Jacksonville, Florida




John A. Copland III, Ph.D., leads the Cancer Biology and Translational Research Laboratory at Mayo Clinic's campus in Florida. Research in the lab is aimed at better understanding the mechanisms and pathways of carcinogenesis and tumor progression in order to develop novel, synergistic cancer therapies.

Discoveries from the Copland laboratory include RhoB, transforming growth factor receptor 3 (TBR3) and GATA3 as tumor suppressor genes in addition to FOXO3a, stearoyl CoA desaturase 1 (SCD1), neuronal pentraxin 2 (NPTX2) and others as novel oncogenes.

Focus areas

  • Cancer. Cancer is a complex disease in which key gene expression patterns regulating cell proliferation, differentiation and death are altered in a normal cell to that of a dysregulated tumor cell capable of immortality. The overall goal of Dr. Copland's research is to understand molecular mechanisms of carcinogenesis and tumor progression. A better understanding of these molecular mechanisms allows for the development of novel molecular targeted therapies. The lab has genomically profiled human carcinomas to identify aberrant signaling pathways that potentially can be used for creating novel therapies.
  • Individualized medicine. Each patient's tumor is unique and requires personalized treatment. Dr. Copland and his colleagues develop live cells in culture from patient tumor tissues as well as patient-derived xenograft models. These patient-derived models can be used for drug screening to discover new, patient-specific combination therapies.
  • New drug development. Dr. Copland's laboratory develops novel compounds targeting SCD1 using in silico drug modeling. Ongoing efforts are to take the lead SCD1 inhibitor into clinical trials.

Significance to patient care

Dr. Copland's investigations to better understand the mechanisms of cancer have led to novel therapies for patients. The goal is to improve the quality of life and prognosis for patients through the novel, molecular-targeted therapies Dr. Copland's lab has developed.

Professional highlights

  • Developed the Science Program for the Advancement of Research Knowledge (SPARK) program, Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, 2017
  • Recipient, College of Graduate Studies Distinguished Alumnus Lecturer, Augusta University, 2012


Primary Appointment

  1. Consultant, Department of Cancer Biology

Academic Rank

  1. Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  2. Professor of Cancer Biology


  1. Post Doctoral Fellowship Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, University of Texas Medical Branch
  2. Post Doctoral Fellowship Endocrinology Division, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Medical Branch
  3. PhD Department of Physiology and Endocrinology, Medical College of Georgia
  4. MS Department of Endocrinology, Medical College of Georgia
  5. BS - Chemistry Columbus College

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