The 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.
Deputy Director, Administration
Denise Roberts, 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
Chad Ellis, Ph.D.
Deputy Director, Research Administration, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
Richard Hynes, Ph.D.
Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Richard Marais, Ph.D.
Director, Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute
Elaine Mardis, Ph.D.
Co-Executive Director, The Institute for Genomic Medicine at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the Nationwide Foundation Endowed Chair of Genomic Medicine
Larry Norton, M.D.
Deputy Physician-in-Chief, Breast Cancer Programs
Medical Director, Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Dana Pe’er, Ph.D.
Scientific Director, The Alan and Sandra Gerry Metastasis and Tumor Ecosystems 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
Martine Roussel, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Genetics and Tumor Cell Biology, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Reuben Shaw, Ph.D.
Director, Salk Institute Cancer Center
Dr. James Watson
1987 – 1988
Dr. Richard Roberts
1988 – 1992
Dr. Bruce Stillman
1992 – 2016
New genetic research to understand racial disparity in cancers
September 8, 2020
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory will study the genetic contributions of ethnicity to colon, endometrial, and pancreas cancers in African Americans.
Why we’re a lot better at fighting cancer than we realized
August 12, 2020
Using data mining techniques, doctors have discovered dozens of anti-tumor drugs hiding in plain sight.
Live @ the Lab with David Tuveson: Studying pancreatic cancer
July 29, 2020
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Cancer Center Director Dave Tuveson presents an exciting new model for studying pancreatic cancer.
Cancer researchers discuss COVID-19’s effect on the field
July 27, 2020
Dr. David Tuveson and Dr. Tobias Janowitz discuss in Cancer Discovery how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed cancer research.
The first mouse model of human pancreas cancer subtypes
July 23, 2020
CSHL researchers discovered how slow-growing pancreatic tumors can switch into a more deadly sub-type.
How breast cancer cells sneak past local immune defenses
July 15, 2020
Breast cancer cells sabotage nearby immune cells to evade detection and destruction by the body’s defenses.
Blocking cholesterol storage could stop growth of pancreatic tumors
July 7, 2020
Interfering with the way pancreatic cancer cells process and store cholesterol can stop a tumor from growing.
Applying symptom tracking to COVID-19 outpatient care using famotidine
June 4, 2020
Researchers from CSHL and Northwell Health are developing a way to test promising COVID-19 drugs, like famotidine, by tracking outpatient symptoms.
Pregnancy reprograms breast cells, reducing cancer risk
May 27, 2020
CSHL researchers discovered that pregnancy reprograms breast cells, reducing the risk of breast cancer in women under 25.
Why pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is so lethal
May 19, 2020
CSHL researchers discovered factors that allow a pancreatic cell to lose its identity and turn into an aggressive cancer cell.
Tuveson and Wigler elected AACR Academy Fellows
May 12, 2020
CSHL Cancer Center Director David Tuveson and Professor Michael Wigler were chosen as 2020 Fellows of the AACR Academy.
What do these scientist moms do? Ask their kids.
May 8, 2020
We asked the children of three scientists to describe their mother’s work. See what they had to say.
David Tuveson named President-Elect of AACR
April 21, 2020
CSHL Cancer Center Director David Tuveson has been elected President-Elect of the American Association for Cancer Research.
New faculty Jeff Boyd studies breast cancer genomics
March 26, 2020
Professor Jeff Boyd joins the CSHL faculty, studying the growth and spread of breast cancer.
Christina Renna Foundation donates $38k to study sarcoma
February 27, 2020
The Christina Renna Foundation donated $38,000 to the lab of Professor Chris Vakoc.
CSHL Cancer Center joins the AACI
January 10, 2020
The CSHL Cancer Center becomes the 100th member of the Association of American Cancer Institutes.
Mikala Egeblad wins Marks Foundation ASPIRE Award
December 20, 2019
Associate Professor Mikala Egeblad received the ASPIRE award to fund research understanding the relationship between stress and metastasis.
Ann Lin named in Forbes 30 Under 30 list for 2020
December 16, 2019
Ann Lin, a former intern in CSHL Fellow Jason Sheltzer’s lab, has been named a top entrepreneur on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list.
Researchers identify gene behind spread of deadly breast cancer
December 9, 2019
Jackson Laboratory and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory researchers uncovered novel targets for therapies related to deadly triple negative breast cancers.
CSHL wins TD Ready Challenge grant for organoid facility
December 3, 2019
CSHL is one of the recipients of the TD Ready Challenge grant to help support the upcoming organoid facility.
Fresh insights into prostate cancer surprise Movember crowd
November 22, 2019
For a special “Movember” edition of Cocktails and Chromosomes, Dr. Lloyd Trotman explained what his lab is doing to understand deadly prostate cancers.
Milestone reached in new leukemia drug
November 19, 2019
Salt-Inducible Kinase 3 (SIK3) could be a good therapeutic candidate for treating MLL translocation positive subtype of leukemia.
Adrian Krainer wins Zülch Prize for lifesaving SMA Treatment
October 8, 2019
Professor Adrian Krainer is awarded the K-J. Zülch Prize for the development and testing of a first-of-its-kind treatment for spinal muscular atrophy.
Discovery could improve MDS cancer treatment
September 25, 2019
Researchers have discovered a promising new target for treating myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a common and lethal blood cancer.
Cancer drugs don’t always work as intended, researchers warn
September 11, 2019
Ten experimental cancer drugs kill tumors in ways that are entirely different than how clinicians thought they did, revealing important insights.
Overcoming resistance in pancreatic cancer
September 9, 2019
Controlling pancreatic tumor proliferation by targeting malignancy-specific resistance pathways in response to AKT and MAPK blockade.
How a lab and its model animals changed science
August 13, 2019
The natural history of science at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory through the lens of animal research.
Understanding pregnancy’s effects on breast cancer risk
August 13, 2019
CSHL researchers authored a review in the journal Cell covering the landscape of breast cancer research.
Of mice and model organisms
July 31, 2019
An in-depth look at how veterinarians at CSHL help take care of the various organisms that help researchers answer fundamental biological questions.
Sheltzer wins Presidential Early Career Award
July 9, 2019
CSHL Fellow Jason Sheltzer is a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers for his work in cancer research.
Cancer cells’ “self eating” may be new drug target
July 1, 2019
Researchers reveal how pancreatic cancer cells adapt to the low energy environment of a tumor.
Cancer cell’s “self eating” tactic may be its weakness
July 1, 2019
Pancreatic cancer cells are eating their own mitochondria to survive and spread. New research reveals how, hinting at a possible new drug target.
Sugars that coat proteins are a possible drug target for pancreatitis
June 20, 2019
CA19-9, a complex sugar structure coating proteins, represents a possible drug target for treatment of pancreatitis and prevention of pancreatic cancer.
Can these sugars serve as a possible drug target for pancreatitis?
June 20, 2019
CSHL Tuveson lab member Dani Engle explains how sugars serve as a possible drug target for pancreatitis.
Special fibroblasts help pancreatic cancer cells evade immune detection
June 13, 2019
Researchers found a specific type of cancer-associated fibroblast interacts with the immune system to help pancreatic cancer cells stay under the radar.
Fighting cancer in 3D
June 7, 2019
David Tuveson, Director of the CSHL Cancer Center, shares insights about his work on organoid technology.
Enzyme PHLPP2 could be a viable drug target for treating prostate cancer
May 15, 2019
Researchers have identified an enzyme called Phlpp2 as an attractive drug target for treating prostate cancer.
CSHL President elected as AACR Academy Fellow
March 25, 2019
CSHL President and CEO Dr. Bruce Stillman has been elected to the AACR Academy as part of the 2019 Fellows class.
What does sight mean to a cancer researcher?
February 26, 2019
Postdoc Leah Banks discusses vision’s role in cancer research, and how nearly losing her sight gave her a new perspective on her work.
Christina Renna Foundation gives $35k for pediatric cancer research
February 7, 2019
The Christina Renna Foundation donated $35,000 to CSHL for continued work on Sarcoma Research Project and research into RMS.
CSHL Scientific Advisory Council member wins Vilcek Prize
February 7, 2019
Dr. Angelika Amon, a member of the CSHL Scientific Advisory Council, wins the Vilcek Foundation Prize for her important work in cell biology.
CSHL Fellow Jason Sheltzer wins innovation award
January 25, 2019
CSHL Fellow Jason Sheltzer wins the Damon Runyon-Rachleff Innovation Award for his work on cancer.
The year of CRISPR
December 26, 2018
A look at the various labs across CSHL that utilize CRISPR in their research, and the groundbreaking discoveries they help uncover.
Three Strohm Sisters funds ongoing cancer research
December 19, 2018
The Three Strohm Sisters Family Foundation donated $5,000 to Associate Professor Mikala Egeblad’s for her continued research.
Katie Oppo fund donates $75k to ovarian cancer research
December 11, 2018
The Katie Oppo Research Fund gave $75,000 to Mikala Egeblad's lab for ovarian cancer research.
Taking uncertainty out of cancer prognosis
December 11, 2018
An analysis of 20,000 patients has revealed that copy number variations in specific gene sites can help predict how deadly a cancer will be.
Taking uncertainty out of cancer prognosis
December 11, 2018
CSHL Fellow Jason Sheltzer has analyzed nearly 20,000 cancer patient histories and genetic data to take the guesswork out of prognosis.
Women’s coalition donates $100k to breast cancer research
December 6, 2018
Members of the Manhasset Women’s Coalition Against Breast Cancer supported research through a donation from the Ladies Night Out fundraiser.
Inconspicuous protein key to deadly blood cancer
November 29, 2018
Researchers have revealed the remarkably common protein behind an aggressive blood cancer’s drivers. By taking it away, the disease collapses.
Yacht race raises $6,500 for cancer research
November 29, 2018
The Masthead Cove Yacht Club raised $6,500 from their annual race, which will fund cancer research.
Inconspicuous protein key to deadly blood cancer
November 29, 2018
Associate Professor Chris Vakoc and his team find that an aggressive type of leukemia is heavily-dependent on a common protein.
Pancreatic cancer’s addiction could be its end
November 15, 2018
Researchers have discovered that an inappropriately-produced protein may be why some pancreatic cancer patients die exceptionally early.
Pancreatic cancer’s addiction could be its end
November 13, 2018
Researchers may have found a link between improper protein production and the spread of pancreatic cancer.
Turning cells against pancreatic cancer
November 2, 2018
Researchers have identified the special signals that encourage normal cells to either help protect pancreatic cancer, or—ideally—hinder it.
Turning cells against pancreatic cancer
October 26, 2018
Researchers have found a way to turn cancer-supporting cells into cells that restrict the cancerous growth in the pancreas.
Cancer research from a different perspective
October 3, 2018
CSHL Assistant Professor Tobias Janowitz discusses his patient-centric approach to studying cancer
How a sleeping cancer awakens and metastasizes
September 27, 2018
Chronic inflammation can reawaken dormant cancer cells and spur metastasis. It may be preventable
Tweaking cells’ gatekeepers could lead to new way to fight cancer
September 18, 2018
Salk scientists develop method to manipulate numbers of nuclear pores.
Mass. General team finds how NF-2 gene mutations make cells hyper-responsive to growth factor signaling
August 28, 2018
MGH Cancer Center researchers have determined one way that mutations in a gene involved in rare, hereditary cancer syndrome lead to out-of-control cel
Massive genome havoc in breast cancer is revealed
July 12, 2018
Researchers have made a highly detailed map of 20,000 structural variations in a cancer cell’s genome
Researchers discover new type of lung cancer
June 28, 2018
In discovering a new form of small cell lung cancer, a research team at CSHL has identified a potential target for personalized treatments.
Researchers discover new type of lung cancer
June 25, 2018
Researchers have discovered a new form of lung cancer.
Metastasis & immunity
June 25, 2018
How immune cells can help cancer spread, or stop it in its tracks—A free Public Lecture featuring Mikala Egeblad, Ph.D. and Sylvia Adams, M.D.
Nation’s cancer centers endorse HPV vaccination
June 8, 2018
Dr. Stillman and Dr. Tuveson joined with the leaders of other institutions nationwide in endorsing a statement regarding the HPV vaccine
Organoids predict treatment response for pancreatic cancer
June 1, 2018
3D balls of cancer cells quickly and accurately predict how patients with pancreatic cancer respond to a variety of treatments.
Organoid profiling personalizes treatments for pancreatic cancer
May 31, 2018
Pancreatic organoids grown from patients' tumors make precision medicine possible
How pancreatic cancer spreads after surgery
May 17, 2018
Researchers have solved a mystery about how pancreatic cancer spreads
How deadly cancer spreads after surgery
May 17, 2018
Scientists have solved an important mystery about how pancreatic cancer spreads to the liver even after a successful surgery.
Bringing immune cells back into the cancer fight
May 4, 2018
Doug Fearon used a mouse model to discover how pancreatic cancer hides from the immune system.
Study reveals a way to make prostate cancer cells run out of energy and die
April 3, 2018
In lethal prostate cancer, the gene PTEN is often missing. In such cases, one effective treatment may be to administer drugs that inhibit mitochondria
CRISPR-based system highlights new drug targets in a deadly leukemia
March 22, 2018
CRISPR was used to find 2 new druggable targets in a deadly leukemia.
The cancer answer that wasn’t
March 15, 2018
We look at the "reproducibility crisis" in science, with a cancer researcher discovering something he didn't expect while experimenting with MELK
Base Pairs Episode 14: The cancer answer that wasn’t
March 15, 2018
We look at the "reproducibility crisis" in science, with a cancer researcher discovering something he didn't expect while experimenting with MELK.
CRISPR-based system identifies important new drug targets in a deadly leukemia
March 8, 2018
CRISPR was used to find 2 new druggable targets in a deadly leukemia
New method identifies splicing biomarkers for liver cancer
March 2, 2018
Researchers have developed a method for identifying splicing-based biomarkers for liver cancer
One experiment: When cancer is hiding in plain sight
March 1, 2018
Douglas Fearon's team is figuring out how to get immune cells to recognize—and kill—pancreatic cancer cells
Science self-corrects: cancer gene does not pass reproducibility test
February 13, 2018
CSHL Fellow Jason Sheltzer and his research team use CRISPR to discover that MELK is not actually involved in cancer.
Christina Renna Foundation raises $30,000 for continuing pediatric cancer research at CSHL
January 22, 2018
The Christina Renna Foundation donates over $30,000 for rhabdomyosarcoma research, and honors Associate Professor Chris Vakoc with its research award
Molecular decoy helps researchers halt and reverse acute leukemia in mice
January 8, 2018
By throwing a molecular wrench into the gears of a machine that sets genes into motion, researchers were able to get leukemias to 'melt away.'
New method to determine before surgery which prostate tumors pose a lethal threat
December 1, 2017
The news about prostate cancer can be confusing. It’s the third most common cancer type among Americans.
Next-gen cancer test
November 24, 2017
Knowing that cancers become lethal when they spread, investigators at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory seek a way of detecting tumors much earlier
A transformative partnership
November 22, 2017
New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo visited Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory to break ground on the new $75 million Center for Therapeutics Research.
One experiment: Bacteria-trapping DNA webs are repurposed by cancer cells
October 19, 2017
Associate Professor Mikala Egeblad discovers that neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) help cancer by creating holes in the tissue.
Masthead Cove Yacht Club raises over $6000 for CSHL research at annual race
October 18, 2017
Members of the Masthead Cove Yacht Club (MCYC) raised $6,700 from their annual Masthead Race on August 13.
Governor Cuomo breaks ground on $75 million Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Center for Therapeutics Research
October 12, 2017
NY Governor Andrew M. Cuomo visited Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) this morning to break ground on the new $75 million Center for Therapeutics.
Attacking metastatic breast cancer with dark matter (16th Women’s Partnership for Science luncheon)
September 27, 2017
Sarah Diermeier, Ph.D., breast cancer researcher and CSHL Senior Fellow, gave a presentation on “Attacking Metastatic Breast Cancer with Dark Matter"
The latest research in immunotherapy and cancer
July 28, 2017
Doctors Douglas Fearon and Robert Maki talk about the latest science and how immunotherapy is already affecting patient lives.
Long-sought mechanism of metastasis is discovered in pancreatic cancer
July 27, 2017
An epigenetic factor reprograms gene enhancers, enabling cancer cells to “remember” an earlier developmental state and causing metastasis.
Breast cancer’s dark matter
July 21, 2017
Sarah Diermeier, Ph.D., talks about breast cancer and how Spector Lab are exploring the "dark matter of the genome" to find new ways to stop it.
Freeze-frames of enzymes in action have implications for a new cancer treatment concept
July 3, 2017
TUTase enzymes interact with let-7, a regulator of development; targeting them could help control certain cancers.
Crucial stem cell protein could be new target for stopping breast cancer
June 1, 2017
Cancer cells, have the ability to multiply indefinitely. Now, new results show that blocking epigenetic factor BPTF may be key in turning it off.
A protein that stem cells require could be a target in killing breast cancer cells
June 1, 2017
Cancer cells, like stem cells, have the ability to multiply indefinitely but epigenetic factor BPTF may be a shared weakness.
Hanging with Heroes and Friends Who Care raise over $17,000 to support Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s breast cancer research
May 29, 2017
On Saturday, April 22, 2017, 245 people attended the 4th annual Hanging with Heroes fundraiser held at Driftwood Camp in Melville.
Why is pancreatic cancer SO hard to treat? New discovery helps explain
May 16, 2017
Discovery of distinct cell types helps explain why pancreatic cancer is so hard to treat.
CSHL to lead international team developing next-generation organoid cancer research
May 11, 2017
CSHL awarded a research subcontract by Leidos Biomedical Research to lead Cancer Model Development Center for upper-gastrointestinal cancers.
Mutations in “junk” DNA are tied to pancreatic cancer
May 8, 2017
Mutations in the often-ignored gene-regulating parts of DNA are revealed to influence specific pathway pathologies in pancreatic cancer.
Newly discovered mutations impair key cell pathways in pancreatic cancer
May 8, 2017
Researchers have found important new clues to the development of pancreatic cancer.
New research explains why even targeted therapies eventually fail in lung cancer
March 29, 2017
Dr. Sordella and her team propose a novel theory of how some cancers circumvent the killing power of targeted therapies.
What a real-life science test looks like
March 24, 2017
By revealing evidence that contradicts the rationale for a new cancer drug, a pair of student scientists learns firsthand that when you do science.
Discovery of distinct cell subtypes around tumors helps explain why pancreatic cancer is so hard to treat
February 23, 2017
Researchers finds that stroma,“wound”-like tissue that surrounds the tumors, helps explain why pancreatic cancer is so resistant to treatment.
|New Method Offers Earlier Detection for Lethal Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is common and largely nonlethal. But for some 21,000 men—a small percentage of the total, but a nonetheless substantial number—the disease is fatal. For earlier and more accurate detection, the Krasnitz and Wigler labs have devised a new method to analyze tumor biopsies to identify the most lethal forms of prostate cancer.
|Crystal Structures Reveal Cancer Enzymes in Action
Tutases are a class of enzymes that regulate the microRNA let-7—a gene that is commonly downregulated in cancers. The Joshua-Tor lab used x-ray crystallography to capture images of the enzyme in action, offering insight into how these potential cancer targets function.
|Algorithm Finds Novel Recurrent Mutations in Cancer Patients
The Tuveson lab, in collaboration with Dr. Michael Schatz, (now at Johns Hopkins University) has developed an algorithm to identify novel mutations in patient tumor samples. The research team applied the method, called GECCO, to pancreatic cancer samples and discovered multiple mutations, many of which were associated with a significant risk of poor prognosis for patients.
|High-Resolution View of the Complex that Initiates DNA Replication
The Stillman and Joshua-Tor labs collaborated to obtain the structure of the active human Origin Recognition Complex (ORC), the proteins that control the initiation of DNA replication. Using both cyro-EM and x-ray crystallography, the labs obtained a high-resolution image of the ORC proteins bound to DNA, providing insights into the most fundamental process in cell proliferation.
|Novel Insights into the Regulation of PTEN in Prostate Cancer
New research from the Trotman lab has revealed that, in prostate cancer, a protein known as Importin-11 is the ‘Achilles’ heel’ that is required for the stability of the PTEN tumor suppressor. In fact, loss of Importin-11 predicted relapse and metastasis in patients who had had their prostate removed.
|Extra Chromosome Has Surprising Effect on Cell Growth and Tumorigenesis
Copy number variation is a hallmark of most cancers, and it often serves as a driver of cell proliferation. Surprisingly, new research from the Sheltzer lab suggests that an extra chromosome alone is not enough to initially spur tumor growth. Rather, prolonged changes in chromosome number lead to genetic instability that ultimately causes uncontrolled cell proliferation.
|Muscle-Wasting Disease Reveals Links Between Metabolism and Immune Evasion
Many cancer patients suffer from extreme weight loss in a condition known as cachexia. The Fearon lab has found that this calorie deprivation can have profound implications for tumor immunology, allowing tumor cells to become resistant to immunotherapy.
|The Role of RNAi in Quiescence
Cancer forms when quiescent cells begin dividing and proliferating. New research from the Martienssen lab demonstrates that the RNAi machinery—which is often mutated in cancers—plays a key role in this transition, holding cells in quiescence.
|Tumors Hijack the Immune System to Promote Metastasis
The Egeblad lab made the surprising discovery that tumors take advantage of an immune defense to enhance metastasis. Breast cancer cells can induce the immune system to release webs of DNA and enzymes, known as NETs. These webs directly stimulate the cancer cell’s ability to invade, promoting metastasis.
|Feedback Loop Controls the Decision to Proliferate
New research from the Stillman lab has revealed that key components of the DNA replication machinery participate in a feedback loop to control cell proliferation. The proteins—which are often mutated in cancer—provide a direct link between replication and proliferation.
|Research Identifies Signaling Pathway that Drives Metastasis in Ovarian Cancer
The Tonks lab has identified a role for the non-receptor tyrosine kinase, FER, in the invasion and movement of ovarian cancer cells—two traits that are required for metastasis. The work points to a potential drug target that could limit the most aggressive form of the disease.
|New Method Rapidly Assays Copy Number Variation
Copy number variation is well known as a driver of tumorigenesis and metastasis. The Levy lab has developed a protocol, called SMASH, that combines wet lab techniques with a new computational algorithm to quickly and efficiently analyze copy number variation in cancer cells.
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|
The CSHL Cancer Center has long been a leader in basic research, exploring the fundamental pathways and molecules that enable life. Now, Cancer Center researchers are applying these groundbreaking discoveries to the development of new treatments and better diagnostics for cancer.
While maintaining its focus on exceptional basic science, the CSHL Cancer Center is also expanding translational research. The Lab has partnered with leading hospitals and research organizations to increase preclinical research at the Lab and facilitate clinical trials based on basic science discoveries. At the same time, the next generation of doctors can experience basic research firsthand through translational training opportunities in the CSHL Cancer Center that are designed to bridge the gap between the lab and the clinic.
Are you really what you eat? Our goal is to uncover the precise mechanisms that link nutrition to organismal health and disease states at the cellular and molecular level. A particular focus in our lab is to understand how dietary perturbations affect the immune system and contribute to the risk of diseases that are associated with immune dysfunction such as cancer.
Patients with cancer frequently experience debilitating symptoms that can impair quality of life and reduce odds of survival. These include drastic changes in appetite, sleep/wake cycles, cognitive function, and pain, among others. Our lab aims to uncover mechanistic interactions between the brain and cancer that drive these phenomena. Reciprocally, we investigate how manipulation of specific brain circuits influences cancer processes in the body.
My research interests are in the molecular genetics, genetics, and genomics of gynecologic and breast cancers. Currently I am focused on the early natural histories of ovarian carcinoma and metastatic breast cancer, the genomics of ovarian cancer stem/progenitor cells, and the hypothesis that most breast cancers result from polygenic susceptibility.
RNA interference (RNAi) and CRISPR are widely used to functionally investigate mammalian genomes. It is our goal to develop and optimize these gene perturbation platforms to improve their effectiveness in understanding the biology of diseases.
Among the changes that occur during pregnancy, those affecting the breasts have been found to subsequently modify breast cancer risk. My laboratory investigates how the signals present during pregnancy permanently alter the way gene expression is controlled and how these changes affect normal and malignant mammary development.
Cancer cells are surrounded by immune cells, blood vessels, chemical signals and a support matrix—collectively, the tumor microenvironment. Most microenvironments help tumors grow and metastasize, but some can restrict tumors. My lab studies how to target the bad microenvironments and support the good ones to combat cancer.
I’m studying how to harness the power of the immune system to fight cancer. Our underlying premise is that the microenvironment within a tumor suppresses the immune system. We have found a way to eliminate this suppression in the mouse model of pancreatic cancer, which has led to development of a drug for human pancreatic cancer that will enter phase 1 clinical trials in 2015.
Of the tens of thousands of protein-coding genes in the human genome, only a small portion have an experimentally defined function. For the rest, how can we determine what they do? My lab develops computational predictions based on co-expression networks. We are applying our predictions to understand neuropsychiatric disorders.
Only a small portion of the RNAs encoded in any genome are used to make proteins. My lab investigates what these noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) do within and outside of cells, where regulators of their expression are located in the genome, and how perturbations of ncRNAs and their regulators contribute to disease.
As organisms develop, genes turn on and off with a precise order and timing, much like the order and duration of notes in a song. My group uses model organisms to understand the molecules that control the tempo of development. We also study how changes in the timing of gene expression contribute to diseases like cancer.
To ensure that cells function normally, tens of thousands of genes must be turned on or off together. To do this, regulatory molecules - transcription factors and non-coding RNAs – simultaneously control hundreds of genes. My group studies how the resulting gene networks function and how they can be compromised in human disease.
Cancer is a systemic disease. Using both laboratory and clinical research, my group investigates the connections between metabolism, endocrinology, and immunology to discover how the body’s response to a tumor can be used to improve treatment for patients with cancer.
Our cells depend on thousands of proteins and nucleic acids that function as tiny machines: molecules that build, fold, cut, destroy, and transport all of the molecules essential for life. My group is discovering how these molecular machines work, looking at interactions between individual atoms to understand how they activate gene expression, DNA replication, and small RNA biology.
From regulating gene expression to fighting off pathogens, biology uses DNA sequence information in many different ways. My research combines theory, computation, and experiment in an effort to better understand the quantitative relationships between DNA sequence and biological function. Much of my work is devoted to developing new methods in statistics and machine learning.
Our DNA carries the instructions to manufacture all the molecules needed by a cell. After each gene is copied from DNA into RNA, the RNA message is "spliced" - an editing process involving precise cutting and pasting. I am interested in how splicing normally works, how it is altered in genetic diseases and cancer, and how we can correct these defects for therapy.
Many types of cancer display bewildering intra-tumor heterogeneity on a cellular and molecular level, with aggressive malignant cell populations found alongside normal tissue and infiltrating immune cells. I am developing mathematical and statistical tools to disentangle tumor cell population structure, enabling an earlier and more accurate diagnosis of the disease and better-informed clinical decisions.
Cells are amazingly complex, with the ability to sense, and remember timing, location and history. I am exploring how cells store this information, and how their surroundings influence their communication with other cells. I am also developing various imaging and molecular sequencing methods for tracking genes, molecules, and cells to understand how cancer cells arise and evolve.
We have recently come to appreciate that many unrelated diseases, such as autism, congenital heart disease and cancer, are derived from rare and unique mutations, many of which are not inherited but instead occur spontaneously. I am generating algorithms to analyze massive datasets comprising thousands of affected families to identify disease-causing mutations.
Tumor growth depends upon cancer cells acquiring nutrients from their environment and using these molecules to fuel proliferation. My group studies the nature and regulation of metabolic adaptation during tumorigenesis and metastasis, with the intention of identifying metabolic vulnerabilities that can be targeted for cancer therapy.
I provide collaborative research support to CSHL researchers in the area of preclinical in vivo imaging. This includes access to a comprehensive range of imaging modalities, as well as provision of experimental guidance, training and imaging reagents. In addition, my lab develops new and impactful ways to image aspects of in vivo tumor biology that are broadly relevant to the development of new therapeutics and the research interests of the CSHL Cancer Center.
Chromosomes are covered with chemical modifications that help control gene expression. I study this secondary genetic code - the epigenome - and how it is guided by small mobile RNAs in plants and fission yeast. Our discoveries impact plant breeding and human health, and we use this and other genomic information to improve aquatic plants as a source of bioenergy.
Over the last two decades, revolutionary improvements in DNA sequencing technology have made it faster, more accurate, and much cheaper. We are now able to sequence up to 10 trillion DNA letters in just one month. I harness these technological advancements to assemble genomes for a variety of organisms and probe the genetic basis of neurological disorders, including autism and schizophrenia, better understand cancer progression and understand the complex structures of the genomes of higher plants.
Cells employ stringent controls to ensure that genes are turned on and off at the correct time and place. Accurate gene expression relies on several levels of regulation, including how DNA and its associated molecules are packed together. I study the diseases arising from defects in these control systems, such as aging and cancer.
My group uses click chemistry to study biological systems at the molecular level. We develop and exploit powerful bond-forming click reactions that enable the rapid synthesis of small functional molecules, including cancer drugs and chemical probes. We apply these novel molecular tools in multidisciplinary discovery projects spanning the fields of biology and chemistry.
Our genome can encode hundreds of thousands of different proteins, the molecular machines that do the work that is the basis of life. I use proteomics, a combination of protein chemistry, mass spectrometry and informatics, to identify precisely which proteins are present in cells - cells from different tissues, developmental stages, and disease states.
Unlike animals, plants neither have specific organs that see or hear various stimuli, yet, plants are sensitive to their surrounding environment and modify their development according to various external signals. My lab studies how the environment of a plant modulates its growth and development. Understanding environmental control of growth will have far-reaching implications for agriculture, energy production, and many other human activities.
Developing single-cell genomics technologies for applications related to cancer progression, immune surveillance, and discovery of rare novel cell types and transcriptional programs.
Transposable elements make up half of our DNA. They control gene expression and have been a major evolutionary force in all organisms. The Schorn lab investigates how small RNAs identify and silence transposable elements when they become active during development and disease.
Nearly all tumors exhibit a condition known as aneuploidy—their cells contain the wrong number of chromosomes. We’re working to understand how aneuploidy impacts cancer progression, in hopes of developing therapies that can specifically eliminate aneuploid cancers while leaving normal cells unharmed.
I am a computer scientist who is fascinated by the challenge of making sense of vast quantities of genetic data. My research group focuses in particular on questions involving human evolution and transcriptional regulation.
The immense amount of DNA, RNA and proteins that contribute to our genetic programs are precisely organized inside the cell's nucleus. My group studies how nuclear organization impacts gene regulation, and how misregulation of non-coding RNAs contributes to human diseases such as cancer.
Every time a cell divides, it must accurately copy its DNA. With 3 billion “letters” in the human genome, this is no small task. My studies reveal the many steps and molecular actors involved, as well as how errors in DNA replication are involved in diseases that range from cancer to rare genetic disorders.
Cells must constantly react to what is happening around them, adapting to changes in neighboring cells or the environment. I study the signals that cells use to exchange information with their surroundings. Our group is finding drugs that target these signals and thus can treat diabetes, obesity, cancer, and autism spectrum disorders.
We have recently developed the first genetic mouse model for therapy and analysis of metastatic prostate cancer. Now we can test if and how modern concepts of cancer evolution can outperform the 80-year-old standard of care - hormone deprivation therapy - and turn lethal prostate cancer into a curable disease.
Pancreatic cancer is an extremely lethal malignancy. On average, patients who are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer succumb to the disease within 6 months. Research is the only way to defeat pancreatic cancer. My lab is making progress toward finding a cure by detecting the disease earlier and designing novel therapeutic approaches.
Cancer cells achieve their pathogenicity by changing which genes are on and off. To maintain these changes in gene expression, cancer cells rely on proteins that interact with DNA or modify chromatin. My group investigates how such factors sustain the aberrant capabilities of cancer cells, thereby identifying new therapeutic targets.
Normal cell function relies on coordinated communication between all the different parts of the cell. These communication signals control what a cell does, what shape it takes, and how it interacts with other cells. I study these signaling networks to understand how they guard against cancer and neurological disorders.
Devastating diseases like cancer and autism can be caused by spontaneous changes to our DNA—mutations first appearing in the child, or in our tissues as we age. We are developing methods to discover these changes in individuals, tumors, and even single cells, to promote early detection and treatments
Cells orchestrate proteins to conduct cell-cell communications and environment sensing in order to execute physiological functions. My lab investigates the mechanisms by which dysregulated signals cause diseases such as cancer, and we are developing therapeutics based on these mechanisms.
Proper balancing of self-renewal and differentiation in hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells is a central question in hematopoiesis. My laboratory investigates how growth signal and nutrient coordinate to regulate this key process and aims to develop novel therapeutic strategies for hematological diseases and malignancies.
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.