Glenn  Merlino, Ph.D.

Glenn Merlino, Ph.D.

  • Center for Cancer Research
  • National Cancer Institute


Dr. Merlino contributed through his career to our understanding of receptor tyrosine kinase signaling, oncogenic transformation, transcriptional regulation, cell cycle regulation, multiple drug resistance and genomic instability. Dr. Merlino sought to elucidate the complex molecular/genetic programs governing melanoma genesis and progression through the development and analysis of genetically engineered mouse models. His models are being used to identify the molecular and microenvironmental mechanisms underlying UV induction of melanoma, as well as its metastatic spread. A translational goal is to develop improved preclinical melanoma models to study inherent and acquired resistance to targeted and immune-based therapeutics.

Areas of Expertise

Cancer Signaling and Pathways
Melanoma/Skin Cancer
Genetically Engineered Mice and Preclinical Mouse Models
Cancer Metastasis
UV-Induced Tumorigenesis
HGF-MET Signaling


Selected Key Publications

TGF alpha overexpression in transgenic mice induces liver neoplasia and abnormal development of the mammary gland and pancreas

Jhappan C, Stahle C, Harkins RN, Fausto N, Smith GH, Merlino GT.
Cell. 61: 1137-46, 1990. [ Journal Article ]

PHLPP1 mediates melanoma metastasis suppression through repressing AKT2 activation

Yu Y, Dai M, Lu A, Yu E, Merlino G.
Oncogene. 37(17): 2225-36, 2018. [ Journal Article ]

Multimodel preclinical platform predicts clinical response of melanoma to immunotherapy

Pérez-Guijarro E, Yang HH, Araya RE, El Meskini R, Michael HT, Vodnala SK, Marie KL, Smith C, Chin S, Lam KC, Thorkelsson A, Iacovelli AJ, Kulaga A, Fon A, Michalowski AM, Hugo W, Lo RS, Restifo NP, Sharan SK, Van Dyke T, Goldszmid RS, Weaver Ohler Z, Lee MP, Day CP, Merlino G.
Nat. Med. 26(5): 781-91, 2020. [ Journal Article ]

Expression profiling identifies the cytoskeletal organizer ezrin and the developmental homeoprotein Six-1 as key metastatic regulators

Yu Y, Khan J, Khanna C, Helman L, Meltzer PS, Merlino G.
Nat Med. 10: 175-81, 2004. [ Journal Article ]

Interferon-gamma links ultraviolet radiation to melanomagenesis in mice

Zaidi MR, Davis S, Noonan FP, Graff-Cherry C, Hawley TS, Walker RL, Feigenbaum L, Fuchs E, Lyakh L, Young HA, Hornyak TJ, Arnheiter H, Trinchieri G, Meltzer PS, De Fabo EC, Merlino G.
Nature. 469: 548-53, 2011. [ Journal Article ]


Glenn Merlino, Ph.D.
NIH Scientist Emeritus

Glenn Merlino, Ph.D.

Dr. Merlino obtained his B.A. summa cum laude in 1975, then went on to receive a Ph.D. in biological sciences in 1980 from the Department of Cellular and Molecular Biology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He joined the NCI in 1988. As a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Ira Pastan’s lab, Dr. Merlino was the first to report the amplification/rearrangement of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) proto-oncogene in human cancer, and as a young independent investigator, he was among the first to show that growth factors could function in vivo as oncogenes using transgenic mouse models. With long-time George Washington University collaborators, Drs. Frances Noonan and Ed DeFabo, Dr. Merlino’s group also developed the first human-like mouse melanoma model and provided the first experimental evidence supporting the notion that childhood sunburn is a critical melanoma risk factor.

Dr. Merlino was Chief of the Laboratory of Cell Regulation and Carcinogenesis from 2004 to 2006. This lab, along with two others, merged into the Laboratory of Cancer Biology and Genetics (LCBG) in 2006.  He then served as Co-Chief of the new Laboratory from 2006 to 2017. During this period, Dr. Merlino also served as a CCR Deputy Director (2010-2015). He also served as CCR’s Scientific Director for Basic Research from 2016-2024. Dr. Merlino retired as Acting Co-Director of CCR in June 2024. At NIH/NCI, Dr. Merlino has served as the NIH Ombudsman for Animal Welfare, on the Steering Committee of the NCI Center of Excellence in Integrative Cancer Biology and Genomics and on the CCR Science Board. 

From 2009 to 2012, Dr. Merlino was Executive Editor of Pigment Cell and Melanoma Research; he has also served on the Editorial Board of Cancer Research. Currently, he is Co-Chair of the Scientific Advisory Council, Melanoma Research Foundation and Adjunct Professor at the University of Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.

Honors and Awards
In 2016, Dr. Merlino was elected as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow. His other honors include the Society for Melanoma Research Lifetime Achievement Award (2013) and the Aaron B. Lerner/PASPCR Special Lectureship Award (2012).  Dr. Merlino has also received numerous awards throughout his career at NCI, including the NIH Director’s Award (2016), the NCI Director’s Award (2018, 2017, 2015), the NCI Merit Award (2009, 2002) and the NCI Outstanding Mentor Award (2008).