Research Programs



Cancer Mechanisms

The mission of the Cancer Mechanisms Research Program (CM) is to foster interdisciplinary collaborations and accelerate progress along the translational continuum between gene discovery and genotype-informed molecular treatments.

Focus on Cancer Mechanisms

Room to Operate

MRI and CT scanners slide in and out of operating rooms on overhead rails giving surgeons real-time 3-D images of complex organs like brains and spines. Students observe from a balcony overhead. This changes everything.

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Program Co-Directors:
Patricia Ernst, PhD
Konstantin H. Dragnev, MD


CM's emphasis is to elucidate pathways that present opportunities as well as challenges in cancer diagnosis, classification, prevention, and treatment. All CM members have research interests in basic cancer mechanisms, including the normal functions of oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes; regulators of cell cycle and apoptosis; regulators of angiogenesis and metastasis; and stem cells and blood formation.

The Program adds value by channeling intellectual effort, collaborations, access to shared resources, and developmental funds toward three translational aims: molecular disease classification; drug target and lead compound identification; and understanding the complex interactions of small molecules and genotypes in carcinogenesis and treatment.