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In-Residence Labs and Groups

Cancer research teams housed at Huntsman Cancer Institute

View the complete directory of Cancer Center members

Ayer Lab

The Ayer lab is interested in the transcriptional control of cellular proliferation and how these controls are subverted in human malignancy.

Donald Ayer, PhD

Ayer Lab

Basham Lab

The Basham Lab conducts scientific research that contributes to the understanding of how cancer begins in order to develop new therapeutic strategies. We are committed to creating an inclusive and collaborative laboratory environment that advances the training and career development of all members.

Katie Basham, PhD

Basham Lab

Beckerle Lab

The primary focus of our laboratory's research is examining how cells modulate their behavior in response to both extrinsic and intrinsic signals. This process of signal integration has profound effects on cell migration, morphology, and function—behaviors that, when aberrant, can lead to cancer and other diseases.

Mary C. Beckerle, PhD

Beckerle Lab

Bernard Lab

The Bernard Lab at Huntsman Cancer Institute is developing new strategies for the classification, detection, and treatment of cancer

Phil Bernard, MD

Bernard Lab

Cairns Lab

We are interested in the molecular logic of totipotency—the ability of germ line stem cells and early embryos to become any type of cell. Within this broad and important question, we focus on how chromatin structure and epigenetics helps regulate gene transcription in the germ line and early embryos. We also examine how chromatin/epigenetics is misregulated in cancers.

Bradley R. Cairns, PhD

Cairns Lab

Camp Lab

The main focus of research in the Camp Lab is the identification of germ-line genetic variants that increase susceptibility to disease, with specific interests in breast cancer, chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and multiple myeloma (MM).

Nicola J. Camp, PhD

Camp Lab

Center for Cancer Genetics

For decades, geneticists working in Utah have made seminal contributions to the field of cancer predisposition genetics. In late 2019, the creation of the Center for Cancer Genetics (C4CG) at Huntsman Cancer Institute continues our leadership through comprehensive translation of cancer susceptibility gene discoveries to the clinic and to the population.

Sean V. Tavtigian, PhD

Center for Cancer Genetics

Center for HOPE

The Center for Health Outcomes and Population Equity (HOPE) serves as an infrastructure and bridge between scientists and community organizations (e.g., health care, government, education, nonprofits, faith based, social services, tribal) throughout Utah and the Mountain West.

David Wetter, PhD, MS

Center for HOPE

Chandrasekharan Lab

The Chandrasekharan Lab’s focus is to understand the regulation and functions of epigenetic histone modifications and protein homeostasis (proteostasis) mechanisms during gene regulation and genome maintenance, and their therapeutic targeting in cancers.

Mahesh B. Chandrasekharan, PhD

Chandrasekharan Lab

Cheshier lab

The Cheshier lab focuses on enhanced immunotherapy treatment of malignant pediatric brain tumors and understanding the treatment’s molecular mechanism.

Samuel Cheshier, MD PhD

Cheshier lab

Curtin Group

The Curtin Group has a broad range of research interests which include age-related macular degeneration and co-segregating diseases, epigenetics in cancer, cancer epidemiology with emphasis on colorectal cancer, environmental pollution, and gene-environment interaction.

Karen Curtin, PhD, MStat

Curtin Group

Doherty Lab

Our research focuses on the molecular and genomic epidemiology of ovarian and lung cancers.

Jennifer Doherty, MS, PhD

Doherty Lab

Edgar Lab

Our research focuses on the mechanisms that control cell growth and proliferation in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster.

Bruce A. Edgar, PhD

Edgar Lab

Evason Lab

The overarching goal of the Evason laboratory is to investigate mechanisms involved in liver Tumorigenesis in order to develop improved therapies to treat this deadly cancer.

Kimberley J. Evason, MD, PHD

Evason Lab

Gaffney Lab

Our team looks at control and response in mycosis fungoides patients and in patients treated in the post-autologous stem cell transplant setting.

David K. Gaffney, MD, PhD

Gaffney Lab

Gertz Lab Research

The Gertz Lab develops and applies experimental methods that take advantage of next-generation sequencing to create high-resolution maps of gene regulatory networks.

Jason Gertz, PhD

Gertz Lab

Graves Lab

Our lab uses biochemical, biophysical, and molecular biology approaches to investigate how sequence-specific DNA binding transcription factors regulate gene expression.

Barbara J. Graves, PhD

Graves Lab

Grossman, Doug Lab

Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer, given its propensity to metastasize. Our work is focused on understanding how particular genes promote (or inhibit) the development and progression of melanoma and to use this knowledge to develop novel strategies for reducing melanoma risk in susceptible individuals.

Douglas Grossman, MD, PhD

Grossman, Doug Lab

Grossman, Allie

Our laboratory focuses on understanding mechanisms of cancer progression and developing clinical interventions. Our goals are to 1) uncover novel mechanisms of tumorigenesis and metastasis, 2) identify biomarkers that prognosticate disease progression or predict treatment response and 3) collaborate with industry to develop new therapies for the prevention and treatment of cancer progression.

Allie Grossmann, MD, PhD

Allie Grossman Lab

Hashibe Group

Our research is focused on the molecular and global epidemiology of cancers of the head and neck, thyroid, endometrium, ovary, lung, testis, and colorectum.

Mia Hashibe, PhD

Hashibe Group

Holmen Lab

The Holmen Lab is focused on defining critical targets in cancer cells that can become the focus for therapeutic intervention.

Sheri Holmen, PhD

Holmen Lab

Hu-Lieskovan’s Lab

Dr. Hu-Lieskovan’s laboratory uses cutting-edge technologies to investigate mechanisms of resistance to immunotherapy, develop novel combination strategies to overcome resistance, improve efficacy, and monitor and prevent immunotherapy-induced toxicities.

Siwen Hu-Lieskovan, PhD, MD

Hu-Lieskovan’s Lab

Jensen Lab

The Jensen Lab is interested in both benign and malignant brain tumor angiogenesis, biology, and developing novel treatment and imaging modalities for these tumors.

Randy L. Jensen, MD, PhD

Jensen Lab

Johnson Lab

The Skyler Johnson Research Lab is focused on health services research, specifically cancer patient treatment decision making, cancer misinformation, alternative and complementary treatment use, cancer outcomes, and survivorship.

Skyler B. Johnson, MD

Johnson Lab

Judson-Torres Lab

The Judson-Torres Lab investigates how the interplay between the initial transcriptional state of a normal cell, acquired genetic mutations, and extracellular signaling contributes to cancer initiation and progression.

Robert L. Judson-Torres, PhD

Judson-Torres Lab

Kaphingst Lab

The goal of the Kaphingst research program is to develop effective cancer and genetic communication approaches for the clinical translation of genomic information.

Kimberly Kaphingst, ScD

Kaphingst Lab

K. B. Jones Lab

The K. B. Jones Lab is directed by and supports Dr. Jones as he provides care to patients of all ages with bone and soft-tissue sarcomas, performing surgery to remove the cancers and reconstruct the limbs or body wall. 

Kevin B Jones, MD

K. B. Jones Lab

Kepka Group

The Kepka group is engaged in population science research that addresses health disparities related to cancer risk in vulnerable populations. Our goals are to drive quality improvement and increase access to primary health care services for cancer prevention and control among minority and underserved populations.

Deanna Kepka, PhD, MPH, MA

Kepka Group

Kinsey Lab

The Kinsey Laboratory is interested in combining targeted therapies with autophagy inhibition in pancreatic and gastrointestinal cancers for rapid translation to patients.

Conan G. Kinsey, MD, PhD

Kinsey Lab

Kirchhoff Research Group

The Kirchhoff Research Group has a collective goal of understanding and improving the health of pediatric, adolescent, and young adult cancer survivors.

Anne Kirchhoff, PhD

Kirchhoff Research Group

McMahon Lab

Research in the McMahon Lab focuses on the importance of RAS effectors, such as the RAF family of protein kinases and phosphoinositide 3’ (PI3’)-kinases in the aberrant physiology of cancer cells.

Martin McMahon, PhD

McMahon Lab

Mendoza Lab

The Mendoza Lab is using recent advances in proteomics and quantitative imaging to understand how extracellular signals impinge on cytoskeletal dynamics and how oncogenic pathway hyperactivation impacts cancer invasion.

Michelle C. Mendoza, PhD

Mendoza Lab

Mooney Lab

The Mooney lab focuses on research that links cancer control with behavioral science. We work to understand and reduce cancer morbidity and use that understanding to develop treatments for related physical and psychosocial symptoms. Our intent is to improve patient-reported outcomes (PROs).

Kathleen Mooney, PhD, RN, FAAN

Mooney Lab

Myers Lab

In multicellular organisms, cell-cell communication is tightly controlled to ensure proper development and prevent diseases such as cancer. Our lab studies a key aspect of this process: how extracellular signals are transmitted across the membrane to the cell interior. ​

Ben Myers, PhD

Myers Lab

Neklason Lab

The Neklason lab is focused on studying genes and pathways involved in familial colorectal cancers syndromes.

Deborah Neklason, PhD

Neklason Lab

Schiffman Lab

The Schiffman Lab studies pediatric hereditary cancer syndromes, with a special interest in genetic susceptibility to childhood cancers.

Joshua D. Schiffman, MD

Schiffman Lab

Snyder Lab

The Snyder Lab's overall goal is to determine how the loss of cellular identity and acquisition of alternative differentiation states contributes to cancer progression and alters therapeutic response.

Eric Snyder, MD, PhD

Snyder Lab

Spike Lab

In the Spike Lab, we are interested in questions at the intersection of stem cells, development, and cancer.

Benjamin T. Spike, PhD

Spike Lab

Stewart Lab

Our laboratory is interested in how genetic programs governing embryonic development are exploited during cancer initiation and progression.

Rodney Stewart, PhD, MPhil

Stewart Lab

Suneja Lab

The Suneja Lab seeks to ensure the highest quality cancer care is accessible and equitably delivered to all patients. Current areas of focus include disparities in cancer treatment and outcomes in people with HIV, radiation oncology workforce diversity, short course gynecologic radiotherapy, impact of COVID on cancer treatment in vulnerable populations, and HIV-mediated differences in tumor microenvironments.

Gita Suneja, MD, MS

Suneja Lab

Tavtigian Lab

Research in the Tavtigian Lab concentrates on two areas of genetic susceptibility to cancer: 1) Identification and characterization of intermediate-risk and high-risk cancer susceptibility genes, and 2) analysis of unclassified variants that are observed during the clinical testing of established high-risk cancer susceptibility genes.

Sean V. Tavtigian, PhD

Tavtigian Lab

Ullman Lab

The Ullman Lab studies the coordination of cell division, with a particular focus on how assembly of nuclear architecture is integrated with other events of cell division.

Katharine S. Ullman, PhD

Ullman Lab

Ulrich Group

The Ulrich Group investigates genetic and lifestyle factors in the formation and prognosis of cancer with focus on colorectal cancer. In addition Dr. Ulrich focuses on prevention strategies with NSAIDs, with pharmacogenetics, nutrition, exercise and cancer, as well as connections between obesity, adipose tissue, and the progress of cancer.

Neli Ulrich, MS, PhD

Ulrich Group

VanBrocklin Lab

The VanBrocklin Lab is interested in identifying novel molecular targets vital for tumor growth and progression and validating these candidates in pre-clinical models in order to develop rational pharmacological intervention strategies for melanoma and NSCLC patients

Matthew VanBrocklin, PhD

VanBrocklin Lab

Varley Lab

Our projects involve the development of new molecular methods and bioinformatics approaches to explore the cancer genome and translate our discoveries into clinical tools that improve patient care.

Katherine E. Varley, PhD

Varley Lab

Welm Labs

The Welm labs conduct basic and translational cancer research focused on improving outcomes for breast cancer patients through rigorous, multi-disciplinary, collaborative research.

Alana L. Welm, PhD and Bryan E. Welm, PhD

Welm Labs

Wu Team

The Wu Team has a shared goal of improving outcomes for children, adolescents, young adults who are affected by cancer, as well as for their families.

Yelena Wu, PhD

Wu Team

Young Lab

The Young Lab is dedicated to investigating strategies that modify the immune response to improve both treatment safety and efficacy for patients.

Arabella Young, PhD

Young Lab