Dominik Elmer

Department Molecular Biology
PhD Supervisor Univ. Prof. Mag Dr. Fritz Aberger
PhD Co-Supervisor Univ. Prof. Dr. Angela Risch
Start WS 15/16
Doctoral Thesis Topic Hedghog/GLI – JAK/STAT signaling in skin cancer and immune evasion


In recent years substantial progress has been made in the improvement and the development of anti-cancer therapies. Beside the standard treatment strategies such as chemo- and radiotherapy, newly developed targeted therapies, which specifically block deregulated processes in cancer cells, have exhibited curative potential. However, in many cases the success of targeted therapies is limited, due to inherent or acquired cellular drug resistance mechanisms. A different treatment approach, namely immunotherapy, is currently most promising for accomplishing long-term curative effects. Immunotherapies aim at creating or unleashing anti-cancer immune responses with the potential of effective tumor clearance and protection from relapse. The breakthrough of this strategy, however, is hampered by rather low response rates and a currently restricted applicability to certain cancer entities. With this project we want to study the molecular immune-escape-mechanisms of cancer cells. Since our lab is specialized on oncogenic hedgehog/GLI signaling and its crosstalk to JAK/STAT signaling mechanisms we focus on these two pathways in the context of cancer cell immune evasion, especially in the skin. The goal is to deliver basic knowledge for druggable molecular targets within these pathways to render cancer cells more sensitive towards current immunotherapies.