Molecular Mechanisms of Cancer

The goal of research in this focus area is to conduct basic research on mechanisms of how cancer develops and progresses and to identify new molecular targets for cancer prevention and treatment. In addition, researchers are also involved in developing novel agents and drug delivery systems for cancer prevention and treatment.  Finally, there is an emphasis on training the next generation of cancer researchers.


Faculty Participants: College of Pharmacy

  • DiGiovanni, John D., Ph.D. (Group Leader)
    • Focuses on understanding how cancer develops and on the identification of novel targets, mechanisms and strategies for cancer prevention.
  • Cui, Zhengrong, Ph.D.
    • Research focuses on rational drug and vaccine delivery including nanoparticles for vaccine and anti-cancer drug delivery, non-invasive immunization onto the skin, and cancer chemo-immunotherapy.
  • Dalby, Kevin, Ph.D. (Group Leader)
    • Research is geared to identify potential targets for cancer treatment through the targeting of protein kinases by utilizing novel efforts in chemical biology.
  • Kidane, Dawit, Ph.D.
    • DNA repair and genomic instability; infection-mediated inflammation and cancer; DNA damage response in preeclampsia.
  • Lee, Seongmin, Ph.D.
    • Research is aimed to evaluate damage, repair, and enzymatic modifications of DNA and RNA with the goal of discovering potent chemotherapeutics that selectively inhibit DNA-modifying enzymes.
  • Mills, Edward M., Ph.D.
    • Understanding mitochondrial and bioenergetic signaling mechanisms that contribute to age-related metabolic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and cancer.
  • Richburg, John H., Ph.D.
    • Characterizes the molecular and cellular mechanisms that account for the ability of chemotherapeutic agents, such as cisplatin, to result in male infertility.
  • Vasquez, Karen, Ph.D.
    • Research efforts are focused in the areas of genome instability, DNA damage and mechanisms of repair. A unique feature of this lab’s approach is an emphasis on the role of DNA structure in human disease and the development of novel therapeutic strategies for treating cancer.
  • Van Den Berg, Carla, Pharm.D.
    • Research focuses on the role of growth factor-mediated treatment resistance in breast cancer.
  • Wang, Guliang, M.D. & Ph.D.
    • Research  is focused on understanding the effects of DNA modification and secondary structure on DNA damage/repair and genomic instability, and the cellular response to DNA damaging agents.
  • Wright, Casey W., Ph.D.
    • Studies the contribution of inflammatory signaling to the development and progression of autoimmune diseases, including hematological malignancies.

Faculty Participants: College of Natural Sciences, Department of Nutritional Sciences

  • Tiziani, Stephano., Ph.D.
    • The Tiziani Lab is interested in understanding how drug-induced modulation of tumor metabolism and nutrient microenvironment affect treatment outcome.

Associated Center