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Robert Judson-Torres

Assistant Professor of Dermatology and
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Oncological Sciencesjudson-torres

B.A. Wesleyan University

Ph.D. University of California, San Francisco



Robert Judson-Torres's Lab Page

Robert Judson-Torres' PubMed Literature Search

Molecular Biology Program

Melanocytes, melanoma, plasticity, chemoprevention, holography, tumor initiating cells, microRNA, transcriptomics


Dr. Judson-Torres’ research program seeks to understand the dynamic transcriptional programs regulating human melanocytes and how disruptions to these programs permit or drive the early stages of melanoma development. Melanoma is a skin cancer that is curable if detected early, but usually fatal if left unchecked. Melanomas are derived from melanocytes that have acquired specific genetic mutations. However, the majority of melanocytes that acquire these exact mutations do not progress to melanoma. Both the intrinsic transcriptional and epigenetic programs as well as the external environmental and chemical factors that govern the probability of transformation are poorly understood. His laboratory studies diverse populations of primary human melanocytes and melanoma cell lines using single cell sequencing, live digital holographic imaging, and CRISPR/Cas9-based precision engineering. Translational aspects of his work include the identification of transcriptional programs as potential biomarkers for early melanoma diagnosis and the discovery of administered compounds that alter the probability of transformation.

Dr. Judson-Torres serves as a mentor for students at all levels of education, from high school through post-doctoral and clinical fellows. In addition to training students in molecular, cell and translational research, he is also particularly interested in career development for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. Dr. Judson-Torres is an avid believer that well-trained scientists should be professionally serving our communities in all aspects of organization, government, planning and education, in addition to academic and industrial research.


Selected Publication

  1. Zeng H, Judson-Torres RL, Shain AH. The Evolution of Melanoma - Moving beyond Binary Models of Genetic Progression. J Invest Dermatol. 2019 Oct 14;. doi: 10.1016/j.jid.2019.08.002. [Epub ahead of print] Review. PubMed PMID: 31623932.
  2. Torres R, Lang UE, Hejna M, Shelton SJ, Joseph NM, Shain AH, Yeh I, Wei ML, Oldham MC, Bastian BC, Judson-Torres RL. MicroRNA ratios distinguish melanomas from nevi. J Invest Dermatol. 2019 Aug 22;. doi: 10.1016/j.jid.2019.06.126. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 31580842; NIHMSID:NIHMS1538065.
  3. Zeng H, Jorapur A, Shain AH, Lang UE, Torres R, Zhang Y, McNeal AS, Botton T, Lin J, Donne M, Bastian IN, Yu R, North JP, Pincus L, Ruben BS, Joseph NM, Yeh I, Bastian BC, Judson RL. Bi-allelic Loss of CDKN2A Initiates Melanoma Invasion via BRN2 Activation. Cancer Cell. 2018 Jul 9;34(1):56-68.e9. doi: 10.1016/j.ccell.2018.05.014. PMID: 29990501
  4. Shain AH, Joseph NM, Yu R, Benhamida J, Liu S, Prow T, Ruben B, North J, Pincus L, Yeh I, Judson R, Bastian BC. Genomic and Transcriptomic Analysis Reveals Incremental Disruption of Key Signaling Pathways during Melanoma Evolution. Cancer Cell. 2018 Jul 9;34(1):45-55.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.ccell.2018.06.005. PMID: 29990500
  5. Hejna M, Jorapur A, Song JS, Judson RL. High accuracy label-free classification of single-cell kinetic states from holographic cytometry of human melanoma cells. Sci Rep. 2017 Sep 20;7(1):11943. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-12165-1. PMID: 28931937
  6. Judson RL, Greve TS, Parchem RJ, Blelloch R. MicroRNA-based discovery of barriers to dedifferentiation of fibroblasts to pluripotent stem cells. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2013 Oct;20(10):1227-35. doi: 10.1038/nsmb.2665. Epub 2013 Sep 15. PubMed PMID: 24037508; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3955211.

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Last Updated: 10/1/20