Understanding how cells transform into cancer
The Department of Cancer Genetics & Genomics at Roswell Park studies the role of individual genes – as well as large sets of genes (genomics) – in cancer. We know that cancer is fundamentally a disease caused by multiple genetic alterations, but it also involves large-scale ‘re-programming’ of many genes (epigenomics).
What we do
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As we understand the genes and pathways that contribute to tumorigenesis, we hope to identify novel targets for therapeutic intervention and provide biomarkers for the better diagnosis, staging and risk assessment for individual cancer patients.
- Identify and isolate novel genes that are important in the development of specific cancers, and characterize the mechanism of action of the protein products of these aberrant genes.
- Apply our knowledge of human oncogenes to aid in the clinical management of cancer patients.
- Investigate epigenetic mechanisms that drive the development of cancer.
- Use genomic approaches to discover cancer-causing genes, understand the response to therapies (including immunotherapy) and identify new targets for therapy.
A better understanding of mechanisms involved in tumorigenesis will provide the opportunity to manipulate these pathways in animal models and also will contribute to a fundamental understanding of cancer and potentially generate the opportunity to test new treatment regimens in vivo.
Women in Science: Joyce Ohm, PhD
Ask Joyce Ohm, PhD, Associate Professor of Oncology at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, why she chose a challenging career focusing on epigenetics and her answer comes back sure and clear: “My mom died of a rare form of cancer when I was 10, and I made it my life’s goal to help find a cure.”
Spotlight: Edwin Yau, MD, PhD
Dr. Yau's lab is interested in translational studies for patients with lung cancers, particularly KRAS and STK11 mutated genomic subsets of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), using immunogenomic analysis and functional genomic screening. Ongoing projects include the development of early detection assays using collateral CRISPR systems and development of novel therapeutics for genomic subsets of NSCLC and Lung SCC.
Training the next generation of scientists
In addition to our research and community outreach, the Department of Cancer Genetics & Genomics is actively involved in hands-on teaching with Master’s and PhD students in our highly competitive graduate studies program.
Our multidisciplinary education model allows students a unique immersive experience, preparing them for successful careers as independent investigators.
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