The Virginia Harris Cockrell Cancer Research Center at Science Park

Science Park is a basic research campus of MD Anderson located near Austin. Home to the Department of Epigenetics and Molecular Carcinogenesis, MD Anderson's largest basic science department, the campus offers a unique setting for research, education and conferences.

Our Research

Our research aims to define the mechanisms that control normal cell proliferation, differentiation, survival and genome maintenance to identify the processes that drive cancer. Research in the department is multidisciplinary and falls under three areas:

Research Highlight

The Bedford lab studies the methylation of arginine amino acids in histones and other chromatin-associated proteins. In a recent study, they showed that TDRD3, a reader of methyl-arginine marks on histone tails, interacts with TOP3B, a topoisomerase that unwinds DNA at regions of active gene expression. The study provides evidence that this partnership can prevent DNA breakage and chromosomal translocations, two of the hallmarks of cancer.

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Learn more about the Bedford lab


Our Campus


Nestled within the Lost Pines forest of Central Texas near Smithville, the Science Park campus is within driving distance from Austin, "The Live Music Capital of the World."


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More News


Departmental Seminar Series: Colleen Sweeney, PhD. University of California, Davis. March 30, 2016, 11 am. Conference Center Auditorium.

Hogg Seminar Series: Jeff Rosen, PhD, University of Miami School of Medicine. March 23, 2016, 11 am. Conference Center Auditorium.

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Faculty Spotlight: Taiping Chen, PhD

Epigenetic mechanisms, including DNA methylation and histone modifications, play crucial roles in chromatin structure and gene expression. The Chen lab investigates the roles of epigenetic regulators in developmental and pathological processes, focusing on epigenetic reprogramming events during early embryogenesis and gametogenesis (including genomic imprinting), tumorigenesis, and stem cell biology. Currently, Dr. Chen’s lab is: 1) defining the interplay between histone lysine and arginine methylation and DNA methylation during mammalian development; 2) defining the role of epigenetic modifiers in cancer formation and progression; and 3) defining the roles of the histone methyltransferase SetDB1 in stem cell functions, including tissue homeostasis, regeneration and repair.