University of Wisconsin–Madison
Hematoxylin and eosin-stained section of a triple negative breast tumor

Hematoxylin and eosin-stained section of a triple negative breast tumor

Cancer Biology

The Cancer Biology focus group encompasses a wide spectrum of research interests, from translational goals for improving treatment of human tumors, to basic research describing the molecular interactions of pathways that are key to cell regulation.   Several group members work on the molecular regulation of known tumor driver pathways, such as the hormonal drivers of breast and prostate cancer (Alarid, Schuler, Xu), epidermal growth factor signaling components for several carcinomas (Wheeler) or NFkb for multiple myeloma (Miyamoto).  Others evaluate the viral origins of cervical and hematopoietic tumors (Lambert, Sugden).  Some focus on pathways that collaborate to promote tumor development, such as deficiencies of DNA repair (Tibbetts), or problems with mitosis and aneuploidy (Ahmad, Weaver, Skop); others aim to find out which genes are activated during tumor progression, using unbiased genetic screens (Collier, Zhang).  An emerging sub-focus is the study and imaging of the unique metabolism of cancer cells and tumors (Ahmad, Alexander, Cryns, Pagliarini, Skala, Yen).   With the realization that tumor development and growth can be suppressed or promoted by the tumor microenvironment, several group leaders are focused on immune, metabolic or physiologic interactions of tumor cells (Arendt, Asimakopoulos, Miyamoto).  The approaches vary from nanometer scale analysis of molecular regulation of phosphatases (Xing) to the assembly of rodent models of human breast, head and neck and cervical tumors (Alexander, Arendt, Asimokopolous, Lambert, Zhang).   Our investigators are interested in many specific tumor types, from head and neck tumors (Kimple, Lambert, Wheeler) to breast tumors (Alarid, Alexander, Arendt, Cryns, Schuler, Wheeler, Xu), to cervical (Lambert) and prostate cancer (Marker), melanoma (Ahmad, Setaluri) and tumors of the hematopoietic lineage (Asimakopoulos, Bresnick, Miyamoto, Rui, Zhang).  For students interested in translational aspects, many groups are developing therapeutic strategies for specific tumor types, suppressing graft-versus-host disease and developing novel imaging modalities for screening patient responses (Capitini, Fowler, Wheeler).

Headshot of Caroline Alexander

Focus Group Chair Caroline Alexander
Oncology Department
Mammary tumor cell biology

Focus Group Members

Paul Ahlquist

Oncology Department

Molecular mechanisms of virus replication, gene expression and host interactions

Nihal Ahmad

Dermatology Department

Mechanism of cancer development & novel approaches for cancer management

Elaine Alarid

Oncology Department

Molecular mechanisms of steroid hormone action

Richard Anderson

Medical School Dean's Office

Molecular and cellular signaling and cancer

Lisa Arendt

Comparative Biosciences Department

Obesity, breast cancer, mouse models

Fotis Asimakopoulos

Medicine Department

Immunobiology and immunotherapy of multiple myeloma

Anjon Audhya

Biomolecular Chemistry Department

Mechanisms of membrane trafficking; live cell imaging techniques

Emery Bresnick

Cell & Regenerative Biology Department

Normal and malignant hematopoiesis; epigenetics; molecular medicine

Mark Burkard

Medicine Department

Mitotic kinase function and cancer

Christian Capitini

Pediatrics Department

Adoptive cell therapies (NK cell and CAR T cell infusions), Bone marrow transplant, GVHD

Lara Collier

Pharmacy Department

Genetic approaches to studying cancer initiation, progression, and therapy resistance

Michael Cox

Biochemistry Department

Genetic recombination and DNA repair

Vincent Cryns

Medicine Department

Mechanisms of cell death in disease

Heidi Dvinge

Biomolecular Chemistry Department

Mechanisms and functional consequences of RNA mis-splicing in cancer.

Amy Fowler

Radiology Department

Molecular imaging of steroid receptors in breast cancer

Anne Griep

Cell & Regenerative Biology Department

Molecular regulation of mammalian eye development

Troy Hornberger

Comparative Biosciences Department

Mechanotransduction and the regulation of skeletal muscle mass

Joan Jorgensen

Comparative Biosciences Department

Transcriptional control of gonad development

Rob Kalejta

Oncology Department

Manipulation of the cell cycle by Human Cylomegalovirus

Randall Kimple

Human Oncology Department

HPV associated cancers; therapeutic resistance in cancer

Pamela Kreeger

Biomedical Engineering Department

Systems biology experiments and modeling for human cancers

Paul Lambert

Oncology Department

Molecular genetics of papillomaviruses

Dudley Lamming

Medicine Department

Regulation of metabolism by nutrient signaling pathways

Peter Lewis

Biomolecular Chemistry Department

Chromatin dynamics in cancer

Paul Marker

Pharmacy Department

Biology of the prostate gland at the molecular level

Douglas McNeel

Medicine Department

Development of immunological treatments, and vaccines in particular, that can eradicate prostate cancer

Janet Mertz

Oncology Department

Epstein-Barr virus, estrogen-related receptors, and cancer

Shigeki Miyamoto

Oncology Department

Regulatory mechanisms of Rel/NF-kappaB transcription factors

Zachary Morris

Human Oncology

Radiotherapy to immune-modulate tumor microenvironments

David Pagliarini

Biochemistry Department

Mitochondrial biogenesis and metabolism; cell signaling; proteomics

Alan Rapraeger

Human Oncology Department

Regulation of tumor proliferation, invasion and survival by adhesion receptor signaling mechanisms

Avtar Roopra

Neuroscience Department

Regulation of chromatin structure in neurons and cancer

Lixin Rui

Medicine Department

Molecular pathogenesis of lymphoma

Linda Schuler

Comparative Biosciences Department

Prolactin-related hormones: Signal transduction, receptor trafficking, and role in breast cancer

David Schwartz

Chemistry Department

Structural variation in mammalian genomes

Nathan Sherer

Oncology Department

Cell biology of HIV replication

Ahna Skop

Genetics Department

Role of mRNAs in cell division and pluripotency; Neurodegeneration

Vijay Setaluri

Dermatology Department

Cell and molecular biology of skin in health and disease

Melissa Skala

Biomedical Engineering Department

Metabolism, cancer, microscopy

Paul Sondel

Pediatrics Department

Clinical immunotherapy of cancer and tumor immunology

Robert Striker

Medicine Department

Role of immune imbalance (CD4/CD8 ratio) in viral infections and disease

Randal Tibbetts

Human Oncology Department

DNA repair; gene expression; neurodegeneration; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Beth Weaver

Cell & Regenerative Biology Department

Mitosis, chromosome segregation, aneuploidy and cancer

Deric Wheeler

Human Oncology Department

Mechanisms of resistance to targeted therapies

Yongna Xing

Oncology Department

Cell signaling related to caner, structural biology, biochemistry, proteomics

Wei Xu

Oncology Department

Epigenetic control of estrogen receptor (ER) regulated transcription

Eric Yen

Nutritional Sciences Department

Intestine, assimilation of dietary fat, and energy balance

Jing Zhang

Oncology Department

Hematopoietic stem cell, leukemic stem cell, cytokine signaling