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Cancer
Cancer research at CSHL is devoted to understanding the fundamental biology of human cancer, with the ultimate goal of developing new cancer therapies and diagnostic tests. A broad range of cancer types are under study, including breast, prostate, leukemia, glioma, pancreatic, sarcoma, lung and melanoma. CSHL has been a National Cancer Institute (NCI) designated Cancer Center since 1987.
 
CSHL cancer researchers apply a multi-pronged approach to interrogate the molecular mechanisms that drive tumor growth and metastasis. From genomic biology to animal models to detailed biochemistry, researchers are developing and utilizing innovative new technologies that have already revealed major insights underlying tumor formation, maintenance and treatment-resistance. Understanding how these processes are initiated and regulated in cancer cells will ultimately provide a framework for rational therapies and improved diagnostic tools. As a National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center, CSHL maintains a full complement of the most cutting-edge facilities and resources to facilitate these discoveries.
 
CSHL researchers are building on their basic research knowledge to translate their findings into novel therapeutics for many of the most intractable cancers through numerous collaborations with clinical partners. A recent strategic alliance with the nearby Northwell Health System connects CSHL scientists with clinicians and more than 16,000 cancer patients each year. 
Gurinder
Gurinder Atwal - Associate Professor

Applies insights from the physical and computational sciences to the study of population genetics, evolution, and disease. Recent work on the evolution of genetic variants identified a role of p53 tumor suppressor in female fertility. The lab also analyzes comparative genomics and physical organization of cancer related genes, and their role in mediating tumorigenesis across numerous tissue types. 
Kenneth
Kenneth Chang - Research Assistant Professor/Manager, Functional Genomics

Director of the Functional Genomics Shared Resource at CSHL. Studies focus on the role of shRNAs and microRNAs in cancer. The lab also uses functional genomics tools to discover genes that drive tumor progression and drug resistance in breast and lung cancers.
 
Camila
Camila dos Santos - Assistant Professor

Studies the epigenetic regulation of normal and malignant mammary gland development, with an emphasis on the changes that arise during and after pregnancy. In particular, they are studying how changes in DNA methylation profiles during pregnancy influence cellular transformation and the breast cancer risk. The lab is also studying the factors that control normal stem cell development as possible targets in cancer.
Mikala
Mikala Egeblad - Associate Professor

Investigates how interactions between tumor cells and their microenvironment influence cancer progression. Using mouse models and real-time imaging, the lab focuses on myeloid-derived immune cells, a major component of the microenvironment. These cells regulate tumor growth, therapy response, and metastasis by modifying the extracellular matrix and the immune response to tumors.
Douglas
Douglas Fearon - Professor

Studies the interaction between cancer and the immune system, with a focus on how the tumor microenvironment suppresses the immune system. Using a mouse model of pancreatic cancer, the lab has discovered a way to eliminate this suppression, which has led to a drug for human pancreatic cancer that is in phase 1 clinical trials.
Thomas
Thomas Gingeras - Professor

Examines how functional information encoded in genomes is organized and regulated using high-throughput technologies and computational approaches, focusing primarily on the roles of non-coding RNAs. These efforts help explain the origins of the biological characteristics exhibited by cells during and after their development and whose perturbations are the underlying causes of the human disease.
Christopher
Christopher Hammell - Associate Professor

Studies the gene regulatory processes that give rise to robust phenotypes associated with normal development, and examines the alterations in these pathways that give rise to diseases such as cancer. The Hammell lab uses a variety of model systems to investigate this, including c. elegans and patient-derived cancer cell lines.
Molly
Molly Hammell - Assistant Professor

Uses computational and experimental approaches to study gene regulatory networks and how they adapt to changes. Current work focuses on identifying mechanisms underlying acquired resistance to BRAF-targeted therapies in melanoma and investigating the processes underlying neuronal cell death in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), including with a possible role for non-coding RNA genes.
Leemor
Leemor Joshua-Tor - Professor & HHMI Investigator

Uses the tools of structural biology and biochemistry to study the molecular basis of cell regulatory processes, focusing on the molecular machinery involved in the manipulation of nucleic acid, including gene silencing mechanisms via RNA interference (RNAi) and molecular mechanisms of DNA replication.
Justin
Justin Kinney - Assistant Professor

Combines theory, computation, and experiment to quantitatively define relationships between sequence and function in molecular biology. Current research focuses on developing next-generation sequencing as a tool for dissecting the biophysical basis of transcriptional regulation.
 
Adrian
Adrian Krainer - Professor

Studies the mechanisms and regulation of pre-mRNA splicing, with an emphasis on defining how this process is disrupted in disease and how to correct it. His team pioneered the use of antisense technology to correct a splicing defect associated with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), and the resulting drug, nusinersen, is currently in phase-3 clinical trials. They are also developing antisense technology as cancer therapies.
Alexander
Alexander Krasnitz - Associate Professor

Develops and applies statistical methods to understand how cancers evolve. His lab has designed a novel, comprehensive methodology to discover recurrent genomic aberrations in cancer genomes and has used it to analyze multiple data sets in breast, liver, ovarian, and prostate cancer. More recently, he used his computational tools to reveal how genomically distinct cell populations evolve in individual malignancies.
Je
Je Lee - Assistant Professor

Studies how cells interact with their microenvironment to regulate gene expression during development. Currently focusing on the role of non-coding RNA in chromatin remodeling and tumor progression using mouse and organoid models of human cancer. In situ sequencing, cell lineage tracing, and single-cell profiling are used, with a long-term goal, to develop better tumor classification tools and anti-cancer therapeutics.
 
Dan
Dan Levy - Assistant Professor

Develops algorithms to identify mutations associated with various diseases, including cancers and autism, from large, complex data sets. His work focuses on using targeted sequence data to identify copy number variants and multiscale genomic rearrangements, including most recently analysis of data obtained from single cells.
Scott
Scott Lyons - Research Assistant Professor/Manager, Animal Imaging

Applies non-invasive imaging methods and develops new imaging reagents to facilitate the use of genetically engineered mouse models of cancer in both pre-clinical and basic cancer research. As Director of Animal Imaging, he provides collaborative research support to investigators at both CSHL and neighboring institutions and will play an important role in the experimental pre-clinical research facility at CSHL.
 
Robert
Robert Maki - Professor

Focuses on translating basic research discoveries into clinical applications, including new diagnostics and therapeutics. With joint appointments at CSHL and Northwell Health, he is dedicated to expanding cancer research at both institutions. His own research focuses on understanding the biology soft-tissue and bone sarcomas to better identify therapies for patients with these and other forms of cancer.
Rob
Rob Martienssen - Professor & HHMI Investigator

Uses plants and yeast as model organisms to investigate the epigenetic mechanisms that control gene expression, transposon silencing, and germ cell fate. Currently employing methods in functional genomics and developmental genetics to gain insight into how defects in the epigenome cause disease.
W. Richard
W. Richard McCombie - Professor

Develops methods and strategies that use the new generation of sequencing instruments to determine variation in the genomes, transcriptomes, and epigenomes of animals and plants. The lab is currently applying this technology to understand genetic variation in different types of cancer, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression. 
Alea
Alea Mills - Professor

Uses chromosome engineering to define how chromatin dynamics control stem cell fate, tumorigenesis, dendritic architecture, and behavior. With a multi-faceted functional approach, the lab is working to elucidate the genetic and epigenetic processes that control cell function both in the brain and in tumors to generate novel models for disease. 
Darryl
Darryl Pappin - Research Professor

Develops new methods of identifying and analyzing proteins in complex biological samples. Key areas of interest include protein and peptide identification, quantitation, and modification using mass spectrometry (MS). 
Scott
Scott Powers - Research Professor

Applies genomic tools to study the evolutionary dynamics, oncogenic drivers, and therapeutic vulnerabilities of different cancer types.
 
Jason
Jason Sheltzer - CSHL Fellow

Studies how aneuploidy – the presence of an abnormal number of chromosomes in a cell – impacts tumor initiation and tumor progression. His work aims to exploit differences between aneuploid (cancer) cells and normal cells, with the hopes of developing therapies that can specifically eliminate cancer cells.
Adam
Adam Siepel - Professor

Uses mathematical analysis and computer science to study evolution of populations, species, and individual genes. Employs these methods to understand transcriptional regulation and evolution.
Raffaella
Raffaella Sordella - Associate Professor

Uses proteomic and genomic techniques to identify the molecular mechanisms contributing to “oncogene addiction”, a condition that results in certain cancers being sensitive to the inhibition of one particular gene or gene product. The primary focus is on signaling pathways involving EGFR in lung cancer, a receptor targeted by Tarceva, and on mechanisms that contribute to resistance to these agents.
David
David Spector - Professor & Director of Research

Studies the spatial organization of cell nuclei and the regulation of gene expression. A major research effort is focused on identifying and characterizing the role of long non-coding RNAs as therapeutic targets in metastatic breast cancer progression and in differentiation.
 
Arne
Arne Stenlund - Associate Professor

Focuses on the DNA replication properties of human papillomaviruses, which are still the leading cause of cervical cancer in women. In particular, he works on processes required for replication initiation, including site-specific recognition of the origin of replication, local strand separation or distortion, and loading of a replication helicase.
 
Bruce
Bruce Stillman - President & Professor

Investigates the mechanism and control of DNA replication in yeast and human cells, with a current focus on replication initiation. Research also includes exploring the activities of the Origin Recognition Complex (ORC) in control of gene expression, centriole duplication and centromere function, as well as the role of DDX5, an RNA helicase, in control of cell division in breast cancer and acute myeloid leukemia.
 
Nicholas
Nicholas Tonks - Professor

Studies how protein phosphatases control cell function. Identified the phosphatase PTP1B as a therapeutic target in major diseases. The lab is developing small-molecule drug candidates to target PTP1B for treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer, diabetes and obesity, and the autism spectrum disorder Rett syndrome, with one currently in Phase 1 clinical trials at Northwell Health for treatment of breast cancer.
 
Lloyd
Lloyd Trotman - Associate Professor

Aims to define the events leading from localized cancer to metastasis using a system called RapidCaP. In this animal model, the lab uses genome editing to reprogram normal cells in mouse prostate. It is then possible to follow migration through the blood stream to metastatic sites, and use single cell genomics to identify which spontaneous gene alterations drive metastasis to distinct sites.
 
David
David Tuveson - Professor

Focuses on identifying and understanding fundamental drivers and dependencies in pancreatic cancer. The lab has created both genetically engineered ductal pancreatic cancer mouse models and organoid models of human and mouse pancreatic cancer. The models are already revealing fundamental aspects of disease pathogenesis and drug resistance as well as enabling the discovery of new diagnostics and therapies.
 
Christopher
Christopher Vakoc - Associate Professor

Investigates how transcription factors and chromatin regulators control gene expression and maintain the cancer cell state in leukemias and other cancer types. Develops innovative and state-of-art genetic screens to reveal vulnerabilities in cancer cells for subsequent target development. Recently identified the factor BRD4 as a potential target for treating leukemia, a finding that has motivated ongoing clinical trials.
 
Linda
Linda Van Aelst - Professor

Focuses on defining the mechanisms by which Ras and Rho family members, and their regulators, exert their effects on specific aspects of tumorigenesis, including tumor formation and progression, using different cancer mouse models. Currently working with Kenneth Chang on a functional genomics approach to discover new targets for metastatic lung cancer.
James
James Watson - Oliver R. Grace Professor Emeritus/Chancellor Emeritus

Oliver R. Grace Professor Emeritus/ Chancellor Emeritus
Michael
Michael Wigler - Professor

Works in the areas of cancer and autism genetics, applying and developing tools for genomic analysis, such as detection of de novo mutation, sequence assembly, and single cell RNA and DNA analysis. The biological focus is on genetic causation, early detection and outcome analysis.
Johannes
Johannes Yeh - Research Assistant Professor/Mgr, Antibody & Phage Display

Studies the creation of engineered biologics such as antibodies, proteins and peptides, for therapeutics and translational medicine. The lab employs protein engineering and chemical biology approaches to develop therapeutic biologics acting on cell signaling machineries in order to abrogate pathological cellular behavior. He is currently the Director of CSHL Cancer Center Antibody Shared Resource- a collaborative resource for high quality antibody development.
Lingbo
Lingbo Zhang - CSHL Fellow

Focuses on normal and malignant hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. Currently using both functional genomics and chemical biology approaches to uncover critical self-renewal regulators and metabolic vulnerabilities, with the goal of identifying novel treatments for hematopoietic malignancies.
 
Hongwu
Hongwu Zheng - Assistant Professor

Aims to define the complex biology of malignant glioma pathogenesis, with the ultimate goal of improving therapeutic approaches. Currently working on teasing out the differences between malignant glioma cells and neural progenitors – with the idea of targeting differentiation control pathways as a novel avenue for malignant glioma treatment.