Benjamin T. Spike, PhD

Research Interests

  • Stem Cells
  • Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Developmental Biology
  • Single Cell Omics
  • Cellular Heterogeneity
  • Microenvironment


Lab Website


  • English
  • German

Academic Information

  • Departments: Oncological Sciences - Assistant Professor

Academic Office Information

  • Huntsman Cancer Institute
    Oncological Sciences
    2000 Circle of Hope, Room: 2505
    Salt Lake City, UT 84112

Academic Bio

Benjamin Spike, PhD, is an investigator at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) and an assistant professor in the Department of Oncological Sciences at the University of Utah. He is a member of the Cancer Center in the Cell Response and Regulation Program, a faculty member of the Molecular Biology graduate program and a member of the HCI Disease Oriented Team focused on Women's Cancers (WCDOT).

Dr. Spike’s research seeks to understand the molecular regulators of cell behavior in complex tissues during normal development and cancer. Work in his laboratory is currently focused on stem cells in mammary gland development and breast cancer. His laboratory uses single cell transcriptomics and computational approaches, as well as molecular/genetic cell engineering, 2D and 3D culture systems and in vivo experimental models.

Dr. Spike received undergraduate degrees and a Masters degree from the University of California, San Diego. He received his PhD in Cancer Biology from the University of Chicago. He subsequently trained with Geoffrey M. Wahl, PhD, at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and was a staff scientist there before joining HCI and the University of Utah at the end of 2015.

Education History

Type School Degree
Postdoctoral Training Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Stem Cells, Development, Cancer
Postdoctoral Training
Doctoral Training University of Chicago
Biomedical Sciences/Cancer Biology
Graduate Training University of California, San Diego
Cell Biology
Undergraduate University of California, San Diego
Medieval and Modern European History
Undergraduate University of California, San Diego
Molecular Biology
Other Training Georg-August University
Academic Exchange
Visiting Scholar

Global Impact

Education History

Type School Degree Country
Other Training Georg-August University
Academic Exchange
Visiting Scholar Germany

Selected Publications

Journal Article

  1. Jiao X, Li Z, Wang M, Katiyar S, Di Sante G, Farshchian M, South AP, Cocola C, Colombo D, Reinbold R, Zucchi I, Wu K, Tabas I, Spike BT, Pestell RG (2018). Dachshund Depletion Disrupts Mammary Gland Development and Diverts the Composition of the Mammary Gland Progenitor Pool. Stem Cell Reports, 12(1), 135-151.
  2. Giraddi RR, Chung CY, Heinz RE, Balcioglu O, Novotny M, Trejo CL, Dravis C, Hagos BM, Mehrabad EM, Rodewald LW, Hwang JY, Fan C, Lasken R, Varley KE, Perou CM, Wahl GM, Spike BT (2017). Single-Cell Transcriptomes Distinguish Stem Cell State Changes and Lineage Specification Programs in Early Mammary Gland Development. Cell Rep, 24(6), 1653-1666.e7.
  3. Trejo CL, Luna G, Dravis C, Spike BT, Wahl GM (2017). Lgr5 is a marker for fetal mammary stem cells, but is not essential for stem cell activity or tumorigenesis. NPJ Breast Cancer, 3, 16.
  4. Wahl GM, Spike BT (2017). Cell state plasticity, stem cells, EMT, and the generation of intra-tumoral heterogeneity. NPJ Breast Cancer, 3, 14.
  5. Saison-Ridinger M, DelGiorno KE, Zhang T, Kraus A, French R, Jaquish D, Tsui C, Erikson G, Spike BT, Shokhirev MN, Liddle C, Yu RT, Downes M, Evans RM, Saghatelian A, Lowy AM, Wahl GM (2017). Reprogramming pancreatic stellate cells via p53 activation: A putative target for pancreatic cancer therapy. PLoS ONE, 12(12), e0189051.
  6. Dravis C, Spike BT, Harrell JC, Johns C, Trejo CL, Southard-Smith EM, Perou CM, Wahl GM (2015). Sox10 Regulates Stem/Progenitor and Mesenchymal Cell States in Mammary Epithelial Cells. Cell Rep, 12(12), 2035-48.
  7. Pfefferle AD, Spike BT, Wahl GM, Perou CM (2015). Luminal progenitor and fetal mammary stem cell expression features predict breast tumor response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Breast Cancer Res Treat, 149(2), 425-37.
  8. Klauzinska M, Castro NP, Rangel MC, Spike BT, Gray PC, Bertolette D, Cuttitta F, Salomon D (2014). The multifaceted role of the embryonic gene Cripto-1 in cancer, stem cells and epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Semin Cancer Biol, 29, 51-8.
  9. Zhu G, Wang M, Spike B, Gray PC, Shen J, Lee SH, Chen SY, Lee AS (2014). Differential requirement of GRP94 and GRP78 in mammary gland development. Sci Rep, 4, 5390.
  10. Spike BT, Kelber JA, Booker E, Kalathur M, Rodewald R, Lipianskaya J, La J, He M, Wright T, Klemke R, Wahl GM, Gray PC (2014). CRIPTO/GRP78 signaling maintains fetal and adult mammary stem cells ex vivo. Stem Cell Reports, 2(4), 427-39.
  11. Pfefferle AD, Herschkowitz JI, Usary J, Harrell JC, Spike BT, Adams JR, Torres-Arzayus MI, Brown M, Egan SE, Wahl GM, Rosen JM, Perou CM (2013). Transcriptomic classification of genetically engineered mouse models of breast cancer identifies human subtype counterparts. Genome Biology, 14(11), R125.
  12. Makarem M, Spike BT, Dravis C, Kannan N, Wahl GM, Eaves CJ (2013). Stem cells and the developing mammary gland. J Mammary Gland Biol Neoplasia, 18(2), 209-19.
  13. Spike BT, Engle DD, Lin JC, Cheung SK, La J, Wahl GM (2012). A mammary stem cell population identified and characterized in late embryogenesis reveals similarities to human breast cancer. Cell Stem Cell, 10(2), 183-97.
  14. Spike BT, Wahl GM (2011). p53, Stem Cells, and Reprogramming: Tumor Suppression beyond Guarding the Genome. Genes Cancer, 2(4), 404-19.
  15. Mizuno H, Spike BT, Wahl GM, Levine AJ (2010). Inactivation of p53 in breast cancers correlates with stem cell transcriptional signatures. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 107(52), 22745-50.
  16. Liu H, Knabb JR, Spike BT, Macleod KF (2009). Elevated poly-(ADP-ribose)-polymerase activity sensitizes retinoblastoma-deficient cells to DNA damage-induced necrosis. Mol Cancer Res, 7(7), 1099-109.
  17. Dirlam A, Spike BT, Macleod KF (2007). Deregulated E2f-2 underlies cell cycle and maturation defects in retinoblastoma null erythroblasts. Mol Cell Biol, 27(24), 8713-28.
  18. Spike BT, Macleod KF (2007). Effects of hypoxia on heterotypic macrophage interactions. Cell Cycle, 6(21), 2620-4.
  19. Spike BT, Dibling BC, Macleod KF (2007). Hypoxic stress underlies defects in erythroblast islands in the Rb-null mouse. Blood, 110(6), 2173-81.
  20. Tracy K, Dibling BC, Spike BT, Knabb JR, Schumacker P, Macleod KF (2007). BNIP3 is an RB/E2F target gene required for hypoxia-induced autophagy. Mol Cell Biol, 27(17), 6229-42.
  21. Diwan A, Koesters AG, Odley AM, Pushkaran S, Baines CP, Spike BT, Daria D, Jegga AG, Geiger H, Aronow BJ, Molkentin JD, Macleod KF, Kalfa TA, Dorn GW 2nd (2007). Unrestrained erythroblast development in Nix-/- mice reveals a mechanism for apoptotic modulation of erythropoiesis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 104(16), 6794-9.
  22. Spike BT, Macleod KF (2005). The Rb tumor suppressor in stress responses and hematopoietic homeostasis. Cell Cycle, 4(1), 42-5.
  23. Spike BT, Dirlam A, Dibling BC, Marvin J, Williams BO, Jacks T, Macleod KF (2004). The Rb tumor suppressor is required for stress erythropoiesis. EMBO J, 23(21), 4319-29.
  24. Liu H, Dibling B, Spike B, Dirlam A, Macleod K (2004). New roles for the RB tumor suppressor protein. Curr Opin Genet Dev, 14(1), 55-64.
  25. Rowley AH, Shulman ST, Spike BT, Mask CA, Baker SC (2001). Oligoclonal IgA response in the vascular wall in acute Kawasaki disease. J Immunol, 166(2), 1334-43.
  26. Max N, Wolf K, Spike B, Thiel E, Keilholz U (2001). Nested quantitative real time PCR for detection of occult tumor cells. Recent Results Cancer Res, 158, 25-31.
  27. Aladjem MI, Spike BT, Rodewald LW, Hope TJ, Klemm M, Jaenisch R, Wahl GM (1998). ES cells do not activate p53-dependent stress responses and undergo p53-independent apoptosis in response to DNA damage. Curr Biol, 8(3), 145-55.

Book Chapter

  1. Spike BT (2016). Breast Cancer Stem Cells and the Move Toward High-Resolution Stem Cell Systems. In Liu H, Lathia J (Eds.), Cancer Stem Cells: Targeting the Roots of Cancer, Seeds of Metastasis, and Sources of Therapy Resistance (1st Edition). Academic Press.
  2. Keilholz U, Max N, Spike B, Willhauk M (2000). PCR-based detection of malignant cells: Towards molecular staging? In Kirkwood JM (Ed.), Strategies in Adjuvant Therapy (pp. 1-18). Martin Dunitz Ltd.