Schiffman Lab


Working to Understand Who Develops Cancer and Why

The Schiffman Lab studies pediatric hereditary cancer syndromes, with a special interest in genetic susceptibility to childhood cancers. Our research investigates molecular changes in childhood cancers, as well as the germline genetic variation that gives rise to childhood tumors. It is our goal to find out who gets cancer and why, so that we can develop ways to better predict, prevent, and treat cancer in the clinic.

Our Approach

All of our studies include the perspective of evolutionary (Darwinian) medicine, with a focus on comparative oncology to identify universal drivers of cancer risk and development. By examining the genetics of cancer in our animal relatives alongside our own, we offer a dynamic and creative approach to translational genomics. Working with collaborators from all over the country and the world, we’re able to study cancer in people, dogs, and elephants. This transdisciplinary approach continues to yield new and exciting results.

Comparative Oncology

Areas of Study

p53 Studies

  • p53 and Li-Fraumeni Syndrome
  • Elephant p53

Ewing Sarcoma

  • What Is Ewing Sarcoma?
  • Genetic Predispositions for Ewing Sarcoma (Project GenESis)
  • The Genetics of Ewing Sarcoma Tumors

Cancer in the Population

News & Blog

Huntsman Cancer Institute Researchers Share Expertise at National Cancer Meeting
Health Care Transformation, Clinical, Research, Education
Apr 11, 2017

Huntsman Cancer Institute Researchers Share Expertise at National Cancer Meeting

Huntsman Cancer Institute,

More than 20 researchers from Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah made their mark on the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting this year. Held in Washington, D.C., the convention drew more than 21,500 cancer researchers from all over the world. Scientists attended sessions on topics from immunotherapy to precision medicine. About 15 researchers from HCI presented posters in the main conference hall, on a wide range of topics. ... Read More

Why Elephants Rarely Get Cancer
Health Care Transformation, Research, Education
Oct 08, 2015

Why Elephants Rarely Get Cancer

Huntsman Cancer Institute,

Why elephants rarely get cancer is a mystery that has stumped scientists for decades. A study led by researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah and Arizona State University, and including researchers from the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation, may have found the answer.... Read More

Mary Beckerle
Joshua Schiffman, MD
Principal Investigator
Cancer Center Bio

Contact Us

For any and all questions, or to find out how you can get involved, please email