and the delivery of siRNAs.


  • Dickerson EB, Blackburn WH, Smith MH, Kapa LB, Lyon LA, McDonald JF. Chemosensitization of cancer cells by siRNA using targeted nanogel delivery. BMC Cancer, 10:10 (2010).
  • Scarberry KE, Dickerson EB, Zhang ZJ, Benigno BB, and McDonald JF. Selective removal of ovarian cancer cells from human ascites fluid using magnetic nanoparticles. Nanomedicine, 6: 399-408 (2010).
  • Blackburn WH*, Dickerson EB*, Smith MH*, McDonald JF, and Lyon LA. Peptide-functionalized nanogels for targeted siRNA delivery. Bioconjugate Chemistry, 20: 960–968 (2009).
  • Scarberry KE, Dickerson EB, McDonald JF and Zhang ZJ. Magnetic nanoparticle-peptide conjugates for in vitro and in vivo targeting and extraction of cancer cells. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 130: 10258-10262 (2008).
  • Dickerson EB*, Dreaden EC*, Huang X*, Chu H, Pushpanketh S, McDonald JF, El-Sayed MA. Gold nanorod assisted near-infrared plasmonic photothermal therapy (PPTT) of HSC-3 tumors in mice. Cancer Letters, .269: 57-66 (2008).
  • Moreno CS, Matyunina L, Dickerson EB, Schubert N, Bowen NJ, Benigno BB, McDonald JF. (2007) Evidence that p53-mediated cell-cycle-arrest inhibits chemotherapeutic treatment of ovarian carcinomas. PLoS ONE 2(5): e441. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000441 (2007).
  • Menendez L, Walker D, Matyunina LV, Dickerson EB, Bowen NJ, Polavarapu N, Benigno BB, McDonald JF. Identification of candidate methylation-responsive genes in ovarian cancer. Molecular Cancer, 6:10 (2007).
  • Bowen NJ, Logani S, Dickerson EB, Kapa LB, Akhtar M, Benigno BB, McDonald JF. Evidence of a role for PAX8 in ovarian cancer. Gynecologic Oncology, 104: 331-337 (2007).
  • Thamm DH, Dickerson EB, Akhtar N, Lewis R, Auerbach R, Helfand SC, MacEwen EG. Biological and molecular characterization of a canine hemangiosarcoma-derived cell line. Research in Veterinary Science, 81: 76-86 (2006).
  • Dickerson EB, Thomas R, Fosmire SP, Lamerato-Kozicki AR, Bianco SR, Wojcieszyn JW, Breen M, Helfand SC, Modiano JF. Mutations of phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted from chromosome 10 in canine hemangiosarcoma. Veterinary Pathology, 42: 618-632 (2005).
  • Dickerson EB, Akhtar N, Steinberg H, Wang Z-Y, Lindstrom, MJ, Padilla ML, Auerbach R, Helfand SC. Enhancement of the antiangiogenic activity of interleukin-12 by peptide targeted delivery of the cytokine to ?v?3 integrin. Molecular Cancer Research, 2: 663-673 (2004).
  • Fosmire SP, Dickerson EB, Bianco SR, Scott A, Pettengill M, Meylemans H, Padilla M, Frazer-Abel, A, Akhtar N, Getzy DM, Wojcieszyn J, Breen M, Helfand SC, Modiano JF. Canine malignant hemangiosarcoma as a model of primitive angiogenic endothelium. Laboratory Investigation, 84: 562-572 (2004).
  • Akhtar N, Padilla ML, Dickerson EB, Steinberg H, Breen M, Auerbach R, Helfand SC. Interleukin-12 inhibits tumor growth in a novel angiogenesis canine hemangiosarcoma xenograft model. Neoplasia, 6: 106-116 (2004).



  • Oncology