Cancer Biology Program: Additional Information

The Cancer Biology program focuses on fundamental mechanisms in cancer development and progression with the long-term aim of promoting the translation of novel therapies.

Our membership covers a broad spectrum of inquiry into the mechanisms of cancer progression, including genomic and mRNA regulation, signal transduction, intracellular trafficking, cell polarity, metastasis and basic mechanisms of growth, invasion and survival. Our investigators begin by utilizing a variety of tools to ask basic science questions about the initiation and progression of cancer (including model organisms and high-throughput techniques) and continue on through the pre-clinical application of these discoveries using mouse-modeling.

We also approach discovery through tissue-focused thematic areas, including breast, ovarian and prostate cancer. Through robust intra- and inter-programmatic collaborations, our membership is delving into the causes and cures for cancer.

Program Goals:

The Specific Aims of the Cancer Biology Program are as follows:

1. To investigate mechanisms of cancer development and progression

2. To characterize cellular mechanisms that control cancer metastasis

3. To identify regulatory pathways as potential targets for prevention and intervention

Cancer Biology Program Meetings:

The Cancer Biology Program has a number of keynote lectures, symposia, mini-symposia, workshops and working groups to carry out our mission of discovery and translation. 

Danny Brower Memorial Lecture

In the Fall of 2007, our dear friend and colleague Danny Brower passed away unexpectedly. Danny was an inspiration to many, not only for his spirit and intellect, but also his ability to see the great potential and many connections between basic and translational science. To honor his memory and his goal of bridging the gap between these two fields, the Cancer Biology and Genetics Program at the University of Arizona Cancer Center has created this annual lecture.

Invited speakers are leaders in their respective fields and apply their knowledge of basic science to understanding cancer biology. The speaker also presents their perspectives on the role of basic science in understanding cancer biology and future directions in the field.

Highlighting an internationally recognized leader in the field of cancer biology.

2009 Matt Scott, PhD., HHMI, Stanford University

2010/11 Elaine Fuchs, PhD., HHMI, Rockefeller University. 

2012 Inder Verma, PhD, The Salk Institute. October 25, 2012

2013  Joan S. Brugge, PhD, Harvard Medical School. February 11, 2013


Our annual symposium is focused on a broad topic in cancer biology, bringing together clinicians and basic scientists actively engaged in different aspects of the topic. It is the goal of these symposia to engage our scientific community in broad-ranging discussions on the topic of interest, increase collaborations across the cancer center programs and promote translational opportunities through interactions with clinicians.

Spring 2012

 “Modelling Cancer in Drosophila - Apico-basal Cell Polarity Regulators in Prliferation, Survival and Tumourigenesis”, Keynote by Helena Richardson, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Victoria, Australia, March 12, 2012.


These disease-centered meetings are designed to focus our research community on the clinical realities of a particular cancer subtype, bring together our basic scientists and provide interactions and feedback for our PIs, postdocs, graduate students and residents. 

2011: ‘Prostate Cancer”, by Anne Cress, Ph.D and Mitchell Sokoloff, M.D.

2012: 'Bi-directional Collaboration for translational Research: Success Stories where Ovarian Cancer Biology Meets Novel Imaging Approaches" by Setsuko Chambers, PhD, MD, Art Gmitro, PhD, Marty Pagel, PhD, and Amanda Baker, PhD


Designed to highlight shared services available at the cancer center from which our members can benefit. The University of Arizona Cancer Center has an incredible resource of shared services that can enhance the cancer focus of our basic scientists and promote their eventual translation. 

2010: “Mouse Modeling”, by Tom Doetschman, PhD, Natalia Ignatenko, PhD and Marty Pagel, PhD

Working Groups

We have a number of focused working groups to promote collaborative efforts. To enhance these interactions, the CB program schedules meetings, invites external speakers, and provides administrative support. Current working groups include the following:

(1) Breast Cancer Bone Metastasis

(2) Targeting EGFR in Breast Cancer Metastasis

(3) Polarity: alterations and cancer progression

(4) Ovarian Cancer