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CSHL Cancer Center

cancer cellThe CSHL Cancer Center is a basic research facility committed to exploring the fundamental biology of human cancer. With support from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) since 1987, our researchers have used a focused, multi-disciplinary approach to break new ground in basic tumor biology and develop innovative, advanced technologies. Research covers a broad range of cancer types, including breast, prostate, leukemia, glioma, pancreatic, sarcoma, lung, and melanoma.

Three Scientific Programs provide focus in Gene Regulation & Cell Proliferation; Signal Transduction; and Cancer Genetics. In addition, nine Shared Resources offer essential access to technologies, services, and expertise that enhance productivity. With a strong collaborative environment and open communication, the CSHL Cancer Center is able to make breakthroughs in cancer biology that are translating into real progress in cancer diagnostics and treatment.

Members of the CSHL Cancer Center apply a multi-pronged approach - from genomic biology to animal models to detailed biochemistry - to interrogate the molecular mechanisms that drive tumor growth and metastasis. Building on this basic research, scientists at the Lab are translating their findings into novel therapeutics for many of the most intractable cancers. Much of this research is made possible through numerous collaborations with clinical partners, including a strategic alliance with the nearby Northwell Health System that connects CSHL scientists with clinicians and more than 16,000 cancer patients each year.

Senior Leadership


Deputy Director,
Shared Resources

Deputy Director, Administration

David Tuveson, M.D., Ph.D. Nicholas Tonks, Ph.D. Denise Roberts, Ph.D.

Program Leaders

Cancer Genetics Signal Transduction Gene Regulation & Cell Proliferation 
W. R. McCombie, Ph.D.
Alea Mills, Ph.D.

Linda Van Aelst, Ph.D.
Mikala Egeblad, Ph.D.
David L. Spector, Ph.D.
Christopher Vakoc, M.D., Ph.D. 

Cancer Center External Advisory Board

Stephen Burakoff, M.D.
Director of the Mt. Sinai Cancer Institute, Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Lewis Cantley, Ph.D.
Director, Meyer Cancer Center
Weill Cornell Medical College and New York-Presbyterian Hospital

Walter Eckhart, Ph.D.
Department of Molecular & Cell Biology, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies

Richard Hynes, Ph.D.
Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Larry Norton, M.D.
Deputy Physician-in-Chief, Breast Cancer Programs
Medical Director, Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Kornelia Polyak, M.D., Ph.D.
Department of Medicine, Medical Oncology, Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Cindy Quense, M.P.A.
Assistant Director of Administration, The David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research

Martine Roussel, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Genetics and Tumor Cell Biology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital


Cancer research at CSHL dates back to 1969, which marked the initiation of the DNA tumor virus research program. At this time, researchers realized that understanding the fundamental molecular and cellular biology of eukaryotic cells would provide powerful insight into the processes of oncogenic transformation.

With early success, the program expanded, and in 1971 the Laboratory was awarded a Program Project Grant from the NCI to fund research on DNA tumor viruses. In the early 1980's, cancer research at CSHL grew to include the study of cellular oncogenes, yeast genetics, and cell growth and cell cycle control. The program was highly productive, with two researchers independently winning the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for work that was done during this period. These studies form the foundation of current cancer research at CSHL, which since 1987 has been part of the NCI-designated CSHL Cancer Center.

Past Directors

Dr. James Watson

Dr. James Watson
1987 – 1988

Dr. Richard Roberts

Dr. Richard Roberts
1988 – 1992

Dr. Bruce Stillman

Dr. Bruce Stillman
1992 – 2016

Northwell Health today announced a collaboration with Indivumed to speed the advance of precision cancer research. 
Dr. Robert Maki joins Northwell Health Cancer Institute and CSHL to direct Center for New Cancer Therapies | December 12, 2016
Northwell Health and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) have recruited Robert G. Maki, M.D., Ph.D., an internationally-renowned sarcoma cancer physician and researcher, to join the leadership of the Northwell Health Cancer Institute.
Dr. David Tuveson named Director, NCI-Designated Cancer Center at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory | November 29, 2016
David Tuveson, M.D., Ph.D., will succeed Dr. Bruce Stillman as Director of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) Cancer Center. 
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory launches $75 million Center for Therapeutics Research to develop new drugs | April 22, 2016
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) announced the Center for Therapeutics Research (CTR) project, a new $75 million initiative to apply the Laboratory's biomedical expertise toward advancing therapeutics for genetic diseases.
CSHL joins nation’s cancer centers in endorsement of HPV vaccination for cancer prevention | January 27, 2016
In response to low national vaccination rates for the human papillomavirus (HPV), Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) has joined 68 other top cancer centers in issuing a statement urging increased HPV vaccination for the prevention of cancer.


Novel isoform of the tumor suppressor p53 associated with EMTs and metastasis
Camila dos Santos, as a postdoctoral researcher in the Hannon lab, identified the epigenetic changes that occur after pregnancy in the mouse mammary gland. The work offers insight into how pregnancy early in life may protect against breast cancer later.
An interactive tool for the analysis of single-cell copy-number variation
The Schatz lab, in collaboration with the Wigler and Atwal labs, has developed a new interactive, open-source analysis program called Gingko that can be used to reduce the uncertainty of single-cell analysis and visualize patterns in copy number mutations across populations of cells.
Research reveals how Brd4, known AML drug target, promotes leukemia maintenance
Brd4 is a validated drug target for AML with an inhibitor in clinical trials, yet its precise function has remained unclear. In this study, the Vakoc lab defined how the protein cooperates with hematopoietic transcription factors to create a chromatin signaling cascade that offers additional potential drug targets.
Discovery of cancer drug targets using high content CRISPR screening
The Vakoc lab collaborated with Justin Kinney to develop a new screening method using CRISPR-Cas9 technology. The method targets protein domains, rather than the traditional 5’ exon of the gene, to reveal cancer dependencies and identify new drug targets.
Tumor cells mimic blood vessels to help cancer spread
The Hannon lab developed a novel mouse model for breast cancer heterogeneity and used it to identify clones that were highly metastatic. The team found that these cells formed tube-like structures that mimic blood vessels, and identified two genes that drive vascular mimicry, which is likely promote growth of the primary tumor as well as metastasis. 
DOCK4 mediates TGF-β’s pro-metastatic effects in lung cancer
The Van Aelst lab, in collaboration with Molly Hammell and Chris Vakoc, has found that TGF-β promotes metastasis at least in part by inducing the intracellular signaling molecule DOCK4 in lung adenocarcinoma cells. In human patients, elevated DOCK4 levels correlates with poor prognosis, making this pathway an attractive target for future drug discovery.
New signaling pathway in HER2-positive breast cancer cells suggests potential drug targets
The Tonks lab, in collaboration with Senthil Muthuswamy, has identified a novel signaling pathway, including at protein tyrosine phosphatase, that is required for highly aggressive HER2-positive tumor cells to grow. His work suggests two new drug targets for the disease, which might have a dramatic effect on the disease when inhibited in combination.
RNA splicing defects spur growth in breast cancer
SRSF1, a splicing factor, is a known oncogene and is overexpressed in many cancers. The Krainer lab has identified hundreds of splicing events that are regulated by SRSF1 and pinpointed at least one of the critical targets that helps to drive breast cancer.
New insights into how tumor suppressor PTEN turns off cell growth
The Trotman lab, in collaboration with the Pappin and Joshua-Tor labs, has found that the tumor suppressor PTEN uses microtubules to travel around the cell. The work challenges previous models for how the protein moves and provides new understanding that may be useful for targeted drug development.


Novel isoform of the tumor suppressor p53 associated with EMTs and metastasis
The Sordella lab, in collaboration with the Krainer lab, identified a major new isoform of the tumor suppressor p53, called p53Ψ and showed that it induces expression of markers of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition and enhances the motility and invasive capacity of cells.
Development of Organoid Models of Pancreatic Cancer
In collaboration with Hans Celvers at the University of Utrecht as well as Darryl Pappin and Molly Hammell, the Tuveson lab established the first organoid models of both normal and cancerous ductal pancreatic cells.
Evaluation of Circulating Tumor Cells
James Hicks and Michael Wigler have developed methods to perform copy number analysis and whole genome amplification from circulating tumor cells (CTCs). Their latest data for melanoma and prostate cancer patients demonstrate the potential for this type of analysis to guide personalized therapies, and to monitor tumor evolution in response to therapy.
Role of PTP1B in Ras-induced Senescence
The Tonks lab, in collaboration with the Pappin and Hannon labs found that premature senescence in H-RAS(V12)-transformed primary cells is a consequence of oxidative inactivation of PTP1B and inhibition of miRNA-mediated gene silencing.
DOCK4 in lung adenocarcinoma metastasis
The Van Aelst lab has identified the atypical Rac1 activator DOCK4 as a novel, key component of the TGF-β/Smad pathway that promotes lung adenocarcinoma cell extravasation and metastasis.
P53 Mutations Change Phosphatidylinositol Acyl Chain Composition
The Trotman, Pappin and Tuveson labs collaborated to develop a high-throughput mass spectrometry method that identifies and quantifies twenty different cellular phosphatidylinositol lipid acyl chains. The method enabled them to discover that the anchoring tails of lipid second messengers form an additional layer of PIP signaling in cancer that is linked to p53.
Role of Dicer in Maintaining Genome Stability
The Martienssen lab found that Dicer, a canonical RNAi protein, facilitates the release of transcription machinery from DNA during replication, thereby preventing collisions and protecting the genome from damage.
Identification of functional protein domains using CRISPR/Cas-9
The Vakoc lab collaborated with Justin Kinney to develop a high-performance CRISPR strategy for cancer drug target discovery. The method involves targeting CRISPR-Cas9 mutations to functional protein domains rather than 5’ exons of candidate genes.
Improved strategy for analysis of large biomedical datasets
Justin Kinney and Gurinder Atwal collaborated to show how a fundamental mathematical quantity called “mutual information” can be used to detect and quantify relationships between variables in large, noisy datasets.


Complex interactions between a tumor and nearby normal cells are essential for tumorigenicty. 
The Egeblad and Powers labs identified multiple fibroblast-secreted factors that promote tumorigenicity using parallel pathways. 
Structural characterization of key step in DNA replication
In collaboration with scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory, the Stillman lab established the architecture of an essential component of eukaryotic DNA replication.
High resolution structure of human Argonaute proteins bound to RNA
The Joshua-Tor and Hannon labs collaborated to solve the structure of two human Argonaute proteins in complex with physiologically relevant guide RNAs. 
Clusters of cooperating tumor-suppressor genes are found in large regions deleted in common cancers
Michael Wigler, in collaboration with Alexander Krasnitz, James Hicks and Scott Powers, used a new computational method called CORES to propose an alternative to the “two-hit” hypothesis to explain how cancers arise.
Identification of a PTP1B inhibitor as potential treatment for breast cancer
Nick Tonks’ lab identified a novel allosteric inhibitor of PTP1B, a small molecule natural product, which is now being investigated as a treatment for HER2-positive breast cancer patients. 
Novel mechanism for induction of cellular senescence 
Adrian Krainer’s lab identified a novel oncogene-induced senescence mechanism that implicates spliceosomal and ribosomal components in non-canonical roles as regulators of a pathway critical for maintenance of cellular homeostasis. 
Discovery of potential treatment for AML
The Vakoc lab identified a role for Rnf20 in the pathogenesis of MLL-fusion leukemia.  As other small-molecule drugs targeting other E3 ligase proteins exist, RNF20 could be a new druggable target for AML therapy. 
The noncoding RNA MALAT1 is a critical regulator of the metastasis phenotype of lung cancer cells
The Spector lab, along with Sven Diederichs lab at the University of Heidelberg, showed that the long noncoding RNA MALAT1 is not only a prognostic biomarker for metastasis but also plays an active role in disease progression.
Characterization of mechanism of the Chd5 Tumor Suppressor
The Mills lab found that the major tumor suppressor Chd5 binds to histone H3, offering insight into how this protein regulates a diverse set of cancers.


Tumor suppressor activity for protein tyrosine phosphatase
The Tonks lab collaborated with the Muthuswamy lab to reveal that PTPRO acts as a tumor suppressor and can act as a prognostic marker for HER2-positive breast cancers.
Potential antisense methods for cancer therapy
The Krainer lab has developed antisense oligonucleotides as a potential therapeutic for cancer, targeting the pyruvate kinase M (PK-M2) gene which is crucial for aerobic glycolysis and proliferation in tumor cells.
Potential targeted therapy for breast cancer 
The Stillman lab demonstrated that the protein DDX5 regulates DNA replication and may be a viable drug target for cancers with the DDX5 gene locus overexpressed or amplified.
Improved assembly method for single molecule sequencing data
Michael Schatz and colleagues devised a method to correct errors in single molecule sequences, by combining long PacBio reads with shorter read sequencing data for > 99.9 percent base-call accuracy. 
Functional analysis of the protein phosphatase activity of PTEN
The Tonks and Van Aelst labs collaborated on functional analysis of the protein phosphatase activity of the tumor suppressor PTEN, finding that autoregulation is a critical component of PTEN control.
Single cell sequencing demonstrates how tumors progress 
Michael Wigler, in collaboration with W. Richard McCombie, Alex Krasnitz and James Hicks, applied single cell sequencing to individual cells from a primary breast tumor, which revealed marked genetic heterogeneity within a single tumor, and shed new light on how a tumor evolves.
Contribution of the tumor environment to resistance to chemotherapy
The Egeblad lab demonstrated that the microenvironment contributes critically to drug response by regulating the permeability of blood vessels around the tumor, and affecting the local recruitment of inflammatory cells. 


Comprehensive genomic DNA analysis of mast cell leukemia uncovers clues that could improve therapy
Mona Spector, working with Ivan Iossifov, Scott Lowe and collaborators at Northwell Health, identified two novel mutations from a patient with mast cell leukemia, an extremely aggressive subtype of acute myeloid leukemia, offering new possibilities for diagnosis and treatment.
Novel regulatory role of hydrogen sulfide in cell response to protein misfolding
The Tonks and Pappin labs collaborated to discover how the inactivation and reactivation of PTP1B serves as a novel mechanism to regulate protein synthesis machinery.
Structure of RITS complex explains its role in heterochromatin assembly and gene silencing
The Joshua-Tor lab and colleagues determined how the three components of the RNA-Induced Initiation of Transcriptional gene Silencing (RITS) interact with each other, offering insight into the establishment of heterochromatin and gene silencing.
Study reveals details of alternative splicing circuitry that promote cancer’s Warburg effect
The Krainer lab, along with colleagues from Harvard Medical School, showed that the splicing factor SRSF3 is a key determinant in regulating which isoform of pyruvate kinase is expressed in cancer cells, providing mechanistic insights into the complex regulation the Warburg effect.
New role for RNAi during chromosomal replication 
The Martienssen lab found that transcription and replication machinery are coordinated during DNA replication, demonstrating that an RNAi mediated mechanism removes RNA pol II from replicating DNA to allow the replication fork to progress. 
Gene bookmarking accelerates the kinetics of post-mitotic transcriptional re-activation
The Spector lab demonstrated that genes “bookmarked” by an acetylated histone (H4K5Ac) during interphase, which accelerates transcriptional activation after mitosis through recruitment of the bromodomain protein BRD4.
Discovery of a new prostate tumor suppressor gene
The Trotman lab and colleagues showed that phosphatase PHLPP1 is a prostate tumor suppressor, and loss in combination with PTEN is associated with metastatic disease.
Discovery of potential treatment for AML 
The Vakoc lab, in collaboration with the Lowe lab, found that the protein Brd4 is essential for acute myeloid leukemia. The results establish small-molecule inhibition of Brd4 as a promising therapeutic strategy for the disease. 

Director, David Tuveson, M.D., Ph.D.

Cancer researchers at CSHL are using cutting-edge technology in innovative and collaborative studies to explore the basic biology underlying the disease. Our research can be divided into three main focus areas:

Cancer Genetics Program
Gene Regulation & Cell Proliferation Program
Signal Transduction Program

Deputy Director, Cancer Center Shared Resources
Nick Tonks, Ph.D.

The CSHL Cancer Center has nine shared resources that facilitate cancer research with state-of-the-art technology and integral services. With the support of world-class staff, these core facilities ensure that Cancer Center researchers have all the necessary tools to make breakthrough discoveries.

Animal and Genetic Engineering Flow Cytometry
Animal & Tissue Imaging Functional Genomics
Antibody & Phage Display Mass Spectrometry
Bioinformatics Microscopy
Next Generation Genomics  
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 Chang - Research Assistant Professor/Manager, Functional Genomics

Currently the Director of the Functional Genomics Shared Resource at CSHL. His studies focus on shRNA, microRNA, RNA interference, and siRNA. The lab has studied cancer proliferation gene discovery through functional genomics.
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 an important role in the pre-clinical research facility at CSHL. 
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 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 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 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).
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 Trotman - 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 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 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 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 Watson - Oliver R. Grace Professor Emeritus/Chancellor Emeritus

Oliver R. Grace Professor Emeritus/ Chancellor Emeritus
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 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 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 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.
NCIlogo Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is an NCI-designated Cancer Center. As a basic research institution, CSHL does not treat patients. Information about individual cancers is available at the NCI CancerNet. Questions about CSHL's cancer research program should be directed to our Public Affairs Department.