Christopher Heaphy, PhD
Assistant Professor
Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine
Medicine
Hematology & Medical Oncology

PhD, University of New Mexico School of Medicine
BS, University of New Mexico

Pronouns: he/him/his



Dr. Christopher Heaphy is a dedicated cancer biologist whose research combines tissue-based, cell-based, and molecular approaches to investigate the role of telomere alterations in human diseases, with a primary focus on cancer, including prostate cancer, pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, breast cancer, sarcomas, and gliomas. His lab conducts both basic and translational research aimed at understanding how these alterations contribute to the initiation and progression of cancer.

The overarching goal of Dr. Heaphy's research program is to leverage molecular insights from the tumor and its microenvironment to advance clinical applications. His work aims to develop strategies for accurately predicting cancer risk, prognosis, and the potential response to targeted therapies.

Dr. Heaphy earned his Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico School of Medicine and completed postdoctoral training at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Currently, he is an Associate Professor of Medicine affiliated with Boston Medical Center and a member of the Boston University-Boston Medical Center (BU-BMC) Cancer Center.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility

Coming from diverse Hispanic and Irish backgrounds, I am dedicated to advancing inclusion and equality for all. My passion lies in fostering diversity and inclusion within academia and medicine. For instance, I have actively supported gender equity in medicine through the Women in NETs (WIN) initiative of the North American Neuroendocrine Tumor Society (NANETS), where I also chair the Scientific Review & Research Committee. Additionally, I have mentored undergraduate students in the Boston University STaRS program. This NIH-funded initiative aims to enhance access to graduate and medical education for historically underrepresented students in science and medicine.

My research at Boston Medical Center aligns with our mission of ‘exceptional care without exception’, particularly addressing racial disparities in cancer outcomes. For example, disparities in prostate cancer incidence and outcomes are well-documented. Factors such as screening, access to care, and treatment plans exhibit significant race-based inequities. Recent studies have shown that adjusting for social determinants of health—such as education, neighborhood, healthcare access, socioeconomic status, and medical literacy—can completely attenuate higher prostate cancer-specific mortality risks among Black men previously attributed to biological differences. Currently, our collaborative research integrates racial, molecular, metabolic, and geographic factors to redefine risk of progression. Our goal is to identify new clinical and social determinants of health data to develop a comprehensive risk signature. This signature will guide personalized care pathways, integrating clinical treatment with patient navigation to improve coordination and outcomes.

Member
Boston University
BU-BMC Cancer Center


Member
Boston University
Evans Center for Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research


Graduate Faculty (Primary Mentor of Grad Students)
Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine, Graduate Medical Sciences





The telomere biomarker as a tool to inform decision-making for aggressive salvage therapy in men with rising PSA post prostatectomy
08/22/2023 - 07/31/2026 (PI)
Johns Hopkins University National Cancer Inst

The telomere biomarker as a tool to inform decision-making for aggressive salvage therapy in men with rising PSA post prostatectomy
08/22/2023 - 07/31/2026 (PI)
Johns Hopkins University

Defining genetic vulnerabilities in pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors that rely on the alternative lengthening of telomeres pathway
08/01/2023 - 07/31/2026 (PI)
Department of the Army

Delineating the myeloid-centric immunosuppressive crosstalk as targets for prognosis and therapy in neuroendocrine tumors
01/01/2024 - 12/31/2025 (PI)
National Cancer Institute/NIH/DHHS
1R21CA286402-01

Spatial transcriptomic profiling of the PanNET tumor microenvironment
01/03/2023 - 01/02/2025 (PI)
Neuroendocrine Tumor Research Foundation

Stromal senescence in lethal prostate cancer: a novel target for prognosis and therapy
01/01/2021 - 12/31/2024 (PI)
Johns Hopkins University National Cancer Inst
5R01CA255349-03

Highly resolved spatial mapping of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors for intra- and inter-tumor variability
09/01/2023 - 08/31/2024 (PI)
Department of Defense


Title


Yr Title Project-Sub Proj Pubs

Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.

iCite Analysis       Copy PMIDs To Clipboard

  1. Graham MK, Xu B, Davis C, Meeker AK, Heaphy CM, Yegnasubramanian S, Dyer MA, Zeineldin M. The TERT Promoter is Polycomb-Repressed in Neuroblastoma Cells with Long Telomeres. Cancer Res Commun. 2024 Jun 20; 4(6):1533-1547. PMID: 38837897; PMCID: PMC11188873; DOI: 10.1158/2767-9764.CRC-22-0287;
     
  2. Mori JO, Platz EA, Lu J, Brame A, Han M, Joshu CE, De Marzo AM, Meeker AK, Heaphy CM. Longer prostate stromal cell telomere length is associated with increased risk of death from other cancers. Front Med (Lausanne). 2024; 11:1390769. PMID: 38895181; PMCID: PMC11184561; DOI: 10.3389/fmed.2024.1390769;
     
  3. Pinto LM, Pailas A, Bondarchenko M, Sharma AB, Neumann K, Rizzo AJ, Jeanty C, Nicot N, Racca C, Graham MK, Naughton C, Liu Y, Chen CL, Meakin PJ, Gilbert N, Britton S, Meeker AK, Heaphy CM, Larminat F, Van Dyck E. DAXX promotes centromeric stability independently of ATRX by preventing the accumulation of R-loop-induced DNA double-stranded breaks. Nucleic Acids Res. 2024 Feb 09; 52(3):1136-1155. PMID: 38038252; PMCID: PMC10853780; DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkad1141;
     
  4. Mori JO, Keegan J, Flynn RL, Heaphy CM. Alternative lengthening of telomeres: mechanism and the pathogenesis of cancer. J Clin Pathol. 2024 Jan 18; 77(2):82-86.View Related Profiles. PMID: 37890990
     
  5. Mori JO, Elhussin I, Brennen WN, Graham MK, Lotan TL, Yates CC, De Marzo AM, Denmeade SR, Yegnasubramanian S, Nelson WG, Denis GV, Platz EA, Meeker AK, Heaphy CM. Prognostic and therapeutic potential of senescent stromal fibroblasts in prostate cancer. Nat Rev Urol. 2024 May; 21(5):258-273.View Related Profiles. PMID: 37907729; PMCID: PMC11058122; DOI: 10.1038/s41585-023-00827-x;
     
  6. Ertunc O, Smearman E, Zheng Q, Hicks JL, Brosnan-Cashman JA, Jones T, Gomes-Alexandre C, Trabzonlu L, Meeker AK, De Marzo AM, Heaphy CM. Chromogenic detection of telomere lengths in situ aids the identification of precancerous lesions in the prostate. Prostate. 2024 Feb; 84(2):148-157. PMID: 37849074; PMCID: PMC10843147; DOI: 10.1002/pros.24633;
     
  7. Neyaz A, Crotty R, Rickelt S, Pankaj A, Stojanova M, Michelakos TP, Sekigami Y, Kontos F, Parrack PH, Patil DT, Heaphy CM, Ferrone CR, Deshpande V. Predicting recurrence in pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours: role of ARX and alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT). Histopathology. 2023 Oct; 83(4):546-558. PMID: 37455385
     
  8. Ertunc O, Smearman E, Zheng Q, Hicks JL, Brosnan-Cashman JA, Jones T, Gomes-Alexandre C, Trabzonlu L, Meeker AK, De Marzo AM, Heaphy CM. Chromogenic detection of telomere lengths in situ aids the identification of precancerous lesions in the prostate. bioRxiv. 2023 Apr 06. PMID: 37066381; PMCID: PMC10104079; DOI: 10.1101/2023.04.04.535575;
     
  9. Heaphy CM, Singhi AD. Reprint of: The Diagnostic and Prognostic Utility of Incorporating DAXX, ATRX, and Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres (ALT) to the Evaluation of Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors (PanNETs). Hum Pathol. 2023 Feb; 132:1-11. PMID: 36702689; PMCID: PMC10259096; DOI: 10.1016/j.humpath.2023.01.004;
     
  10. Jafari N, Chen A, Kolla M, Pompa IR, Qiu Y, Yu R, Llevenes P, Ennis CS, Mori J, Mahdaviani K, Halpin M, Gignac GA, Heaphy CM, Monti S, Denis GV. Novel plasma exosome biomarkers for prostate cancer progression in co-morbid metabolic disease. Adv Cancer Biol Metastasis. 2022 Dec; 6.View Related Profiles. PMID: 36644690; PMCID: PMC9836031; DOI: 10.1016/j.adcanc.2022.100073;
     
Showing 10 of 110 results. Show More

This graph shows the total number of publications by year, by first, middle/unknown, or last author.

Bar chart showing 110 publications over 21 distinct years, with a maximum of 11 publications in 2020

YearPublications
20021
20051
20065
20073
20081
20095
20103
20116
20125
20136
20141
20157
20167
20173
201810
201910
202011
20217
20229
20235
20244

2023 North American Neuroendocrine Tumor Society: Nominating Committee Member
2023 Neuroendocrine Tumor Research Foundation: Pilot Grant Awardee
2022 Frontiers in Oncology: Review Editor for Genitourinary Oncology
2022 North American Neuroendocrine Tumor Society (NANETS): Chair of the Scientific Review & Research Committee
2022 Endocrine-Related Cancer: Editorial Board Member
2021 Shipley Prostate Cancer Research Center at BU: Executive Advisory Committee Member
2021 North American Neuroendocrine Tumor Society (NANETS): Co-Chair of the Scientific Review & Research Committee
2021 Boston University: CTSI Pilot Grant Awardee
2021 Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine: Adjunct Assistant Professor in Oncology Center
2020 BU-BMC Cancer Center: American Cancer Society BU-BMC Cancer Center Pilot and Feasibility Program Awardee
2020 Boston University School of Medicine: Shipley Prostate Cancer Pilot Grant Awardee
2019 95th Annual American Association of Neuropathologists Meeting: Moore Award for the Best Clinico-Pathologic Paper in Neuropathology
2016 North American Neuroendocrine Tumor Society: Basic/Translational Science Investigator Award
2014 Patrick C. Walsh Prostate Cancer Research Fund: Dr. and Mrs. Peter S. Bing Scholar Award
2014 Prostate Cancer Foundation: Young Investigator Award
2013 Johns Hopkins Department of Pathology Young Investigator’s Day: Award for Excellence in Translational Research
2012 Johns Hopkins Fellow Research Day: 1st Place for Basic Research
2011 Johns Hopkins Department of Pathology Young Investigator’s Day: Award for Excellence in Translational Research
2011 United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology: Stowell-Orbison Award
2007 American Urological Association Annual Meeting Travel Award
2004 American Association of Cancer Research Travel Award
2002 National Cancer Institute: Cancer Research Training Fellowship; Laboratory of Cellular Carcinogenesis and Tumor Promotion
In addition to these self-described keywords below, a list of MeSH based concepts is available here.

Telomeres
Alternative lengthening of telomeres
Cancer
Tissue-based biomarkers

Available to Mentor as: (Review Mentor Role Definitions):
  • Advisor
  • Co-Mentor or Peer Mentor
  • Project Mentor
  • Research / Scholarly Mentor
Contact for Mentoring:
  • Email (see 'Contact Info')
  • Phone (see 'Contact Info')

650 Albany St
Boston MA 02118
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