About the Genetic Mechanisms of Cancer Program

The Masonic Cancer Center's Genetic Mechanisms of Cancer (GMOC) research program consists of 34 faculty members at all ranks from 10 different departments within the Medical School on the Minneapolis and Duluth campuses, the School of Dentistry, the College of Science and Engineering, the College of Pharmacy, and the School of Veterinary Medicine.

The scientific goals of the program are to define and understand the genetic changes that occur during cancer development, including the specific changes that drive tumor initiation and progression and those that influence cancer susceptibility.

To achieve these goals, GMOC is focused on three research themes:
  • Cancer gene discovery and analysis: genetics of cancer susciptibility and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis, genetic screens for cancer-relevant phenotypes in animal models, functional analysis of cancer genes, and genome-wide analysis of gene expression
  • Genome stability: chromosome segregation; DNA replication, repair and recombination; DNA
  • Cancer gene therapy and genome modification: building animal and human cell-based cancer models, gene therapy

Genetic Mechanisms of Cancer program meetings

Held the second Friday of each month, 12-1 p.m., in 450 MCRB.

Program news

Member news

Research conducted in the laboratory of Ran Blekhman, Ph.D., has identified a single signature of colon cancer in the gut microbiome. Michael Burns, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the Blekhman lab and former Cancer Biology Training Grant fellow, was quoted in articles in the Minnesota Daily, Health Canal, EndoNurse, Medical Xpress, GenomeWeb, and VOA News. Timothy Starr, Ph.D., was also mentioned in the Minnesota Daily article. KSTP-TV also reported this.

Perry Hacket, Ph.D., Genetic Mechanisms of Cancer Program, was quoted in a Star Tribune story about the Sleeping Beauty transposon system he and his colleagues developed at the University of Minnesota, which is being used to develop new cancer treatments.

Reuben Harris, Ph.D., was selected by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) as one of 26 HHMI investigators, out of a pool of 894 applicants, based on scientific excellence. Read more.

The laboratory of Timothy Starr, Ph.D., recently reported the discovery of 76 lung cancer driver genes which could be therapeutic targets for treatment. The research was published in Molecular Cancer Research.