Department of Cell and Cancer Biology

Saori Furuta, Ph.D.

Saori Furuta, Ph.D.
Associate Professor  
Cell and Cancer Biology


B.S. 1999 Biochemistry University of California, Riverside
M.S. 2001 Chemistry & Biochemistry California State University, Los Angeles
Ph.D. 2007 Biological Chemistry  University of California, Irvine
Post-Doc 2007-2014 Life Sciences Division Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory


Over 300,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. each year, affecting 1 in 8 women in their lifetime.   Despite the recent advances in diagnostic tools, breast cancer mortality rate has only declined slowly, justifying the urgent need for a better diagnostic marker and treatment modality.  My long-term research interest is to investigate how aberrant arginine metabolism influences different components of tissue/tumor microenvironment, and how such havoc leads to carcinogenesis, drug resistance and immunosuppression.  I am also investigating whether normalizing arginine metabolism could boost the gut microbiome and train the innate immunity to prevent breast cancer formation.


Ongoing Research

R01CA248304, National Cancer Institute
3/2020 - 2/2025
Normalizing arginine metabolism with sepiapterin for immunostimulatory-shift of HER2+ breast cancer
Role:  PI

Understanding and targeting MELK overexpression in breast cancer and therapeutic efficacy of its inhibition
Role:  PI

American Cancer Society Research Scholar Award
Role of reduction of nitric oxide in formation of precancerous breast lesions
Role:  PI

Completed Research Support

Medical Research Society Grant - University of Toledo
Role of reduction of nitric oxide in formation of precancerous breast lesions
Role:  PI

Ohio Cancer Research Society
Role of nitric oxide in regulating the extracellular matrix in the breast
Role:  PI

R01CA064786, National Institutes of Health (PI, M.J. Bissel)
Definition of microenvironment in breast cancer
Role: Postdoctoral Associate

W81XWH-05-1-0322, Department of Defense
Roles of breast cancer susceptibility genes BRCA's in mammary epithelial cell differentiation
Role:  PI



Not currently accepting students


Last Updated: 6/27/22