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Matthew Hemming, MD, PhD

Matthew Hemming

By Merin C. MacDonald | Date published: March 20, 2024

March Researcher Spotlight: Matthew Hemming, MD, PhD

In this month’s Researcher Spotlight, we highlight the work of Matthew Hemming, MD, PhD, a medical oncologist, physician-scientist, and assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology. 

Dr. Hemming’s clinical work is focused on caring for patients with soft tissue sarcoma and his research is focused on understanding the biology and pathogenesis of sarcomas. “Early in my medical training, I had the privilege to work with and care for several patients with rare forms of cancer called sarcoma,” said Dr. Hemming. These experiences, together with my appreciation for the unmet need for more effective treatments and better scientific understanding of these diseases, focused my trajectory towards a career dedicated to sarcoma clinical care and research.” Sarcomas are rare cancers that can develop in bones and soft tissues in both children and adults. Through their investigation, Dr. Hemming’s laboratory aims to identify core mechanisms of sarcoma biology that can be used to improve diagnosis and treatments. Specifically, his laboratory uses broad profiling and functional genomics approaches to understand oncogenic mechanisms in diverse sarcoma subtypes. They are working to establish mechanisms of epigenetic regulation in gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) and their influence on treatment efficacy and clinical outcomes. Additionally, their work aims to characterize the functions of oncogenic fusion proteins in translocation-associated sarcomas, and new therapeutic strategies for leiomyosarcoma. 

Dr. Hemming is currently the principal investigator on a project funded by the Sarcoma Foundation of America to characterize and target the oncogenic program in alveolar soft part sarcoma (ASPS). The goal of this project is to study ASPS tumor samples to identify opportunities for novel therapeutic intervention. He is also the principal investigator of a K08 award funded by the National Cancer Institute, to define clinically relevant transcriptional networks in GIST. For patients with GIST, there is limited ability to predict the risk of recurrence following resection or the course of metastatic disease, which can lead to significant uncertainties in patient care. In this project, Dr. Hemming aims to understand the core transcriptional output of GIST, and how accessory transcription factors modify this central program to direct disease behavior, which can inform the development of treatment strategies.  

Dr. Hemming earned his medical degree at Harvard Medical School. He completed his Internal Medicine residency at Massachusetts General Hospital and a fellowship in Hematology/Oncology at Dana Farber Cancer Institute. He also holds a PhD in Neurobiology from Harvard University. Dr. Hemming joined the faculty at UMass Chan/UMMH in the summer of 2022. “Coming to UMass provided a terrific opportunity to expand our sarcoma research platform, joining an amazing and collaborative faculty with broad expertise across the scientific spectrum,” said Dr. Hemming. “Simultaneously, I was able to bring my medical focus on sarcoma to support and expand the clinical program at UMass for these rare forms of cancer. My goal is to bring our laboratory discoveries to bear on these urgent clinical problems through basic and translational research, identifying new and more effective treatments for our patients.” 

We thank Dr. Hemming for his dedication to the care of his patients and for his impactful scientific research that aims to make a difference in the lives of patients diagnosed with sarcomas.    

For more on Dr. Hemming's work, please visit: