Oncology Division
Alphabetical list (active faculty):   
Jessica M. Silva-Fisher

Jessica M. Silva-Fisher, PhD

Assistant Professor

Department of Medicine

Oncology Division

Stem Cell Biology

Research Interests

  • Long non-coding RNAs
  • RNA biology
  • Epitranscriptomics
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Breast cancer
  • Colon cancer


  • 314-273-4216 (office)
  • 314-273-4364 (fax)
  • Division of Oncology
    Mail Stop 8069-0021-09
    Washington University
    660 South Euclid Avenue
    St. Louis, MO 63110
  • Room 9940A, Wohl Clinic Building
    4950 Children’s Place, St. Louis, MO (office)
  • Room 9940, Wohl Clinic Building
    4950 Children’s Place, St. Louis, MO (lab)


RNA biology, genomics, epigenetics, and molecular biology are the amazing areas of research Dr. Silva-Fisher uses to study how non-coding RNAs promote aggressive forms of cancer. Her multi-disciplinary approach has led to some of the first identified functionally relevant long non-coding RNAs in cancer. Her overall goal is to better understand the basic mechanisms of non-coding RNAs for their future use as diagnostics, prognostics, and novel therapies.

Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma is the second most common hematological malignancy of plasma cells (PCs). A very limited number of lncRNAs have been found to be de-regulated in MM and even less are well characterized. We are studying how lncRNA:protein interactions and m6A modifications influence epigenomic regulation to induce progression of MM. Additionally, we are using single cell sequencing of patient samples associated with progression to decipher if lncRNAs can be used as novel biomarkers in patients who do not respond to current therapies.

Late-Stage Relapse Breast Cancer

Despite the proven benefits of adjuvant endocrine therapy in women with estrogen receptor positive breast cancer, relapses still occur even after initial treatment with endocrine therapy for five years, referred to as late-stage relapse. Currently, we are deciphering how lncRNAs may regulate genes to promote late-stage relapse breast cancer. Toward this end, we discovered lncRNAs that are deregulated in late-stage relapse breast cancer patient samples (NPJ Breast Cancer 2022 Apr 13;8(1):49) and are focused on further characterizing their proliferative and aggressive functions by binding to proteins to better understand their underlying mechanisms.

Metastatic Colorectal Cancer

Despite advances in our understanding of lncRNAs in primary colorectal cancer oncogenesis, their role in mCRC and treatment resistance remains poorly characterized. Therefore, our research has focused on understanding the role of lncRNAs in mCRC. For instance, through RNA sequencing of mCRC patient samples I previously discovered and characterized a lncRNA that promotes metastatic progression (PMID: 32358485). Subsequent mechanistic studies revealed that it interacts with Chromobox protein 4 (CBX4) to regulate downstream genes and confer oncogenic phenotypes. This novel discovery has led my lab to continue studying the role of lncRNA-dependent recruitment of CBX4 in promoting metastatic cancer. Moving forward, we are using unique mouse models and novel RNA therapeutics to evaluate the lncRNAs therapeutic potential.

Dr. Silva-Fisher is also a leader in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts in the Department of Medicine. She has served on the Trainee Inclusion and Cultural Awareness Task Force, is the founder and Co-Director of the Mentorship to Enhance Diversity in Academia (MEDA) Program (https://internalmedicinediversity.wustl.edu/meda/), and is a mentor and role model for many URiM students at WUSM and within the scientific community.

Lab Website: https://www.silvafisherlab.com