Lorenzo Sempere, Ph.D.
Lorenzo F. Sempere, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Radiology

Member of Precision Health Program





775 Woodlot Drive

IQ Building Room 3113

East Lansing, MI 48824

College Degrees: 

Bachelor of Science at University Miguel Hernandez, Elche, Spain

Ph.D: Genetics at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Hanover, NH, USA

Postdoctoral Training: Department of Biochemistry at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Hanover, NH, USA


Research Interests:

The Sempere Lab in the Department of Radiology investigates various aspects of the pathophysiology of the breast and pancreas. The lab tackles these research projects with a multi-disciplinary approach, including molecular biology and cellular biology studies to identify microRNA functions and targets, genetic engineering of animal models of breast cancer and pancreatic cancer to assess microRNA role within specific cellular compartments of tumor microenvironment, and molecular pathology with innovative human tissue-based multiplex ISH/IHC assays to implement diagnostics applications of microRNA biomarkers in a in clinical setting. Our laboratory is part of the campus-wide Precision Health Program and actively collaborates with other of its faculty members, including Program Director Dr. Anna Moore.



List of awards:

  1. (2010) American Pancreatic Association 2010 Young Investigator Award.
  2. (2008) Laurie and Paul MacCaskill - Pancreatic Cancer Action Network – AACR Career Development Award.
  3. (2006) Danish High Tech research award for a short-stay scientific visit in the laboratory of Dr. Sakari Kauppinen at Copenhagen University to learn the application of LNA technology for microRNA detection.
  4. (2005) Post-doctoral fellowship by the Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
  5. (1999) Honor Thesis Fellowship by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Education.
  6. (1999) Travel award to attend Spanish National Cellular Biology and Biochemistry Symposium in Celorio, Oviedo (Spain).


Selected Publications as Original Papers:

  1. Ensink E, Sinha J, Sinha A, Tang H, Calderone HM, Hostetter G, Winter J, Cherba D, Brand RE, Allen PJ, Sempere LF, Haab BB. Segment and Fit Thresholding: A New Method for Image Analysis Applied to Microarray and Immunofluorescence Data. Anal Chem. 2015 Oct 6;87(19):9715-21
  2. Andrew AS, Marsit CJ, Schned AR, Seigne JD, Kelsey KT, Cowper R, Moore JH, Perreard J, Karagas MR, Sempere LF. Expression of tumor suppressive microRNA-34a is associated with a reduced risk of bladder cancer recurrence. Int J Cancer. 2015 Sep 1;137(5):1158-66
  3. Danilova O, Paiva C, Kaur P, Kamal A, Sempere LF, Danilov A. microRNA-21 is differentially expressed in the lymphoid tissue and modulated by stromal signaling in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Br J Haematol. 2015 Jul;170(2):272-5
  4. Mackenzie TA, Schwartz G, Calderone HM, Graveel CR, Winn ME, Hostetter G, Wells W, Sempere, LF. Stromal expression of miR-21 identifies high-risk group in triple-negative breast cancer. Am J Pathol. 2014 Dec;184(12):3217-3225
  5. Lines JL, Pantazi ED, Mak J, Sempere LF, Wang L, O'Connell S, Ceeraz S, Suriawinata AA, Yan S, Ernstoff MS, Noelle RJ. VISTA is an immune checkpoint molecule for human T cells. Cancer Res. 2014 Jun;74(7):1924-32
  6. Ma T, Galimberti F, Erkmen CP, Memoli V, Chinyengetere F, Sempere LF, Beumer JH, Anyang BN, Nugent W, Johnstone D, Tsongalis GJ, Kurie J, Li H, DiRenzo J, Guo Y, Freemantle SJ, Dragnev KH, Dmitrovsky E. Comparing Histone Deacetylase Inhibitor Responses in Genetically Engineered Mouse Lung Cancer Models and a Window of Opportunity Trial in Lung Cancer Patients. Mol Cancer Ther. 2013 Aug;12(8):1545-55
  7. Balboni AL, Hutchinson JA, Decastro AJ, Cherukuri P, Liby KT, Sporn MB, Schwartz G, Wells WA, Sempere LF, Yu P, DiRenzo J. Np63a Mediated Activation of Bone Morphogenetic Protein Signaling Governs Stem Cell Activity and Plasticity in Normal and Malignant Mammary Epithelial Cells. Cancer Res. 2013 Jan 15;73(2):1020-30
  8. Mercatelli N, Beldiman C, Brouard T, Nairismägi ML, Kratassiouk, G, Largitte LA, Morozova N, Sempere LF, Pritchard LL, Groisman R, Harel-Bellan, A. miR-205 modulates acinar size and morphology of transformed breast epithelial cells. OncomiRs. Volume 1, Pages 2–9, Dec 2012
  9. Cubillos-Ruiz JR, Baird JR, Tesone AJ, Rutkowski MR, Scarlett UK, Camposeco-Jacobs AL, Anadon-Arnillas J, Harwood NM, Korc M, Fiering SN, Sempere LF, Conejo-Garcia JR. Reprogramming tumor-associated dendritic cells in vivo using microRNA mimetics triggers protective immunity against ovarian cancer. Cancer Res. 2012 Apr 1;72(7):1683-93
  10. Preis M, Gardner TB, Gordon SR, Pipas MJ, Mackenzie TA, Klein EE, Longnecker DS, Gutmann EJ, Sempere LF#, Korc M. microRNA-10b Expression Correlates with Response to Neoadjuvant Therapy and Survival in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma. Clin Cancer Res. 2011 Sep 1;17(17):5812-21. #Corresponding author
  11. Sempere LF#, Gunn J, Korc M. A novel three-dimensional culture system uncovers growth stimulatory actions by TGF-β in pancreatic cancer cells. Cancer Biol Ther. 2011 Aug 1;12(3). #Corresponding author
  12. Sempere LF#, Preis M, Yezefski T, Ouyang H, Suriawinata AA, Silahtaroglu A, Conejo-Garcia JR, Kauppinen S, Wells W, Korc M. Fluorescence-based codetection with protein markers reveals distinct cellular compartments for altered MicroRNA expression in solid tumors. Clin Cancer Res 2010 Aug 15;16(16):4246-55. #Corresponding author. Featured article on the journal cover page.
  13. Liu X, Sempere LF, Ouyang H, Memoli VA, Andrew AS, Luo Y, Demidenko E, Korc M, Shi W, Preis M, Dragnev KH, Li H, DiRenzo J, Bak M, Freemantle SJ, Kauppinen S, Dmitrovsky E. MicroRNA-31 functions as an oncogenic microRNA in mouse and human lung cancer cells by repressing specific tumor suppressors. J Clin Invest. 2010 Apr;120(4):1298–1309
  14. Liu X, Sempere LF*, Galimberti F, Freemantle S, Black C, Fiering S, Cole C, Dragnev K, Memoli V, Korc M, Li H, DiRenzo J, Bak M, Kauppinen S, Dmitrovsky E. Uncovering Growth Suppressive MicroRNAs in Lung Cancer. Clin Cancer Res. 2009 Feb 15;15(4):1177-83. *First co-author
  15. Feng Q, Sekula D, Guo Y, Liu X, Black CC, Galimberti F, Shah SJ, Sempere LF, Memoli V, Andersen JB, Hassel BA, Dragnev K, Dmitrovsky E. UBE1L Causes Lung Cancer Growth Suppression by Targeting Cyclin D1. Mol Cancer Ther. 2008 Dec;7(12):3780-8
  16. Heimberg AM, Sempere LF, Moy VN, Donoghue PC, Peterson KJ. MicroRNAs and the advent of vertebrate morphological complexity. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Feb 26;105(8):2946-50
  17. Sempere LF#, Christensen M, Silahtaroglu A, Bak M, Heath CV, Schwartz G, Wells W, Kauppinen S, Cole CN. Altered microRNA expression confined to specific epithelial cell subpopulations in breast cancer. Cancer Res. 2007 Dec 15; 67(24): 11612-11620. #Corresponding author
  18. Sempere LF, Martinez P, Cole CN, Baguña J, Peterson KJ. Phylogenetic distribution of microRNAs supports the basal position of acoels and the polyphyly of Platyhelminthes. Evol Dev. 2007 Sep-Oct;9(5):409-15. Featured article on the journal cover page
  19. Sempere LF, Cole CN, McPeek MA, Peterson KJ. The Phylogenetic Distribution of Metazoan microRNAs: Insights into Evolutionary Complexity and Constraint. J. Exp. Zool. (Mol. Dev. Evol.) 2006 Nov 14; 306B:575-588. Featured article on the journal cover page
  20. Sempere LF, Freemantle S, Pitha-Rowe I, Moss E, Dmitrovsky E, Ambros V. Expression profiling of mammalian microRNAs uncovers a subset of brain-expressed microRNAs with possible roles in murine and human neuronal differentiation. Genome Biol. 2004 Feb 16; 5, R13
  21. Sempere LF, Sokol NS, Dubrovsky EB, Berger EM, Ambros V. Temporal regulation of microRNA expression in Drosophila melanogaster mediated by hormonal signals and broad-Complex gene activity. Dev Biol. 2003 Jul 1; 259(1):9-18
  22. Sempere LF, Dubrovsky EB, Dubrovskaya VA, Berger EM, Ambros V. The expression of the let-7 small regulatory RNA is controlled by ecdysone during metamorphosis in Drosophila melanogaster. Dev Biol. 2002 Apr 1; 244(1):170-9