Image of thoracic surgeon Dennis Wigle, M.D., Ph.D., of the Thoracic Oncology Laboratory at Mayo Clinic. Understanding the mechanisms of lung metastasis

Thoracic surgeon Dr. Wigle and his research team in the Thoracic Oncology Lab explore the application of gene expression biomarkers for molecular staging of thoracic malignancies and lung cancer.


Led by physician-scientist Dennis Wigle, M.D., Ph.D., research in the Thoracic Oncology Laboratory at Mayo Clinic focuses on thoracic oncology and lung organogenesis.

Thoracic oncology research

Our lab has several basic and translational research interests in thoracic malignancies.

For example, the application of gene expression biomarkers for the molecular staging of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is an emerging field with the promise of clinical translation.

At a more basic research level, our research team is investigating the molecular steps transforming a normal bronchial epithelial cell through dysplasia to malignancy. The lab uses a number of modern genomic, proteomic and mouse transgenic technologies in these studies.

Lung organogenesis research

Understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in growth and development of the normal lung is fundamental to harnessing these processes for clinical tissue regeneration.

Using a mouse model in this research, our lab is studying the potential role of lung stem cells both as precursors of lung adenocarcinoma and for utilization in regenerative strategies.

About Dr. Wigle

In addition to leading the Thoracic Oncology Lab at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, Dr. Wigle also is chair of the Division of General Thoracic Surgery. As a thoracic surgeon, Dr. Wigle treats a range of conditions and conducts many types of surgery, including esophageal reconstruction, minimally invasive thymectomy and robotic surgery. He also is a professor of surgery at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science.