St. Jude Comprehensive Cancer Center

Cancer Biology Program

Fundamental discovery work has driven numerous critical advances in our understanding and treatment of pediatric cancer. The diverse nature of pediatric cancers, coupled with the complex molecular, genetic and developmental contexts in which they form, necessitates a broad spectrum of basic research to build a strong foundation for translational studies.

The Cancer Biology Program is a transdisciplinary research program of the St. Jude Comprehensive Cancer Center. Our overarching goal is to explore and understand the cell biology of cancer. The program leads integrated and multidisciplinary efforts to define pathways related to cancer and its control, identify driver mutations and genetic anomalies as new targets for translation into clinical trials, and advance our understanding of the cancer microenvironment as a route to therapy.

Program leadership and organization

The Cancer Biology Program is organized into four highly interactive working groups that provide thematic, complementary, basic science expertise to the other Cancer Center programs, enhancing the translation of laboratory discoveries to the clinic. The four working groups are:

  • Cancer Cell Signaling Networks and Therapeutics
  • Cell Death, Cell Stress Repair, and Metabolism
  • Tumor Microenvironment and Immunology
  • Genome Structure and Function

Program members are drawn from diverse departments across St. Jude, including Bone Marrow Transplant and Cellular Therapy, Cell and Molecular Biology, Chemical Biology and Therapeutics, Computational Biology, Genetics, Hematology, Immunology, Oncology, Structural Biology, Surgery, and Tumor Cell Biology.

The Cancer Biology Program is led by Richard W. Kriwacki, PhD, an internationally recognized expert on the roles of disordered proteins and phase separation in biology and disease, including studies of proteins in the liquid-like nucleolus and aberrant transcription centers formed by fusion oncoproteins in leukemia, and Douglas R. Green, PhD, a world-renowned scientist studying the mechanisms that dictate cell death and survival, including apoptosis, necroptosis, autophagy and metabolism in cancer and the immune system. They work together to promote translation of discovery research to the clinic by stimulating scientific exchanges, collaborations between Program members and members of the other Cancer Center Programs, and the active participation of the membership in Program meetings and activities.


Douglas R. Green, PhD - Co-Leader, Cancer Biology Program

Richard W. Kriwacki, PhD - Co-Leader, Cancer Biology Program

Related topics