Melissa L. Fishel, PhD is a tumor cell biologist who has been interested in using more relevant in vitro and ex vivo models of cancer including 3-dimensional co-cultures of tumor cells and relevant cells from the microenvironment. The importance of not only targeting the tumor is clear, therefore, novel approaches that target the tumor microenvironment in addition to signaling pathways within the tumor may offer the most promising method against cancer. The Fishel lab’s interests have been in exploring rationale molecular targets in difficult-to-treat, refractive cancers such as pancreatic cancer as well as glioblastoma and pediatric leukemia. Her research goals are focused on the identification and preclinical validation of cancer-specific therapies. Through the use of tumor cell biology and molecular biology, the Fishel lab studies the survival, proliferation, and signaling following treatment with chemotherapeutic agents and novel small molecule inhibitors. We are currently focusing on using more clinically relevant systems to study cancer by developing and using 3-Dimensional tissue culture models to investigate critical molecular targets including STAT3 (signal transducer and activator of transcription-3) and APE1/Ref-1 (AP endonuclease1 / Redox effector factor 1). The Fishel laboratory also utilizes animal models to investigate the efficacy of targeting these pathways. Her lab’s research is translational research as she continually seeks to apply what she learns about the cancer cells and the environment they grow in to a cure for cancer.