Cancer Genetics and Epigenetics

The goal of the Cancer Genetics and Epigenetics research program at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University is to better understand the fundamental mechanisms underlying genetic and epigenetic instability and its contribution to the initiation and progression of human tumors and to exploit these mechanisms to reduce cancer mortality.

A key long-term goal of the Cancer Genetics and Epigenetics research program is to interface with other components of the Winship Cancer Institute and its membership to define the genetic and epigenetic determinants of therapeutic response and clinical outcome, and to identify novel targets for therapeutic intervention.

The Cancer Genetics and Epigenetics research program accomplishes its goal through studies revolving around three inter-related and complementary thematic areas:

  • DNA damage and repair and genome instability;
  • epigenetics and gene regulation;
  • cancer genetics/genomics.

Discovery efforts have led to the identification of key genes whose mutation or altered expression contributes to cancer initiation and progression. Basic discoveries in the area of cancer epigenetics have prompted early small molecule screening efforts to identify novel targeted agents.


Led by Paula Vertino, PhD, and Jin-Tang Dong, PhD, the program comprises twenty-eight core members from thirteen academic departments and three schools at Emory University, including Emory College, the School of Medicine, and the School of Public Health, with coalition investigators from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Cancer Genetics and Epigenetics program members continuously publish high-quality research in premier scientific journals.

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PublicationsPublication Date

To learn more about the Cancer Genetics and Epigenetics research program at Winship Cancer Institute, please contact Paula Vertino, PhD at (404) 778-3119.

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  Paula M. Vertino, PhD
Paula M. Vertino, PhD

Paula M. Vertino, PhD

Leader, Cancer Genetics and Epigenetics Research Program
Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University

Dr. Vertino leads a research team focused in the area of cancer epigenetics. Their work seeks to better understand the fundamental mechanisms by which altered DNA methylation and chromatin dynamics contribute to human tumorigenesis.

Photo of  Jin-Tang Dong, PhD
Jin-Tang Dong, PhD

Jin-Tang Dong, PhD

Co-Leader, Cancer Genetics and Epigenetics Research Program
Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University

Dr. Dong's research interest is in the molecular pathogenesis of human cancer, with a focus on the identification of novel tumor suppressors and the discovery of novel molecular pathways.

Cascade Link
Rebecca S. Arnold, PhD, MS
Assistant Professor, Department of Urology, Emory University School of Medicine
    Cecelia A. Bellcross, PhD, MS, CGC
    Associate Professor, Department of Human Genetics, Emory University School of Medicine
      Jeremy M. Boss, PhD
      Professor and Chair, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Emory University School of Medicine
        Karen Conneely, PhD
        Associate Professor, Department of Human Genetics, Emory University School of Medicine
          Lee Cooper, PhD, MS
          Assistant Professor, Departments of Biomedical Informatics and Biomedical Engineering, Emory University School of Medicine
            Anita H. Corbett, PhD
            Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Emory University School of Medicine
              Gray Crouse, PhD
              Professor, Department of Biology, Emory University
                Natalya P. Degtyareva, PhD
                Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Emory University School of Medicine
                  Paul W. Doetsch, PhD
                  Associate Director for Basic Research, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
                    Jin-Tang Dong, PhD
                    Co-Leader, Cancer Genetics and Epigenetics Research Program, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
                      William S. Dynan, PhD
                      Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
                        Peng Jin, PhD
                        Professor, Department of Human Genetics, Emory University School of Medicine
                          David J. Katz, PhD
                          Assistant Professor, Department of Cell Biology, Emory University School of Medicine
                            Yonggang Ke, PhD
                            Assistant Professor, Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology
                              William G. Kelly, PhD
                              Professor, Department of Biology, Emory University
                                Haydn T. Kissick, PhD
                                Senior Research Associate, Division of Translational Research, Department of Urology, Emory University School of Medicine
                                  Alyssa Krasinskas, MD
                                  Professor, Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
                                    Uma Krishnamurti, MD, PhD
                                    Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
                                      Shuyi Li, MD, PhD
                                      Assistant Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
                                        Xiaoxian (Bill) Li, MD, PhD
                                        Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
                                          Kirill S. Lobachev, PhD, MS
                                          Associate Professor, School of Biology, Georgia Institute of Technology
                                            Zixu Mao, MD, PhD
                                            Professor, Department of Pharmacology, Emory University School of Medicine
                                              Morgan L. McLemore, MD
                                              Assistant Professor, Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                Carlos S. Moreno, PhD
                                                Associate Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                  Ilya Nemenman, PhD, MS
                                                  Associate Professor, Department of Biology, Emory University
                                                    Mihir R. Patel, MD
                                                    Assistant Professor, Department of Otolaryngology, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                      John A. Petros, MD
                                                      Professor and Associate Chair of Research, Department of Urology, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                        Brian P. Pollack, MD, PhD
                                                        Assistant Professor, Departments of Dermatology and Pathology, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                          Christopher C. Porter, MD
                                                          Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                            Maureen A. Powers, PhD
                                                            Associate Professor, Department of Cell Biology, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                              Zhaohui "Steve" Qin, PhD, MS
                                                              Associate Professor, Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University
                                                                Timothy D. Read, PhD
                                                                Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                                  M. Katharine Rudd, PhD
                                                                  Assistant Professor, Department of Human Genetics, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                                    Suma Shankar, MD, PhD
                                                                    Associate Professor, Department of Human Genetics, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                                      Alicia K. Smith, PhD
                                                                      Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                                        Samuel Speck, PhD
                                                                        Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                                          Paula M. Vertino, PhD
                                                                          Leader, Cancer Genetics and Epigenetics Research Program, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
                                                                            Ya Wang, PhD
                                                                            Director, Division of Experimental Radiation Oncology, Dept. of Radiation Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                                              Erica Werner, PhD
                                                                              Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                                                William R. Wilcox, MD, PhD
                                                                                Professor, Department of Human Genetics, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                                                  Keith D. Wilkinson, PhD
                                                                                  Professor and Vice-Chair, Department of Biochemistry, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                                                    Hao Wu, PhD, MHS, MS
                                                                                    Assistant Professor, Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                                                      David Yu, MD, PhD
                                                                                      Associate Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                                                        Linsheng Zhang, MD, PhD
                                                                                        Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                                                          Wei Zhou, PhD
                                                                                          Associate Professor, Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                                                            Michael E. Zwick, PhD
                                                                                            Director, Emory Integrated Genomics Core, Emory University School of Medicine
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