Molecular Oncology Research Program | NYU Langone Health

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Department of Pathology Research Molecular Oncology Research Program

Molecular Oncology Research Program

Molecular oncology research has long been a focal point for basic scientists, translational scientists, and clinician scientists at NYU Langone. Members of the Department of Pathology’s Molecular Oncology Research Program are central to many institutional research initiatives, including those of Perlmutter Cancer Center, a National Cancer Institute–designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. Program faculty also comprise the core teaching initiative in molecular oncology for the Molecular Oncology and Tumor Immunology PhD Training Program at the Vilcek Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences.

Scientists in the program are interested in the genetic basis of neoplastic transformation. They lead research projects investigating areas such as genomic instability and DNA repair, the role of oncogenes and tumor suppressors, gene therapy for cancer, and the regulation of the cell cycle. Another major focus of research is the complex interactions between the immune system and neoplastic processes, including the role of inflammation and the immune response in the development of cancer as well as the application of immunotherapy to the treatment of cancer.

There have been many luminaries associated with molecular oncology research in the department over the years. For instance, one of our current adjunct professors, Avram Hershko, MD, PhD, received the 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for co-discovering ubiquitin-mediated protein instability, one of the key controls of the cell cycle. Much of the program’s work in molecular oncology has direct clinical ties.

Molecular Oncology Research Areas

Current core faculty members pursue research in the following areas: William L. Carroll, MD, studies the molecular mechanisms responsible for childhood leukemias and novel approaches to therapy; Brian D. Dynlacht, PhD, leads research on the regulation of gene expression with an emphasis on cell cycle progression of normal and neoplastic cells; and Eva M. Hernando-Monge, PhD, studies molecular alterations that occur during melanoma induction and the transition to metastatic growth.

Hannah L. Klein, PhD, studies the biochemistry of DNA damage and repair; Sergei B. Koralov, PhD, studies the role of inflammation in tumor initiation as well as the role of micro-RNAs in the regulation of B cell biology; Peng Lee, MD, PhD, studies the molecular biology of androgen receptor action and its role in prostate tumorigenesis; David E. Levy, PhD, studies the molecular action of the JAK-STAT signal transduction pathway in the regulation of cytokine action, oncogenic growth, and mitochondrial metabolism; and Daniel Meruelo, PhD, is developing oncolytic viruses and novel cancer immunotherapeutics.

Thales Y. Papagiannakopoulos, PhD, uses sophisticated molecular genetics approaches to the creation and study of novel animal models of human lung cancer; Richard L. Possemato, PhD, studies metabolic changes that accompany neoplastic transformation that serve as novel targets for cancer therapeutics; Irma Sánchez, PhD, studies the role of MAP kinases in cell proliferation; Susan L. Smith, PhD, studies telomere biology in the regulation of cell proliferation, neoplasia, and aging; and David Zagzag, MD, PhD, studies the mechanisms of angiogenesis and neoangiogenesis in neoplasia, with an emphasis on cancers of the nervous system.

Molecular Oncology Research Facilities and Resources

Molecular oncology research is facilitated by state-of-the-art core facilities including the Applied Bioinformatics Laboratories, headed by Aristotelis Tsirigos, PhD, which facilitates analysis of genome-wide datasets; the Genome Technology Center, headed by Adriana Heguy, PhD, which provides genome-wide DNA, RNA, and microRNA sequencing; and the Rodent Genetic Engineering Laboratory, headed by Sang Y. Kim, PhD, which facilitates the creation of complex genetically engineered mouse models of human disease.

Molecular Oncology Research Faculty

Iannis Aifantis, PhD
William L. Carroll, MD
Brian D. Dynlacht, PhD
Eva M. Hernando-Monge, PhD
Avram Hershko, MD, PhD
Hannah L. Klein, PhD
Sergei B. Koralov, PhD
Peng Lee, MD, PhD
David E. Levy, PhD
Daniel Meruelo, PhD
Thales Y. Papagiannakopoulos, PhD
Richard L. Possemato, PhD
Irma Sánchez, PhD
Susan L. Smith, PhD
David Zagzag, MD, PhD

Contact Us

For general inquiries about molecular oncology research programs, please email Dr. Levy, program director, at