Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

James Grichnik, M.D., Ph.D.

James Grichnik, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor of Dermatology

Description of Research

Dr. Grichnik's team has a multifaceted program with both clinical and basic science research arms. In the clinic, they are utilizing and developing imaging technologies that allow them to identify melanomas at the earliest stages. Not only does this allow them to remove these tumors when they are highly curable, but it also allows them to gain insight into the early events of melanoma development. Although there remain many challenges in melanoma patient care, there are two areas that are of particular concern: 1) a lack of molecular markers that definitively segregate lethal from non-lethal melanomas, and 2) a lack of markedly effective medications that prevent tumor recurrence after surgical treatment or after targeted drug therapy of metastatic disease. In his basic research laboratory his team is working toward the development of better tumor markers and new therapeutic approaches by focusing attention on understanding the basic developmental biology of melanoma. They have determined that melanoma tumors are best viewed as developmental systems (a heterogeneous collection of cells, generally attempting to differentiate toward pigment cells). These tumors include a sub-population of cells with stem-cell-like features. The tumor stem cells have the capacity to differentiate towards a number of different developmental directions including germ cell pathways. Dr. Grichnik believes that it is the expression of the germ cell pathways that allow the cancer process to progress. His laboratory is currently focusing on germ cell pathway protein expression as markers of lethal tumors and therapeutic targets. His team is especially interested in meiomitosis, a process they theorize causes genomic instability due to the collision of meiosis and mitotic pathways. Dr. Grichnik and his colleagues are utilizing fluorescence based tools and confocal microscopy to visualize chromosome dynamics during malignant progression. The laboratory also has projects utilizing genomic technologies to identify the underlying mutations present in different melanoma subpatterns which may ultimately also serve as prognostic markers and/or new therapeutic targets. Further the laboratory is also evaluating agents that appear to prevent the “activation” of melanoma cells, preventing both growth and differentiation. These agents may eventually be used adjunctively with surgery and/or medical therapies to prevent tumor regrowth.


  • Control of melanocytic homeostasis by stem cell factor in normal human skin
  • The presence of melanocytic precursor (stem) cells in human skin
  • The existence of a subpopulation of tumor cells within metastatic melanomas that have stem-cell-like features and increased tumorigenicity

Selected Cancer-Related Publications

  • Lindsey SF, Byrnes DM, Eller MS, Rosa AM, Dabas N, Escandon J, Grichnik JM. Potential role of meiosis proteins in melanoma chromosomal instability. J Skin Cancer 2013:190109,2013 Read more »
  • Rosa AM, Dabas N, Byrnes DM, Eller MS, Grichnik JM. Germ cell proteins in melanoma: prognosis,diagnosis,treatment,and theories on expression. J Skin Cancer 2012:621968,2012 Read more »
  • Sanchez MI, Rabinovitz HS, Oliverio MC, Elgart GW, Grichnik JM. Confocal microscopy of challenging dermoscopic diagnoses. Arch Dermatol 148:1224,2012 Read more »
  • Curiel-Lewandrowski C, Kim CC, Swetter SM, Chen SC, Halpern AC, Kirkwood JM, Leachman SA, Marghoob AA, Ming ME, Grichnik JM. Survival is not the only valuable end point in melanoma screening. J Invest Dermatol 132:1332-7,2012 Read more »
  • Stanganelli I, Argenziano G, Sera F, Blum A, Ozdemir F, Karaarslan IK, Piccolo D, Peris K, Kirchesch H, Bono R, Pizzichetta MA, Gasparini S, Braun RP, Correia O, Thomas L, Zaballos P, Puig S, Malvehy J, Scalvenzi M, Rabinovitz H, Bergamo A, Pellacani G, Longo C, Pavlovic M, Rosendahl C, Hofmann-Wellenhof R, Cabo H, Marghoob AA, Langford D, Astorino S, Manganoni AM, Gourhant JY, Keir J, Grichnik JM, Fumo G, Dong H, Sortino Rachou AM, Ferrara G, Zalaudek I. Dermoscopy of scalp tumours: a multi-centre study conducted by the international dermoscopy society. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 26:953-963,2012 Read more »
  • Dabas N, Byrnes DM, Rosa AM, Eller MS, Grichnik JM. Diagnostic role of chromosomal instability in melanoma. J Skin Cancer 2012:914267,2012 Read more »
  • Handler MZ, Ross AL, Shiman MI, Elgart GW, Grichnik JM. Potential role of human growth hormone in melanoma growth promotion. Arch Dermatol 148:1179-82,2012 Read more »
  • Jaimes N, Dusza SW, Quigley EA, Braun RP, Puig S, Malvehy J, Kittler H, Rabinovitz HS, Oliviero MC, Soyer HP, Grichnik JM, Korzenko A, Cabo H, Carlos-Ortega B, Ahlgrimm-Siess V, Kopf AW, Marghoob AA. Influence of time on dermoscopic diagnosis and management. Australas J Dermatol :,2012 Read more »
  • Ross AL, Sanchez MI, Grichnik JM. Nevogenesis: a benign metastatic process? ISRN Dermatol 2011:813513,2011 Read more »
  • Ross AL, Sanchez MI, Grichnik JM. Nevus senescence. ISRN Dermatol 2011:642157,2011 Read more »
  • Grichnik JM. Unrecognized sex-specific stress and behavior differences in patients with melanoma. Arch Dermatol 147:186,2011 Read more »
  • Wang H, Moss RH, Chen X, Stanley RJ, Stoecker WV, Celebi ME, Malters JM, Grichnik JM, Marghoob AA, Rabinovitz HS, Menzies SW, Szalapski TM. Modified watershed technique and post-processing for segmentation of skin lesions in dermoscopy images. Comput Med Imaging Graph 35:116-20,2011 Read more »
  • Shao H, Cai L, Grichnik JM, Livingstone AS, Velazquez OC, Liu ZJ. Activation of Notch1 signaling in stromal fibroblasts inhibits melanoma growth by upregulating WISP-1. Oncogene 30:4316-26,2011 [JIF 7.414] Read more »
  • Slutsky JB, Rabinovitz H, Grichnik JM, Marghoob AA. Reflectance confocal microscopic features of dermatophytes,scabies,and demodex. Arch Dermatol 147:1008,2011 Read more »
  • Ross AL, Sanchez MI, Grichnik JM. Molecular nevogenesis. Dermatol Res Pract 2011:463184,2011 Read more »
  • Bichakjian CK, Halpern AC, Johnson TM, Foote Hood A, Grichnik JM, Swetter SM, Tsao H, Barbosa VH, Chuang TY, Duvic M, Ho VC, Sober AJ, Beutner KR, Bhushan R, Smith Begolka W. Guidelines of care for the management of primary cutaneous melanoma. J Am Acad Dermatol 65:1032-47,2011 Read more »
  • Monheit G, Cognetta AB, Ferris L, Rabinovitz H, Gross K, Martini M, Grichnik JM, Mihm M, Prieto VG, Googe P, King R, Toledano A, Kabelev N, Wojton M, Gutkowicz-Krusin D. The Performance of MelaFind: A Prospective Multicenter Study. Arch Dermatol 147:188-94,2011 Read more »
  • Wang H, Chen X, Moss RH, Stanley RJ, Stoecker WV, Celebi ME, Szalapski TM, Malters JM, Grichnik JM, Marghoob AA, Rabinovitz HS, Menzies SW. Watershed segmentation of dermoscopy images using a watershed technique. Skin Res Technol 16:378-84,2010 Read more »


Collaborating in the Multidisciplinary Research Program(s):

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