Marie C. DeFrances, MD, PhD
Professor of Pathology

Dr. DeFrances is the Director of the Pathology Residency and Fellowship Program

A711 Scaife Hall
University of Pittsburgh
3550 Terrace Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
Contact Information:
Office Telephone: 412-802-6013
Fax: 412-802-6079

Residency Program Contact:
Trish Zrimsek, Residency Program Manager
Office Telephone: 412-802-6013
Fax: 412-802-6079


  • BS - Duke University, 1989
  • PhD - University of Pittsburgh, 1995
  • MD - University of Pittsburgh, 1997

Clinical Expertise

Dr. DeFrances' clinical responsibilities are in the Division of Molecular and Genomic Pathology where she is involved with day-to-day review of patient material and teaching. Dr. DeFrances also is Director of the MS1 medical school course "Cellular and Pathologic Basis of Disease Course", and Co-Director of the graduate course, "Basics of Personalized Medicine."

Research Interests

Dr. DeFrances studies HGF-MET-PI3K signaling in liver development, growth, regeneration and cancer. She has identified a novel regulator of the catalytic subunit of PI3K (p110) called PI3K interacting protein 1 (PIK3IP1). PIK3IP1 is a transmembrane protein that shares structural features with p85, the regulatory subunit of PI3K. She and her collaborators are unraveling the role of this signaling system in cancer and immunobiology.

Selected Publications

View Dr. DeFrances' publications on PubMed

  • Seneviratne D, Ma J, Tan X, Kwon YK, Muhammad E, Melhem M, DeFrances MC, Zarnegar, R, Genomic Instability Causes HGF Gene Activation in Colon Cancer Cells, Promoting Their Resistance to Necroptosis., Gasteroenterology 2015: 148: 181-91. PMID: 25244939.
  • Ma J, Zou C, Guo L, Seneviratne DS, Tan X, Kwon YK, An J, Bowser R, DeFrances MC, Zarnegar R. Novel Death Defying Domain in Met entraps the active site of caspase-3 and blocks apoptosis in hepatocytes. Hepatology. 2014 May;59(5):2010-21. PMCID: PMC3975826.