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Basic Sciences Research Division

Basic Science Research Division - Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University The Basic Sciences Research Division of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University includes faculty who investigate all aspects of cell function from misappropriated extracellular matrix to nuclear transcription factors, from biomaterials to cutting edge imaging techniques, and from prognostics, diagnostics, to therapeutics.

The mission of the Basic Science Research Division is to foster programs that lead to fundamental discoveries in cancer biology, and in cooperation with clinical programs, translate these discoveries into the development of new diagnostics and therapeutics. This mission will be accomplished through the research and activities of four programs: Cancer Epigenetics and Nuclear Dynamics (CEND); Tumor Environment and Metastasis (TEAM); Membranes, Organelles, and Metabolism (MOM); Cancer and Physical Sciences (CAPS).

This Division is led by Kathleen Green, PhD. If you would like more information call the Basic Sciences Research Division at 312.503.4525 or e-mail

Research Programs & Themes
Research Icon Cancer Epigenetics and Nuclear Dynamics (CEND) - View Members
  • Investigate the organization and dynamics of the genome and how these processes are altered in cancer.
  • Investigate epigenetic mechanisms that regulate chromatin structure and function and RNA structure and function.
  • Investigate non-coding RNAs and their functions as regulators of gene expression and how their activities are linked to cancer.
  • Elucidate the molecular mechanism of gene expression with particular emphasis on transcriptional regulation and mRNA processing.

Research Icon Tumor Environment and Metastasis (TEAM) - View Members
  • Determine how cells interact with each other and their matrix, and better understand adhesion-mediated and mechanically-transduced signaling events.
  • Investigate the contribution of tumor environment including matrix assembly, matrix stiffness, proteinases, and immune systems that modulate invasion and metastasis.
  • Understand the molecular mechanisms that control epithelial-mesenchymal transitions and regulate tumor cell motility and invasiveness.
  • Develop therapeutic strategies to target molecules and pathways that promote metastasis, angiogenesis, and therapeutic resistance.

Research Icon Membranes, Organelles, and Metabolism (MOM) - View Members
  • Investigate how signal transduction pathways initiated from plasma membrane and organelles are integrated in cancer cells to promote tumorigenesis.
  • Determine how cells utilize metabolic pathways to dictate cell proliferation, metabolic adaptation, and gene expression thereby modulating tumor growth.
  • Understand the molecular mechanisms by which pathogens disrupt and/or utilize host signaling pathways to stimulate cancer cell proliferation.
  • Elucidate the mechanisms by which cancer cells activate stress responses (e.g. hypoxic, heat shock, sirtuins) to support tumor growth.  

Research Icon Cancer and Physical Sciences (CAPS) - View Members
  • Study fundamental mechanisms and identify molecular pathways that control growth, differentiation and oncogenesis by physical science methods;
  • Develop novel diagnostic agents and techniques that facilitate early detection of cancer and that can be coupled with therapy;
  • Discover and develop new classes of therapeutic agents that exhibit low systemic toxicity and target factors involved in growth and differentiation of neoplastic cells.