Cancer Biology

The objective of the Cancer Biology (CB) program is to improve cancer care through a better understanding of the basic biological processes that cause cancer development and progression.

Program Aims

As of June 2023

Characterize the genetic, epigenetic, and post-transcriptional events driving malignancy

Cancer Biology members are using state-of-the-art techniques in genomics, 3D chromatin structure, systems biology, and gene ontology to define how mutations and epigenetic events drive malignancy. These studies are generating a new understanding of how normal cells are transformed, progress toward malignancy, and become resistant to therapy.

Identify structural and functional determinants of cancer drivers

Empowered by nuclear magnetic resonance, electron paramagnetic resonance, X-ray crystallography, and cryo-electron microscopy (Cryo-EM) technologies, Cancer Biology members are identifying the atomic-level structural and functional features of proteins that drive or influence tumorigenesis, metastasis, and therapeutic resistance. These studies provide novel insights into how driver proteins fold and interact with other proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids to form supra-molecular complexes, opening new possibilities for development of novel therapeutic strategies to target them.

Define cancer regulatory mechanisms in the tumor microenvironment

Cancer Biology members are also defining and understanding how metabolic and bioenergetic signatures in tumor cells and other cells in the tumor microenvironment, including immune cells, fibroblasts, and cells in the neural-tumor axis, contribute to cancer. This research is delineating how events in the tumor microenvironment impact immune surveillance, tumor progression, and metastasis, and is being translated into novel therapeutic avenues to treat or control cancer.

Program Leader


Carol L. Williams, PhD

Joan K. Van Deuren Professor in Breast Cancer Research; Professor, Pharmacology & Toxicology

Program Members

John Baker, PhD
Michele A. Battle, PhD
IvorJ Benjamin, MD
Andreas M. Beyer, PhD
Erin Bishop, MD
Jonathan Bock, MD
Pradeep Chaluvally-Raghavan, PhD
Guan Chen, MD, PhD
Yee Chung Cheng, MD
Kathleen K. Christians, MD
Magdalena Chrzanowska, PhD
Lisa A. Cirillo, PhD
John A. Corbett, PhD
Adam Currey, MD
Nancy M. Dahms, PhD
Melinda R. Dwinell, PhD
Michael B. Dwinell, PhD
Gilbert G. Fareau, MD
Andrew Foy, MD
Benjamin N. Gantner, PhD
Venkateswara R. Gogineni, PhD
Alexandra M. Harrington, MD
Ronald Blake Hill, PhD
Cecilia J. Hillard, PhD
Karin Hoffmeister, MD
Neil Hogg, PhD
EricJ Hohenwalter, MD, FSIR
Elizabeth R. Jacobs, MD
Siegfried Janz, MD
Roger H. Johnson, PhD
Nikki Johnston, PhD
Candice A. Johnstone, MD, MPH
David Johnstone, MD
Balaraman Kalyanaraman, PhD
Dev Karan, PhD
Teresa G. Kelly, MD
David M. King, MD
Candice S. Klug, PhD
Suresh Kumar, PhD
John F. Langenheim, PhD
Gustavo Leone, PhD
Wei Liu, PhD
John A. LoGiudice, MD
Gwen Lomberk, PhD
Kirk A. Ludwig, MD
Nikki K. Lytle, PhD
Subramaniam Malarkannan, PhD
Jonathan S. Marchant, PhD
Adriano Marchese, PhD
Becky Massey, MD
John McCorvy, PhD
Thomas Mcfall, PhD
Mark T. McNally, PhD
Ravindra P. Misra, PhD
Emma A. Morrison, PhD
Wade M. Mueller, MD
John C. Neilson, MD
Stephanie Olivier-Van Stichelen, PhD
Linda J. Olson, PhD
Mary F. Otterson, MD
Jong-In Park, PhD
Francis C. Peterson, PhD
Sunila Pradeep, PhD
John A. Pulikkan, PhD
Xiao-Mei Qi, MD
Ramani Ramchandran, PhD
Sridhar Rao, MD, PhD
William S. Rilling, MD, FSIR
Daisy Sahoo, PhD
Nita H. Salzman, MD, PhD
Christopher J. Schultz, MD
Jason W. Sidabras, PhD
Roy L. Silverstein, MD
Mary Sorci Thomas, PhD
Daochun Sun, PhD
Yunguang Sun, MD, PhD
Elizabeth Sweeny, PhD
Vera Tarakanova, PhD
Raul A. Urrutia, MD
Brian F. Volkman, PhD
Demin Wang, PhD
Dawn M. Wenzel, PhD
Gilbert C. White, MD
Michael E. Widlansky, MD
Carol L. Williams, PhD
Bing Yu, PhD
Jieqing Zhu, PhD
Lan Zhu, PhD
Nan Zhu, PhD
Jacek M. Zielonka, PhD
Michael T. Zimmermann, PhD