Academic Degrees

  • Bachelor in Physiology & Cell Biology, University of Rennes I (France) – 1988.
  • Master in Molecular & Cell Biology, University Blaise Pascal, Clermont-Ferrand (France) – 1990.
  • Ph.D. in Molecular & Cell Biology (Immunology), College of Agriculture of Rennes (France) – 1994.


  • 2014 Outstanding Faculty Award Multicultural Academic Service Award
  • 2020 CLAS Excellence in Teaching: Integration of Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award


  • The Research projects ongoing in Dr. Dréau’s laboratory focus on understanding the molecular, cellular, and physiological bases of metastases associated with cancers of epithelial origin.
  • The cancers of epithelial origin include: the most lethal skin cancer, i.e. melanoma and the most common solid tumor in female i.e., breast cancer. In these cancers as in others, the occurrence of metastases is associated with a high mortality (see the site of the American Cancer Society for details on cancer statistics in the US: http://www.cancer.org)
  • The development of metastases is a multi-step process, which, from the tumor standpoint, includes:
    1. Development of tumor cells with metastatic potentials.
    2. Detachment, migration of tumor cells generally through the vascular system (blood, lymph vessels), and anchoring within the host tissue.
    3. Growth of the metastatic mass requiring the concurrent development of vessels, i.e. neo-angiogenesis, which provide oxygen and various nutriments.
    4. Preventing responses of the immune system throughout all the steps associated with the development of tumor metastases.

Dr. Dréau’s research centers on the mechanisms of cancer metastasis, and the vascular and immune interactions associated with cancer growth. More specifically, the following aspects of cancer metastasis are studied:

  1. Signaling Ligand-receptor (cytokine and chemokine)
  2. Anchoring and Growth of Metastatic Tumors
  3. Vascularization of the Metastatic Tumors
  4. Interactions Immune System and Metastases; the role of inflammasommes in local inflammation

Research Opportunities:

  • Interested Graduate Students (either Ph.D. or M.S. students) should contact Dr. Didier Dréau at: ddreau@uncc.edu
  • For REU opportunities please check the research opportunities available through the Department of Biological Sciences
  • Interested Undergraduate Students (either Honors or BIOL3900 students) should contact Dr. Didier Dréau at: ddreau@uncc.edu

Lab Members

  •  Kimia Kaffashi (PhD Student)
  • Julia Roberson (MS Candidate)
  • Rose Almasian (Honors Student)
  • Kaitlin Moure (Honors Student)
  • Isa Dimino (Honors Student)
  • Kyra Raphael (Honors Student)

Lab  Alumni

  • Postdoctoral Fellows

– Muthulekha Swamydas, PhD (2008-2010)

– Danielle Van, PhD (2011-2012)

  • Graduate students

*Courtney Samuels, MS (2022). “Fibroblast-driven Fibrosis and Inflammation in Breast Cancer Progression“. Master of Sciences Thesis, UNC Charlotte.

*Katherine Holtzman, PhD (2021). “Inflammation, inflammasomes and breast cancer progression” Doctor of Philosophy in Biology Thesis UNC Charlotte

*Khanh Nguyen, PhD (2021). “Disulfide-trapped CXCL12-CXCLl4 chemokine heterodimers prevent breast cancer migration“. Doctor of Philosophy in Biology Thesis UNC Charlotte.

*Deepika Suryaprakash, MS (2018). “Inflammasome-driven IL-1ß and IL-18 Cytokines Signaling between Macrophages and Cancer Cells within the Breast Tumor Microenvironment”  Master of Sciences Thesis,  2020 Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award

*Donna  Goodnow  PhD student rotation (2015)

*Rachel S. Helms, MS (2015). “Macrophages Expressing Neuropilin-1 and Breast Tumor Progression“. Master of Sciences Thesis, UNC Charlotte.UNC Charlotte

*Michelle M. Phelps, PhD (2015). “Periostin and TGFBI in Breast Cancer Progression“. Doctor of Philosophy in Biology Thesis UNC Charlotte

*Yas Maghdouri-White, PhD (2014). “Mammary Epithelial Cells Cultured onto Non-Woven Nanofiber Electrospun Silk-Based Biomaterials to Engineer Beast Tissue Models“. Doctor of Philosophy in Biology Thesis, Virginia Commonwealth University.

*Stephen L. Rego, PhD (2013). “Factors Shed by Breast Tumor Cells, Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha Converting Enzyme Activities and the Generation of Pro-Tumor Macrophages” Doctor of Philosophy in Biology Thesis UNC Charlotte

*Anindita Das Burman MS (2013). “TGF-β (beta) and Periostin Modulate each others Expressions in both Breast Stroma and Cancer Cells” Master of Sciences Thesis, Skovde University, Sweden

*Krista Ricci, MS (2012). “Hypoxia and Breast Cell Migration” Master of Sciences Thesis, UNC Charlotte

*Adam Secret, MS (2010). “Breast Cancer Cell Responses to TGFß are Affected by Hypoxia and the Extracellular Matrix” Master of Sciences Thesis, UNC Charlotte

*Ashley Jewell, MS (2010). “Endothelin-1, Inflammatory Cytokines, and Macrophages in Breast Cancer” Master of Sciences Thesis, UNC Charlotte

*Andrew Cox, MS (2008). “Hypoxia, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor, and Endothelin in Human Breast Cancer” Master of Sciences Thesis, UNC Charlotte

  • Recent Honors Undergraduate students (past 5 yrs)

– Kirstin Smoot (2017-2018)

–  Seth Flynn (2018-2019)

–  Makenzie Postma (2018-2019)

–  Jayden Corea (2019-2019)

– Erin Nesselroade (2019-2020)

– Emily Floyd (2019-2020)

– Layla Abu Al Halaweh (2020-2021)

– Bhavana Reddy  (2021-2022)

– Joanne Azar (2021-2022)

Selected Publications  (out of >55; Pubmed peer-reviewed list; h-index = 29)

  1. Nguyen K.T.P., Volkman B., Dréau D., Nesmelova I.V., 2022. A new obligate CXCL4-CXCL12 heterodimer to directly assess chemokine heterodimer activities and mechanisms. Sci. Rep. 12:17204 doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-21651-0.
  2. Ruder J., Li K., Matuszewski P., Buck J.S., Dréau D., Williams C., Seymour R.B. Hsu J.R., 2022. Promoting Bone Formation and Healing in Segmental Defects Through Ectopic Induced Membrane. J. Surg. Orthop. Adv. 31(3):161–165.
  3. Tarannum M., Holtzman K., Dréau D., Mukherjee P. Vivero-Escoto J.L., 2022. Time-staggered sequential nano-based approach for precise and controlled tumor stroma modulation and improved efficacy for PDAC J Control Release, 347:425-434. doi:10.1016/j.jconrel.2022.05.019.
  4. Ke W., Chandler M., Cedrone E., Saito R.F.., Rangel MC., Wang J., Truong N., Richardson M., Dréau D., Tabdanov E., Chammas R., Dokholyan N.V., Dobrovolskaia M.A., Afonin K.A., 2022. Lock and unlock of thrombin function by immunoquiescent nucleic acid devices with regulated retention in vivo. Nano Letters. 22:5961-5972 doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.2c02019
  5. Dréau D., Wang S., Clemens M.G., Elliott G.D., 2020. Structure and Function of Porcine Arteries Are Preserved for up to 6 Days Using the HypoRP Cold-storage Solution. Transplantation, 104(5):e125-e134. doi: 10.1097/TP.0000000000003141.
  6. Nguyen K.T.P., Druhan L.J., Avalos B.R., Li Z., Rauova L., Nesmelova I.V., Dréau D., 2020. CXCL12-CXCL4 heterodimerization prevents CXCL12-driven breast cancer cell migration. Cellular Signalling, 66:109488. doi: 10.1016/j.cellsig.2019.109488.
  7. Yazdanifar M., Zhou R., Grover P., Williams C., Bose M., Moore L.J., Wu S-T., Maher J., Dréau D., Mukherjee P., 2019. Overcoming Immunological Resistance Enhances the Efficacy of A Novel Anti-tMUC1-CAR T Cell Treatment against Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma. Cells, 8:1070(1-24) doi:10.3390/cells8091070.
  8. Dréau D., Moore L.J., Wu S., das Roy L., Dillion L., Porter T., Puri R., Wittrup K.D., Mukherjee P., 2019. Combining the Specific Anti-MUC1 Antibody TAB004 and Lip-MSA-IL-2 Limits Pancreatic Cancer Progression in Immune Competent Murine Models of Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma. Front. In Oncol. 9:330(1-15) doi: 10.3389/fonc.2019.00330
  9. Park, J., Marriott I., Dréau D., Kim D.Y., Tanzi R.E., Cho H, 2018. A 3D human triculture system modeling neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation in Alzheimer’s disease. Nature Neuroscience, 21:941-951. doi:10.1038/s41593-018-0175.
  10. Park, J., Wetzel I., Dréau D., Cho H., 2018. 3D Miniaturization of Human Organs for Drug Discovery. Advanced Healthcare Materials, 1700551: doi:10.1002/adhm. 201700551 [Frontcover of the Feb 2018 issue]. Most read & downloaded Adv. Healthcare Mater. Article (Oct 2017)
  11. Dréau D., Jeffords Moore L, Alvarez-Berrios MP, Tarannum M, Mukherjee P, Vivero-Escoto JL. Mucin-1-Antibody-Conjugated Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticles for Selective Breast Cancer Detection in a Mucin-1 Transgenic Murine Mouse Model. J Biomed Nanotech 12:2172-2184
  12. Moore LJ, Roy LD, Zhou R, Grover P, Wu ST, Curry JM, Dillon LM, Puri PM, Yazdanifar M, Puri R, Mukherjee P, Dréau D., 2016. Antibody-Guided In Vivo Imaging for Early Detection of Mammary Gland Tumors. Transl Oncol. 2016 9:295-305. doi: 10.1016/j.tranon.2016.05.001.
  13. Maghdouri-White Y, Elmore LW, Bowlin GL, Dréau D., 2016. Breast epithelial cell infiltration in enhanced electrospun silk scaffolds. J Tissue Eng Regen Med. 2016 10:E121-31. doi: 10.1002/term.1778.
  14. Maghdouri-White Y, Bowlin GL, Lemmon CA, Dréau D., 2016. Bioengineered silk scaffolds in 3D tissue modeling with focus on mammary tissues. Mater Sci Eng C Mater Biol Appl. 2016 59:1168-80. doi: 10.1016/j.msec.2015.10.007.
  15. Case JR, Young MA, Dréau D, Trammell SR., 2015. Noninvasive enhanced mid-IR imaging of breast cancer development in vivo. J Biomed Opt. 2015 20:116003. doi: 10.1117/1.JBO.20.11.116003.
  16. Nieman DC, Scherr J, Luo B, Meaney MP, Dréau D, Sha W, Dew DA, Henson DA, Pappan KL., 2014. Influence of pistachios on performance and exercise-induced inflammation, oxidative stress, immune dysfunction, and metabolite shifts in cyclists: a randomized, crossover trial. PLoS One. 2014 9:e113725. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0113725.
  17. Maghdouri-White Y, Bowlin GL, Lemmon CA, Dréau D., 2014.  Mammary epithelial cell adhesion, viability, and infiltration on blended or coated silk fibroin-collagen type I electrospun scaffolds. Mater Sci Eng C Mater Biol Appl. 2014 43:37-44. doi: 10.1016/j.msec.2014.06.037.
  18. Kidiyoor A, Schettini J, Besmer DM, Rego SL, Nath S, Curry JM, Roy LD, Dréau D, Mukherjee P., 2014. Pancreatic Cancer Cells Isolated from Muc1-Null Tumors Favor the Generation of a Mature Less Suppressive MDSC Population. Front Immunol. 2014 5:67. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2014.00067.
  19. Rego SL, Helms RS, Dréau D., 2014. Breast tumor cell TACE-shed MCSF promotes pro-angiogenic macrophages through NF-κB signaling. Angiogenesis. 2014 17:573-85. doi: 10.1007/s10456-013-9405-2.
  20. Rego SL, Helms RS, Dréau D., 2014. Tumor necrosis factor-alpha-converting enzyme activities and tumor-associated macrophages in breast cancer. Immunol Res. 2014 58:87-100. doi: 10.1007/s12026-013-8434-7.
  21. Nieman DC, Luo B, Dréau D, Henson DA, Shanely RA, Dew D, Meaney MP., 2014. Immune and inflammation responses to a 3-day period of intensified running versus cycling. Brain Behav Immun. 2014 39:180-5. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2013.09.004.
  22. Rego SL, Swamydas M, Kidiyoor A, Helms R, De Piante A, Lance AL, Mukherjee P, Dréau D., 2013. Soluble tumor necrosis factor receptors shed by breast tumor cells inhibit macrophage chemotaxis. J Interferon Cytokine Res. 2013 33:672-81. doi: 10.1089/jir.2013.0009.
  23. Swamydas M, Ricci K, Rego SL, Dréau D., 2013. Mesenchymal stem cell-derived CCL-9 and CCL-5 promote mammary tumor cell invasion and the activation of matrix metalloproteinases. Cell Adh Migr. 2013 7:315-24. doi: 10.4161/cam.25138. Epub 2013 May 24.
  24. Lance A, Yang CC, Swamydas M, Dean D, Deitch S, Burg KJ, Dréau D, 2016. Increased extracellular matrix density decreases MCF10A breast cell acinus formation in 3D culture conditions. J Tissue Eng Regen Med. 2016 Jan;10(1):71-80. doi: 10.1002/term.1675
  25. Carlson J, Baxter SA, Dréau D, Nesmelova IV., 2013. The heterodimerization of platelet-derived chemokines. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2013 1834:158-68. doi: 10.1016/j.bbapap.2012.09.010.
  26. Bland E, Dréau D, Burg KJ., 2013. Overcoming hypoxia to improve tissue-engineering approaches to regenerative medicine. J Tissue Eng Regen Med. 2013 7:505-14. doi: 10.1002/term.540.
  27. Swamydas M, Nguyen D, Allen LD, Eddy J, Dréau D., 2010. Progranulin stimulated by LPA promotes the migration of aggressive breast cancer cells. Cell Commun Adhes. 2011 18:119-30.
  28. Swamydas M, Eddy JM, Burg KJ, Dréau D., 2010. Matrix compositions and the development of breast acini and ducts in 3D cultures. In Vitro Cell Dev Biol Anim. 2010 46:673-84.
  29. Dréau D, Karaa A, Culberson C, Wyan H, McKillop IH, Clemens MG., 2006. Bosentan inhibits tumor vascularization and bone metastasis in an immunocompetent skin-fold chamber model of breast carcinoma cell metastasis. Clin Exp Metastasis. 2006;23:41-53.
  30. Carbonell AM, Matthews BD, Dréau D, Foster M, Austin CE, Kercher KW, Sing RF, Heniford BT., 2004. The susceptibility of prosthetic biomaterials to infection. Surg Endosc. 2005 19:430-5.
  31. Brar SS, Grigg C, Wilson KS, Holder WD Jr, Dreau D, Austin C, Foster M, Ghio AJ, Whorton AR, Stowell GW, Whittall LB, Whittle RR, White DP, Kennedy TP., 2004. Disulfiram inhibits activating transcription factor/cyclic AMP-responsive element binding protein and human melanoma growth in a metal-dependent manner in vitro, in mice and in a patient with metastatic disease. Mol Cancer Ther. 2004 3:1049-60.

Courses Taught

BIOL 4171/5171 Cell Physiology

BIOL 3273 Animal Physiology

BIOL 4601 Honors Seminar

BIOL 2000 UG experience EFRi-REM program (not taught currently)

BIOL 6000/8000 Special Topics in Cancer Biology: Initiation to Metastasis

BIOL4600 Senior Seminar

BIOL 6273 Adv. Human Physiology

BIOL 6143 Integrated Physiology

Professional Experience 

  • 2020-Full Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

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