Photograph of three Mayo Clinic researchers in the Department of Cancer Biology Exploring the biology of human cancer

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

Overview

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

Our principal investigators work collaboratively with colleagues within Mayo Clinic, throughout the United States and around the world to understand the biology of human cancer and translate findings into new clinical trials and novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. Research for the department takes place at the Mayo Clinic campuses in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona; Jacksonville, Florida; and Rochester, Minnesota.

Our research faculty include cancer cell biologists, computational biologists, bioengineers and clinician-scientists working together to discover the molecular processes that drive cancer development and progression. Research across this broad spectrum of cancer is connected by a common theme: the molecular mechanisms of carcinogenesis. Investigators in the Department of Cancer Biology study all stages of tumor mechanisms and progression, including early tumorigenesis, malignant progression, tumor invasion and tumor metastasis. Research is particularly strong in tumor invasion and metastasis, a key event during tumor progression that accounts for more than 90% of cancer-related mortality.

Our researchers use a variety of methods as they search for more information about cancer biology, including:

  • Structural biology and crystallography
  • Interactions between cancers and the immune system
  • 3D modeling
  • Advanced models of human disease
  • Human genomics and proteomics
  • Tumor biomarkers
  • Novel therapeutics
  • Translational studies related to clinical trials

Education and mentoring

Faculty members in the Department of Cancer Biology conduct high-impact research and are all funded by a variety of federal, foundation and industry partners. Faculty members participate in training of postdoctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduate students, and visiting scientists, and they provide opportunities for career development, including mentoring sessions, writing opportunities and participation in the cancer biology works-in-progress series.

Faculty members also support the education mission of Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. They teach graduate courses and mentor graduate students in a wide range of topics related to cancer research. Graduate students studying with our department have easy access to classes and seminars at all Mayo Clinic campuses via on-site and videoconferenced interactive lectures.

Playing a part in Mayo Clinic's mission

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

Our department is also an integral part of Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center with a multisite presence that spans Mayo Clinic's three campuses.

Our 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.