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.

  • Scott Atwood,, Developmental & Cell Biology
    Cell fate decisions in skin cancer, skin and hair follicle development, and stem cells.
  • Lee Bardwell,, Developmental and Cell Biology
    Cell signaling pathways deregulated in cancer, with a focus on mitogen-activated protein kinases
  • Claudia, Developmental & Cell Biology
    Understanding epigenetic deregulation in pediatric cancer tumorigenesis
  • Michael W. Berns,, Developmental & Cell Biology and Surgery
    Laser microsurgery of cells, embryos, and tissues
  • Alexander Boiko,,  Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
    Isolation and Characterization of Tumor Initiating Cells from melanoma
  • Daniela Bota,, 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,, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
    Regulation of genes associated with oxidative stress
  • Dongbao Chen,, Obstetrics and Gynecology and Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
    Angiogenesis and perinatal vascular biology
  • Phang Lang Chen,, Biological Chemistry – Cancer Biology
    Critical role of tumor suppressor genes in the genesis and progression of cancer
  • Steven Chessler,, Medicine and Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
    Cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying insulin secretion, pancreatic islet function, and beta cell failure in diabetes.
  • Aimee Edinger,, Developmental and Cell Biology
    Cancer bioenergetics, growth factor- and nutrient-dependent signaling, autophagy, intracellular trafficking
  • Robert Edwards ,, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, In Residence
    Pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease
  • Mark Fisher,, Neurology and Anatomy & Neurobiology, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
    Mechanisms of stroke, vascular neurobiology, blood-brain barrier
  • Angela Fleischman,,  Medicine and Biological Chemistry
  • David A. Fruman,, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Targeting the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway in leukemia and lymphoma cells 
  • Anand Ganesan,, 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,, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Molecular biology of developmental and tumor angiogenesis
  • Peter Kaiser,, Biological Chemistry
    Cell cycle control; regulation of proteins by ubiquitination
  • Kai Kessenbrock,, Biological Chemistry
    Microenvironmental Control of Stem Cells and Cancer
  • Mei Kong,, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Nutritional microenvironment in tumor development and drug response, metabolism and epigenetics, protein phosphatase regulation in diabetes and obesity
  • Young Jik Kwon,, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chemical Engineering & Materials Science, and Biomedical Engineering
    Cancer-targeted therapeutics, Engineered viral vectors for gene therapy, Cancer Vaccine
  • Devon, Physiology & Biophysics
    Mechanisms of Cancer Metastasis
  • Selma, Biological Chemistry
    Cancer Biology, Circadian Rhythms, Epigenetics and Metabolism
  • Michael McClelland,, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
    Evolution of Salmonella pathogenesis; bacterial therapy for cancer; cancer genomics and prognostics.
  • Dan Mercola,, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
    Translational research in prostatic cancer
  • Edward L. Nelson,,Medicine and Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Tumor immunology, dendritic cell biology, and anti-tumor immunotherapeutics
  • A. Olga Razorenova,, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Internal (oncogenes/tumor suppressor genes) and external (tumor microenvironment)
    factors regulating tumor progression and metastasis.
  • Christine Suetterlin,, Developmental and Cell Biology
    Centrosome regulation, cilia formation and length control, host-pathogen interaction
  • Wenqi Wang,, Developmental & Cell Biology
    Signaling network in organ size control and cancer development
  • Marian L. Waterman,, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
    Regulation of LEF-1 gene expression in lymphocytes and cancer

Faculty – Secondary Affiliation

  • Bruce Blumberg,, Developmental and Cell Biology
    Gene regulation by nuclear hormone receptors in vertebrate development and adult physiology
  • Dae Seok, Developmental & Cell Biology
    Specialized cellular projection-mediated cell-to-cell signaling
  • Klemens Hertel,, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
    Regulation of gene expression by alternative splicing
  • Lan Huang,, 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,, Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, and Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Engineered genetic systems for rapid evolution, chemical biology, synthetic biology, and cell biology
  • Melissa Lodoen,, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Modulation of host immunity by Toxoplasma gondii
  • Naomi Morrissette,, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Genetic, cell biological and structure-function studies of tubulin and microbutules in Apicomplexan parasites
  • Jennifer Prescher,, Chemistry, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, and Pharmaceutical Sciences
    Probing biological systems with chemical tools and noninvasive imaging
  • Sha Sun,, Developmental & Cell Biology
    Long noncoding RNAs in epigenetic programming
  • Ming Tan,, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics, and Medicine
    Chlamydia infections: Gene regulation and host pathogen interactions
  • Francesco Tombola,, Physiology and Biophysics
    Molecular mechanisms of coltage-gated ion channel function
  • Gregory A. Weiss,,  Chemistry and Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Using molecular evolution in a test tube (phage display) to explore the chemistry and biology of cells
  • Qin Yang,, Medicine and Physiology & Biophysics
    Cellular and molecular mechanisms for insulin resistance and energy expenditure in obesity and type 2 diabetes
  • Kyoko Yokomori,, Biological Chemistry
    Molecular mechanisms of chromosome dynamics and gene regulation