As a postdoctoral fellow in the Cutaneous Development and Carcinogenesis Section, Dr. Gelb was awarded a Young Investigator Collegiality Award from the European Society for Dermatological Research/Society for Investigative Dermatology (ESDR/SID). She has also received a Cancer Virology and HIV Think Tank Presenter Award, and a Fellows Award for Research Excellence (FARE). During her Ph.D. training at Georgetown University, she was awarded a Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) Pre-Doctoral Fellowship in Pharmacology/Toxicology and the Dr. Mark Smulson Award for Excellence in Thesis Research. As a fellow, Dr. Gelb has spearheaded a collaborative research project with the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) Chemical Genomics Center. She also co-developed a successfully funded proposal to the Trans-NIH RNAi Program.    

Research Statement

Dr. Gelb’s research is focused on understanding the pathophysiology underlying Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC), a rare and aggressive skin cancer. Tara combines high-throughput small-molecule chemical screening, RNAi screening, and oncogenomic analyses of MCC samples and cell lines to identify proteins and pathways required for MCC growth. These results are translated into in vivo preclinical studies to identify novel treatments for MCC patients.

Scientific Publications

Metabotropic glutamate receptor 1 acts as a dependence receptor creating a requirement for glutamate to sustain the viability and growth of human melanomas.

Gelb T, Pshenichkin S, Rodriguez OC, Hathaway HA, Grajkowska E, DiRaddo JO, Wroblewska B, Yasuda RP, Albanese C, Wolfe BB, Wroblewski JT.

Atypical signaling of metabotropic glutamate receptor 1 in human melanoma cells.

Gelb T, Pshenichkin S, Hathaway HA, Grajkowska E, Dalley CB, Wolfe BB, Wroblewski JT.

Hedgehog Signaling Inhibitors Fail to Reduce Merkel Cell Carcinoma Viability.

Carroll TM, Williams JS, Daily K, Rogers T, Gelb T, Coxon A, Wang SQ, Crago AM, Busam KJ, Brownell I.

Pharmacological characterization of mGlu1 receptors in cerebellar granule cells reveals biased agonism.

Hathaway HA, Pshenichkin S, Grajkowska E, Gelb T, Emery AC, Wolfe BB, Wroblewski JT.


University of Rochester
B.S., Molecular Genetics
Georgetown University 
Ph.D., Pharmacology 


Postdoctoral Fellow
Dermatology Branch

Last Updated: August 2019