Mark A. Valasek, M.D., Ph.D.

Mark Valasek, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor
  • M.D. – University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX
  • Ph.D. – University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX
  • Residency Training – University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle, WA
  • Gastrointestinal and Hepatic Fellowship Training – University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle, WA
  • Surgical Pathology Fellowship/Assistant Instructorship Training – University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX
  • Board Certifications: Anatomic Pathology
  • Clinical Specialty: Gastrointestinal and Hepatic Pathology

Research Interests

My clinical focus and sub-specialization is in gastrointestinal, hepatic, and pancreatic pathology, which dovetails with my primary research interest in pre-cancerous lesions of the gastrointestinal tract.  Broadly defined, pre-cancerous lesions include not only dysplastic lesions, but also such disease entities as Barrett esophagus, fatty liver disease, and inflammatory bowel disease that can lead to esophageal carcinoma, hepatocellular carcinoma, and colonic adenocarcinoma, respectively.  A key question in this field is what determines progression at each step of carcinogenesis.  What distinguishes progressors from non-progressors?  To help accomplish some of our research goals, we are developing "high-resolution" molecular and digital techniques for the evaluation of gastrointestinal tissues utilizing emerging technologies.  Therefore, my laboratory and collaborative work is focused on understanding the mechanisms underlying these pathophysiologic states to help define practical diagnostic and therapeutic clinical applications with the ultimate goal of improving patient care.

Representative Publications

  1. Todoric J., L. Antonucci, G. Di Caro, N. Li, X. Wu, N. K. Lytle, D. Dhar, S. Banerjee, J. B. Fagman, C. D. Browne, A. Umemura, M. A. Valasek, H. Kessler, D. Tarin, M. Goggins, T. Reya, M. Diaz-Meco, J. Moscat, M. Karin. Stress-Activated NRF2-MDM2 Cascade Controls Neoplastic Progression in Pancreas. Cancer Cell. 2017 Nov 7. pii: S1535-6108(17)30464-6. PMID: 29153842 [Link to Online Article]
  2. Valasek, M. A., R. K. Pai. An Update on Diagnosis, Grading and Staging of Appendiceal Mucinous Neoplasms. Adv Anat Pathol. 2017 Oct 9. PMID: 29016471 [Link to Online Article]
  3. Valasek, M. A., I. Thung, E. Gollapalle, A. A. Hodkoff, K. J. Kelly, J. M. Baumgartner, V. Vavinskaya, G. Y. Lin, A. P. Tipps, M. V. Hosseini, A. M. Lowy. Overinterpretation is common in pathological diagnosis of appendix cancer during patient referral for oncologic care. PLoS ONE. June 2017; 12(6): e0179216. [Link to Online Article]
  4. Vavinskaya, V., J. M. Baumgartner, A. Ko, C. C. Saenz, and M. A. Valasek. Low-Grade Appendiceal Mucinous Neoplasm Involving the Endometrium and Presenting with Mucinous Vaginal Discharge.  Case Rep Obstet Gynecol. 5 October 2016. [ Link to Online Article ]
  5. Lowenthal, B. M., A. S. Shabaik, and M. A. Valasek. Metastatic Gastrointestinal Adenocarcinoma with Osteoblastic Activity: A Case Report of Esophageal and Colonic Primaries. Case Reports in Pathology. Sept 1 2016. [ Link to Online Article ]
  6. Fox, R. G., N. K. Lytle, D. V. Jaquish, F. D. Park, T. Ito, J. Bajaj, C. S. Koechlein, B. Zimdahl, M. Yano, J. Kopp, Marcie Kritzik, J. Sicklick, M. Sander, P. M. Grandgenett, M. A. Hollingsworth, S. Shibata, D. Pizzo, M. A. Valasek, R. Sasik, M. Scadeng, H. Okano, Y. Kim, A. R. MacLeod, A. M. Lowy and T. Reya. Image based detection and targeting of therapy resistance in pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Nature. 2016 June 6. [ Link to Online Article ]
  7. Thung, I., H. Aramin, V. Vavinskaya, S. Gupta, J. Y. Park, and S. E. Crowe, and M. A. Valasek. Review Article: The Global Emergence of Helicobacter pylori Antibiotic Resistance. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics. Dec 23 2015. [ Open access article ]
  8. Font-Burgada, J., S. Shalapour, S. Ramaswamy, B. Hsueh, D. Rossell, A. Umemura, K. Taniguchi, H. Nakagawa, M. A. Valasek, L. Ye, J. L. Kopp, M. Sander, H. Carter, K. Deisseroth, I. M. Verma, M. Karin.Hybrid Periportal Hepatocytes Regenerate the Injured Liver without Giving Rise to Cancer. Cell. 2015 Aug 13;162(4):766-79. PMID: 26276631
  9. Mojtahed, A., R. Khanna, W. J. Sandborn, G. D'Haens, B. G. Feagan, L. M. Shackelton, K. A. Baker, E. Dubcenco, M. A. Valasek, K. Geboes, B. G. Levesque.  Assessment of Histologic Disease Activity in Crohn's Disease: A Systematic Review.  Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2014 Aug 17. PMID: 25137418
  10. Nakagawa, H., A. Umemura, K. Taniguchi, J. Font-Burgada, D. Dhar, H. Ogata, Z. Zhong, M. A. Valasek, E. Seki, J. Hidalgo, K. Koike, R. J. Kaufman, M. Karin. ER stress cooperates with hypernutrition to trigger TNF-dependent spontaneous HCC development. Cancer Cell. 2014 Aug 12. PMID: 25132496
  11. Loomba, R., T. Wolfson, B. Ang, C. Behling, M. Peterson, M. A. Valasek, G. Lin, D. Brenner, A. Gamst, R. Ehman and  C. Sirlin.  Magnetic resonance elastography predicts advanced fibrosis in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: A prospective cohort study.  Hepatology. 2014 Aug 8 (epub).
  12. Umemura, A., E. J. Park, K. Taniguchi, J. H. Lee, S. Shalapour, M. A. Valasek, M. Aghajan, H. Nakagawa, E. Seki, M. N. Hall, and M. Karin.  Liver Damage, Inflammation and Enhanced Tumorigenesis after Persistent mTORC1 Inhibition.  Cell Metab. 2014 July 1; 20:1-12.
  13. Liu, C., R. Karam, Y. Zhou, F. Su, Y. Ji, G. Li, G. Xu, L. Lu, C. Wang, M. Song, J. Zhu, Y. Wang, Y. Zhao, W. C. Foo, M. Zuo, M. A. Valasek, M. Javle, M. F. Wilkinson and Y. Lu.  Mutation of the UPF1 RNA Surveillance Gene in Adenosquamous Carcinoma of the Pancreas.  Nat Med. 2014 May 25 (epub).
  14. Chuang, J. C., M. A. Valasek, A. M. Lopez, K. S. Posey, J. J. Repa, S. D. Turley. Sustained and Selective Suppression of Intestinal Cholesterol Synthesis by Ro 48-8071, an Inhibitor of 2,3-Oxidosqualene:Lanosterol Cyclase, in the BALB/c Mouse. Biochem Pharmacol. Jan 30 2014 (epub).
  15. Ruggles K. V., J. Garbarino, Y. Liu, J. Moon, K. Schneider,A. Henneberry, J. Bilheimer, J. S. Millar, D. Marchadier, M. A. Valasek, A. Joblin-Mills, S. Gulati, A. B. Munkacsi, J. J. Repa, D. Rader, and S. L. Sturley. A functional, genome-wide evaluation of liposensitive yeast identifies the ''ARE2 required for viability''  (ARV1) gene product as a major component of eukaryotic fatty acid resistance.  J Biol Chem. November 22 2013 (epub).
  16. Turley, S.D., M.A. Valasek, J.J. Repa, and J.M. Dietschy. Multiple mechanisms prevent the accumulation of unesterified cholesterol in the small intestine of mice deficient in both ACAT2 and ABCA1. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2010 Nov; 299(5):G1012-22.
  17. Valasek, M.A., R.T. Hopley, and F.H. Wians, Jr. Resolving the Baneful and Banal: Bisalbuminemia in an Adult with Waldenström Macroglobulinemia. LabMedicine. 2008 Dec; 39(12):723-726.
  18. Valasek, M. A., J.J. Repa, G. Quan, J.M. Dietschy, and S.D. Turley. Inhibiting intestinal NPC1L1 activity prevents diet-induced increase in biliary cholesterol in Golden Syrian hamsters.  Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2008 Oct; 295(4):813-822.
  19. Valasek, M. A., S.L. Clarke, and J. J. Repa.  Fenofibrate reduces intestinal cholesterol absorption via PPARalpha -dependent modulation of NPC1L1 expression in mouse.  J Lipid Res. 2007 Dec; 48(12):2725-35.
  20. Valasek, M. A., J.J. Repa. 2005.  The Power of Real-Time PCR. Adv Physiol Educ. 2005 Sep; 29(3):151-9.
  21. Valasek, M. A., J. Weng, P.W. Shaul, R.G.W. Anderson, and J.J. Repa. Caveolin-1 is not Required for Murine Intestinal Cholesterol Transport.  J Biol Chem. 2005 Jul 29; 280(30):28103-9.
    Click here to search for Dr. Valasek's publications


Dr. Valasek was accepted into the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, completing his Ph.D. work in 2006 in the field of Integrative Biology studying gastrointestinal physiology, then receiving his M.D. three years later.  While there, he earned the prestigious Vernie A. Stembridge Scholarship Award for Excellence in Pathology.  Dr. Valasek entered into residency in Anatomic Pathology at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he also completed a fellowship in Gastrointestinal and Hepatic Pathology.  He gained additional training in general surgical pathology sign-out as an Assistant Instructor in Surgical Pathology at Parkland Memorial Hospital/University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.  Dr. Valasek started as an Assistant Professor for the Division of Anatomic/Surgical Pathology in the UCSD Department of Pathology in 2013. He was awarded San Diego Medical Society's "2014 Top Doctors" — Physicians of Exceptional Excellence in the Field of Pathology and was an American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) "40 Under Forty" Honoree in 2015. He is currently Director of the Gastrointestinal Pathology Fellowship.

Click here to contact me

Page 'Breadcrumb' Navigation:

External Resources: