Cancer Cell Biology

The Cancer Cell Biology research program at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University studies the changes in biological function of human cells as a result of cell transformation.

The Cancer Cell Biology research program at Winship Cancer Institute encompasses a tightly knit team of scientists grouped around the central theme of tumor cell energy, survival, and cell communication and adhesion.

The program focuses on inter- and intra-cellular signaling modulated by the tumor microenvironment, and its ramifications for the development of prevention, prediction, biomarker and therapeutic target discovery and drug development. It is a program centered on cancer biology, with broad-based applications to many forms of solid and liquid tumors.

The primary themes of the Cancer Cell Biology program are (1) cell survival and death mechanisms, and (2) tumor-stromal interactions. The themes reflect a major emphasis on translating novel basic science investigations to clinical applications. The program discovers novel intra-tumoral signaling pathway components, deciphers cross-talk between the tumor and stromal cells, evaluates their impact on cancer cell behavior, and identifies potential new targets and biomarkers that can be exploited for tumor detection through imaging. Discoveries are prioritized for further development as novel clinically validated biomarkers, therapeutic agents or clinical imaging modalities in conjunction with the Discovery and Developmental Therapeutics and Cancer Prevention and Control programs.


Led by Erwin Van Meir, PhD, and Lawrence Boise, PhD, the Cancer Cell Biology program includes thirty-eight members from fourteen academic departments from the Emory University School of Medicine.

The overall goal of the Cancer Cell Biology program is to understand the cancer signalosome and how it directs the abnormal cell biology that leads to cancer formation.

The program expands on our knowledge of existing cancer signaling pathways and identifies new signaling pathways. Critical nodes and junction points contained in these signaling pathways can lead to the development of novel targets, targeting agents, biomarkers and imaging modalities for cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis and follow-up.

The objectives of the Cancer Cell Biology program are:

  • To understand the mechanism by which cancer cells escape physiological signals leading to cell death and to understand the vulnerabilities of cancer cells to death induction by therapeutic agents.
  • To identify key mediators of tumor-stromal interactions that permit primary tumor growth and metastasis at distant sites.
  • To decipher cross-talk between tumors cells and stromal cells.
  • To discover novel tumoral signaling pathway components that impact tumor adhesion, communication, invasion and metastasis.
  • To translate basic science discoveries to reduce the burden of cancer in the clinic.

Cancer Cell Biology program members continuously publish high-quality research in premier scientific journals.

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PublicationsPublication Date

To learn more about the Cancer Cell Biology research program at Winship Cancer Institute, please contact Lawrence Boise, PhD at (404) 778-4724.

Visit the Emory University's Cancer Biology Graduate Program website to learn about outstanding training opportunities in every aspect of cancer research, from basic to translational.

Photo of  Erwin G. Van Meir, PhD
Erwin G. Van Meir, PhD

Erwin G. Van Meir, PhD

Leader, Cancer Cell Biology Research Program, and Director, Laboratory for Molecular Neuro-Oncology
Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University

Dr. Van Meir directs the Laboratory of Molecular Neuro-Oncology and participates in a multidisciplinary neuro-oncology team that designs new approaches for brain tumor therapy.

Photo of  Lawrence Boise, PhD
Lawrence Boise, PhD

Lawrence Boise, PhD

Professor and Vice Chair for Basic Research, Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology
Emory University School of Medicine

Dr. Boise is a renowned researcher in the area of multiple myeloma.

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Leon Bernal-Mizrachi, MD
Assistant Professor, Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
    Lawrence Boise, PhD
    Professor and Vice Chair for Basic Research, Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
      Daniel J. Brat, MD, PhD
      Director, Cancer Tissue and Pathology Shared Resource, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
        Kevin Bunting, PhD
        Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Hematology and Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
          Robert Craig Castellino, MD
          Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine
            Jing Chen, PhD
            Professor, Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
              Inyeong Choi, PHD
              Associate Professor, Department of Physiology, Emory University School of Medicine
                Cynthia Cohen, MD
                Professor, Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
                  Max D. Cooper, MD
                  Professor, Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
                    Jun Fan, PhD
                    Assistant Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
                      Yue Feng, MD, PhD
                      Professor, Department of Pharmacology, Emory University School of Medicine
                        Melissa Gilbert-Ross, PhD
                        Director, Cancer Animal Models Shared Resource, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
                          Kelly C. Goldsmith, MD
                          Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine
                            Hans E. Grossniklaus, MD, MBA
                            Director, Section of Ocular Oncology and Pathology, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
                              Vikas A. Gupta, MD, PhD
                              Instructor, Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
                                David Gutman, MD, PhD
                                Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Informatics, Emory University School of Medicine
                                  Dolores Hambardzumyan, PhD
                                  Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine
                                    Curtis Henry, PhD
                                    Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine
                                      Cimona V. Hinton, PhD
                                      Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Clark Atlanta University
                                        David L. Jaye, MD
                                        Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
                                          Yi Jiang, PhD
                                          Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Physics, Emory University
                                            Dean Jones, PhD
                                            Professor, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, Department of Medicine , Emory University School of Medicine
                                              Tongzhong Ju, MD, PhD
                                              Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry , Emory University School of Medicine
                                                Richard A. Kahn, PhD, MS
                                                Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                  Stefan Kaluz, PhD
                                                  Instructor, Department of Neurosurgery, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                    Sumin Kang, PhD
                                                    Assistant Professor, Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                      Anna M. Kenney, PhD
                                                      Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                        Jun Kong, PhD, MS
                                                        Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Informatics , Emory University
                                                          Andrew P. Kowalczyk, PhD
                                                          Professor, Departments of Cell Biology and Dermatology, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                            Wilbur Lam, MD, PhD
                                                            Assistant Professor, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                              J. David Lambeth, MD, PhD
                                                              Professor, Department of Pathology, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                                Soojung Lee, PhD
                                                                Instructor, Department of Physiology, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                                  Xiao-Jiang Li, MD, PhD, MS
                                                                  Professor, Department of Human Genetics, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                                    Tobey J. MacDonald, MD
                                                                    Director, Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Program, Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center
                                                                      Adam Marcus, PhD
                                                                      Director, Integrated Cellular Imaging Shared Resource, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
                                                                        Kenneth H. Moberg, PhD
                                                                        Associate Professor, Department of Cell Biology, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                                          Edward S. Mocarski, PhD
                                                                          Robert W. Woodruff Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                                            Rita Nahta, PhD
                                                                            Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                                              David C. Pallas, PhD
                                                                              Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                                                Cheng-Kui Qu, MD, PhD
                                                                                Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                                                  Renee Read, PhD
                                                                                  Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                                                    Khalid Salaita, PhD
                                                                                    Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, Emory University
                                                                                      Alessandra C. Schmitt, MD
                                                                                      Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                                                        Robert Schnepp, MD, PhD
                                                                                        William G. Woods, MD, Aflac Clinical Investigator Chair, Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center
                                                                                          Nicholas T. Seyfried, PhD
                                                                                          Director, Emory Integrated Proteomics Core, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                                                            Malathy Shanmugam, PhD, MS
                                                                                            Assistant Professor, Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                                                              Hyunsuk Shim, PhD
                                                                                              Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                                                                Hui-Kuo Shu, MD, PhD
                                                                                                Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                                                                  Shi-Yong Sun, PhD
                                                                                                  Professor, Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                                                                    Erwin G. Van Meir, PhD
                                                                                                    Leader, Cancer Cell Biology Research Program, and Director, Laboratory for Molecular Neuro-Oncology, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
                                                                                                      Zhengqi Wang, PhD
                                                                                                      Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                                                                        Daqing Wu, PhD
                                                                                                        Assistant Professor, Department of Urology, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                                                                          Lily Yang, MD, PhD
                                                                                                          Professor, Surgery, and Radiology and Imaging Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                                                                            Xuebiao Yao, PhD
                                                                                                            Professor, Department of Physiology, Morehouse School of Medicine
                                                                                                              Chang-Hyon Chris Yun, PhD
                                                                                                              Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Digestive Diseases , Emory University School of Medicine
                                                                                                                Muxiang Zhou , MD
                                                                                                                Professor, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine
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