Cancer Biology Faculty


Rolf A. Brekken, Ph.D.

Rolf A. Brekken, Ph.D., Professor, Program Chair
Brekken Lab
Research Interests: Tumor-host interactions in pancreatic cancer

John M. Abrams, Ph.D.

John M. Abrams, Ph.D., Professor
Abrams Lab
Research Interests: Molecular genetics of cell death in cancer

Michalis Agathocleous, Ph.D.

Michalis Agathocleous, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Agathocleous Lab
Research Interests: Hematopoietic stem cell and leukemia metabolism; metabolites and the stem cell genome

Esra Akbay, Ph.D.

Esra Akbay, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Akbay Lab
Research Interests: Lung cancer microenvironment, immunotherapy

James Amatruda, M.D., Ph.D.

James Amatruda, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor
Amatruda Lab
Research Interests: Defining novel cancer genes and understanding the developmental biology of tumors using the zebrafish system

Asaithamby Aroumougame, Ph.D.

Asaithamby Aroumougame, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Aroumougame Lab
Research Interests: Cellular and molecular understanding of Werner Syndrome, Fanconi anemia, and space radiation induced carcinogenesis

James Brugarolas, M.D., Ph.D

James Brugarolas, M.D., Ph.D., Professor
Brugarolas Lab
Research Interests: Molecular mechanisms of cell growth and proliferation control

Sandeep Burma, Ph.D.

Sandeep Burma, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Burma Lab
Research Interests: DNA double-strand break sensing, signaling, and repair: from mechanistic understanding to glioblastoma therapy

Diego Castrillon, M.D., Ph.D.

Diego Castrillon, M.D., Ph.D., Professor
Castrillon Lab
Research Interests: PI3K/PTEN/AKT/FoxO pathways in cancer biology

Benjamin Chen, Ph.D.

Benjamin Chen, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Chen Lab
Research Interests: Radiation Biology; DNA damage response in somatic stem cells to tissue homeostasis and cancer initiation

Cheng-Ming Chiang, Ph.D.

Cheng-Ming Chiang, Ph.D., Professor
Chiang Lab
Research Interests: Oncogenes and tumor suppressor function, transcription mechanisms and epigenetic control of gene programming, BRD4 in gene regulation and cancer therapy, human papillomavirus-associated cancers, post-translational modification of protein function and diversity, DNA damage response and repair pathways, molecular virology


Melanie H. Cobb, Ph.D.

Melanie H. Cobb, Ph.D., Professor
Cobb Lab
Research Interests: Function and regulation of protein kinases in signal transduction pathways in breast cancer

Ian Corbin, Ph.D.

Ian Corbin, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Research Interests: Utilizing molecular imaging and nanomedicine techniques to better characterize, detect, and treat hepatocellular carcinoma

David R. Corey, Ph.D.

David R. Corey, Ph.D., Professor
Corey Lab
Research Interests: Cancer therapeutics: Engineering proteins and nucleic acids for novel function

Gaudenz Danuser, Ph.D.

Gaudenz Danuser, Ph.D., Professor
Danuser Lab
Research Interests: Regulation of cell morphogenesis during metastasis; roles of mechanics in cell survival and drug resistance

Jef De Brabander, Ph.D.

Jef De Brabander, Ph.D., Professor
De Brabander Lab
Research Interests: Synthesis of natural products and other molecular architectures and interrogation of their mode-of-action, using molecular pharmacology and biochemistry for the development of novel cancer therapeutics

Ralph DeBerardinis, M.D., Ph.D.

Ralph DeBerardinis, M.D., Ph.D., Professor
DeBerardinis Lab
Research Interests: Metabolic pathways that support tumor cell growth and exploiting tumor metabolism to improve imaging and therapy in cancer

Beatriz Fontoura, Ph.D.

Beatriz Fontoura, Ph.D., Professor
Fontoura Lab
Research Interests: Nuclear transport pathways as regulators of cell cycle, cancer, and antiviral response

Rene Galindo, M.D., Ph.D.

Rene Galindo, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor
Galindo Lab
Research Interests: Molecular mechanisms of pediatric sarcoma tumorigenesis and developmental skeletal muscle patterning

Jinming Gao, Ph.D.

Jinming Gao, Ph.D., Professor
Gao Lab
Research Interests: Nanoparticles for cancer therapeutic drug delivery

Amyn Habib, M.D.

Amyn Habib, M.D., Associate Professor
Habib Lab
Research Interests: Interactions between inflammatory and oncogenic signaling pathways with a focus on glioblastoma (GBM) as our cancer model

Jer-Tsong (J.T.) Hsieh, Ph.D.

Jer-Tsong (J.T.) Hsieh, Ph.D., Professor
Research Interests: Human cancer gene therapy; signaling defects in urogenital cancers

Lily Huang, Ph.D.

Lily Huang, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Huang Lab
Research Interests: Cytokine receptor; signal transduction; hematopoiesis; structure-function analysis of protein; cancer

Jenna Jewell, Ph.D.

Jenna Jewell, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Jewell Lab
Research Interests: Cancer Biology, CRISPR Genome Editing, Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin (mTOR), Nutrient Sensing, Signal Transduction

Jin Jiang, Ph.D.

Jin Jiang, Ph.D., Professor
Jiang Lab
Research Interests: Signal-transduction pathways in development and human disease; genetic control of organ growth and patterning; tumor suppressor genes


Daehwan Kim, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Kim Lab
Research Interests:Computational Biology, DNA and RNA Sequence Alignment, Graph Alignment to Population of Genomes, Genotyping, Personalized Medicine

James Kim, M.D., Ph.D.

James Kim, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Kim Lab
Research Interests: Cancer biology, lung cancer, developmental pathways, hedgehog signaling pathway, Wnt signaling pathway, tumor-stromal interactions, tumor microenvironment

Ralf Kittler, Ph.D.

Ralf Kittler, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Kittler Lab
Research Interests: Functions of cancer-relevant transcription factors and to translate this knowledge into new approaches for the detection and treatment of cancer

Beth Levine, M.D.

Beth Levine, M.D., Professor
Levine Lab
Research Interests: Role of autophagy in tumor suppression

Bo Li, Ph.D.

Bo Li, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Li Lab
Research Interests: Cancer immunology; Cancer Genomics; Computational Biology

Weibo Luo, Ph.D.

Weibo Luo, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Luo Lab
Research Interests: The role of hypoxia inducible factors in tumor growth and metastasis

Srinivas Malladi, Ph.D.

Srinivas Malladi, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Malladi Lab
Research Interests: Cancer metastasis; Metastatic stem cells; Tumor Biology and Microenvironment

Ram Mani, Ph.D.

Ram Mani, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Mani Lab
Research Interests: Epigenetic mechanisms underlying cancer progression; ETS gene fusions in prostate cancer; Genomic rearrangements in cancer; Transcriptional regulation in prostate cancer

Elisabeth Martinez, Ph.D.

Elisabeth Martinez, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Martinez Lab
Research Interests: Discovery and characterization of novel chemical epigenetic modulators of gene expression with specific anti-cancer activity

Ralph Mason, Ph.D.

Ralph Mason, Ph.D., Professor
Mason Lab
Research Interests: Animal imaging in cancer

Joshua Mendell, M.D., Ph.D.

Joshua Mendell, M.D., Ph.D., Professor
Mendell Lab
Research Interests: Regulation and function of microRNAs and other noncoding RNAs in normal physiology and cancer

John Minna, M.D.

John Minna, M.D., Professor
Minna Lab
Research Interests: Molecular pathogenesis of human cancer; signal transduction in human tumors; cancer stem cells; targeted cancer therapy

Sean Morrison, Ph.D.

Sean Morrison, Ph.D., Professor
Morrison Lab
Research Interests: Normal and cancerous stem cells

Ping Mu, Ph.D.

Ping Mu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Mu Lab
Research Interests: Antiandrogen resistance, Novel biomarkers, Prostate cancer

Saikat Mukhopadhyay, M.D., Ph.D.

Saikat Mukhopadhyay, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Mukhopadhyay Lab
Research Interests: Role of primary cilia in normal development and cancer, functional proteomics in ciliary diseases, ciliary signaling pathways

Jerry Niederkorn, Ph.D.

Jerry Y. Niederkorn, Ph.D., Professor
Niederkorn Lab
Research Interests: Immune surveillance of intraocular tumors; immune modulation of cancer metastases

Kathryn A. O'Donnell, Ph.D.

Kathryn A. O'Donnell, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
O'Donnell Lab
Research Interests: Identification and characterization of cancer-associated genes using transposon-mediated mutagenesis

Ganesh Raj, Ph.D.

Ganesh Raj, M.D., Ph.D., Professor
Raj Lab
Research Interests: Hormone Dependent Malignancies (prostate and breast); Steroid receptor crosstalk; Therapeutic drug development; Ex vivo model development

Satwik Rajaram, Ph.D.

Satwik Rajaram, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Rajaram Lab
Research Interests: Digital pathology, intra-tumor heterogeneity, tumor microenvironment, machine learning

Theodora Ross, M.D., Ph.D.

Theodora Ross, M.D., Ph.D., Professor
Ross Lab
Research Interests: The Ross Laboratory investigates how dysfunctional endocytosis, tyrosine kinase oncogenes, and the BRCA1/2 tumor suppressor genes lead to transformation of normal cells into cancer cells

Michael Roth, Ph.D.

Michael Roth, Ph.D., Professor
Roth Lab
Research Interests: High throughput screening for novel cancer therapeutics; recognition and sorting of cell-surface glycoproteins

Joachim Seemann, Ph.D.

Joachim Seemann, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Seemann Lab
Research Interests: To understand the mechanisms that regulate the mitotic division of the Golgi in mammalian cells as it relates to cancer

Jerry Shay, Ph.D.

Jerry Shay, Ph.D., Professor
Shay/Wright Lab
Research Interests: Molecular mechanisms of human cellular aging and immortalization; the role of telomeres and telomerase in cancer

Daniel Siegwart, Ph.D.

Daniel Siegwart, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Siegwart Lab
Research Interests: Polymer and materials chemistry, drug and gene delivery, RNAi, biomedical imaging, detection and treatment of cancer

Stephen Skapek, M.D.

Stephen Skapek, M.D., Professor
Skapek Lab
Research Interests: Tumor suppressor gene function; Angiogenesis; Skeletal muscle differentiation; Oncogene-induced senescence

Maralice Conacci-Sorrell, Ph.D.

Maralice Conacci-Sorrell, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Sorrell Lab
Research Interests: Cell migration, survival, stress responses, cancer

Michael Story, Ph.D.

Michael Story, Ph.D., Professor
Story Lab
Research Interests: Radiation biology/oncology; cancer genomics; intrinsic radiosensitivity

Yihong Wan, Ph.D.

Yihong Wan, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Wan Lab
Research Interests: Regulation of the initiation, progression, and bone metastasis of breast cancer by the microenvironment

Richard Wang, M.D., Ph.D.

Richard Wang, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Wang Lab
Research Interests: Regulation of glucose uptake; autophagy and skin cancer

Zhigao Wang, Ph.D.

Zhigao Wang, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Wang Lab
Research Interests: Molecular mechanisms of necrotic cell death; development of chemical inhibitors and activators of necrotic cell death

Kenneth Westover, M.D., Ph.D.

Kenneth Westover, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Westover Lab
Research Interests: The Westover Lab works at the intersections of biochemistry, structural biology, chemical biology, and chemistry as part of a collaborative team to understand and manipulate the molecular basis of cancer

Angelique Whitehurst, Ph.D.

Angelique Whitehurst, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Whitehurst Lab
Research Interests: The role of ectopically activated gametogenic programs in supporting tumor cell proliferation and survival

Thomas Wilkie, Ph.D.

Thomas Wilkie, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Wilkie Lab
Research Interests: G-protein signaling during mouse development, energy homeostasis, and feeding behavior

Yang Xie, Ph.D.

Yang Xie, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Research Interests: Processing and analysis of high throughput data; false discovery rate estimation; integrated analysis methodology; Bayesian analysis methodology; design and analysis of clinical trials

Jian Xu, Ph.D.

Jian Xu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Xu Lab
Research Interests: We are investigating the epigenetic and genetic basis of disease-associated genes and gene networks in blood stem cell development and disorders, focusing on both single gene and genomic levels.

Hasan Zaki, Ph.D.

Hasan Zaki, Ph.D., Assistant Professor 
Zaki Lab
Research Interests: How intestinal microbiota and pathogen recognition receptors regulate gastrointestinal cancer

Qing Zhong, M.D., Ph.D.

Qing Zhong, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor
Zhong Lab
Research Interests: Biochemical mechanisms of mammalian autophagy, apoptosis, and necrosis and their implications in cancer

Hao Zhu, M.D.

Hao Zhu, M.D., Assistant Professor
Zhu Lab
Research Interests: Genetic and cellular mechanisms of organ regeneration and dysregulation of these mechanisms in liver cancer


Associate Members

These faculty members do not accept graduate students. They participate in teaching, co-mentoring, exam and dissertation committees, and all other program responsibilities.


Todd Aguilera, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Research Interests: Tumor microenvironment, immunotherapy, radiotherapy, tumor immunology

Robert Bachoo, M.D., Ph.D.

Robert Bachoo, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor
Research Interests: Molecular mechanisms underlying brain tumors

David Chen, Ph.D.

David Chen, Ph.D., Professor
Research Interests: Radiation biology and DNA damage signaling

Yi Liu, Ph.D.

Anthony Davis, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Research Interests: Cellular response to DNA double strand breaks, the role of aberrant DNA repair and signaling in cancer etiology, basic radiation biology, and intrinsic and tumor/cancer radioresponses

Robert Hammer, Ph.D.

Robert E. Hammer, Ph.D., Professor
Research Interests: Transforming growth factor beta signaling


Guo-Min Li, Ph.D., Professor
Research Interests: DNA mismatch repair