Department of Dermatology

Ronald Fecek, PhD

  • Research Instructor

Ronald J. Fecek, PhD joined the Department of Dermatology as a Research Instructor in 2013, after completing his postdoctoral training in the Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology at the University of Pittsburgh.  Dr. Fecek completed his undergraduate and master's work at California University of Pennsylvania, and received his PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from West Virginia University. 

Education & Training

  • B.S., California University of Pennsylvania
  • M.S., California University of Pennsylvania
  • Ph.D., West Virginia University, School of Medicine
  • Post Doctoral Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh

Representative Publications

Dr. Fecek’s publications can be reviewed at the National Library of Medicine’s public database.

Research Interests

Dr. Fecek’s research focuses on the study of cancer tumor immunobiology, with a long-term goal of developing novel immunotherapies for patients with melanoma and alternate forms of skin cancer. Therapy options for patients with advanced stage melanoma have improved over the past decade, with recent clinical successes noted for BRAF-inhibitors and modulators of T cell function/survival such as anti-CTLA-4 and anti-PD1/-PD-L1 antibodies. Unfortunately, as single modalities these therapies do not result in high rates of durable clinical responses. BRAF-inhibitors (BRAFi) such as dabrafenib are highly efficacious resulting in substantial tumor regression and increased patient survival; however, these responses are short-lived, with treatment-refractory progressive disease developing within six months. Dr. Fecek’s research specifically focuses on developing combinational immunotherapies that integrate immunoconditioning agents (such as HSP90-inhibitors, HDAC-inhibitors) that modify tumor cells or the tumor microenvironment to respond more favorably to immunotherapy approaches, including DC-based vaccines and adoptive cell therapies with the goal of enhancing the induction of anti-melanoma immune responses for BRAFi-resistant melanoma.