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
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
      Assistant Professor, Department of Human Genetics, 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
                                                            Associate Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
                                                              Michael Rossi, PhD
                                                              Assistant Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, 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
                                                                                    Assistant 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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