Anna Obenauf

Anna Obenauf

Curriculum Vitae Anna Obenauf

Personal Information

Name: Anna Christina Obenauf
Contact: Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP), Campus-Vienna-Biocenter 1, 1030 Vienna, Austria,
Researcher ID:,

Research Interest

How tumors become resistant to cancer therapies and how cancer cells evade the recognition and eradication by the immune system remain among the most enigmatic questions in cancer biology. My lab aims to better understand these questions by combining novel technologies such as lineage tracing and large-scale CRISPR/Cas9 screening approaches, computational approaches to mine large datasets and new assays to interrogate the transcriptional control of metastatic programs with experience in functional metastasis mouse models. To inform our hypotheses and cross-validate results emerging from our experiments we foster strong clinical collaborations. Our ultimate goal is to inform rational therapeutic combinations that result in durable responses. Moreover, I am convinced that by understanding the processes that are de-regulated in cancer, we can gain important insights into normal physiology.

Professional Career

Since 2016 Group Leader (PI), Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP), Vienna Biocenter (VBC), Vienna, Austria
2010 – 2015 Postdoctoral Research Associate, Laboratory of Joan Massagué, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), New York, USA

Higher Education

2007 – 2010 PhD thesis, Department of Human Genetics, Medical University of Graz, Austria, Supervisor: Michael Speicher, MD
2006 – 2007 Master thesis, Department of Human Genetics, Medical University of Graz, Austria, Supervisor: Michael Speicher, MD
2002 – 2007 Studies of Biology, University of Graz, Austria

Honors, Awards, and Active Grants (selected)

2018 – 2022     ERC Starting Grant, Rational combination therapies for metastatic cancer “CombaTCancer”, (Project #: 759590) PI
2017 – 2021    Vienna Science and Technology fund (WWTF), Deciphering the genomic aberrations in rare skin cancers to find mechanism-based treatment strategies, PI and Project Leader
2015 ASCINA award (Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF), Young Scientist category)
2010 – 2012 Erwin-Schroedinger postdoctoral fellowship, FWF, Austrian science fund
2010 Award of Excellence, Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research

Scientific Outreach and Professional Activities (selected)

Since 2018 Organizer of a workshop for students and postdocs „Frontiers in Metastasis Biology“ held annually in Basel, Cambridge, or Vienna
Since 2009 >50 invited talks at conferences and institutes
Since 2009 Ad-hoc reviewer for Nature, Science, Cancer Cell, Nature Medicine, Nature Cell Biology, Cell Reports, Nature Communications, and others
2015 Co-Chair of the NCI Tumor Microenvironment Network Meeting for Junior Investigators, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, USA
2014 Co-Chair of the NCI Tumor Microenvironment Network Meeting for Junior Investigators NIH, Bethesda, USA


10 selected publications (chronologically)


Muhar M, Ebert A, Neumann T, Umkehrer C, Jude J, Wieshofer C, Rescheneder P, Lipp JJ, Herzog VA, Reichholf B, Cisneros DA, Hoffmann T, Schlapansky MF, Bhat P, von Haeseler A, Köcher T, Obenauf AC, Popow J, Ameres SL, Zuber J. SLAM-seq defines direct gene-regulatory functions of the BRD4-MYC axis. Science. 2018 May 18;360(6390):800-805.

Mlecnik B, Bindea G, Angell HK, Maby P, Angelova M, Tougeron D, Church SE, Lafontaine L, Fischer M, Fredriksen T, Sasso M, Bilocq AM, Kirilovsky A, Obenauf AC, Hamieh M, Berger A, Bruneval P, Tuech JJ, Sabourin JC, Le Pessot F, Mauillon J, Rafii A, Laurent-Puig P, Speicher MR, Trajanoski Z, Michel P, Sesboüe R, Frebourg T, Pagès F, Valge-Archer V, Latouche JB, Galon J. Integrative Analyses of Colorectal Cancer Show Immunoscore Is a Stronger Predictor of Patient Survival Than Microsatellite Instability. Immunity. 2016 Mar15;44(3):698-711


Mlecnik B, Bindea G, Kirilovsky A, Angell HK, Obenauf AC, Tosolini M, Church SE, Maby P, Vasaturo A, Angelova M, Fredriksen T, Mauger S, Waldner M, Berger A, Speicher MR, Pagès F, Valge-Archer V, Galon J. The tumor microenvironment and Immunoscore are critical determinants of dissemination to distant metastasis. Sci Transl Med. 2016 Feb 24;8(327):327ra26.


Massague J, Obenauf AC. Metastatic colonization by circulating tumor cells. Nature. 2016 Jan 21;529:298–306


Obenauf AC, Massague J. Surviving at a distance: Organ specific metastasis. Trends in Cancer. 2015 Sep 1;1(1):76-91.


Wiesner T, Lee W, Obenauf AC, Ran L, Cao Z, Murali R, Sboner A, Landa-Lopez I, Button J, Shukla S, Gao D, Shah R, Scott SN, Wang L, Merghoub T, Ladanyi M, Schwartz G, Fagin JA, Busam KJ, Berger MF, Chen Y, Chi P. A novel ALK isoform arises through de novo alternative transcriptional initiation and drives oncogenesis. 2015 Oct 15;526(7573):453-7.


Jacob L, Vanharanta S, Obenauf AC, Pirun M, Massagué J. Exome sequencing reveals selection for oncogenic mutations in functionally metastatic cancer cell populations. Cancer Research. 2015 Sep 15;75(18):3713-9.


Obenauf AC, Ji AL, Zou YZ, Vanharanta S, Shu W, Shi H, Kong X, Bosenberg MC, Wiesner T, Rosen N, Lo RS, Massague J. Therapy induced tumor secretomes promote resistance and cancer progression. 2015 Apr 16;520(7547):368-72.


Valiente M, Obenauf AC, Jin X, Chen Q, Zhang XH, Lee DJ, Chaft JE, Kris MG, Huse JT, Brogi E, Massagué J. Serpins promote cancer cell survival and vascular co-option in brain metastasis. Cell. 2014 Feb 27;156(5):1002-16.


Wiesner T, Obenauf AC, Murali R, Fried I, Griewank KG, Ulz P, Windpassinger C, Wackernagel W, Loy S, Wolf I, Viale A, Lash AE, Pirun M, Socci ND, Ruetten A,Palmedo G, Abramson D, Offit K, Ott A, Becker JC, Cerroni L, Kutzner H, Bastian BC, Speicher MR. Germline mutations in BAP1 predispose to melanocytic tumors. Nat Genet. 2011 Aug 28;43(10):1018-21.