About the Department

The Department of Cancer Biology at Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida, aims to be an engine for discovery, generating critical insights and breakthroughs leading to new clinical approaches and treatments for many types of cancer.

The department is an integral part of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, a National Cancer Institute – designated comprehensive cancer center with a multisite presence that spans Mayo Clinic's three campuses in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota.

Research focus

Research for the Department of Cancer Biology takes place in the C.V. and Elsie R. Griffin Cancer Research Building. Ten principal investigators work collaboratively with clinical colleagues throughout Mayo Clinic to understand the biology of human cancer and translate their findings into new clinical trials and novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.

The department's research is focused on major causes of cancer-related deaths in the United States, including:

  • Brain tumors
  • Breast cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Kidney (renal) cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Thyroid cancer

Research across this broad spectrum of cancer is connected by a common theme: the molecular mechanisms of carcinogenesis. Researchers in the Department of Cancer Biology study all stages of tumor mechanisms and progression, including early tumorigenesis, malignant progression, invasion and metastasis.

Research is particularly strong in tumor invasion and metastasis, a key event during tumor progression that accounts for more than 90 percent of cancer-related mortality.

Researchers use a variety of methods as they search for answers about cancer biology, including:

  • Structural biology and crystallography
  • Cell biology
  • 3-D modeling
  • Animal models of human disease
  • Human genomics and proteomics
  • Tumor biomarkers
  • Novel therapeutics
  • Translational studies related to clinical trials

About the faculty

Faculty members in the Department of Cancer Biology publish in high-impact journals and are all federally funded. Faculty members are full members of the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Cancer biology is a recognized field of rank in the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science.

Graduate students in the Department of Cancer Biology have easy access to classes and seminars at all Mayo Clinic campuses via videoconferencing. They also participate in the department's cancer biology seminar series.

Faculty members are actively involved in teaching graduate courses and mentoring graduate students in a wide range of topics related to cancer research.

Playing a part in Mayo Clinic's mission

The Department of Cancer Biology plays a critical role in Mayo Clinic's mission both locally and across Mayo Clinic's campuses by engaging in nationally and internationally recognized biomedical research, translating key findings to the clinic and training future generations of biomedical students.

The collaborative work on cancer research is leading to new discoveries about the biology of human cancer, enabling researchers to translate that knowledge into better methods of cancer diagnosis, prevention and treatment.


The Department of Cancer Biology is affiliated with several Mayo Clinic research areas: