Ellen S. Sanders-Noonan
The Department of Cancer Genetics and Genomics, through the investigation of the various mechanisms that cells adopt to become cancer cells, is dedicated to improving our understanding of mechanisms and pathways through which cells overcome their normal constraints on proliferation and differentiation and transform into tumor cells. By identifying genes and pathways that contribute to tumorigenesis and understanding mechanisms involved in cell cycle control, it is anticipated that this information will not only improve our understanding of the fundamental events that give rise to cancer but will also lead to the identification of novel targets for therapeutic intervention and provide biomarkers for the better diagnosis, staging and risk assessment for individual cancer patients. A better understanding of mechanisms involved in tumorigenesis will provide the opportunity to manipulate these pathways in animal models and will also contribute to a fundamental understanding of cancer and potentially generate the opportunity to test new treatment regimens in vivo.
Laboratories studying specific genes and mechanisms associated with the development and progression of the malignant phenotype employ a variety of methodologies that will (1) identify and isolate novel genes that are important in the development of specific cancers, (2) apply our knowledge of human oncogenes to the clinical management of cancer patients, (3) investigate epigenetic mechanisms that affect gene function and (4) use genomics approaches to study global genetic changes in cancer cells and exploit naturally occurring genetic variation to study cancer predisposition and progression.