Justin  Lathia,  PhD

Justin Lathia, PhD

Vice Chair and Staff

Director of Faculty Development
Melvin H. Burkhardt Endowed Chair for Neuro-Oncology Clinical Research

Lerner Research Institute, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44195


Cancer is a disease defined by complexity and it has recently been appreciated that many lethal tumors contain a high degree of cellular heterogeneity.Moreover, tumor cells are organized in a cellular hierarchy, with a cancer stem cell at the apex. Cancer stem cells have been characterized in a variety of cancers, including malignant brain tumors, and have been shown to be responsible for tumor formation and therapeutic resistance. Our main interest is how cancer stem cells from malignant brain tumors interact with their surrounding microenvironment, which provides signals to preserve the malignancy of these cells. Specifically, we are interested in cell to cell communication mechanisms as these will help better define the biology of this population and may serve as potent therapies.

Lay Summary

We are interested in the biology of maligant brain tumors, namely glioblastoma. We have active projects in cell adhesion mechanisms, cell-cell communication, and the interaction between tumor cells and the immune system. We also investigate sex differences in glioblastoma.

All publications available on pubmed: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/?term=Lathia+J&sort=date

Google scholar profile: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=ThhfO9EAAAAJ&hl=en&oi=ao

Representative publications:

  1. Hitomi M, Chumakova AP, Silver DJ, Knudsen AM, Pontius WD, Murphy S, Anand N, Kristensen BW, Lathia JD. Asymmetric cell division promotes therapeutic resistance in glioblastoma stem cells. JCI Insight. 2021 Feb 8;6(3):e130510. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.130510. PMID: 33351787; PMCID: PMC7934841.
  2. Turaga SM, Silver DJ, Bayik D, Paouri E, Peng S, Lauko A, Alban TJ, Borjini N, Stanko S, Naik UP, Keri RA, Connor JR, Barnholtz-Sloan JS, Rubin JB, Berens M, Davalos D, Lathia JD. JAM-A functions as a female microglial tumor suppressor in glioblastoma. Neuro Oncology. 2020 Nov 26;22(11):1591-1601. doi: 10.1093/neuonc/noaa148. PMID: 32592484; PMCID: PMC7690368.
  3. Silver DJ, Roversi GA, Bithi N, Wang SZ, Troike KM, Neumann CK, Ahuja GK, Reizes O, Brown JM, Hine C, Lathia JD. Severe consequences of a high-lipid diet include hydrogen sulfide dysfunction and enhanced aggression in glioblastoma. Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2021 Jul 13;131(17):e138276. doi: 10.1172/JCI138276. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34255747; PMCID: PMC8409594.
  4. Otvos B, Alban TJ, Grabowski MM, Bayik D, Mulkearns-Hubert EE, Radivoyevitch T, Rabljenovic A, Johnson S, Androjna C, Mohammadi AM, Barnett GH, Ahluwalia MS, Vogelbaum MA, Fecci PE, Lathia JD. Preclinical Modeling of Surgery and Steroid Therapy for Glioblastoma Reveals Changes in Immunophenotype that are Associated with Tumor Growth and Outcome. Clinical Cancer Research. 2021 Apr 1;27(7):2038-2049. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-20-3262. Epub 2021 Feb 4. PMID: 33542075; PMCID: PMC8026586.
  5. Bayik D, Zhou Y, Park C, Hong C, Vail D, Silver DJ, Lauko A, Roversi G, Watson DC, Lo A, Alban TJ, McGraw M, Sorensen M, Grabowski MM, Otvos B, Vogelbaum MA, Horbinski C, Kristensen BW, Khalil AM, Hwang TH, Ahluwalia MS, Cheng F, Lathia JD. Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cell Subsets Drive Glioblastoma Growth in a Sex-Specific Manner. Cancer Discovery. 2020 Aug;10(8):1210-1225. doi: 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-19-1355. Epub 2020 Apr 16. PMID: 32300059; PMCID: PMC7415660.

09/14/2022 |  

Cleveland Clinic MD-PhD Student Identifies Potential Therapeutic Target for Glioblastoma

The research in Dr. Justin Lathia’s lab clarifies SerpinB3’s role in preventing cancer stem cell death, could lead to more effective radiation therapies.

05/12/2022 |  

Dr. Justin Lathia Named One of Only Nine Recipients of National Research Program Award

Dr. Lathia has received an eight-year, $5.2 million award from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to further research into the dynamics of immune suppression in malignant brain tumors and target future immune-activating therapies.

10/25/2021 |  

The Consequences of Diet on Brain Cancer Severity and Disease Pathology

Drs. Lathia, Silver and Hine report that a high-fat diet causes hydrogen sulfide dysfunction and leads to more severe disease with poorer outcomes among preclinical glioblastoma models.

09/17/2020 |  

$10M NIH Grant Will Advance Research Into Sex Differences in Brain Cancer

This new award will fund a research consortium led by Lerner Research Institute and Case Western Reserve University to study differences in glioblastoma between males and females.

07/02/2020 |  

Non-Cancer Cells and Sex Differences in Glioblastoma: The Latest on the Tumor Microenvironment’s Role in Disease

Dr. Lathia found that in female disease models, a protein commonly expressed in glioblastoma tumor cells, called JAM-A, suppresses microglial activity and drives disease metastasis differently than in males.

05/01/2020 |  

Defining Sex-Based Differences in Glioblastoma Biology

Dr. Lathia found that the subpopulations of myeloid-derived suppressor cells differ significantly between males and females with the aggressive brain cancer, and that they each contribute to disease pathology differently.

01/21/2020 |  

From Bench to Bedside: Low-Dose Chemotherapy Reduces Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells in Glioblastoma

In a great story of research translation at Cleveland Clinic, basic research findings from Dr. Lathia’s lab—which elucidated the mechanistic role elevated levels of a certain type of immune cell plays in glioblastoma development—have reached early-stage clinical trial.