Wendy Huss


Special Interests:

Therapeutically targeting prostate cancer and BPH stem cells ABC transporter regulation of stem cell properties Role of cancer stem cells in tumor heterogeneity

About Wendy Huss


Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

  • Associate Professor of Oncology
  • Departments of Dermatology and Cell Stress Biology
  • Member, Molecular Pharmacology and Cancer Therapeutics Graduate Program
  • Member, Cell Stress and Biophysical Therapies Comprehensive Cancer Support Grant (CCSG) Program
  • Member, Soft Tissue and Melanoma (STM) Translational Research Groups
  • Member, Conflict of Interest Committee


Education and Training:

  • PhD - Molecular and Cellular Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX
  • Post-doctoral Fellow - Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC

Professional Memberships:

  • American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)
  • Society of Basic Urologic Research (SBUR)
  • International Society of Stem Cell Research (ISSCR)
  • Toastmasters International
  • Women in Cancer Research


Research Overview:

My research lab focus is to understand the mechanism of cancer stem cells to understand the clonal expansion that can represent field cancerization in early tumorigenesis and expansion of therapy resistant cells recurrent cancer. In attempts to analyze the rare cancer stem cells in bulk tissue, collaborations with Drs. Wei and Paragh take advantage of the high percentage of cancer stem cells in melanoma and then early UV induced clonal mutations in normal sun-exposed skin. Our collaborations led to studies using single cell sequencing of melanoma cells and detection of clonal mutations in sun-exposed “normal” skin. With the success of these projects, the lab focuses on utilizing current genomic and clinical resources to move studies into the clinic.

In a long-term collaboration with Dr. Foster, we have established a track record of testing stem cell and cancer stem cell properties from both mouse and human tissues. We have demonstrated acquiring human surgical and donor specimens for use in stem cell assays from multiple tissues including bladder, melanoma, prostate, sarcoma and ovarian. The tissues are procured from both surgical specimens at Roswell Park and a warm autopsy program, rapid tissue acquisition program (RTAP) in collaboration with ConnectLife, Western New York’s Blood and Organ Donor Program. Additionally, we have determined the impact of time of procurement for utilizing fresh surgical specimens for genomic and cell-based assays. We are excited to use our expertise to determine if clonal mutational burden in normal tissue frequently exposed to carcinogens (i.e. skin, lung, esophagus, colon, bladder) can predict cancer risk. These studies will eventually lead to better preclinical screening to assess the risk of cancer and enable prevention and early therapeutic interventions.

Past and current funding include: NCI, NIDDK, DOD, Roswell Park Alliance Foundation, NYSTEM, and Dr. Louis Sklarow Memorial Fund.


Full Publications list on PubMed

Wei L*, Christensen SR*, Fitzgerald ME, Graham J, Hutson ND, Zhang C, Huang Z, Hu Q, Zhan F, Xie J, Zhang J, Liu S, Remenyik E, Gellen E, Colegio OR, Bax M, Xu J, Lin H, Huss WJ*, Foster BA*, Paragh G*: Ultradeep sequencing differentiates patterns of skin clonal mutations associated with sun-exposure status and skin cancer burden. Science Advances 2021; 7(1): eabd7703. PMCID: PMC7775785. *Co-Corresponding Authors

Huss WJ, Hu Q, Glenn ST, Gangavarapu KJ, Wang J, Luce JD, Quinn PK, Brese EA, Zhan F, Conroy JM, Paragh G, Foster BA, Morrison CD, Liu S, Wei L. Comparison of SureSelect and Nextera exome capture performance in single-cell sequencing. Human Heredity. 2019; 83(3): 153-162. PMCID: PMC7868962

Ramakrishnan S, Huss W, Foster B, Ohm J, Wang J, Azabdaftari G, Eng KH, Woloszynska-Read A. Transcriptional changes associated with in vivo growth of muscle-invasive bladder cancer cell lines in nude mice. American Journal of Clinical and Experimental Urology. 2018; 6(3):138-148. PMCID: PMC6055076

Samant MD, Jackson CM, Felix CL, Jones AJ, Goodrich DW, Foster BA, and Huss WJ. Multi-Drug Resistance ABC Transporter Inhibition Enhances Murine Ventral Prostate Stem/Progenitor Cell Differentiation. Stem Cells and Development 2015, 24(10): 1236-1251. PMCID: PMC4424973

Mastri M, Ramakrishnan S, Shah S, Karasik E, Gillard BM, Moser MM, Farmer BK, Azabdaftari G, Chatta GS, Woloszynska A, Eng KH*, Foster BA*, Huss WJ*. Patient derived models of bladder cancer enrich the signal of the tumor cell transcriptome facilitating the analysis of the tumor cell compartment. American Journal of Clinical and Experimental Urology, In Press, *Co-Corresponding Authors