Faculty

Cancer Research Faculty

The Cancer Research doctoral program includes faculty members from the following colleges, departments and institutes: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, two College of Dentistry departments, College of Nursing, College of Pharmacy, four College of Public Health departments, Eppley Institute, Genetics Cell Biology and Anatomy, three Internal Medicine departments, Munroe-Meyer Institute, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Pathology and Microbiology, Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience, Radiation Oncology, Radiology and Surgery.

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Yazen Alnouti Yazen Alnouti, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Research focus:  Drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics (DMPK), with a focus on the application of Bioanalytical Chemistry, in vitro and in vivo animal models to support ADMET (absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion and toxicity) and pharmacokinetic (PK) studies; Biomarkers for hepato-biliary diseases based on bile acid metabolism by sulfation.

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Lorena Baccaglini Lorena Baccaglini, DDS, PhD
Associate Professor, Collge of Public Health - Epidemiology
Research focus:  Clinical research; evidence-based medicine; systematic reviews; epidemiological methods; genetic epidemiology, oral and systemic diseases; wound healing; growth factors; head and neck injuries.

Hamid Band

Hamid Band, MD, PhD
Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute
Research focus:  Regulation of receptor signaling by endocytic traffic; Cbl-family and CHIP ubiquitin ligases; EHD-family endocytic recycling regulators; mouse genetic models.


Vimla Band

Vimla Band, PhD
Professor and Chair, Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Anatomy
Research focus:  Delineate molecular mechanisms of early steps in transformation of mammary epithelial cells with the goal of identifying novel molecular diagnostic/prognostic markers and potential therapy targets of breast cancers.


Janina Baranowska-Kortylewicz Janina Baranowska-Kortylewicz, PhD
Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology
Research focus:  Auger electron emitters in therapy and diagnosis of cancer; radioimmunotherapeutics and radiolabeled nucleic acid precursors for cancer therapy; imaging agents; investigational new drugs.

Surinder Batra

Surinder K. Batra, PhD
Professor and Chair, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research focus:  Structure/function analysis of tumor-associated genes; cancer diagnostics, cancer vaccines; monoclonal antibodies, genetic engineering of antibodies.


Ann Berger Ann Berger, PhD, APRN-CNS, AOCNS, FAAN
Professor, College of Nursing
Research focus:  Symptom management, in particular fatigue and sleep/wake disturbances, in individuals with cancer; use of wrist actigraphy.

Bessho Tadayoshi Bessho, PhD
Associate Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute
Research focus:  Molecular mechanism of DNA interstrand crosslink repair in mammalian cells.

Kishor Bhakat Kishor K. Bhakat, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Anatomy
Research focus:  Mitotic gene bookmarking:  A novel dimension of epigenetic memory in cancer for post-mitotic transcriptional reactivation; APE1 and its acetylation: A potential prognostic and predictive biomarker in cancer.

Phillip Bierman Philip Bierman, MD
Professor, Department of Internal Medicine – Oncology and Hematology
Research focus:  Hodgkin disease; non-hodgkin lymphoma; neuro-oncology.

Adrian Black Adrian Black, PhD
Assistant Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute
Research focus:  Tissue sciences; molecular biology; cell cycle; transcription; protein kinase C signaling in intestinal cells; endometrial cancer.

Jennifer Black Jennifer Black, PhD
Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute
Research focus:  Colon cancer; endometrial cancer; cell signaling; cell cycle regulation; protein kinase C.

Gloria Borgstahl Gloria Borgstahl, PhD
Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute
Research focus:  Structural biology, superoxide dismutase and double-strand DNA repair by homologous recombination.

Shannon Buckley Shannon Buckley, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Anatomy
Research focus:  Molecular mechanisms regulating stem cell fate decisions that may also be linked to cancer.

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Scott Campbell W. Scott Campbell, MBA, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology and Microbiology
Research focus:  Health informatics and pathology informatics.

Mark Carlson Mark Carlson, MD, FACS
Professor, Department of Surgery
Research focus:  Cancer; regenerative medicine; hemostasis; wound healing.

Pi-Wan Cheng Pi-Wan Cheng, PhD
Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research focus:  Regulation of mucin glycan biosynthesis in lung diseases and cancer metastasis; Golgi structure and function: Golgi targeting and retention, and recycling of glycosyltransferases; mechanism of stress-induced Golgi fragmentation.

Dahn Clemens Dahn Clemens, PhD
Professor, Department of Internal Medicine - Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Research focus:  The effects of ethanol metabolism on liver and pancreas cellular functions and replications.

Sam Cohen Samuel M. Cohen, MD, PhD
Professor, Department of Pathology and Microbiology
Research focus:  Urologic pathology, carcinogenesis and toxicology.

Martin Conda Sheridan Martin Conda-Sheridan, PhD
Assistant Professor, College of Pharmacy
Research focus:  Design of complex multifunctional biomaterials and bioactive small molecules for medicinal applications.

Ken Cowan Kenneth Cowan, MD, PhD
Director and Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute
Research focus:  Tumor suppressor genes, breast cancer; mechanisms associated with development of multi-drug resistance and the regulation of expression of drug resistance genes in human tumor cells.

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Kaustabh Datta Kaustabh Datta, PhD
Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research focus:  Molecular mechanisms of cancer progression and metastasis.

John Davis John S. Davis, PhD
Professor, Director of Research and Development - Olson Center for Women's Health, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Research focus:  Reproductive endocrinology and oncology.

Rebecca Oberley-Deegan Rebecca Oberley-Deegan, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research focus:  Role of free radicals signaling to transform fibroblasts and inflammatory cells in normal tissue, which results in damage to these tissues; understanding the mechanisms by which ROS promote radiation induced fibrosis and prostate cancer progression.

Punita Dhawan Punita Dhawan, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research focus:  Role of TJs in colorectal cancer progression and metastasis.

Jixin Dong Jixin Dong, PhD
Associate Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute
Research focus:  Hippo signaling and cancer.

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Jim Eudy James Eudy, PhD
Associate Professor, Director of UNMC DNA Microarray and Sequencing Core Facility, Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Anatomy
Research focus:  Next Generation DNA Sequencing strategies for rare Mendelian disease gene identification and functional genomic technologies; biomedical interest in cancer, cardiovascular disease and virology.

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Kai Fu Kai Fu, MD, PhD
Professor, Department of Pathology and Microbiology
Research focus:  Hematopathology, lymphoma research.

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Jered Garrison Jered Garrison, PhD
Associate Professor, College of Pharmacy
Research focus:  Targeted molecular imaging and radiotherapeutic agent design; development of cancer-specific drugs; polymer based drug delivery systems.

Gargi Ghosal Gargi Ghosal, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Anatomy
Research focus:  Replication stress response in cancer and premature ageing.

Karen Gould Karen Gould, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Anatomy
Research focus:  The role of estrogen receptor alpha signaling in autoimmunity and intestinal tumorigenesis.

Babu Guda Chittibabu (Babu) Guda, PhD
Professor, Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Anatomy
Research focus:  Development and application of computational methods for genomic data analyses including cancer genomics, functional annotation of proteins, pathways, networks and systems in biomedical research.

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Steve Hinrichs Steven H. Hinrichs, MD
Chair and Professor, Department of Pathology and Microbiology
Research focus:  Molecular pathogenesis and diagnostics of infectious organism, antimicrobial drug discovery and bioterrorism preparedness information technology.

Tony Hollingsworth Michael A. (Tony) Hollingsworth, PhD
Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute
Research focus:  The molecular biology and genetics of MUC1 glycoproteins in pancreatic cancer.

Sarah Holstein

Sarah Holstein, MD, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine - Oncology and Hematology
Research focus:  Development of novel agents for the treatment of multiple myeloma with a particular focus on Rab inhibitors and inhibitors of the isoprenoid biosynthetic pathway.


Kate Hyde R. Katherine (Kate) Hyde, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research focus:  Control of gene expression in leukemia and normal hematopoiesis.

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Javeed Iqbal Javeed Iqbal, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Pathology and Microbiology
Research focus:  Molecular signatures to improve diagnosis and outcome prediction in Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma; gene expression profiling and pathway targeted therapy in peripheral T-cell lymphoma; characterization of key molecular signatures in natural killer cell malignancies.

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Maneesh Jain Maneesh Jain, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research focus:  Targeted therapy of pancreatic cancer - tumor vaccines, antibody engineering and modulation of tumor microenvironment.

Donald Johnson Donald R. Johnson, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Pathology and Microbiology
Research focus:  Immunology and tumor biology.  The effect of major depressive disorder on the innate immune system.

Keith Johnson Keith R. Johnson, PhD
Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute
Research focus:  The role the cell adhesion molecules (cadherins) play in metastasis.

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Adam Karpf Adam R. Karpf, PhD
Associate Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute
Research focus:  Cancer epigenetics and DNA methylation, ovarian cancer.

David Klinkebiel David Klinkebiel, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research focus:  Dynamics associated with changes in the genome and epigenome of human disease.

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Robert Lewis Robert Lewis, PhD
Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute
Research focus:  Identification and targeting of Ras-driven, tumor-specific pathways; molecular mechanisms controlling cellular and organismal energy balance.

David Li David Wan-Cheng Li, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
Research focus:  Molecular and cellular mechanisms of ocular disease (cataract and retina degeneration) and cancer.

Ming-Fong Lin Ming-Fong Lin, PhD
Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research focus:  Mechanism of cell growth regulation by steroids via cross-talk of ROS and tyrosine phosphorylation signaling.

Yutong Liu Yutong Liu, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Radiology
Research focus:  Neuroimaging and image processing.

Oksana Lockridge Oksana Lockridge, PhD
Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute
Research focus:  Mass spectrometry to diagnose exposure to organophosphates; production of human butyrylcholinesterase.

Matthew Lunning Matthew Lunning, DO
Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine – Oncology and Hematology
Research focus:  Rare hematologic malignancies with a focus on early drug development and experimental correlates that leads to enhanced knowledge of how to treat hematologic malignancies.

Jiangtao Luo Jiangtao Luo, PhD
Assistant Professor, College of Public Health - Biostatistics
Research focus:  Statistical genetics and genomics; statistical methods in clinical genetics and genetic epidemiology; statistical and mathematical modeling; optimal treatment in clinical trials, esp. application of optimization and optimal control; longitudinal data analysis and functional data analysis; Bayesian statistics.

Xu Luo Xu Luo, PhD
Associate Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute
Research focus:  Regulation of mitochondria-dependent cell death.

Yuri Lyubchenko Yuri Lyubchenko, PhD, DrSc
Professor, College of Pharmacy
Research focus:  Nanoscale structure, dynamics and interactions – seeing and manipulating biomolecules.

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Richard MacDonald Richard G. MacDonald, PhD
Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research focus:  Transmembrane signaling and regulation of cell growth.

Muzafar Macha Muzafar Macha, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research focus:  Awaiting information.

Luis Marky Luis Marky, PhD
Professor, College of Pharmacy
Research focus:  Biophysical chemistry and molecular forces that control the conformational stability and flexibility of nucleic acids, including Okazaki fragments, hairpin loops, intramolecular triplexes, G-quadruplexes, C-quadruplexes, and three- & four-arm DNA junctions and their interaction with drugs.

Benita McVicker Benita McVicker, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine - Gastroenterology-Hepatology
Research focus:  Alcohol liver injury and mechanisms.

Parmender Mehta Parmender P. Mehta, PhD
Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research focus:  Connexins and cell-to-cell contact-dependent intercellular communication.

Jane Meza Jane Meza, PhD
Professor, College of Public Health - Biostatistics
Research focus:  Statistical issues related to small-area estimation. These methods have been extended to disease mapping applications and combining national and state data to estimate the probability of a rare event.

Aaron Mohs Aaron Mohs, PhD
Assistant Professor, College of Pharmacy
Research focus:  Development of new florescent imaging contrast agents to guide surgical removal of tumors; developing new drug delivery systems that target tumor metabolism.

Justin Mott Justin L. Mott, PhD, MD
Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research focus:  MicroRNA regulation of apoptosis in liver cancer or alternatively, bile duct injury in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

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Amar Natarajan Amarnath (Amar) Natarajan, PhD
Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute
Research focus:  Chemical probes for protein-protein interactions and kinases.

Ali Nawshad Ali Nawshad, PhD
Associate Professor, College of Dentistry
Research focus:  Transforming Growth Factor (TGF) ß signaling during palate development; mechanisms of Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT) by TGFß in HNSCC; role of TGFß signaling during dentinogenesis.

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Gregory Oakley Gregory Oakley, PhD
Associate Professor, College of Dentistry – Oral Biology
Research focus:  DNA damage and repair involving signal transduction pathways that regulate the cellular response to DNA damage and how alterations in these pathways contribute to mutagenesis and, ultimately, carcinogenesis.

Michael Ouellette Michael M. Ouellette, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine - Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Research focus:  Molecular mechanisms that determine the lifespan of human cells, including telomeres and telomerase.  Role of the small GTPases K-Ras and Rac1 in the development of pancreatic cancer and its response to conventional therapies.

David Oupicky David Oupicky, PhD
Professor, College of Pharmacy
Research focus:  Nanomedicine with emphasis on the development of novel approaches to deliver drug combinations to better treat various diseases; design of multifunctional nanoparticles with application in the treatment of metastatic cancer and inflammatory conditions like Crohn’s disease.

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Youri Pavlov Youri Pavlov, PhD
Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute
Research focus:  Cellular systems of mutagenesis and antimutagenesis.

Aimin Peng Aimin Peng, PhD
Associate Professor, College of Dentistry
Research focus:  Cell cycle regulation and the DNA damage response (DDR); cellular recover process from DNA damage; protein phosphatase-dependent cell cycle and DDR regulation and its implication for cancer progression and therapy.

Thomas Petro Thomas Petro, PhD
Professor, College of Dentistry
Research focus:  Using molecular immunobiology approaches to explore intrinsic pathways to or novel therapeutics for expression and control of cytokines to prevent chronic viral infections, autoimmune disease and/or inflammatory diseases.

Armen Petrosyan Armen Petrosyan, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research focus:  Mechanism of Golgi alteration in advanced prostate cancer: focus on aberrant glycosylation; role for non-muscle Myosin IIA in alcohol-induced Golgi fragmentation.

Larisa Poluektova Larisa Poluektova, MD, PhD
Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience
Research focus:  Pathogenesis and treatment of HIV-1 associated dementia; translational mouse models for human-specific diseases.

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Prakash Radhakrishnan

Prakash Radhakrishnan, PhD
Assistant Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute
Research focus:  Glycobiology of pancreatic cancer; autocrine and paracrine cell signaling mechanisms; developing therapeutics for pancreatic cancer.


Angie Rizzino Angie A. Rizzino, PhD
Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute
Research focus:  Molecular mechanisms that regulate the proliferation of cancer stem cells and pluripotent stem cells.

Kerry Rodabaugh Kerry Rodabaugh, MD
Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Research focus:  Gynecologic oncology.

Eleanor Rogan Eleanor G. Rogan, PhD
Professor, College of Public Health
Research focus:  Metabolic activation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and catechol estrogens to form DNA adducts, generate oncogenic mutations and initiate cancer.

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Karen Schumacher Karen Schumacher, PhD, RN
Professor, College of Nursing
Research focus:  Family caregiving during cancer treatment with a focus on the transition into the family caregiving role at the beginning of cancer treatment, how the role changes over the course of treatment and what health effects caregivers experience over time; management of cancer pain by oncology outpatients and family caregivers.

John Sharp John (Graham) Sharp, PhD
Professor, Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Anatomy
Research focus:  Research on stem cells in normal tissue and tumors, particularly pediatric tumors.

Polina Shcherbakova Polina Shcherbakova, PhD
Associate Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute
Research focus:  Mechanisms controlling genome stability in eukaryotic cells, particularly the functions of DNA polymerases, DNA replication fidelity and the relationship between DNA polymerase defects and cancer.

Simon Sherman Simon Sherman, PhD
Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute
Research focus:  Carcinogenic modeling, cancer informatics.

Amar Singh Amar Singh, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research focus:  Molecular mechanisms of mucosal inflammation and associated cancer; and Ciliogenesis, autophagy and renal diseases; understanding the causal role of the epithelial barrier in the regulation of mucosal inflammation and associated cancer; regulation of renal tubular epithelial cell morphogenesis and renal cancer.

Pankaj Singh Pankaj Singh, PhD
Associate Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute
Research focus:  Signal transduction in cancer, tumor-microenvironment interactions, therapy resistance, cancer metabolism and systems biology.

Rakesh Singh Rakesh K. Singh, PhD
Professor, Department of Pathology and Microbiology
Research focus:  Host-tumor interaction in tumor progression, angiogenesis and metastasis, tumor immunology.

Joyce Solheim Joyce Solheim, PhD
Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute
Research focus:  Mechanisms regulating the immune response to tumors and infectious pathogens, and development of new immunotherapies.

Ghada Soliman Ghada Soliman, MD, PhD, RD, LMNT
Associate Professor, College of Public Health
Research focus:  A nutrient-sensing protein termed the mammalian Target of Rapamycin (m TOR) as a master regulator of metabolism, cell growth and proliferation; obesity, and related metabolic disorder, as well as the impact of micronutrient deficiencies among individuals, across populations and globally; optimal nutrition as an integral part of global health promotion and disease prevention; public health and social burdens of malnutrition.

Paul Sorgen Paul Sorgen, PhD
Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research focus:  Advancing our understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of gap junction regulation in the heart, with particular interest and expertise in protein-protein interactions mediated by the carboxyl terminal domain of connexins.

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Tahir Tahirov Tahir Tahirov, PhD
Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute
Research focus:  Reveal the structure basis of the mechanisms covering the key stages in the expression and duplication/repair of genes and to learn how the disease-related mutations in proteins disrupt these key processes.

Jim Talmadge James E. Talmadge, PhD
Professor, Department of Pathology and Microbiology
Research focus:  Tumor biology, metastasis, immunotherapy, molecular and cellular immunology, hematology and oncology.

Melissa TeohFitzgerald Melissa Teoh-Fitzgerald, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research focus:  Redox signaling in cancer epithelial-fibroblast interactions.

Sarah Thayer

Sarah Thayer, MD, PhD
Professor and Chief, Department of Surgery - Surgical Oncology
Research focus:  Investigation of the genes that may contribute to the initiation, progression and regulation of pancreatic cancer.


Austin Thompson Austin Thompson, MD
Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine
Research focus:  Pulmonary hypertension and clinical therapeutic investigations.

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Joseph Vetro Joseph Vetro, PhD
Assistant Professor, College of Pharmacy
Research focus:  Developing novel synthetic targeted drug and gene delivery nanocarriers for the anti-angiogenesis treatment of cancer; improving development paradigms for targeted bioimaging and drug delivery nanocarriers; developing subunit vaccines based on the novel adjuvant, EP67.

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Kay-Uwe Wagner Kay-Uwe Wagner, PhD
Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute
Research focus:  Genetic modeling of mammary gland development, breast and pancreatic cancer; genome-side sequencing.

James Wahl James Wahl, PhD
Associate Professor, College of Dentistry
Research focus:  Understand the role of desmosomes play in maintaining the normal phenotype of squamous epithelial tissues and to determine if their alteration during tumorigenesis influences cell motility, metastasis and signaling.

Gus Wang Guangshun (Gus) Wang, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Pathology and Microbiology
Research focus:  Biomolecular NMR; structural biology; signal transduction; antimicrobial peptides.

Jenny Wang Jing (Jenny) Wang, PhD
Associate Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute
Research focus:  Molecular mechanisms and therapeutic targets of colon cancer metastasis and chemoresistance.

Nicholas Woods Nicholas Woods, PhD
Assistant Professor, Eppley Cancer Institute
Research focus:  Systems biology based analysis of cancer signaling pathways.

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Ying Yan Ying Yan, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology
Research focus:  Rho family of GTPases in cancer therapy resistance; Serine/Threonine phosphatase 2A in tumorigenesis and metastasis.

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