The University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Sallie S. Schneider

Adjunct Assistant Professor

Research areas include cancer (breast, neuroblastoma, melanoma), analysis of in vivo polymer mediated tumor delivery (MTD, PK and efficacy), analysis of histological effects and toxicities of therapeutics, nutraceutical development and testing, primary tissue and cell culture, cell signaling, and cell therapy.

Current Research
My research group is interested is in studying the signaling pathways that control abnormal development in the mammary gland and proteins/pathways that sensitize or target cancer cells to death. To this end my group focuses their studies in several areas 1)identification of earlier biomarkers for cancer risk or tumor development; 2) understanding the role of lifestyle choices and environmental exposures on gene expression and metabolic changes in the human breast; 3) understanding the mechanistic action of nutraceutical compounds for therapeutics and 4) testing targeting vehicles for tumor delivery.
I am currently the Director of the Biospecimen Resource and Molecular Analysis Facility at the Pioneer Valley Life Sciences Institute. I have worked to collect a significant tissue resource of frozen and fixed normal breast tissue and I am currently re-directing some of my energies to create liaisons between researchers and surgeons to facilitate tissue collection for many types of research. I have used this resource for studying the role of Secreted Frizzled Related Protein family members in regulating cancer susceptibility in the breast as well as understanding pathways to human breast cancer susceptibility affected by parity, age and obesity. To date our research suggests that loss of SFRP1 is a critical early change that can identify women at high risk for developing proliferative lesions. Knock down and knock out studies have shown that loss of this protein makes cell resistant to apoptosis.

I have also used the human tissue bank to identify genetic, epigenetic and metaboilc signatures associated with cancer risk factors in humans. Our data on parity in humans suggest that pregnancy may impart protection against cancer development through a stress-induced preconditioning which improves DNA repair as well as defense through immunological and anti-oxidative mechanisms. Our collaborations with Drs. Arcaro, Sturgeon and Yadava have identified some interesting early changes and suggestions of field cancerization.

Our research into therapeutic intervention involves sensitizing cancer cells to cell death though a nutraceutical approach as well as testing polymers and ligands for tumor targeting. We have found that a root extract of the Rhodiola crenulata plant can significantly inhibit growth and metastasis of several very aggressive cancer types (triple negative breast, melanoma, neuroblastoma, glioblastoma). Research is continuing to understand the mechanism of cancer specific effects of Rhodiola with a focus on the regulation of metabolism and stem-like behaviors.

Our work on polymer targeting has largely been in collaboration with Dr. Emrick. We have worked with his lab to test his polymers in vivo. We perform pharmacokinetic (PK) assays, maximum tolerated dose studies (MTD), and efficacy studies in several animal models (breast cancer, ovarian cancer, colon cancer melanoma and neuroblastoma). We have also tried to improve targeting through cell mediated delivery mechanisms. In the future we hope to combine these technologies and directly target our pathways of interest for the prevention or treatment of cancer.

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Academic Background

  • BA Skidmore College 1986
  • PhD University of Massachusetts, 1995
Page SM, Henchey E, Chen X, Schneider SS and Emrick T (2014) ‘Efficacy of polyMPC-DOX prodrugs in 4T1 tumor-bearing mice’ Molecular Pharmaceutics 11(5):1715-20
Sturgeon SR, Arcaro KF, Johnson MA, Balsubramanian R, Zorn M, Jerry DJ and Schneider SS ‘DNA methylation in paired breast epithelial cells and white blood cells from women undergoing reduction mammoplasty’ Anticancer Research 34(6):2985-90
Gauger KJ, Bassa LM, Henchey EM, Wyman J, Ser-Dolansky J, Shimono A, and Schneider SS (2014)“The effects of diet induced obesity on breast cancer associated pathways in mice deficient SFRP1” Molecular Cancer 13:117
Rotunno M, Sun X, Figueroa J, Sherman M, Garcia-Closas M, Meltzer P, Williams T, Schneider SS, Jerry DJ, Yang XR, Troester MA (2014) ‘Parity-related molecular signatures and breast cancer subtypes by estrogen receptor status’ Breast Cancer Research 16(4)
Gauger KJ, Bassa LM, Henchey EM, Wyman J, Bentley B, Brown M, Shimono A, and Schneider SS (2013)“Mice Deficient in SFRP1 exhibit increased adiposity, deregulated glucose metabolism, and enhanced macrophage infiltration” PLoS One 8(12)
Chen X, Parelkar S, Henchey E, Schneider SS, Emrick T, (2012) “PolyMPC-Doxorubicin Prodrugs” Bioconjugate Chemistry 23(9):1753-63
Gauger KJ and Schneider SS (2013) “Tumor suppressor Secreted Frizzled Related Protein 1 regulates p53-mediated apoptosis” Cell Biology International 38(1):124-30
Gauger K, Shimono A, Crisi G, and Schneider SS (2012) “Loss of SFRP1 promotes ductal branching in the murine mammary gland” BMC Developmental Biology 12:25
McRae S, Chen X, Kratz K, Samanta D, Henchey E, Schneider SS and Emrick T (2012) “Pentafluorophenyl Ester Functionalized Phosphorylcholine Polymers: Preparation of Linear, Two-arm and Grafted Polymer-Protein Conjugates” Biomacromolecules 13(7):2099-109
Pirone JR, D’Arcy M, Stewart DA, Gould MN, Yaswen P, Jerry DJ, Schneider SS, Troester MA (2012) “Age-associated gene expression in normal breast tissue mirrors qualitative age-at-incidence patterns for breast cancer” Cancer Epidemiology Biomarker& Prevention 21(10):1735-44.
Contact Info

Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences
Pioneer Valley Life Sciences Institute
3601 Main Street
Springfield, MA 01199