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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

New Grants!

Ann Richmond, Ph.D., received the following grants:
“Optimizing Response to Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor Therapy for Breast Cancer: A Role for Inhibitors of the PI3K pathway.” 1R01CA243326-01A1 NIH
“New Strategies for Treatment of NRAS Mutant Melanoma After Progression on Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors.” 1RO1CA116021 NIH
“SRCS Award” VA Medical Center !IK6BK005

Jeffrey Rathmell, Ph.D., received the following grants to continue his research:
“Exploiting metabolic vulnerabilities of CD4 T cell subsets to control inflammatory disease” 2R01DK105550-07 NIH/NIDDK
“Phosphatase and tensin homolog PTEN actions in polymicrobial sepsis” 2R01HL124159-06 (Serezani) NHLBI
“Pre-clinical Proof of Concept Studies for the Development of a PET Tracer for Imaging Human CD8+ Cells in Tumors” VUMC73435
” SPORE in Breast Cancer” (Core Director Rathmell) P50CA098131-11 (Pietenpol/Mayer CO-PIs) NIH/NCI

Rebecca Ihrie, Ph.D., received a new multi-PI R01 from NINDS, together with Kevin Ess (VUMC Pediatrics & Neurology), to study the brain tumors developing in children with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex.

Andrea Page-McCaw, Ph.D., received a R01 grant from NIH/NIGMS to research Basement Membrane Homeostasis and Repair. The major goal of this project is to understand how basement membrane dynamics are altered during matrix repair.

Marjan Rafat, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, has been awarded a Young Investigator Grant by the Breast Cancer Alliance. The two-year, $125,000 award will allow Dr Rafat and her research group to investigate how radiation influences tumor and immune cell recruitment in triple negative breast cancer. The project involves developing a 3D tissue model in which researchers can control and visualize cell behavior after radiation damage.