Christopher Heaphy, PhD
Assistant Professor
Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of 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 cancer biologist. Using a combination of tissue-based, cell-based, and molecular approaches, his lab conducts basic and translational research studies focused on elucidating the role of telomere alterations in the initiation and progression of human diseases, particularly cancer (e.g. prostate cancer, pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, breast cancer, sarcomas, gliomas). The long-term goal of his lab is focused on how detection of molecular alterations in the tumor or tumor microenvironment may be readily translated into the clinic to accurately predict cancer risk, prognosis, and potential response to targeted therapies.

Dr. Heaphy received his Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico School of Medicine and did his postdoctoral training at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is currently affiliated with Boston Medical Center and is a member of the Boston University-Boston Medical Center (BU-BMC) Cancer Center.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility

Coming from both Hispanic and Irish backgrounds, and now the husband of a Vietnamese immigrant, I continually strive to promote inclusion and equality for all. In particular, I am deeply committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in academia and medicine. For example, in 2021, I served as an ally to help advocate for gender equity in medicine via the Women in NETs (WIN) initiative through the North American Neuroendocrine Tumor Society (NANETS), a society in which a serve as the Chair of the Scientific Review & Research Committee. In addition, in the summers of 2020 and 2022, I served as a faculty mentor to multiple undergraduate students in the Boston University STaRS program, which is an NIH-funded program to promote more equitable access to graduate and medical education for students historically underrepresented in science and medicine.

My research to address racial disparities in cancer outcomes is well represented in the overall mission of Boston Medical Center - “Exceptional care without exception”. For example, racial disparities in prostate cancer incidence and outcomes are well documented. Prostate cancer screening, access to care, and treatment plans are each associated with significant race-based inequities. Although biological differences have been posited to account for higher incidence rates and worse prostate cancer outcomes for Black men, recent studies have shown that, when models are adjusted for social determinants of health (e.g. education, neighborhood, healthcare access, socioeconomic status, and medical literacy), the higher prostate cancer-specific mortality risk is completely attenuated. Thus, in a collaborative research project, we are currently integrating a range of factors (racial, molecular, metabolic, and geographic) to reconsider risk of progression. We plan to determine what new clinical and social determinants of health data are needed to develop and refine a comprehensive “risk signature” that will more accurately inform the best pathway to care for an individual patient. We envision this pathway will include both clinical care and patient navigation and establish better coordination between these two activities.

Boston University
BU-BMC Cancer Center

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

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

Pre notification The telomere biomarker as a tool to inform decision-making for aggressive salvage therapy in men with rising PSA post prostatectomy
08/01/2023 - 07/31/2026 (PI)
Johns Hopkins University National Cancer Inst

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

Spatial transcriptomic profiling of the PanNET tumor microenvironment
01/03/2023 - 01/02/2024 (PI)
Neuroendocrine Tumor Research Foundation

Stromal senescence in lethal prostate cancer: a novel target for prognosis and therapy
01/01/2021 - 12/31/2023 (PI)
Johns Hopkins University National Cancer Inst


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. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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. 2023 Oct 31.View Related Profiles. PMID: 37907729
  4. 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;
  5. 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
  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. bioRxiv. 2023 Apr 06. PMID: 37066381; PMCID: PMC10104079; DOI: 10.1101/2023.04.04.535575;
  7. 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;
  8. 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;
  9. Low JY, Ko M, Hanratty B, Patel RA, Bhamidipati A, Heaphy CM, Sayar E, Lee JK, Li S, De Marzo AM, Nelson WG, Gupta A, Yegnasubramanian S, Ha G, Epstein JI, Haffner MC. Genomic Characterization of Prostatic Basal Cell Carcinoma. Am J Pathol. 2023 Jan; 193(1):4-10. PMID: 36309102; PMCID: PMC9768679; DOI: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2022.09.010;
  10. Hackeng WM, Assi HA, Westerbeke FHM, Brosens LAA, Heaphy CM. Prognostic and Predictive Biomarkers for Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors. Surg Pathol Clin. 2022 Sep; 15(3):541-554.View Related Profiles. PMID: 36049835; DOI: 10.1016/j.path.2022.05.007;
Showing 10 of 108 results. Show More

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

Bar chart showing 108 publications over 21 distinct years, with a maximum of 11 publications in 2020


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.

Alternative lengthening of telomeres
Tissue-based biomarkers

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650 Albany St
Boston MA 02118
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