Center for Biological Pathways

The Center for Biological Pathways at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center focuses on laboratory research to understand the mechanisms of molecular pathways that cause cancer, and the sequential events of cellular pathways that make cancer cells spread.

Cancer is caused by abnormal function of critical genes. Basic science is the key to discovering how this process occurs, and MD Anderson Cancer Center plays important roles in basic cancer research and translation into clinical trials. New information in basic science—such as studies of the underlying cellular and molecular structures and processes of life, DNA, genes and alterations, stem cells, cell metabolism and signaling pathways—brings together the pieces of the cancer puzzle.

What are molecular and cellular pathways? 

A molecular pathway is a series of actions among molecules in a cell that leads to a certain product or change in that cell. Such a pathway can trigger the assembly of new molecules, such as a fat or protein molecule. Pathways can also turn genes on and off, or prompt a cell to move. 

All parts of the human body, from individual cells to entire organs, must work together to promote normal development and sustain health. This feat of biological teamwork is made possible by its array of intricate, interconnected pathways that facilitate communication among genes, molecules and cells. It is critical to fully understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms of  biological pathways to develop effective treatments, preventative agents, and diagnostic and prognostic markers. 

To reach this goal, the Center for Biological Pathways coordinates the interaction of Center members, all of whom work to unravel novel molecular and cellular pathways within their oncologic specialty. This coordination expedites the translation of laboratory discoveries into clinical research. The Center provides state-of-the-art shared resources and an intellectual environment in the form of seminars and retreats to facilitate interactions, stimulate genius and expedite research outcomes.


The Center sincerely appreciates the generous support of Laura and John Arnold Foundation. We will continue to unravel critical components in cell and molecular pathways that will translate into clinical means for “Making Cancer History”.

Related Programs

Center Core Facilities

Multiphoton Microscopy Core

Contact Information:

Zhenbo Han, Ph.D.
Research Scientist
Department of Molecular and Cellular Oncology

shRNA and ORFeome Core

Contact Information:

Yutong Sun, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Molecular and Cellular Oncology