Sheri L. Holmen, PhD

Research Interests

  • Glioma
  • Melanoma
  • Mouse Models of Cancer
  • Virology
  • Oncogenes
  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor


Lab Website


  • English

Academic Information

  • Departments: Surgery - Professor
  • Divisions: General Surgery
  • Cancer Center Programs: Cell Response & Regulation

Academic Office Information

  • 801-213-4237
  • Huntsman Cancer Institute
    2000 Circle of Hope, Room: 2715
    Salt Lake City, UT 84112

Academic Bio

Sheri Holmen, PhD, is a Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) investigator and Co-Director of the Melanoma Disease Oriented Research Team (MDOT). She is a Professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Utah School of Medicine, as well as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Oncological Sciences.

Dr. Holmen’s Lab aims to define critical targets in cancer cells that can become the focus for therapeutic intervention. Current efforts utilize a genetic approach to address this question in tumors that are generally refractory to conventional therapies, including metastatic melanoma and glioblastoma. Identified targets are being further validated using pharmacological inhibitors of clinical importance such that laboratory findings can be quickly translated to the clinic.

Dr. Holmen earned her bachelor's and master’s degrees from Western Michigan University followed by a PhD degree from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. Her postdoctoral research was performed in the Laboratory of Cell Signaling and Carcinogenesis at the Van Andel Research Institute.

Education History

Type School Degree
Postdoctoral Fellowship Van Andel Research Institute
Postdoctoral Fellow
Doctoral Training Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
Biomedical Science, Tumor Biology
Graduate Training Western Michigan University
Biomedical Science
Undergraduate Western Michigan University
Biomedical Science

Selected Publications

Journal Article

  1. Yoo JH, Brady SW, Acosta-Alvarez L, Rogers A, Peng J, Sorensen LK, Wolff RK, Mleynek T, Shin D, Rich CP, Kircher DA, Bild A, Odelberg SJ, Li DY, Holmen SL, Grossmann AH (2019 May 2). The Small GTPase ARF6 Activates PI3K in Melanoma to Induce a Prometastatic State. Cancer Res, 79(11), 2892-2908.
  2. Kircher DA, Trombetti KA, Silvis MR, Parkman GL, Fischer GM, Angel SN, Stehn CM, Strain SC, Grossmann AH, Duffy KL, Boucher KM, McMahon M, Davies MA, Mendoza MC, VanBrocklin MW, Holmen SL (2019). AKT1E17K activates focal adhesion kinase and promotes melanoma brain metastasis. (Epub ahead of print) Mol Cancer Res.
  3. Fischer GM, Jalali A, Kircher DA, Lee WC, McQuade JL, Haydu LE, Joon AY, Reuben A, de Macedo MP, Carapeto FCL, Yang C, Srivastava A, Ambati CR, Sreekumar A, Hudgens CW, Knighton B, Deng W, Ferguson SD, Tawbi HA, Glitza IC, Gershenwald JE, Vashisht Gopal YN, Hwu P, Huse JT, Wargo JA, Futreal PA, Putluri N, Lazar AJ, DeBerardinis RJ, Marszalek JR, Zhang J, Holmen SL, Tetzlaff MT, Davies MA (2019 May). Molecular Profiling Reveals Unique Immune and Metabolic Features of Melanoma Brain Metastases. Cancer Discov, 9(5), 628-645.
  4. Eroglu Z, Holmen SL, Chen Q, Khushalani NI, Amaravadi R, Thomas R, Ahmed KA, Tawbi H, Chandra S, Markowitz J, Smalley I, Liu JKC, Chen YA, Najjar YG, Karreth FA, Abate-Daga D, Glitza IC, Sosman JA, Sondak VK, Bosenberg M, Herlyn M, Atkins MB, Kluger H, Margolin K, Forsyth PA, Davies MA, Smalley KSM (2019 May). Melanoma central nervous system metastases: An update to approaches, challenges, and opportunities. Pigment Cell Melanoma Res, 32(3), 458-469.
  5. Teerlink CC, Huff C, Stevens J, Yu Y, Holmen SL, Silvis MR, Trombetti K, Zhao H, Grossman D, Farnham JM, Wen J, Facelli JC, Thomas A, Babst M, Florell SR, Meyer L, Zone JJ, Leachman S, Cannon-Albright LA (2018 Dec 1). A Nonsynonymous Variant in the GOLM1 Gene in Cutaneous Malignant Melanoma. J Natl Cancer Inst, 110(12), 1380-1385.
  6. Kumar D, Rahman H, Tyagi E, Liu T, Li C, Lu R, Lum D, Holmen SL, Maschek JA, Cox JE, VanBrocklin MW, Grossman D (2018 Oct). Aspirin Suppresses PGE2 and Activates AMP Kinase to Inhibit Melanoma Cell Motility, Pigmentation, and Selective Tumor Growth In Vivo. Cancer Prev Res (Phila), 11(10), 629-642.
  7. Philip B, Yu DX, Silvis MR, Shin CH, Robinson JP, Robinson GL, Welker AE, Angel SN, Tripp SR, Sonnen JA, VanBrocklin MW, Gibbons RJ, Looper RE, Colman H, Holmen SL (2018 May 1). Mutant IDH1 Promotes Glioma Formation In Vivo. Cell Rep, 23(5), 1553-1564.
  8. Yu Y, Schleich K, Yue B, Ji S, Lohneis P, Kemper K, Silvis MR, Qutob N, van Rooijen E, Werner-Klein M, Li L, Dhawan D, Meierjohann S, Reimann M, Elkahloun A, Treitschke S, Dorken B, Speck C, Mallette FA, Zon LI, Holmen SL, Peeper DS, Samuels Y, Schmitt CA, Lee S (2018 Feb 12). Targeting the Senescence-Overriding Cooperative Activity of Structurally Unrelated H3K9 Demethylases in Melanoma. Cancer Cell, 33(2), 322-336.e8.
  9. Hong A, Moriceau G, Sun L, Lomeli S, Piva M, Damoiseaux R, Holmen SL, Sharpless NE, Hugo W, Lo RS (2018 Jan). Exploiting Drug Addiction Mechanisms to Select against MAPKi-Resistant Melanoma. Cancer Discov, 8(1), 74-93.
  10. Robinson JP, Rebecca VW, Kircher DA, Silvis MR, Smalley I, Gibney GT, Lastwika KJ, Chen G, Davies MA, Grossman D, Smalley KSM, Holmen SL, VanBrocklin MW (2017 Dec). Resistance mechanisms to genetic suppression of mutant NRAS in melanoma. Melanoma Res, 27(6), 545-557.
  11. Gardner LJ, Ward M, Andtbacka RHI, Boucher KM, Bowen GM, Bowles TL, Cohen AL, Grossmann K, Hitchcock YJ, Holmen SL, Hyngstrom J, Khong H, McMahon M, Monroe MM, Ross CB, Suneja G, Wada D, Grossman D (2017 Oct). Risk factors for development of melanoma brain metastasis and disease progression: a single-center retrospective analysis. Melanoma Res, 27(5), 477-484.
  12. Shin CH, Robinson JP, Sonnen JA, Welker AE, Yu DX, VanBrocklin MW, Holmen SL (2017). HBEGF promotes gliomagenesis in the context of Ink4a/Arf and Pten loss. Oncogene, 36(32), 4610-4618.
  13. Yang H, Kircher DA, Kim KH, Grossmann AH, VanBrocklin MW, Holmen SL, Robinson JP (2017). Activated MEK cooperates with Cdkn2a and Pten loss to promote the development and maintenance of melanoma. Oncogene, 36(27), 3842-3851.
  14. Cohen JV, Tawbi H, Margolin KA, Amravadi R, Bosenberg M, Brastianos PK, Chiang VL, de Groot J, Glitza IC, Herlyn M, Holmen SL, Jilaveanu LB, Lassman A, Moschos S, Postow MA, Thomas R, Tsiouris JA, Wen P, White RM, Turnham T, Davies MA, Kluger HM (2016). Melanoma central nervous system metastases: current approaches, challenges, and opportunities. Pigment Cell Melanoma Res, 29(6), 627-642.
  15. Ray A, Williams MA, Meek SM, Bowen RC, Grossmann KF, Andtbacka RH, Bowles TL, Hyngstrom JR, Leachman SA, Grossman D, Bowen GM, Holmen SL, VanBrocklin MW, Suneja G, Khong HT (2016). A phase I study of intratumoral ipilimumab and interleukin-2 in patients with advanced melanoma. Oncotarget, 7(39), 64390-64399.
  16. Robinson GL, Philip B, Guthrie MR, Cox JE, Robinson JP, VanBrocklin MW, Holmen SL (2016 May). In vitro visualization and characterization of wild type and mutant IDH homo- and heterodimers using Bimolecular Fluorescence Complementation. Cancer Res Front, 2(2), 311-329.
  17. Kircher DA, Arave RA, Cho JH, Holmen SL (2016 Mar). Melanoma metastases caught in the AKT. Mol Cell Oncol, 3(2), e1128516.
  18. Cho JH, Robinson JP, Arave RA, Burnett WJ, Kircher DA, Chen G, Davies MA, Grossmann AH, VanBrocklin MW, McMahon M, Holmen SL (2015 Nov 3). AKT1 Activation Promotes Development of Melanoma Metastases. Cell Rep, 13(5), 898-905.
  19. Joshi S, Wels C, Beham-Schmid C, Fukunaga-Kalabis M, Holmen SL, Otte M, Herlyn M, Waldhoer M, Schaider H (2015 Sep 15). Galpha13 mediates human cytomegalovirus-encoded chemokine receptor US28-induced cell death in melanoma. Int J Cancer, 137(6), 1503-8.
  20. Shin CH, Grossmann AH, Holmen SL, Robinson JP (2015 Jan). The BRAF kinase domain promotes the development of gliomas in vivo. Genes Cancer, 6(1-2), 9-18.
  21. Robinson GL, Robinson JP, Lastwika KJ, Holmen SL, Vanbrocklin MW (2013 Nov). Akt signaling accelerates tumor recurrence following ras inhibition in the context of ink4a/arf loss. Genes Cancer, 4(11-12), 476-85.
  22. Merlino G, Flaherty K, Acquavella N, Day CP, Aplin A, Holmen S, Topalian S, Van Dyke T, Herlyn M (2013 Jul). Meeting report: The future of preclinical mouse models in melanoma treatment is now. Pigment Cell Melanoma Res, 26(4), E8-E14.
  23. Cohen AL, Holmen SL, Colman H (2013 May). IDH1 and IDH2 mutations in gliomas. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep, 13(5), 345.
  24. Jenkins NC, Jung J, Liu T, Wilde M, Holmen SL, Grossman D (2013 Apr). Familial melanoma-associated mutations in p16 uncouple its tumor-suppressor functions. J Invest Dermatol, 133(4), 1043-51.
  25. Vanbrocklin MW, Robinson JP, Lastwika KJ, McKinney AJ, Gach HM, Holmen SL (2012 Jan). Ink4a/Arf loss promotes tumor recurrence following Ras inhibition. Neuro Oncol, 14(1), 34-42.
  26. Robinson JP, Vanbrocklin MW, Lastwika KJ, McKinney AJ, Brandner S, Holmen SL (2011 Mar 17). Activated MEK cooperates with Ink4a/Arf loss or Akt activation to induce gliomas in vivo. Oncogene, 30(11), 1341-50.
  27. McKinney AJ, Holmen SL (2011 Mar). Animal models of melanoma: a somatic cell gene delivery mouse model allows rapid evaluation of genes implicated in human melanoma. Chin J Cancer, 30(3), 153-62.
  28. Robinson JP, Vanbrocklin MW, McKinney AJ, Gach HM, Holmen SL (). Akt signaling is required for glioblastoma maintenance in vivo. Am J Cancer Res, 1(2), 155-167.
  29. VanBrocklin MW, Robinson JP, Lastwika KJ, Khoury JD, Holmen SL (2010 Aug). Targeted delivery of NRASQ61R and Cre-recombinase to post-natal melanocytes induces melanoma in Ink4a/Arflox/lox mice. Pigment Cell Melanoma Res, 23(4), 531-41.
  30. Robinson JP, VanBrocklin MW, Guilbeault AR, Signorelli DL, Brandner S, Holmen SL (2010 Jan 21). Activated BRAF induces gliomas in mice when combined with Ink4a/Arf loss or Akt activation. Oncogene, 29(3), 335-44.
  31. Vanbrocklin MW, Robinson JP, Whitwam T, Guilbeault AR, Koeman J, Swiatek PJ, Vande Woude GF, Khoury JD, Holmen SL (2009 Aug). Met amplification and tumor progression in Cdkn2a-deficient melanocytes. Pigment Cell Melanoma Res, 22(4), 454-60.
  32. VanBrocklin MW, Verhaegen M, Soengas MS, Holmen SL (2009 Mar 1). Mitogen-activated protein kinase inhibition induces translocation of Bmf to promote apoptosis in melanoma. Cancer Res, 69(5), 1985-94.
  33. Chen M, Payne WS, Hunt H, Zhang H, Holmen SL, Dodgson JB (2008 Aug 1). Inhibition of Marek's disease virus replication by retroviral vector-based RNA interference. Virology, 377(2), 265-72.
  34. Chen M, Granger AJ, Vanbrocklin MW, Payne WS, Hunt H, Zhang H, Dodgson JB, Holmen SL (2007 Sep 1). Inhibition of avian leukosis virus replication by vector-based RNA interference. Virology, 365(2), 464-72.
  35. Whitwam T, Vanbrocklin MW, Russo ME, Haak PT, Bilgili D, Resau JH, Koo HM, Holmen SL (2007 Jul 5). Differential oncogenic potential of activated RAS isoforms in melanocytes. Oncogene, 26(31), 4563-70.
  36. Park KS, Jeon SH, Kim SE, Bahk YY, Holmen SL, Williams BO, Chung KC, Surh YJ, Choi KY (2006 Mar 1). APC inhibits ERK pathway activation and cellular proliferation induced by RAS. J Cell Sci, 119(Pt 5), 819-27.
  37. Wang P, Kong D, VanBrocklin MW, Peng J, Zhang C, Potter SJ, Gao X, Teh BT, Zhang N, Williams BO, Holmen SL (). Simplified method for the construction of gene targeting vectors for conditional gene inactivation in mice. Transgenics, 4, 215-228.
  38. Holmen SL, Williams BO (2005 Sep 15). Essential role for Ras signaling in glioblastoma maintenance. Cancer Res, 65(18), 8250-5.
  39. Holmen SL, Zylstra CR, Mukherjee A, Sigler RE, Faugere MC, Bouxsein ML, Deng L, Clemens TL, Williams BO (2005 Jun 3). Essential role of beta-catenin in postnatal bone acquisition. J Biol Chem, 280(22), 21162-8.
  40. Ai M, Holmen SL, Van Hul W, Williams BO, Warman ML (2005 Jun). Reduced affinity to and inhibition by DKK1 form a common mechanism by which high bone mass-associated missense mutations in LRP5 affect canonical Wnt signaling. Mol Cell Biol, 25(12), 4946-55.
  41. Holmen SL, Robertson SA, Zylstra CR, Williams BO (2005 Mar 11). Wnt-independent activation of beta-catenin mediated by a Dkk1-Fz5 fusion protein. Biochem Biophys Res Commun, 328(2), 533-9.
  42. Sanchez-Perez L, Kottke T, Diaz RM, Ahmed A, Thompson J, Chong H, Melcher A, Holmen S, Daniels G, Vile RG (2005 Mar 1). Potent selection of antigen loss variants of B16 melanoma following inflammatory killing of melanocytes in vivo. Cancer Res, 65(5), 2009-17.
  43. Holmen SL, Giambernardi TA, Zylstra CR, Buckner-Berghuis BD, Resau JH, Hess JF, Glatt V, Bouxsein ML, Ai M, Warman ML, Williams BO (2004 Dec). Decreased BMD and limb deformities in mice carrying mutations in both Lrp5 and Lrp6. J Bone Miner Res, 19(12), 2033-40.
  44. Bromberg-White JL, Webb CP, Patacsil VS, Miranti CK, Williams BO, Holmen SL (2004 May). Delivery of short hairpin RNA sequences by using a replication-competent avian retroviral vector. J Virol, 78(9), 4914-6.
  45. Holmen SL, Salic A, Zylstra CR, Kirschner MW, Williams BO (2002 Sep 20). A novel set of Wnt-Frizzled fusion proteins identifies receptor components that activate beta -catenin-dependent signaling. J Biol Chem, 277(38), 34727-35.
  46. Holmen SL, Melder DC, Federspiel MJ (2001 Jan). Identification of key residues in subgroup A avian leukosis virus envelope determining receptor binding affinity and infectivity of cells expressing chicken or quail Tva receptor. J Virol, 75(2), 726-37.
  47. Holmen SL, Federspiel MJ (2000 Aug 1). Selection of a subgroup A avian leukosis virus [ALV(A)] envelope resistant to soluble ALV(A) surface glycoprotein. Virology, 273(2), 364-73.
  48. Holmen SL, Salter DW, Payne WS, Dodgson JB, Hughes SH, Federspiel MJ (1999 Dec). Soluble forms of the subgroup A avian leukosis virus [ALV(A)] receptor Tva significantly inhibit ALV(A) infection in vitro and in vivo. J Virol, 73(12), 10051-60.
  49. Holmen SL, Vanbrocklin MW, Eversole RR, Stapleton SR, Ginsberg LC (1995 May). Efficient lipid-mediated transfection of DNA into primary rat hepatocytes. In Vitro Cell Dev Biol Anim, 31(5), 347-51.


  1. Kircher DA, Silvis MR, Cho JH, Holmen SL (2016 Sep 2). Melanoma Brain Metastasis: Mechanisms, Models, and Medicine.LID - 10.3390/ijms17091468 [doi]LID - E1468 [pii]. [Review]. Int J Mol Sci, 17(9).

Conference Proceedings

  1. Holmen SL, Rank KB, Stapleton SR, Ginsberg LC (). Luciferase as a reporter gene for the expression of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase in mammalian cells. (Peer-Reviewed). Proceedings, Eighth National Conference on Undergraduate Research, 3, 923-927.


  1. Bowen RC, Meek S, Williams MA, Grossmann KF, Andtbacka RHI, Bowles TL, Hyngstrom JR, Leachman SA, Grossman D, Holmen SL, VanBrocklin MW, Khong HT (). A phase I study of intratumoral injection of ipilimumab and interleukin-2 in patients with unresectable stage III-IV melanoma [Abstract]. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 33, 3018.
  2. VanBrocklin, MW, Robinson, JR, and Holmen, SL (). AKT promotes the development of brain metastases in a mouse model of melanoma. Society for Melanoma Research 2012 Congress. Hollywood, CA, USA [Abstract]. Pigment Cell and Melanoma Research, 25(6), 893.