Institute for Basic Science

MD Anderson Cancer Center promotes a nurturing environment to enhance collaboration among clinicians, physician scientists and basic scientists. 

To that end, the Institute for Basic Science was established in 2008. The goal of the Institute is to accelerate scientific discoveries by recruiting outstanding laboratory scientists and creating a collaborative environment in which our faculty have access to state-of-the-art core facilities and participate in theme- and/or disease-oriented symposia and retreats. The Institute serves as a catalyst for faculty to exchange ideas and to solve critical problems that apply to fundamental aspects of cancer biology and lead clinical aspects in treating patients. 

Since its launch, the Institute has consistently grown and flourished. Through various recruitment packages affiliated with the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) and funding from the University of Texas Science and Technology Acquisition and Retention (STARs) program, all affiliated centers continue to actively recruit faculty at all levels to enrich the centers' research programs. 

The vision of the Institute is to promote basic science research at MD Anderson to world-renowned recognition. Investigators focus on tackling basic fundamental puzzles in cancer biology. Their findings could lead to clinical aspects in treating cancer patients.

Dr. Mien-Chie Hung serves as the Institute's director. The Institute has six Centers for Research Excellence. The director, co-directors and members of the Centers for Research Excellence are faculty in basic science departments at MD Anderson, including the departments of  Genetics, Immunology, Epigenetics and Molecular Carcinogenesis, Molecular and Cellular Oncology, Stem Cell Transplantation, and Translational Molecular Pathology. To enhance interactions with other centers and institutes at MD Anderson, these directors meet annually with the Metastasis Research Center, the Center for Advanced Biomedical Imaging Research at the McCombs Institute, the Institute for Applied Cancer Science, and the Small Animal Imaging Facility.

Institute investigators are also actively involved in graduate education programs at The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) at Houston – a joint program between The University of Texas Health Science Center - Houston (UT Health) and MD Anderson Cancer Center – ranked among the best in the nation in the 2010 National Research Council assessment. Among 122 programs in the category of Cell and Development Biology, the Ph.D. Cancer Biology Program was ranked among the top 4% of Graduate Programs, and the Genes and Development Program was ranked among the top 25% of graduate programs. Many faculty members in the IBS are an integral part of the two programs.

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Centers for Research Excellence

Biological Pathways 
Director: Mien-Chie Hung, Ph.D.
Co-Director: Dihua Yu, M.D., Ph.D.

Cancer Epigenetics
Director: Sharon Dent, Ph.D.
Co-Directors: Mark Bedford, Ph.D. 
and Jessica Tyler, Ph.D.

Genetics and Genomics
Director: Gigi Lozano, Ph.D.

Environmental and Molecular Carcinogenesis
Co-Directors: David Johnson, Ph.D., 
C. Marcelo Aldaz, M.D., Ph.D. 
and Richard Wood, Ph.D.

Inflammation and Cancer
Co-Directors: Xin Lin, Ph.D., 
Shao-Cong Sun, Ph.D.
and Stephanie Watowich, Ph.D.

Stem Cell and Developmental Biology
Co-directors: Richard Champlin, M.D., 
and Sendurai A. Mani, Ph.D.