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Mission of the Program in Cancer Biology

To train new leaders in the field of Cancer Biology that will develop new knowledge that will translate into improved detection, diagnosis, prognosis, prevention, or treatment of cancer.

Research Areas of Emphasis

  • Cancer Immunity, host tumor interactions, and angiogenesis
  • Cancer Precision Medicine—targeted therapies and drug resistance using mouse modeling, human tumor tissues, and systems approaches
  • Bioinformatic analyses of tumor heterogeneity including genome, proteome, metabolome, and immunome components during tumor progression
  • Basic Cancer Biology—tumor progression, invasion and metastasis

Steering Committee

Ann Richmond, Program Director

Jin Chen, Director of Graduate Studies

Roger Chalkley

Barbara Fingleton

Hal Moses

Kimryn Rathmell

Julie Sterling

Alissa Weaver

Chris Williams


News & Events


Anthony B Daniels BA, MSc, MD, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Assistant Professor of Cancer Biology and Radiation Oncology

Dr. Daniels and his team recently published their research in Cancers  “Effect of Intravenous Chemotherapy Regimen on Glove Salvage Success Rates for Retinoblastoma Based on Disease Class-A Meta- Analysis.”  Retinoblastoma is the most common primary intraocular malignancy in children. As the management of intraocular retinoblastoma with CRD has advanced, patient survival rates now exceed 95–98% in developed countries. Although the focus continues to be on maximizing patient survival and treatment safety, the emphasis is now also on optimizing eye (globe) salvage and vision. Given the increasing shift toward replacing standard intravenous chemo reduction with intra-arterial chemotherapy and incorporating adjuvant intravitreal chemotherapy, this meta-analysis consolidates and analyzes the published results of various intravenous chemo reduction regimens. These results are timely and vital so that we can scientifically compare whether (and by how much) novel treatments such as intra-arterial or intravitreal chemotherapy improve patient-based outcomes. For physicians employing intravenous chemo reduction, this meta-analysis provides evidence-based guidance in selecting an intravenous chemotherapy regimen based on the disease severity of their patients. This can help guide future directions of outcomes-based research.


Andreana HolowatyjPhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine

Dr. Holowatyj research is cited in the news article  STAT regarding incidences of  colorectal cancer in young men. The piece is tied to last year’s death of actors Chadwick Boseman and Omhar Carter. Boseman and Carter lived in parts of the country researchers have labeled a “hot spot of death” for early-onset colorectal cancer. Anderson County, SC, where Boseman grew up, and Hinds County, MS, where Jackson is located, are two of 232 counties in the mainland US where men aged 49 and under are at unusually high risk of dying from colorectal cancer. “Examining factors underlying geographic disparities in early-onset colorectal cancer survival among men in the United States” is discussed here in Dr. Holowatyj’s publication in the American Journal of Cancer Research.


Logan Northcutt, BS (Rafat Lab) and Verra Ngwa, MS (Chen Lab)

Logan and Verra have been awarded the 2021 SMDP Scholars Award!! Scientist Mentoring & Diversity Program for Biotechnology (SMDP Biotech) is a one-year career mentoring program that pairs ethnically diverse students and early career researchers with industry mentors who work at companies in the medical technology, biotechnology and consumer healthcare industries. With their mentors, Logan and Verra will attend a 5-day training session to learn about career opportunities in the industry and receive career development coaching. They will also attend a major industry conference.