Molecular & Cellular Oncology
Mien-Chie Hung, Ph.D.
The mission of the Molecular and Cellular Oncology department is to enhance basic research excellence by establishing a strong research group focused on the molecular and cellular aspects of cancer research, particularly in molecular and cellular signaling pathways for tumor progression and metastasis; to enhance translational research for development of targeted cancer therapies; to enhance educational programs for next generation scientists; and to enhance collaboration with other MD Anderson department and thematic programs and interactions with other institutions locally, nationally and internationally; to facilitate MD Anderson cancer related laboratory science research to rise to the highest level in the nation.
There are currently 11 tenured or tenure-track faculty members. Overall, the department is well funded, with multiple peer-reviewed grants -- including grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense -- and sponsored-research agreements with industry. The department receives approximately $8 million in extramural funding per year.
A number of faculty members in the department are interested in breast cancer research, and most have received peer-reviewed breast cancer-related extramural research funding. Research interests include growth factor receptors, oncoproteins, tumor suppressors, cytokines and cell survival and apoptosis factors.
Specific molecules currently under investigation include the epidermal growth factor receptor family, estrogen receptor, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, IL-2, Akt, Pak1, nuclear factor-kappa B, p16, p27Kip1, p57Kip2, p21Cip1, Rb, p53, BRCA2 and p202. In addition, the development and biology of the mammary gland tumors are being actively investigated in studies using transgenic and knockout mouse models. Other cancers being studied include melanoma, lung, colon, ovarian and prostate cancers.
Considerable collaboration occurs among the faculty members in most areas of study. One such area is gene therapy. New gene therapy strategies for cancer treatment are being investigated in the development of tumor-specific targeting, expression and delivery systems and the identification of two novel, effective therapeutic genes.
Faculty members are very active in training graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Currently, 22 doctoral students and 42 postdoctoral fellows are being trained. Research discoveries within the Department of Molecular and Cellular Oncology will help us understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms of cancer progression and ultimately increase our ability to detect, monitor and treat human cancer.
Cancer Biology Program
The Cancer Biology Program offers a graduate program of study and research leading to a Ph.D. degree from the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. The program provides training in all aspects of cancer biology, including tumor/host interactions, metastasis and invasion, tumor cell biology and biochemistry, tumor heterogeneity, cell surfaces, cancer genetics, retroviruses, regulation, and development.
In addition to the interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary training approaches taught through formal courses, laboratory research experience and exposure to clinical problems, the CBP offers diverse educational activities and services to students, which include an annual scientific retreat, student seminar series, barbecue cookouts, new student orientation/welcome party, and opportunities to attend scientific conferences both nationally and locally.
More information about graduate programs and admission:
- Cancer Biology Program
- Virology and Gene Therapy Program
- Molecular Pathology Program
- Admissions Information
Department of Molecular and Cellular Oncology
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
1515 Holcombe Boulevard
Houston, TX 77030