Michael L. Beshiri, Ph.D.

Michael L. Beshiri, Ph.D.

  • Center for Cancer Research
  • National Cancer Institute


Dr. Beshiri is a molecular/cellular biologist focused on the creation and application of preclinical models of prostate cancer to address questions related to pathology and resistance to therapy. A major obstacle in the field of prostate cancer research is the relative dearth of in vitro models needed to represent the significant genomic and phenotypic heterogeneity of the disease and myriad mechanisms of resistance to treatment. This is because prostate cancer has been historically recalcitrant towards efforts to adapt tissue samples into culture.

Since joining the Kelly Lab, he has developed new organoid culture methods, and used these methods to established novel patient-derived organoid models of castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) through a collaboration with the Genitourinary Malignancies Branch in the NIH clinical center. Additionally, he worked in collaboration with the University of Washington to adapt their LuCaP series of patient-derived xenografts into long-term organoid culture.

Dr. Beshiri’s most recent work capitalizes on the opportunities presented by the new organoid models, with a particular focus on lineage-plasticity as a mechanism of treatment-resistance in prostate cancer. Using patient-derived organoids that capture the complex multi-lineage heterogeneity of both luminal epithelial adenocarcinoma (ACPC) and neuroendocrine prostate cancer (NEPC) observed in the patient tumor, he has applied multiple different single-cell techniques to these organoid models to achieve the following results: (1) Defined the multiple states of differentiation, and the developmental hierarchy in the multilineage organoids - discovered a stem/progenitor subpopulation as the underlying source of both proliferation/growth and heterogeneity of lineage. (2) Identified transcription factors (TFs) associated with clonal subpopulations of stem/progenitors as well as TFs that are uniquely associated with ACPC and NEPC lineage within a mixed lineage state. (3) Determined and exploited specific molecular vulnerabilities in the stem/progenitor subpopulations to block tumor growth.

Areas of Expertise

Molecular/cellular Biology
Organoid Culture Methods/models
PDX Models
Single-cell Assays
Drug Response


Selected Recent Publications

A cancer stem cell population underlies a multi-lineage phenotype and drug resistance in prostate cancer

Beshiri ML, Capaldo BJ, Lake R, Ku AT, Burner D, Tice CM, Tran C, Kostas J, Alilin AN, Yin JJ, Agarwal S, Morris SA, Karzai FA, Lotan TL, Dahut WL, Sowalsky AG, Kelly K
Full-Text Article
[ Journal Article ]

A PDX/Organoid Biobank of Advanced Prostate Cancers Captures Genomic and Phenotypic Heterogeneity for Disease Modeling and Therapeutic Screening

Beshiri ML, Tice CM, Tran C, Nguyen HM, Sowalsky AG, Agarwal S, Jansson KH, Yang Q, McGowen KM, Yin J, Alilin AN, Karzai FH, Dahut WL, Corey E, Kelly K.
Clin Cancer Res. Sep 1;24(17): 4332-4345, 2018. [ Journal Article ]

The Indenoisoquinoline TOP1 Inhibitors Selectively Target Homologous Recombination-Deficient and Schlafen 11-Positive Cancer Cells and Synergize with Olaparib

Marzi L, Szabova L, Gordon M, Weaver Ohler Z, Sharan SK, Beshiri ML, Etemadi M, Murai J, Kelly K, Pommier Y
Clin Cancer Res. Oct 15;25(20): 6206-6216, 2019. [ Journal Article ]

CREB5 Promotes Resistance to Androgen-Receptor Antagonists and Androgen Deprivation in Prostate Cancer

Hwang JH, Seo JH, Beshiri ML, Wankowicz S, Liu D, Cheung A, Li J, Qiu X, Hong AL, Botta G, Golumb L, Richter C, So J, Sandoval GJ, Giacomelli AO, Ly SH, Han C, Dai C, Pakula H, Sheahan A, Piccioni F, Gjoerup O, Loda M, Sowalsky AG, Ellis L, Long H, Root DE, Kelly K, Van Allen EM, Freedman ML, Choudhury AD, Hahn WC
Cell Rep. Nov 19;29(8): 2355-2370, 2019. [ Journal Article ]

High-throughput screens identify HSP90 inhibitors as potent therapeutics that target inter-related growth and survival pathways in advanced prostate cancer

Jansson KH, Tucker JB, Stahl LE, Simmons JK, Fuller C, Beshiri ML, Agarwal S, Fang L, Hynes PG, Alilin AN, Lake R, Abbey YC, Cawley J, Tice CM, Yin J, McKnight C, Klummp-Thomas C, Zhang X, Guha R, Hoover S, Simpson RM, Nguyen HM, Corey E, Thomas CJ, Proia DA, Kelly K
Sci Rep. Nov 22;8(1):17239: 2018. [ Journal Article ]