Dominic Arris

Graduate Student

Personal Statement:

Ph.D. IBMS Physiology and Pharmacology Discipline

Lab Association:
Shivani Ruparel, Ph.D.

Hobbies and Interests:
Hiking, Card Games, Boston Red Sox, Manchester United


BA, Human Biology,
University of Southern Maine – Portland, Maine


My current research focuses on examining the sensory neuron-tumor axis during head and neck cancer. Oral squamous cell carcinoma is a growing malignancy worldwide and despite modern advancements, the disease has only a 50% five-year survival rate. While much is known about this cancer’s microenvironment and tumorigenesis, one area that remains under-studied is the contribution of the peripheral nervous system. Despite many reports implicating the peripheral nervous system in this disease’s progression, the specific role of sensory neurons in oral tumorigenesis is markedly unknown. Understanding the involvement of sensory neurons in respect to this cancer’s progression is not the only front in which this disease needs to be battled on – Pain is often the presenting and top ranked symptom for patients with head and neck cancer. Subsequently, many patients require opiates, kindling the national epidemic. Therefore, we are not only looking at how the sensory nervous system regulated tumorigenesis but also how oral tumors regulate sensory neurons at the primary site of tumor development.  This field of research is significant because of the potential for developing a multi-hit therapy that treats both head and neck cancer progression and pain.

Awards & Accomplishments


2018 – 2nd Place Poster Presentation, 35th Annual Dental Science Symposium, UTHSCSA.

2017 – Undergraduate Research Opportunities Fellowship Award, University of Southern Maine.


Society for Neuroscience – 2017-Present



Wu Ping, Arris Dominic, Grayson Max, Chia-Nung Hung and Ruparel Shivani. Characterization of Sensory Neuronal Subtypes Innervating Mouse Tongue. PLoS One. 2018 Nov 8; 13(11).



  1. Dominic Arris, Vanessa Valenzuela, Max Grayson and Shivani Ruparel. Contribution of Peripheral Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) signaling in Oral Cancer Pain. Annual Meeting for Society for Neuroscience. 2018.
  1. Peter LoCoco, Ashley Wallace, Dominic Arris, and Kenneth Hargreaves. Oxidized Omega-6 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Mediate Diabetic Pain. Annual Meeting for Society for Neuroscience. 2018.
  1. Dominic Arris and Shivani Ruparel. Regulation of Oral Tumorigenesis via Sensory Neuronal Release of PKM2. Annual Research Symposium of the Mays Cancer Center, UTHSCSA. 2018.
  1. Dominic Arris and Shivani Ruparel. Peripheral Neuronal Release of Soluble Factor Controls Oral Cancer Progress. Annual CBN Retreat, UTHSCSA. 2018.
  1. Dominic Arris, Sarah Hanna, Mayur Patil and Shivani Ruparel. Sensory Neuronal Regulation of Oral Tumorigenesis. Dental Science Symposium, UTHSCSA. 2018.
  1. Dominic Arris, Mathew Siviski and Igor Prudovsky. Cthrc1 Regulates Adipogenic Signaling. Maine Medical Center Research Institute. 2017.