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Heather M. Ames, MD, PhD

Academic Title:

Assistant Professor

Primary Appointment:


Secondary Appointment(s):

Anatomy Neurobiology


22 South Greene St, NBW43 Baltimore, MD 21201

Phone (Primary):

(410) 328-5555


(410) 328-5508

Education and Training

2013: M.D., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
2013: Ph.D., Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
2015: Residency, Anatomic Pathology, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD
2017: Fellowship, Neuropathology, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD


I am an early stage investigator and assistant professor who joined the department of Pathology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in May 2018.  I completed a master’s degree in Neuroscience at Brandeis University and worked in a neurobiology laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for one year prior to enrollment in the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Michigan Medical School. At the University of Michigan, I rotated in neuroscience laboratories, but ultimately chose to study protein trafficking in cancer cells due to a personal interest in cancer biology. My interest in neuroscience remained, and I became particularly intrigued by the molecular diversity demonstrated by brain tumors. I then pursued residency training in anatomic pathology and neuropathology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and pursued both basic and clinical postdoctoral research projects investigating the diagnosis and pathogenesis of gliomas.

My main research focus is brain-specific invasion programs in glioblastoma. Glioblastoma is the highest grade diffuse glioma and the most common primary malignant brain tumor in adults. Diffuse gliomas have a unique ability among both primary and metastatic brain tumors to travel along white matter tracts, namely the corpus callosum, to establish bilateral, unresectable disease. Because of the ability of glioblastoma tumor cells to sparsely infiltrate normal brain, it is particularly difficult to identify the furthest extent of glioblastoma spread at both the gross and microscopic level. These tumors are therefore often recurrent, with only one-third of patients surviving for more than 5 years. The over-arching goals of my research are to identify and clinically target those biological pathways that allow high grade gliomas to traverse and colonize the unique microenvironments present in the brain.

Research/Clinical Keywords

Glioblastoma; brain tumor neuroinvasion; neurodevelopment; microRNA; cell-cell interactions; brain tumor heterogeneity

Highlighted Publications

Ames HM, Rooper LM, Laterra JJ, Eberhart CG, Rodriguez FJ. INSM1 expression is frequent in primary central nervous system neoplasms but not in the adult brain parenchyma. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 77: 374-382.

Ho, CY, Ames HM, Tipton A., Vezina G, Liu JS, Scafidi J, Torii M, Rodriguez,FJ, du Plessis A, DeBiasi RL. 2017. Differential neuronal susceptibility and bystander apoptosis in congenital ZIKV infection. Ann Neurol. 82: 121-127.

Ames HM, Halushka M, Rodriguez FJ. 2017. miRNA regulation in gliomas: Usual suspects in glial tumorigenesis and evolving clinical applications. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 76: 246-254

Ames HM*, Yuan M*, Vizcaino MA, Yu W, Rodriguez FJ. 2017. MicroRNA profiling of low-grade glial and glioneuronal tumors shows an independent role for cluster 14q32.31 member miR-487b. Mod Pathol. 30: 204-216. (*equal contribution)



Additional Publication Citations

Ames HM*, Wang AA*, Coughran A, Evaul K, Huang S, Graves CW, Soyombo AA, Ross TS. 2013. HIP1 Phosphorylation by Receptor Tyrosine Kinases. Mol Cell Biol. 18:3580-93. (*equal contribution)

Ames HM, Bichakjian CK, Liu GY, Graves CW, Oravecz-Wilson KI, Fullen DR, Verhaegen M, Johnson TM, Dlugosz AA, Ross TS. 2011.  Huntington Interacting Protein I is a Novel Prognostic Marker for Merkel Cell Carcinoma that interacts with c-Kit. J Inv Derm. 131: 2113-20.

Oravecz-Wilson KI*, Philips ST*, Yilmaz OH*, Ames HM, Li L, Crawford BD, Gauvin AM, Lucas PC, Sitwala K, Downing JR, Morrison SJ, Ross TS. 2009. Persistence of Leukemia-Initiating Cells in a Novel Mouse Model of Imatinib-Responsive Myeloproliferative Disorder. Cancer Cell. 16:137-48. (*equal contribution)

Cunningham MG, Ames HM, Donalds RA, Benes FM. 2008. Construction and implantation of a microinfusion system for sustained delivery of neuroactive agents. J Neurosci Methods. 167: 213-20.

Cunningham MG, Ames HM, Christensen MK, Sorensen JC. 2007.  Zincergic innervation of medial prefrontal cortex by basolateral projection neurons. Neuroreport. 18:531-5.

Hayashi MK, Ames HM, Hayashi Y. 2006. Tetrameric hub structure of postsynaptic scaffolding protein homer. J Neurosci. 26:8492-8501.