Amy Skubitz, PhD

Professor, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology

Amy Skubitz

Contact Info

Office Phone 612-625-5920

Fax 612-625-1121

Lab Phone 612-625-4942

Office Address:
MMC 395 Mayo
420 Delaware
Minneapolis, MN 55455

University of Minnesota (Laboratory Medicine and Pathology)

PhD, Johns Hopkins University (Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics)

BS, University of Maryland (Biochemistry)


Amy Skubitz, PhD, graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in the field of Biochemistry. She received a Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. She did her post-doctoral training at the University of Minnesota in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology where her research was focused on cellular proteins that promote the adhesion, migration, invasion, and metastasis of cancer cells. Currently, Dr. Skubitz is a Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Women’s Health. Dr. Skubitz established the University of Minnesota Tissue Procurement Facility over two decades ago to facilitate the transfer of waste tissue from the operating room to researchers in order to expedite discoveries for the diagnosis, treatment, and cure of human diseases.

Awards & Recognition

  • University Innovations Award, Office of Technology Commercialization, University of MN, 2017
  • University Innovations Award, Office of Technology Commercialization, University of MN, 2011
  • International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories’ 2011 Special Service Award, 2011
  • Inventor Recognition Award, Office of Technology Commercialization, University of MN, 2008
  • 5th Annual Women’s Health Research Conference Award from the University of Minnesota Deborah E. Powell Center for Women’s Health, 2008
  • International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories’ 2008 Special Service Award, 2008
  • Inventor Recognition Award, Office of Patents and Technology Marketing, University of MN, 2005
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship Award, American Cancer Society, 1986 - 1988
  • National Research Service Award, National Institutes of Health, 1986
  • Noxell Foundation Scholarship, University of Maryland, 1979 - 1980
  • Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Scholarship , University of Maryland, 1979
  • Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society, University of Maryland, 1979
  • Phi Sigma Phi National Honor Society, University of Maryland, 1979
  • General Honors Program, University of Maryland, 1976 - 1980
  • Dean's List Scholar, University of Maryland, 1976 - 1980
  • Bowie Woman's Club Scholarship , University of Maryland, 1976 - 1977


Research Summary/Interests

Dr. Skubitz is Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women's Health, and Director of the Ovarian Cancer Early Detection Program. Her studies of cell adhesion molecules and receptors laid the foundation for her current research into how ovarian cancer cells adhere to the extracellular matrix, to each other, and to cells that line the peritoneal cavity, which contains the ovaries. In ovarian cancer, tumor cells are shed from the surface of the ovaries into the surrounding peritoneal fluid (ascites) and form multi-cellular aggregates or spheroids. 

Ovarian cancer is marked by localized cell adhesion and invasion, typically involving neighboring organs in the peritoneal cavity. Skubitz and her colleagues have studied proteins known to be involved in cell adhesion, including laminin, fibronectin, type IV collagen, and integrins and also the carbohydrate hyaluronan and its receptor CD44. They employed gene expression microarray technology to analyze more than a thousand different tumor and normal tissues in a search for biomarkers for ovarian cancer. They identified Nectin-4, a cell-cell adhesion molecule that can be shed from the ovarian cancer cell surface and enter the bloodstream, suggesting that Nectin-4 could potentially serve as both a tissue and serum marker for ovarian cancer. Ongoing studies are focused on elucidating the biological role of Nectin-4 in ovarian cancer progression.

In related research, Skubitz is analyzing fluid samples from human Pap tests for evidence of ovarian cancer. Her hypothesis is that proteins or peptides can be shed from the ovarian tumor, pass through the fallopian tubes and enter the cervix, where they could potentially be detectable in fluid collected in a standard Pap test. Mass spectrometry is being used to identify and quantify ovarian cancer specific protein markers.


PubMed publications

Selected publications since 2004

  • Boylan KLM, Afiuni-Zahdeh S, Geller MA, Argenta PA, Griffin TJ, and Skubitz APN. Evaluation of the potential of Pap test fluid and cervical swabs to serve as clinical diagnostic biospecimens for the detection of ovarian cancer by mass spectrometry-based proteomics. Clinical Proteomics (2021) 18:4.
  • Boylan, K.L.M, Manion, R.D., Shah, H., Skubitz, K.M., and Skubitz, A.P.N.(2020) Inhibition of ovarian cancer cell spheroid formation by synthetic peptides derived from Nectin-4. International Journal of Molecular Sciences21:4637.
  • Skubitz, K.M., Wilson, J.D., Cheng, E.Y., Lindgren, B.R., Boylan, K.L.M., and Skubitz, A.P.N. (2019) Effect of chemotherapy on cancer stem cells and tumor-associated macrophages in a prospective study of preoperative chemotherapy in soft tissue sarcoma. Journal of Translational Medicine17(1):130.
  • Uppendahl, L.D., Felices, M.D., Bendzick, L., Ryan, C., Kodal, B., Hinderlie, P., Boylan, K.L.M., Skubitz, A.P.N., Miller, J.S., Geller, M.A. (2019) Cytokine-induced memory-like natural killer cells have enhanced function, proliferation, and in vivo expansion against ovarian cancer cells. Gynecologic Oncology 2019; 153: 149–157.
  • Skubitz, A.P.N., Boylan, K.LM., Geschwind, K., Cao, Q., Starr, T.K., Geller, M.A., Celestino, J., Bast Jr., R.C., Lu, K.H., and Koopmeiners, J.S. Simultaneous measurement of 92 serum protein biomarkers for the development of a multi-protein classifier for ovarian cancer detection. Cancer Prevention Research 2019; 12(3).
  • Klein, T., Wang, W., Yu, L., Wu, K., Boylan, K.L.M., Isaksson Vogel, R., Skubitz, A.P.N., and Wang, J-P. Development of a multiplexed giant magnetoresistive biosensor array prototype to quantify ovarian cancer biomarkers. Biosensors and Bioelectronics; 2018, 126:301-307. * Skubitz and J-P Wang are joint senior authors on this manuscript.
  • Afiuni-Zadeh, S., Boylan, K.L.M., Jagtap, P.D., Griffin, T.J., Rudney, J.D., Peterson, M.L., and Skubitz, A.P.N. (2018)  Evaluating the potential of residual Pap test fluid as a resource for the metaproteomic analysis of the cervical-vaginal microbiome. Scientific Reports.8:10868. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-29092-4. 
  • Boylan KLM, Geschwind K, Koopmeiners JS, Geller MA, Starr T., and Skubitz APN. A multiplex platform for the identification of ovarian cancer biomarkers. Clinical Proteomics (2017) 14:34.
  • Buchanan, P.C., Boylan, K.L.M., Walcheck, B., Heinze, R., Geller, M.A., Argenta, P.A., and Skubitz, A.P.N. (2017) Ectodomain shedding of the cell adhesion molecule Nectin-4 in ovarian cancer is mediated by ADAM10 and ADAM17. Journal of Biological Chemistry 292(15):6339-6351.
  • Felices M, Chu S, Kodal B, Bendzick L, Ryan C, Lenvik AJ, Boylan KL, Wong HC, Skubitz AP, Miller JS, Geller MA. IL-15 super-agonist (ALT-803) enhances natural killer (NK) cell function against ovarian cancer. Gynecol Oncol. 2017 Jun;145 (3):453-461. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2017.02.028. Epub 2017 Feb 22.
  • Boylan, K.L.M., Buchanan, P.C., Manion, R. D., Shukla, D.M., Braumberger, K., Bruggemeyer, C., and Skubitz, A.P.N. (2017) The expression of Nectin-4 on the surface of ovarian cancer cells alters their ability to adhere, migrate, aggregate, and proliferation. Oncotarget 8(6):9717-9738.
  • Hubel, A., Spindler, R., Skubitz, A.P.N. (2014) Storage of biospecimens: Selection of the optimal storage temperature. Biopreservation and Biobanking 12(3):1-11. PMID: 24918763
  • Boylan, K.L.M., Afiuni-Zadeh, S., Geller, M.A., Hickey, K., Griffin, T.J., Pambuccian, S.E., and Skubitz, A.P.N. (2014) A feasibility study to identify proteins in the residual Pap test fluid of women with normal cytology by mass spectrometry-based proteomics. Clinical Proteomics 11:30.
  • Skubitz, A.P.N., Taras, E. P., Boylan, K.L.M., Waldron, N.N., Oh, S. Panoskaltsis-Mortari, A.,and Vallera, D.A. (2013) Targeting CD133 in an in vivo ovarian cancer model reduces ovarian cancer progression. Gynecologic Oncology 130:579–587.
  • Less, R., Boylan, K.L.M., Skubitz, A.P.N., and Aksan, A. (2013) Isothermal vitrification methodology development for non-cryogenic storage of archival human sera. Cryobiology 66:176-185.
  • Betsou, F., Gunter, E., Clements, J., De Souza, Y., Goddard, K.A.B., Guadagni, F., Yan, W., Skubitz, A., Somiari, S., Yeadon, T., and Chuaqui, R. (2013) Identification of evidence-based biospecimen quality-control tools. A report of the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER) Biospecimen Science Working Group. The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics 15: 3-16.
  • Mathay, C., Yan, W., Chuaqui, R., Skubitz, A., Jeon, J., Fall, N., Betsou, F., and Barnes, M. (2012) Short-term stability study of RNA at room temperature. Biopreservation and Biobanking 10(6):532-542.
  • Unhale, S.A., Skubitz, A.P.N., Solomon, R., and Hubel, A. (2012) Stabilization of tissue specimens for pathological examination and biomedical research. Biopreservation and Biobanking 10(6):493-500.
  • Sueblinvong, T., Ghebre, R., Iizuka, Y., Pambuccian, S.E., Isaksson Vogel, R., Skubitz, A.P.N., and Bazzaro, M. (2012) Establishment, characterization and downstream application of primary ovarian cancer cells derived from solid tumors. PLoS ONE 7(11): 1-9 (e50519).
  • Lehmann, S., Guadagni, F., Moore, H., Ashton, G., Barnes, M., Benson, E., Clements, J., Koppandi, I., Coppola, D., Demiroglu, S.Y., DeSouza, Y., De Wilde, A., Duker, J., Eliason, J., Glazer, B., Harding, K., Jeon, J.P., Kessler, J., Kokkat, T., Nanni, U., Shea, K., Skubitz, A., Somiari, S., Tybring, G., Gunter, E., and Betsou, F. (2012) [International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER) Working Group on Biospecimen Science] Standard preanalytical coding for biospecimens: Review and implementation of the Sample PREanalytical Code (SPREC). Biopreservation and Biobanking 10(4):366-374
  • Rizzardi, A.E., Johnson, A.T., Isaksson Vogel, R., Pambuccian, S.E., Henriksen J., Skubitz, A.P.N., Metzger, G.J., and Schmechel, S.C. (2012) Quantitative comparison of immunohistochemical staining measured by digital image analysis versus pathologist visual scoring.
  • Campbell, L.D. (Editor-in-Chief), Betsou, F., Garcia, D.L., Giri, J.G., Pitt, K.E., Pugh, R.S., Sexton, K.C., Skubitz, A.P.N., and Somiari, S.B. (Associate Editors) (2012) 2012 Best practices for repositories: Collection, storage, retrieval and distribution of biological materials for research. Third edition. Biopreservation and Biobanking 10(2): 79-161.
  • Skubitz, K.M., Francis P., Skubitz, A.P.N., Luo, X., and Nibert, M. (2012) Gene expression identifies heterogeneity of metastatic propensity in high-grade soft tissue sarcomas. 
  • Betsou F, Lehmann S, Ashton G, Barnes M, Benson EE, Coppola D, DeSouza Y, Eliason J, Glazer B, Guadagni F, Harding K, Horsfall DJ, Kleeberger C, Nanni U, Prasad A, Shea K, Skubitz A, Somiari S, Gunter E. [Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers Prevention 2010 Apr;19(4):1004-11.
  • Boylan, K.L.M., Andersen, J.D., Anderson, L.B., Higgins, L., and Skubitz, A.P.N. Quantitative proteomic analysis by iTRAQ® for the identification of candidate biomarkers in ovarian cancer serum. Proteome Science 2010 8:31-39.
  • Skubitz, K.M., and Skubitz, A.P.N. (2010) Two new synthetic peptides from the N-domain of CEACAM1 (CD66a) stimulate neutrophil adhesion to endothelial cells. Biopolymers: Peptide Science 96(1):25-31.
  • Nikas, J.B., Boylan, K.L.M., Skubitz, A.P.N., and Low, W.C. (2011) Mathematical prognostic biomarker models for treatment response and survival in epithelial ovarian cancer. Cancer Informatics 10: 233–247.
  • Hubel, A., Aksan, A., Skubitz, A.P.N., Wendt, C., and Zhong, X. (2011) State of the art in preservation of fluid biospecimens. Biopreservation and Biobanking 9:237-244.
  • Boylan, K.L.M., Misemer, B., DeRycke, M.S., Andersen, J.D., Harrington, K.M., Kalloger, S.E., Gilks, C.B., Pambuccian, S.E., and Skubitz, A.P.N. (2011) Claudin 4 is differentially expressed between ovarian cancer subtypes and plays a role in spheroid formation. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 12:1334-1358.
  • Andersen, J.D., Boylan, K.L.M., Jemmerson, R., Geller, M.A., Misemer, B., Harrington, K.M., Weivoda, S., Witthuhn, B.A., Argenta, P., Vogel, R.I., and Skubitz, A.P.N. Leucine-rich alpha-2-glycoprotein-1 is upregulated in sera and tumors of ovarian cancer patients. Journal of Ovarian Research 2010 3:21-34.
  • DeRycke, M.S., Pambuccian, S.E., Gilks, C.B., Kalloger, S.E., Ghidouche, A., Lopez, M., Bliss, R.L., Geller, M.A., Argenta, P.A., Harrington, K.M., Skubitz, A.P.N. (2010) Nectin 4 overexpression in ovarian cancer tissues and serum: Potential role as a serum biomarker. American Journal of Clinical Pathology 134:835-845.
  • Andersen JD, Boylan KL, Xue FS, Anderson LB, Witthuhn BA, Markowski TW, Higgins L, Skubitz AP. Identification of candidate biomarkers in ovarian cancer serum by depletion of highly abundant proteins and differential in-gel electrophoresis. Electrophoresis. 2010 Jan;31(4):599-610.
  • DeRycke MS, Andersen JD, Harrington KM, Pambuccian SE, Kalloger SE, Boylan KL, Argenta PA,Skubitz AP. S100A1 expression in ovarian and endometrial endometrioid carcinomas is a prognostic indicator of relapse-free survival. Am J Clin Pathol. 2009 Dec;132(6):846-56.
  • Betsou, F., Barnes, R., Burke, T., Coppola, D., DeSouza, Y., Eliason, J., Glazer, B., Horsfall, D., Kleeberger, C., Lehmann, S., Prasad, A., Skubitz, A., Somiari, S., Gunter E. Human biospecimen research: Experimental protocol and quality control tools [Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers Prevention 18:1017-1025.
  • Pitt, K.E. (Editor-in-Chief), Campbell, L.D., Skubitz, A.P.N., Somiari, S.B., Sexton, K.C., and Pugh, R.S. (Associate Editors) 2008 Best practices for repositories: Collection, storage, retrieval, and distribution of biological materials for research. Cell Preservation Technology 6(1):3-58.
  • Skubitz KM, Skubitz AP. Interdependency of CEACAM-1, -3, -6, and -8 induced human neutrophil adhesion to endothelial cells. J Transl Med. 2008 Dec 10;6:78.
  • Skubitz KM, Pambuccian S, Manivel JC, Skubitz AP. Identification of heterogeneity among soft tissue sarcomas by gene expression profiles from different tumors. J Transl Med. 2008 May 6;6:23.
  • Tchagang AB, Tewfik AH, DeRycke MS, Skubitz KM, Skubitz APN. Early detection of ovarian cancer using group biomarkers. Mol Cancer Ther. 2008;7:27-37.
  • Burleson KM, Boente MP, Pambuccian SE, Skubitz APN. Disaggregation and invasion of ovarian carcinoma ascites spheroids. J Transl Med. 2006;4:6.
  • Skubitz KM, Zimmerman W, Kammerer R, Pambuccian S, Skubitz APN. Differential gene expression identifies subgroups of renal cell carcinoma. J Lab Clin Med. 2006;147:250-267.
  • Skubitz APN, Pambuccian SE, Argenta PA, Skubitz KM. Differential gene expression identifies subgroups of ovarian carcinoma. Transl Res. 2006;148:223-248.
  • Iida J, Skubitz APN, McCarthy JB, Skubitz KM. Protein kinase activity is associated with CD63 in melanoma cells. J Transl Med. 2005;3:42-50.
  • Skubitz, K.M., Cheng, E.Y., Clohisy, D.R., Thompson, R.C., and Skubitz, A. (2005) Differential gene expression in liposarcoma, lipoma, and adipose tissue. Cancer Invest. 23:105-118.
  • Hibbs K, Skubitz KM, Pambuccian S, Casey RC, Burleson KM, Oegema TR Jr, Thiele JJ, Grindle SM, Bliss R, Skubitz APN. Differential gene expression in ovarian carcinoma: Identification of potential biomarkers. Am J Path. 2004;165:397-414.
  • Skubitz, K.M. and Skubitz, A.P.N. (2004) Gene expression in aggressive fibromatosis. J. Lab. Clin. Med. 143:89-98.
  • Burleson, K.M., Casey, R.C., Skubitz, K.M., Pambuccian, S.E., Oegema, T.R., and Skubitz, A.P.N. (2004) Ovarian carcinoma ascites spheroids adhere to extracellular matrix components and mesothelial cell monolayers. Gynecologic Oncology 93:170-181.
  • Skubitz, K.M., and Skubitz, A.P.N. (2004) Characterization of sarcomas by means of gene expression. J. Lab. Clin. Med. 144:78-91.
  • Skubitz KM, Cheng EY, Clohisy DR, Thompson RC, Skubitz A.P.N. Gene expression in giant-cell tumors. J. Lab Clin Med. 2004.144:193-200.
  • Hibbs, K., Skubitz, K.M, Pambuccian, S.E., Casey, R.C., Burleson, K.M, Oegema, T.R., Thiele, J.J., Grindle, S.M., Bliss, R.L., and Skubitz, A.P.N. (2004) Differential gene expression in ovarian carcinoma: Identification of potential biomarkers. Amer. J. Pathol. 165(2):397-414.
  • Skubitz, K.M. and Skubitz, A.P.N. (2004) Role of gene expression arrays in sarcomas. Current Oncology Reports 6:309-314.
  • Skubitz, K.M., Cheng, E.Y., Clohisy, D.R., Thompson, R.C., and Skubitz, A.P.N. (2004) Gene expression in giant-cell tumors. J. Lab. Clin. Med. 144:193-200.
  • Burleson, K.M., Hansen, L.K., Skubitz, A.P.N. (2004) Ovarian carcinoma spheroids disaggregate on type I collagen and invade live human mesothelial cell monolayers. Clin. & Exper. Metast. 21:685-697.


Academic Interests and Focus

Dr. Skubitz is Director of the Ovarian Cancer Early Detection Program