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New Leadership in Tumor Invasion, Metastasis & Angiogenesis Research Program

Chonghui Cheng, MD

Hidayatullah Munshi, MD

Cancer biologist Chonghui Cheng, MD, PhD, has been named leader of the Tumor Invasion, Metastasis and Angiogenesis (TIMA) Program at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, effective March 1.

In addition, medical oncologist Hidayatullah Munshi, MD, will serve as TIMA co-leader, where he will focus on translational research initiatives. Munshi will join developmental biologist Carole LaBonne, PhD, Professor of Molecular Biosciences at the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, in co-leading the TIMA Program.

Part of the Lurie Cancer Center’s Basic Sciences Research Division, TIMA includes both basic research and clinical scientists with the common goal of determining the individual cellular and molecular processes that underlie metastatic disease.

TIMA Program members are highly interactive both intra- and inter-programmatically, participating in a number of joint basic and translational research initiatives. As the vast majority of cancer patient mortality is attributable to metastatic disease, the TIMA Program’s overall objective is to elucidate the fundamental mechanisms that drive tumor metastasis and to translate these findings into the clinical setting as novel diagnostic or therapeutic approaches for the inhibition of tumor metastasis and angiogenesis.

“Chonghui is a great scientist and she will be a strong leader for TIMA. Munshi has made major contributions to the TIMA program in the past.  Appointing him as a co-leader focusing on translational initiatives is part of our efforts to strengthen the translational capabilities of our basic science programs under the leadership of Kathy Green,” said Lurie Cancer Center Director, Leonidas Platanias, MD, PhD.

An Assistant Professor of Medicine in Hematology / Oncology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Dr. Cheng’s research is focused on investigating the biological components and pathways that control tumor metastasis and recurrence -- the two major obstacles in the successful treatment of cancer.

Cheng received her MD from Peking University in Beijing, China and her PhD in Biochemistry from Sloan Kettering Institute.  Prior to joining Northwestern in 2007, Cheng did her postdoctoral training with Nobel Laureate Phillip Sharp at the MIT Center for Cancer Research. Cheng replaces Kathleen Green, PhD, Joseph L. Mayberry, Sr., Professor of Pathology and Toxicology, and Professor of Dermatology at the Feinberg School of Medicine, who was recently named Associate Director for Basic Sciences Research at the Lurie Cancer Center.

Munshi, an Associate Professor of Medicine in Hematology/Oncology at Feinberg, has focused his research on the role of the pronounced collagen-rich fibrotic reaction present in pancreatic cancer, and studying the development of treatment strategies. Munshi has been a faculty member at Feinberg for more than a decade. He earned his MD at Harvard Medical School in 1996 before completing residency at the University of Washington Medical Center and fellowships at University of Michigan Health System and the McGaw Medical Center at Northwestern.

“I have worked closely with both Chonghui and Munshi in their capacity as TIMA members and as active participants in our cancer education programs. They are both terrific scientists and leaders, and I am thrilled to be working with them in their new roles in TIMA.  The trio of Cheng, Munshi and LaBonne make a powerful leadership group that will take TIMA’s efforts to address the important problem of cancer metastasis to the next level,” Green said.

(Last updated on January 23, 2015 )