Andy Futreal, Ph.D.
Department Chair ad interim
The Department of Systems Biology applies systems biology approaches to the many facets of clinical, translational and basic cancer biology. The department is positioned to take advantage of emerging areas in cancer research and systems biology using an integrative approach across large scale data sets and patient samples. Active areas of research include genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, epigenomics, single cell biology, synthetic biology, tumor microenvironment and cancer immunology.
The department places a particular emphasis on using genome-scale biology (network biology and omics) to develop robust predictors for precision cancer therapy and on problems associated with failures in targeted therapies for cancer whereby resistance to targeted therapy can be cell intrinsic, selected, or adaptive (homeostatic feedback loops, cross-talk bypass) or may result from tumor-microenvironmental interactions. The application of data driven, robust and predictive mathematical models therefore holds promise for the identification of targeted combination therapies, and it is this goal that drives the efforts of much of the department. The department has a diverse research portfolio, encompassing basic research of cancer biology, systems biology, and translational research.
The mission of The Department of Systems Biology is to translate our rapidly maturing understanding of the genetic, epigenetic, transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolomics defects that underlie the initiation and progression of cancer to improved patient management.
Our vision is to develop an internationally recognized Systems Biology Department that will push the boundaries of cancer research and cancer care by integrating technology development, bioengineering and data science.
The goal of The Department of Systems Biology is to be a leader at the interface between basic, translational and clinical sciences both at MD Anderson Cancer Center and worldwide. As part of its local as well as national and international role, the department will provide access to its wide array of technologies, patient samples, algorithms and data to the community at large, a major role in the emerging area of systems biology team science.
The department provides a supportive environment for a programmatic approach by basic scientists, clinician scientists, computational biologists, engineers, postdoctoral and clinical fellows, and graduate students. The research thrust is thoroughly integrated with basic, clinical and translational efforts across the institution and worldwide. The department has ongoing major collaborations with multiple clinical departments and basic science departments at MD Anderson Cancer Center as well as with Rice University, Baylor College of Medicine, University of Houston, University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston and Texas A&M.