Cancer and Cell Biology

Research opportunities in cancer biology span a broad spectrum.  They include studies on fundamental biological processes involved in the development of cancer (e.g. oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes, tumor virology, signal transduction, cancer genetics, growth factors, cancer immunology, structural analysis) and in diagnosis or therapy of cancer (e.g. chemoprevention, gene therapy, tumor imaging).  Experimental systems range from simple eukaryotes such as yeast, through Drosophila and mice to humans.

Students in Cancer Biology are eligible for support from an NIH training grant in Cancer Biology and Therapy.  A variety of national and international meetings on cancer-related topics are organized by the UCI Cancer Research Institute, and they provide opportunities for learning about the most recent developments in cancer research.  The UCI Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center (a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive center) also provides opportunities for students to interact with clinicians engaged in research and treatment of cancer patients.

Focus Area Coordinator:  Marian L. Watermanmlwaterm@uci.edu

  • Scott Atwood, satwood@uci.edu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Developmental & Cell Biology
    Cell fate decisions in skin cancer, skin and hair follicle development, and stem cells.
  • Lee Bardwell, bardwell@uci.edu, Ph.D., Professor of Developmental and Cell Biology
    Cell signaling pathways deregulated in cancer, with a focus on mitogen-activated protein kinases
  • Claudia Benaventeclaudia.benavente@uci.edu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Developmental & Cell Biology
    Understanding epigenetic deregulation in pediatric cancer tumorigenesis
  • Michael W. Berns, mwberns@uci.edu, Ph.D., Professor of Developmental & Cell Biology and Surgery
    Laser microsurgery of cells, embryos, and tissues
  • Alexander Boiko, aboiko@uci.edu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
    Isolation and Characterization of Tumor Initiating Cells from melanoma
    patients. 
  • Daniela Bota, dbota@uci.edu, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Neurology and Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
    The mechanisms of chemotherapy-induced cognitive damage, and differential mechanisms governing glioma stem cell versus neural stem cell differentiation.
  • Jefferson Y. Chan, jchan@uci.edu, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
    Regulation of genes associated with oxidative stress
  • Dongbao Chen, dongbaoc@uci.edu, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
    Angiogenesis and perinatal vascular biology
  • Phang Lang Chen, plchen@uci.edu, Ph.D., Professor of Cancer Biology
    Critical role of tumor suppressor genes in the genesis and progression of cancer
  • Steven Chessler, s.chessler@uci.edu, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Medicine and Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
    Cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying insulin secretion, pancreatic islet function, and beta cell failure in diabetes.
  • Aimee Edinger, aedinger@uci.edu, VM.D./Ph.D., Associate Professor of Developmental and Cell Biology
    Cancer bioenergetics, growth factor- and nutrient-dependent signaling, autophagy, intracellular trafficking
  • Robert Edwards , redwards@uci.edu M.D., Ph. D., Assistant Professor of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, In Residence
    Pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease
  • Hung Fan, hyfan@uci.edu, Ph.D., Professor of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Molecular biology and pathogenesis of mouse and human retroviruses
  • Mark Fisher, mfisher@uci.edu, M.D., Professor of Neurology and Anatomy & Neurobiology, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
    Mechanisms of stroke, vascular neurobiology, blood-brain barrier
  • Angela Fleischman, agf@uci.edu, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine and Biological Chemistry
  • David A. Fruman, dfruman@uci.edu Ph.D., Professor of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Targeting the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway in leukemia and lymphoma cells 
  • Anand Ganesan, aganesan@uci.edu, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Dermatology and Biological Chemistry
    Identify the key molecular regulators of melanin production, melanoma cell survival, and melanoma chemoresistance in human cells
  • Christopher C.W. Hughes, cchughes@uci.edu, Ph.D., Professor of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Molecular biology of developmental and tumor angiogenesis
  • Peter Kaiser, pkaiser@uci.edu, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biological Chemistry
    Cell cycle control; regulation of proteins by ubiquitination
  • Kai Kessenbrock, kkessenb@uci.edu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biological Chemistry
    Microenvironmental Control of Stem Cells and Cancer
  • Young Jik Kwon, kwonyj@uci.edu, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chemical Engineering & Materials Science, and Biomedical Engineering
    Cancer-targeted therapeutics, Engineered viral vectors for gene therapy, Cancer Vaccine
  • Devon Lawsondalawson@uci.edu Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Physiology & Biophysics
    Mechanisms of Cancer Metastasis
  • Eva Y.-H. P. Lee, elee@uci.edu, Ph.D., Professor of Biological Chemistry and Developmental & Cell Biology
    Cell cycle checkpoint pathways and molecular genetic studies of breast cancer using mouse models
  • Michael McClelland, mmcclell@uci.edu, Ph.D., Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
    Evolution of Salmonella pathogenesis; bacterial therapy for cancer; cancer genomics and prognostics.
  • Dan Mercola, dmercola@uci.edu, Ph.D., Professor of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
    Translational research in prostatic cancer
  • Edward L. Nelson, enelson@uci.edu, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine and Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Tumor immunology, dendritic cell biology, and anti-tumor immunotherapeutics
  • Susanne Rafelski, susanner@uci.edu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Developmental and Cell Biology
    Quantitative analysis of mitochondrial networks in budding yeast; geometry of organelles (size, shape, position, dynamics), intracellular organization
  • A. Olga Razorenova, olgar@uci.edu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Internal (oncogenes/tumor suppressor genes) and external (tumor microenvironment)
    factors regulating tumor progression and metastasis.
  • Christine Suetterlin, suetterc@uci.edu, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Developmental and Cell Biology
    Centrosome regulation, cilia formation and length control, host-pathogen interaction
  • Wenqi Wang, wenqiw6@uci.edu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Developmental & Cell Biology
Signaling network in organ size control and cancer development
  • Marian L. Waterman, mlwaterm@uci.edu Ph.D., Professor of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
    Regulation of LEF-1 gene expression in lymphocytes and cancer
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    Faculty – Secondary Affiliation

    • Dana W. Aswad, dwaswad@uci.edu, Ph.D. Professor of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
      Regulation of protein function and gene expression by post-translational modification. Biochemistry of protein damage, aging, and repair.
    • Bruce Blumberg, blumberg@uci.edu, Ph.D., Professor of Developmental and Cell Biology
      Gene regulation by nuclear hormone receptors in vertebrate development and adult physiology
    • Klemens Hertel, khertel@uci.edu Ph.D., Associate Professor of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
      Regulation of gene expression by alternative splicing
    • Lan Huang, lanhuang@uci.edu Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Physiology & Biophysics and Developmental & Cell Biology
      Proteomics analysis using mass spectrometry and bioinformatics to elucidate protein structure and function, with initial emphasis on the 26S proteasome functional specificity
    • Chang Liu, ccl@uci.edu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, and Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
      Engineered genetic systems for rapid evolution, chemical biology, synthetic biology, and cell biology
    • Melissa Lodoen, mlodoen@uci.edu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
      Modulation of host immunity by Toxoplasma gondii
    • Naomi Morrissette, nmorrriss@uci.edu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
      Genetic, cell biological and structure-function studies of tubulin and microbutules in Apicomplexan parasites
    • Irene Pedersen, imp@uci.edu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
      Regulation of microRNAs (miRs) and their role in human disease (Cancer), Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs) development and viral defense
    • Jennifer Prescher, jpresche@uci.edu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, and Pharmaceutical Sciences
      Probing biological systems with chemical tools and noninvasive imaging
    • Sha Sun, shasun@uci.edu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Developmental & Cell Biology
      Long noncoding RNAs in epigenetic programming
    • Ming Tan, mingt@uci.edu, M.D., Professor of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics, and Medicine
      Chlamydia infections: Gene regulation and host pathogen interactions
    • Francesco Tombola, ftombola@uci.edu Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Physiology and Biophysics
      Molecular mechanisms of coltage-gated ion channel function
    • Gregory A. Weiss, gweiss@uci.edu Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry and Co-Director of the Chemical Biology Initiative
      Using molecular evolution in a test tube (phage display) to explore the chemistry and biology of cells
    • Qin Yang, qiny3@uci.edu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine and Physiology & Biophysics
      Cellular and molecular mechanisms for insulin resistance and energy expenditure in obesity and type 2 diabetes
    • Kyoko Yokomori, kyokomor@uci.edu Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biological Chemistry
      Molecular mechanisms of chromosome dynamics and gene regulation