Steinkamp received her B.A. in Biology and English from Williams College and her Ph.D. in Human Genetics from the University of Michigan. She was a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Bridget WIlson and Dr. Diane Lidke here at UNM where she studied ErbB receptor interactions in cancer. As a Research Assistant Professor, she was involved in the UNM SpatioTemporal Modeling Center as Director of Outreach. She is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology and Director of the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center Animal Models Shared Resource.

Personal Statement

I am an Assistant Professor of Pathology at UNM and a New Investigator Member of the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center (UNMCCC) as well as the faculty director of the UNMCCC Animal Models Shared resource. I have expertise in the establishment and passaging of ovarian cancer PDX models and characterizing humanized mouse models that will be used for this pilot project. My research interests lie in understanding how complex ErbB receptor interactions promote cell growth and survival in cancer. Testing the efficacy of anti-ErbB therapies for ovarian cancer treatment has driven my interest in the tumor microenvironment and how immune cells influence response to cancer therapies. While a good deal is known about how tumor cells respond to treatments in vitro, there is often a disparity between these responses and what is seen in clinical trials. Much of the difference comes from the heterogeneity of the tumor population and the complexity of the tumor microenvironment. Models that can begin to understand this complexity are extremely important for translational research. I am using mouse models of disseminated ovarian cancer to study ovarian tumors within the peritoneal environment in order to understand both the direct signaling responses to anti-ErbB therapies as well as the immune responses to immunotherapies. I use whole animal bioluminescence imaging to assess peritoneal tumor burden and two-photon microscopy to observe penetration of fluorescently tagged therapies. To examine patient heterogeneity in response to therapy, I have developed patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models from primary spheroids isolated from the malignant ascites fluid of ovarian cancer patients during cytoreductive surgery. Currently we have developed eight PDX models that can be used to examine dissemination within the peritoneal cavity and for preclinical testing of novel therapies. We have also begun testing the development of PDX tumors in humanized models. Successful collaborations with clinicians and mathematical modelers through the UNM Spatiotemporal Modeling Center have led to the creation of 3D ovarian cancer spheroid simulations that we have used to optimize drug delivery to peritoneal ovarian tumors. These interdisciplinary teams energize our preclinical studies by deepening our understanding of ovarian cancer metastatic spread and informs our search for novel treatments against this disease.

Areas of Specialty

Cancer Biology
Ovarian Cancer
Receptor Tyrosine Kinases
Patient-Derived Xenografts
Humanized Mouse Models

Achievements & Awards

The Kiernan Scholarship, Williams College, 1994-1998
Award in Academic Excellence, Human Genetics Department, 2003
The ADVANCE Elizabeth Caroline Crosby Research Award, 2006
Women in Endocrinology Abstract Award, 2007
The Endocrine Society Travel Award, 2007
The Robert and Janet Miller Award for Urological Cancer Research, 2008




  • English

Courses Taught

Steinkamp runs the Signal Transduction, Adhesion, and Trafficking Journal Club that discusses current high impact papers relevant to Cell Biology.

Research and Scholarship

To test anti-ErbB therapies in vivo, we have developed orthotopic mouse models of disseminated ovarian cancer from well-characterized human ovarian cancer cell lines and primary patient spheroids. Our previous work used the SKOV3.ip cell line derived from malignant ascites which overexpresses ErbB2. A combination of if in vivo experiments and computational modeling led to the development of 3-D ovarian tumor model that we have used to simulate drug delivery to peritoneal tumors. Vascular density was quantified from primary ovarian tumors and included in our model. Route of delivery (intravenous versus intraperitoneal) was predicted to have a large impact on drug penetration into microscopic tumors with IP delivery significantly improving the penetration of both small molecular chemotherapies like cisplatin and therapeutic antibodies. This interdisciplinary work in collaboration with computational modeler K. Kanigel Winner resulted in two shared first author publications.

Kanigel Winner, K.*, M.P. Steinkamp*, R. J. Lee, M. Swat, C.Y. Muller, M.E. Moses, Y. Jiang, B.S. Wilson (2016). Spatial modeling of drug delivery routes for treatment of disseminated ovarian cancer. Cancer Res. 76:1320-34. *shared first author. PMID: 26719526

Davies S., A. Holmes, L. Lomo, M.P. Steinkamp, H. Kang, C.Y. Muller, and B.S. Wilson. (2014) High Incidence of ErbB3, ErbB4, and MET Expression in Ovarian Cancer. Int J Gynecol Pathol 33: 402-410. PMID: 24901400

Steinkamp M.P.*, K.K. Winner*, S. Davies, C.Y. Muller, Y. Zhang, R.M. Hoffman, A. Shirinifard, M. Moses, Y. Jiang, and B.S. Wilson. (2013) Ovarian tumor attachment, invasion, and vascularization reflect unique microenvironments in the peritoneum: insights from xenograft and mathematical models. Front Oncol 3: 97. *shared first author PMCID:PMC3656359