Acquire the knowledge and skills you need to break barriers in cancer and cell biology.

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Our Program

We have incorporated the best elements of traditional graduate programs – academic rigor and stellar faculty – with flexibility that supports intensive academic training in small group formats while providing you the freedom and support necessary to design an individualized curriculum.  

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Where Will Your Ph.D. Take You?

Our program will give you the background and expertise needed to succeed in your scientific and professional career. Whatever your vision for your career entails, we will provide the training, resources and support to help you realize your ambition. 

Cancer & Cell Biology News

credit: NCI/NIH
Making 'sense' of the 'cart before the horse' in mammalian cells

A fusion gene is a new gene made by joining parts of two different genes. It had been thought that fusion genes precede fusion RNA, but some have raised doubts that this is always the case. Ten years ago scientists proposed the ‘cart-before-the-horse-hypothesis,’ which puts forward the idea that fusion RNA can form first and then guide the rearrangement of genes to form the corresponding fusion gene. Until this study, researchers had yet to come forward showing that this proposed RNA-mediate gene rearrangements also happen in mammalian cells.

Mutant PPM1D gives stem cells a survival advantage

Although chemotherapy can fight back cancer, it also has been associated with increased risk of leukemia years after the treatment. What leads to that association is not clear, but a recent report has provided some answers. The answers involve a gene calledPPM1D, whose function in blood production was unknown. The implications of these findings can affect the choice of chemotherapies. Baylor M.D./Ph.D. student, Joanne Ino Hsu participated in this research.

E. Coli shows the way to discover cell-made protein carcinogens

Baylor researchers discovered a new major class of cancer-promoting genes by showing that many normal proteins made by our cells can act like carcinogens, damaged DNA and causing mutations. Former graduate student and current postdoctoral associate at Baylor, Dr. Jun Xia was one of the two co-first authors on this study.

credit: Greg Ira
When DNA is caught at the break

Cells have in place a number of mechanisms to protect the integrity of the genome, including processes that repair mistakes that may occur during DNA replication. The enzyme Dna2 participates in DNA repair, but little is known about the consequences of its absence on chromosome instability.In this project, Baylor researchers worked with yeast and discovered a mutant that shows frequent insertions of DNA fragments in DNA breaks. This mutant lacks Dna2.

credit: National Cancer Institute/Bruce Wetzel and Harry Schaefer
A potential new purpose for an old drug

Baylor researchers have been screening FDA-approved compounds for their ability to stop cancer growth of triple-negative breast cancer in an animal model of the disease. They focused on finding ways to disrupt the effects of a class of protein called Ras, powerful drivers of a wide range of cancers. In this proof-of-concept study, they have established a strategy to target N-Ras for therapy.

credit: Circulating breast cancer cells. Credit: National Cancer Institute
This is what the Warburg pathway can do for breast cancer growth

The Warburg effect has been a mystery for quite some time. Why would cancer cells, which need large amounts of energy to sustain their growth, prefer to use a pathway that produces less ATP than another available pathway? What would be the advantage for cancer cells to use the Warburg pathway? This study sheds new light on this mystery.

The Cancer Genome Atlas 10-year study produces game changers for translational research

Historically, cancer patients have been classified according to the organs where primary tumors present at diagnosis, and clinical trials commonly test drugs that are designed to target cancers in a specific organ as well. The Cancer Genome Atlas project has contributed a new perspective to cancer classification that has implications for treatment.

G-quadruplex regulates breast cancer-associated gene

For breast cancer, carrying protein CD44s, instead of CD44v, has a survival advantage. Researchers have now discovered a mechanism by which cells can regulate switching between the two proteins, opening options for the development of novel therapeutic strategies to control cancer growth in the future.

credit: National Cancer Institute
Researchers target what makes triple negative breast cancer grow

Scientists have been looking for receptors — molecules on cancer cells — that promote the growth of cancers. But the receptors driving some cancer types like triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) have remained elusive to scientists, until now.

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Training Grant

The Cancer & Cell Biology Program is supported by National Institute of General Medical Sciences Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Predoctoral Institutional Research Training Grant (T32) Training Grant GM008231.

In order to earn this grant, our program successfully demonstrated that we provide high-quality research training, mentored research experiences, and additional training opportunities that equip trainees with the technical (e.g., appropriate methods, technologies, and quantitative/computational approaches), operational (e.g., independent knowledge acquisition, rigorous experimental design, and interpretation of data) and professional (e.g. management, leadership, communication, and teamwork) skills required for careers in the biomedical research workforce (i.e., the breadth of careers that sustain biomedical research in areas that are relevant to the NIH mission).