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Cancer Cell Biology

The Cancer Cell Biology (CCB) program of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center (RHLCCC) focuses on basic research in cell biology. This program's mission is to facilitate the creation and exchange of ideas within the cancer cell biology community and then work towards translation of these ideas. Members of this program directly stimulate the flow of fundamental cell-based insights into clinical cancer research.

Membership Roster

It was established because of the significant increase in strength in this research area at Northwestern University through hiring and growth of existing faculty. Richard Carthew, PhD, and Hiroaki Kiyokawa, MD, PhD, lead the program and are located on the Evanston and Chicago campus respectively. The leadership team was selected to complement each other's scientific and medical backgrounds, and to fully integrate the program over both Northwestern campuses.

One goal of this program is to increase the amount and quality of cancer research in cell biology at Northwestern by enhancing existing research efforts in this area. Another goal is to attract high quality basic researchers in emerging intellectual frontiers in cell biology to apply their approaches to unmet needs in the cancer research community. The program consists of 46 faculty representing eleven departments and three schools. Between August 2007 and July 2012, there were 250 cancer-relevant publications from the current CCB Program Members. Twenty-nine (11.6%) of these publications represent intra-programmatic collaborations and 105 (42%) of these publications represent inter-programmatic collaborations.

Total external funding is $19,011,895 (direct) with $2,255,204 (direct) from NCI; $10,986,664 (direct) from other NIH Institutes; and $1,406,092 (direct) from other peer reviewed funding agencies focusing on cancer research.

The research of program members falls into four broad areas: Regulation of protein synthesis with particular emphasis on genome organization and post-transcription control by non-coding RNAs; Post-translational regulation of protein activity and membrane movements; Mechanisms of cell fate determination; and animal models for carcinogenesis. These topics are fundamental to understanding control of cell growth and differentiation. Program members study how these mechanisms function normally and how that function goes awry during neoplastic transformation. An understanding of these mechanisms will lead to the development of new technologies to be used in cancer therapy and diagnostics.

The goals of the Cancer Cell Biology Program are to:

  1. Investigate the molecular mechanism of gene expression with particular emphasis on genome organization and post-transcriptional regulation, including mRNA stability, RNAi, translation, and protein turnover
  2. Investigate the mechanisms of intracellular membrane trafficking
  3. Investigate the molecular mechanisms of cell fate determination, such as cell cycle progression, cellular senescence and apoptosis
  4. Investigate various aspects of carcinogenesis using mouse models