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The overall goals of the Molecular Oncology & Biomarkers program are to understand the fundamental cellular and molecular processes that contribute to cancer development and progression.

Normal cells have intricate molecular mechanisms that control essential phenotypes such as differentiation, cell division and movement. The molecular pathways that control these phenotypes are disrupted in cancer cells as a result of the expression of oncogenes and loss of regulatory tumor suppressor genes. These events, which are often highly specific to individual types of cancer, disrupt specific molecular pathways that result in uncontrolled cell growth and loss of normal responses to extracellular signaling cues that result in tumor development and progression.

The research interests of the program can be divided into three broad themes:

  • Cancer Genetics
  • Epigenetics
  • Chaperone Biology

Collectively these themes address important topics of tumor cell and molecular biology including

  • The genetic basis of cancer development and progression through the roles of specific genes and pathways
  • The genetic basis of metastasis underlying the roles of metastasis suppressor genes, metastasis promoting genes, and microRNAs involved in metastasis
  • The role of transcription factors in promoting cancer progression
  • Cancer genomics in primary human tumors and mouse models of cancer using gene expression and Next Gen sequencing;
  • Application of bioinformatics tools to study complex data sets;
  • The role of oncogenes and glycoconjugates in cancer cell progression;
  • Genome-wide analysis of epigenetic changes in cancer development as a tool to identify biomarkers for prediction of progression and prognosis;
  • Analysis of heat shock chaperones and other stress proteins in cancer development and as targets for cancer therapies;
  • The role of obesity and metabolic changes in the development of cancer.

Program Members

photo of Satyanarayana Ande, PhD

Satyanarayana Ande, PhD

  • Associate Professor
photo of Ahmed Chadli, PhD

Ahmed Chadli, PhD

  • Associate Professor
photo of Zheng Dong, PhD

Zheng Dong, PhD

  • Regent's Professor
photo of Quansheng Du, PhD

Quansheng Du, PhD

  • Associate Professor
photo of Hasan Korkaya, DVM, PhD

Hasan Korkaya, DVM, PhD

  • Assistant Professor
photo of Iryna O. Lebedyeva, PhD

Iryna O. Lebedyeva, PhD

  • Assistant Professor
photo of Mumtaz V. Rojiani, PhD

Mumtaz V. Rojiani, PhD

  • Associate Professor
photo of Huidong Shi, PhD

Huidong Shi, PhD

  • Professor
photo of Yong Teng, PhD

Yong Teng, PhD

  • Assistant Professor
photo of Chunhong Yan, PhD

Chunhong Yan, PhD

  • Associate Professor

Cancer Research News

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Structural framework for tumors also provides immune protection

Aggressive colorectal cancers set up an interactive network of checkpoints to keep the immune system at bay, scientists report.

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Sydenstricker’s blood transfusion research a century ago led to modern methods of tissue banking

In the early part of the last century, blood transfusions occurred directly from the donor to patient. Virgil Sydenstricker found a better way, and it's still in use today.

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National veteran dataset will help dissect mental illness, prostate cancer connections

There appears to be an unhealthy synergy between mental illness and prostate cancer, and researchers are working to dissect the relationship by first assembling the largest dataset ever of veterans with either condition or both.

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Standard pathology tests outperform molecular subtyping in bladder cancer

While trying to develop a comparatively easy, inexpensive way to give physicians and their patients with bladder cancer a better idea of likely outcome and best treatment options, scientists found that sophisticated new subtyping techniques designed to do this provide no better information than long-standing pathology tests.