Michael VanSaun
Research Asst Prof
Last active: 6/17/2014


My research focuses on understanding the effects of obesity on the microenvironment and its impact on the development and progression of gastrointestinal cancers. We are interested in the microenvironments of liver steatosis as well as the fatty pancreas. Preliminary data suggests that changes in the steatotic liver cause local microenvironmental alterations in MMP levels. By manipulating MMPs in the liver microenvironment we are better able to determine their contribution to metastatic seeding and growth. Additionally, preliminary data suggests that adipose secreted cytokines also play a role in the development and growth of gastrointestinal cancers and we are currently determining their role in the liver and pancreas.


The following timeline graph is generated from all co-authored publications.

  1. Hepatocellular proliferation correlates with inflammatory cell and cytokine changes in a murine model of nonalchoholic fatty liver disease. Vansaun MN, Mendonsa AM, Lee Gorden D (2013) PLoS One 8(9): e73054
    › Primary publication · 24039859 (PubMed) · PMC3767686 (PubMed Central)
  2. Targeting the Wnt pathway in synovial sarcoma models. Barham W, Frump AL, Sherrill TP, Garcia CB, Saito-Diaz K, VanSaun MN, Fingleton B, Gleaves L, Orton D, Capecchi MR, Blackwell TS, Lee E, Yull F, Eid JE (2013) Cancer Discov 3(11): 1286-301
    › Primary publication · 23921231 (PubMed) · PMC3823757 (PubMed Central)
  3. Molecular pathways: adiponectin and leptin signaling in cancer. Vansaun MN (2013) Clin Cancer Res 19(8): 1926-32
    › Primary publication · 23355630 (PubMed) · PMC3630242 (PubMed Central)
  4. Reprogramming of mesenchymal stem cells by the synovial sarcoma-associated oncogene SYT-SSX2. Garcia CB, Shaffer CM, Alfaro MP, Smith AL, Sun J, Zhao Z, Young PP, VanSaun MN, Eid JE (2012) Oncogene 31(18): 2323-34
    › Primary publication · 21996728 (PubMed) · PMC3752676 (PubMed Central)
  5. Increased diacylglycerols characterize hepatic lipid changes in progression of human nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; comparison to a murine model. Gorden DL, Ivanova PT, Myers DS, McIntyre JO, VanSaun MN, Wright JK, Matrisian LM, Brown HA (2011) PLoS One 6(8): e22775
    › Primary publication · 21857953 (PubMed) · PMC3153459 (PubMed Central)
  6. High fat diet induced hepatic steatosis establishes a permissive microenvironment for colorectal metastases and promotes primary dysplasia in a murine model. VanSaun MN, Lee IK, Washington MK, Matrisian L, Gorden DL (2009) Am J Pathol 175(1): 355-64
    › Primary publication · 19541928 (PubMed) · PMC2708821 (PubMed Central)
  7. Optical imaging of matrix metalloproteinase-7 activity in vivo using a proteolytic nanobeacon. Scherer RL, VanSaun MN, McIntyre JO, Matrisian LM (2008) Mol Imaging 7(3): 118-31
    › Primary publication · 19123982 (PubMed) · PMC2777890 (PubMed Central)
  8. Metastasis Research Society-American Association For Cancer Research Joint Conference on Metastasis. Welch DR, Cooper CR, Hurst DR, Lynch CC, Martin MD, Vaidya KS, VanSaun MN, Mastro AM (2008) Cancer Res 68(23): 9578-82
    › Primary publication · 19047132 (PubMed) · PMC2741417 (PubMed Central)
  9. Activation of Matrix Metalloproteinase-3 is altered at the frog neuromuscular junction following changes in synaptic activity. VanSaun M, Humburg BC, Arnett MG, Pence M, Werle MJ (2007) Dev Neurobiol 67(11): 1488-97
    › Primary publication · 17525979 (PubMed)
  10. Matrix metalloproteinases and cellular motility in development and disease. VanSaun MN, Matrisian LM (2006) Birth Defects Res C Embryo Today 78(1): 69-79
    › Primary publication · 16622849 (PubMed)