Research Programs

The WVU Cancer Institute is an inter- and multi-disciplinary matrix center, which encompasses patient care; basic, clinical/translational and population research; health prevention and promotion as well as education and outreach programs. The Cancer Center is comprised of over 80 members, drawn from among 33 departments and 8 Schools on the WVU campus with a research portfolio of private and peer-reviewed cancer research funding.

Our Research Programs combine the activities of groups of investigators who share common scientific interests and goals and participate in competitively funded research. They are highly interactive and lead to exchange of information, experimental techniques, and ideas that enhance the individual productivity of scientists and often result in collaborations and joint publications. Monthly Program meetings, seminars and annual retreats help promote increasing levels of scientific interaction.

The WVU CI has adopted a research philosophy of allowing patient populations to guide programmatic organization. Thus, the research Programs have a natural focus upon cancer health disparities in WV.

Mechanisms of Metastasis and Therapeutic Response Program

This thematic research effort led by Michael Schaller, PhD, Program Leader, Chair, Dept. of Biochemistry, recognizes that tumor cells have evolved to overcome normal growth, differentiation and cell survival responses, and this evolution occurs through mutational, epigenetic, and tumor micro-environment-driven alterations in proteins that transduce intracellular signals. The research themes of this Program are to reveal novel signaling proteins and connections that are relevant to tumor cell behavior and to provide the molecular framework for the discovery of novel cancer therapeutics based on these pathways.

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Breast Cancer Program

The Breast Cancer Program is led by Dr. Michael Ruppert, Jo and Ben Statler Chair for Breast Cancer and Professor of Biochemistry. Research areas of emphasis within the Program include the development of novel patient imaging approaches in breast cancer, clinical trials, cognitive impairment resulting from chemotherapy, and the molecular genetics of breast cancer.

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Alexander B. Osborn Hematopoietic Malignancy and Transplantation Program

The Osborn Program brings together individuals with scientific and clinical interests in hematological malignancies and transplantation with the leader Laura F. Gibson, PhD, Deputy Director, WVU CI and Professor, Microbiology with Co-Leader Lori Hazlehurst, PhD, Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences. The scientific elements include research of a basic and translational nature related to hematologic malignancies, with an effort to develop projects that capitalize on combined investigator expertise and interests. Thematic areas include the bone marrow as a unique tumor microenvironment, regulation of therapeutic response in hematologic malignancies and stem cell development with focus on factors that regulate the utility of stem cells in the transplantation setting.

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Sara Crile Allen and James Frederick Allen Lung Cancer Program

Yon Rojanasakul, PhD, Robert C. Byrd Distinguished Professor, Benedum Distinguished Professor, Dept. Of Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences, is Co-Leader of the program with Patrick Ma, MD, MSC, a medical oncologist and a thoracic oncology clinician scientist.

West Virginia has one of the highest rates of lung cancer mortality in the nation. Based on this need a Program in lung cancer has been targeted for strategic research development. A given to the Center to establish the Program was named in honor of Sara Crile Allen and James Frederick Allen who both passed away from lung cancer by their children. This generous support and the need for expansion of lung cancer focused initiatives underlie our focus on expansion of this thematic area. Current areas of investigation include fundamental carcinogenesis, and molecular signature prognostic models for lung cancer patients.

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Non-Programmatically Aligned Cancer Center Members

Non-aligned members are faculty who are not aligned with a specific research program but whose participation reaches across programs. Clinical faculty contribute to the clinical research effort by recruiting patients for clinical trials, and managing the care of patients according to the clinical research protocols. Others may offer expertise in statistics, or be involved in the operation of a Shared Resource.

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View Cancer Center Members

An alphabetical listing of all members by program.

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