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Molecular Oncology Program at CU Cancer Center

Molecular and Cellular Oncology Program

The Molecular and Cellular Oncology Program (MCO) organizes a productive group of researchers whose work provides insights into gene expression regulation and its deregulation in cancer, the cellular response to genomic insults, the molecular structure of cancer-relevant proteins, and new signaling transduction processes driving tumor growth.

Our researchers collaborate with other programs to translate their basic discoveries into better tools for cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

We develop these novel technologies and approaches:

  • synthetic lethal shRNA screens in human cells to identify pathways conferring resistance to targeted therapies
  • new phospho-proteomics approaches to elucidate oncogenic protein kinase signaling pathways
  • advanced crystallographic and NMR studies of protein structure

Scientific Goals:

Research in the MCO program is directed toward elucidating fundamental biological processes in cancer biology, and translating these basic discoveries into better tools for cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment through collaborative research with other CU Cancer Center programs.

Focus Groups

  1. Maintenance of Genomic Integrity - Investigators work on genomic re-arrangements and retro-transposition; DNA replication, repair and the DNA damage cell cycle checkpoint; mutagenesis and the response to ionizing irradiation, telomerase and DNA end-repair. 
  2. Gene Expression and Biomarkers - Investigators work on specification of cell fates; nuclear acceptors of signaling and environmental pathways; fundamental mechanisms of transcriptional regulation; the interplay between transcription and RNA processing, cancer survival pathways; and the regulation of protein synthesis and proteomic identification of cancer biomarkers that result from altered gene expression.
  3. Cancer Structural Biology - Investigators delineate the molecular structure of RNA, DNA-binding proteins, signaling molecules, and oligopeptides using biophysical techniques, NMR and X-ray crystallography.

Programmatic Goals:

  • Promote inter- and intra-program collaborations
  • Facilitate access to new technologies and resources
  • Create forums for scientific exchange and discussion
  • Discovery/development of basic cancer processes that can be collaboratively translated to the clinic.