Zobeida Cruz-Monserrate, PhD

Assistant Professor
Department of Internal Medicine

Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
400 W. 12th Ave.
2041 Wiseman Hall


Dr. Cruz-Monserrate is the director of the Molecular and Cellular Biology Program and Laboratory in the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (GHN) at The Ohio State University, as well as a member of the Molecular Carcinogenesis and Chemoprevention Program at the OSUCCC – James. Her research focuses on pancreatic diseases, particularly pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), which is one of the most deadly human malignancies due to limited advancements in treatment.

The long-term goal of her research is to develop strategies for the detection, prevention and treatment of PDAC and pancreatitis by uncovering mechanisms related to the initiation of these diseases. Her group has shown that the molecule integrin alpha6beta4, the enzyme Cathepsin E (CTSE) and pH-sensitive imaging probes are all early biomarkers of PDAC development. She has been engaged in the development of novel imaging probes that have the potential to detect and treat pancreas containing early lesions of PDAC using the enzymatic activity of CTSE in pre-clinical mouse models. This technology applies to any other disease that expresses CTSE at high levels, which is the case of early pancreatic cancer.

In addition, her laboratory is interested in the prevention of obesity-associated tumor development. Obesity is associated with an increased risk of cancer development, in particular, PDAC.  To discover alternative methods of studying obesity and its relationship to PDAC development, her laboratory uses a mouse model of diet-induced, obesity-associated PDAC to study some of the mechanisms linking obesity and PDAC and test novel methods of cancer prevention involving weight loss via diet and or increased physical activity.

She hsa co-authored over 30 articles in peer-reviewed publications such as Cancer Research, Gastroenterology, Pancreas, PLOS One and Journal of Clinical Investigation. She is also a member of the American Association for Cancer Research, the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American Pancreatic Association, and recently received the Faculty Advancement, Mentoring and Engagement (FAME) Early Career Achievement Award from Ohio State’s College of Medicine.

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