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Cancer Biology

Thomas Kodadek, Ph.D.






Thomas Kodadek, Ph.D., Chairman

The overall goal of the research in the Department of Cancer Biology at the Scripps Florida campus is to fully understand the molecular pathogenesis of human cancers and to exploit this knowledge for the development of new therapeutics. Faculty in the Department study many aspects of normal and tumor cell biology, including metabolism, development, signal transduction pathways, oncogenes and tumor suppressors, apoptosis, the DNA damage response, autophagy, invasion and metastasis, and chemoresistance. In addition, several investigators in the Department study the interactions of tumor cells with their microenvironment, as well as the role of the inflammatory response and immune surveillance in the progression and maintenance of the malignant state. Finally, using the unique translational resources available at Scripps Florida, many faculty in the Department are developing agents against novel targets that can be exploited for cancer therapeutics.  The Department, launched in 2006, has developed close research ties with the La Jolla campus.

The faculty of the Department apply a variety of state-of-the-art technologies towards target discovery and validation, and have developed several pre-clinical models to evaluate the efficacy of new leads in cancer prevention and therapeutics. While investigators are interested in the molecular underpinnings of all of the major human malignancies, they have special interests in breast, lung, ovarian, pancreatic and prostate carcinoma, as well as in multiple myeloma, leukemia, lymphoma and melanoma. They also have programs evaluating the interplay between aging and cancer.

One of the many strengths of Scripps Florida is the availability of high-throughput technologies that allow investigators to rapidly develop potential lead compounds by using both genetic and small molecule screens. Importantly, collaborations with the major Cancer Centers in the State of Florida and with the La Jolla campus allow identified leads to quickly move forward into translational and clinical studies.