About the Program

The Cell Biology Program of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center investigates the molecular cell biology of cancer to help support the center's organ-based cancer research programs.

The goal of research in the Cell Biology Program is to define the molecular, genetic and cellular basis of neoplastic transformation, growth and metastasis, while also providing insights into cell growth and senescence, organ development, chromatin dynamics, and genomic alterations.

Areas of research

The Cell Biology Program focuses on four main areas of cancer research:

  • Cell cycle and transcription control. Researchers in this focus area investigate the fundamental genetic and epigenetic mechanisms regulating the cell cycle and transcription control in normal, senescent and neoplastic cells.
  • Cell signal and receptor trafficking. Researchers in this focus area investigate the mechanisms through which cell signaling pathways and receptor endocytic activity promote uncontrolled cell growth.
  • Tumor microenvironment and angiogenesis. Researchers in this focus area study how the crosstalk between cancer cells and their microenvironment promotes cancer growth by regulating neo-angiogenesis, inflammation, immune evasion and fibrosis.
  • Cell adhesion, migration and metastasis. Researchers in this focus area study how cells attach to substrates and to each other and how these attachments are altered as a cell initiates migration and invasion.

The Cell Biology Program conducts research at all three Mayo Clinic campuses — in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona; Jacksonville, Florida; and Rochester, Minnesota. The program also is affiliated with the Department of Cancer Biology.

Program leadership

The Cell Biology Program at Mayo Clinic is directed by Panagiotis Z. Anastasiadis, Ph.D., and Jan van Deursen, Ph.D.

  • Panagiotis Z. Anastasiadis, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Cancer Biology, is a professor of cancer biology in the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science in Jacksonville, Florida. Dr. Anastasiadis is also principal investigator of the Cell Adhesion and Metastasis Laboratory, where his team studies the biological mechanisms behind cancer in order to develop better treatment options.
  • Jan van Deursen, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, is a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology and a professor of pediatrics in the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science in Rochester, Minnesota. Dr. van Deursen's research on the genetic functions of tumor growth and suppression works toward a better understanding of the causes and origins of cancer, with the ultimate goal of developing better tools for prediction, prevention and treatment of the disease.