David O. Azorsa, PhD

Research Associate Professor, Department of Child Health, University of Arizona COM-P; Sr. Research Scientist, Institute of Molecular Medicine at PCH


Dr. Azorsa joined the Institute of Molecular Medicine at Phoenix Children’s Hospital under Dr. Robert Arceci in 2013. His current research focuses on 1) developing personalized medicine platforms for pediatric cancer patients, 2) understanding the effects of cancer-associated genetic changes on tumor growth and survival; and 3) applying innovative technologies such as genomic and functional genomic analyses, high throughput RNAi screening and drug sensitivity and resistance testing to identify and validate therapeutic targets in pediatric cancers.  Current laboratory projects include the identification and validation of genetically altered genes in pediatric leukemia, development of a drug sensitivity/resistance assay as part of a personalized medicine approach for leukemia patients, and identification and characterization of novel therapeutic targets in pediatric sarcomas. Dr. Azorsa received his Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD, and trained as a postdoctoral fellow at the INSERM U.311 in Strasbourg, France and the Cancer Genetics Branch of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) in Bethesda, MD. Dr. Azorsa was previously head of the Biological Therapeutics Laboratory at Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGEN) where his lab focused on identifying novel therapeutic targets and drug sensitizing targets in cancer using RNAi screening.  Dr. Azorsa has published over forty peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, has been the primary investigator on several research grants in the cancer field, and has presented his work at national and international conferences.




Molecular Medicine


PhD: The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine


  • Azorsa DO, Cunliffe HE, Meltzer PS. Association of steroid receptor coactivator AIB1 with estrogen receptor- in breast cancer cells. Breast Cancer Res Tt. 2001; 70:89-101.
  • Azorsa DO, Gonzales I.M, Basu GD, Choudhary A, Arora S, Bisanz K.M, Kiefer J.A, Henderson M.C, Trent J.M, Von Hoff D.D, and Mousses S. Synthetic lethal screening identifies targets for gemcitabine therapy in pancreatic cancer. J Transl Med. 2009; 7:43. PMID: 1951988.
  • Azorsa DO, Robeson RH, Frost D, Meechoovet B, Brautigam GR, Dickey C, Beaudry C, Basu GD, Holz DR, Hernandez JA, Bisanz KM, Gwinn L, Grover A, Rogers J, Reimain EM, Hutton M, Stephan DA, Mousses S, Dunckley T. High-content siRNA screening of the kinome identifies kinases involved in Alzheimer’s disease-related tau hyperphosphorylation. BMC Genomics. 2010; 11:25. PMID: 20067632.
  • Cao L, Yu Y, Bilke S, Walker RL, Mayeenuddin LH, Azorsa DO, Yang F, Pineda M, Helman LJ, and Meltzer PS. Genome-wide identification of PAX3-FKHR binding sites in rhabdomyosarcoma reveals candidate targets genes important for development and cancer. Cancer Res. 2010; 70:6497-6508. PMID: 2066390.
  • Arora S, Gonzales I.M, Hagelstrom RT, Beaudry C, Choudhary A, Sima C, Mousses S, and Azorsa DO. RNAi phenotype profiling of kinases identifies potential therapeutic targets in Ewing’s sarcoma. Mol Cancer 2010, 9:218. PMID: 20718987.
  • Tibes R, Bogenberger J, Chaudhuri, L, Hagelstrom RT, Chow D, Buechel M, Gonzales IM, Demuth T, Slack J, Mesa RA, Braggio E, Yin HH, Arora S, and Azorsa DO. RNAi screening of the kinome with cytarabine in leukemias. Blood 2012 119(12):2863-2872. PMID: 22267604.
  • Hingorani P, Dickman P, Garcia-Filion P, White-Collins A and Azorsa DO. BIRC5 expression is a poor prognostic marker in Ewing sarcoma. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2013, 60:35-40. Epub Sept 7, 2012. PMID 22961763.
  • Henderson MC and Azorsa DO. The genomics and proteomics of cancer cell-derived exosomes. Front. Oncol. 2012, 2:38. PMID: 23436407.
  • Henderson MC and Azorsa DO. High throughput RNAi screening for the identification of novel targets. Methods in Molecular Biology. 2013. 986:89-95. PMID: 23436407.
  • Bogenberger JM, Kornblau SM, Pierceall WE, Lena R, Chow D, Shi CX, Mantei J, Ahmann G, Gonzales IM, Choudhary A, Valdez R, Camoriano J, Fauble V, Tiedemann RE, Qiu YH, Coombes KR, Cardone M, Braggio E, Yin H, Azorsa DO, Mesa RA, Stewart AK, Tibes R. BCL-2 family proteins as 5-Azacytidine-sensitizing targets and determinants of response in myeloid malignancies. Leukemia 2014 28(8):1657-1665. PMID: 24451410.

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