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Research Labs


The Cell, Molecular and Cancer Biology PhD program is an interdisciplinary graduate program that involves faculty researchers from multiple departments on the Indiana University School of Medicine–Bloomington campus. The program trains independent research investigators to explore the fundamental molecular and cellular mechanisms that lead to the proliferative growth associated with cancer.

portrait of stephen bell

Stephen Bell, PhD

We study the events that govern DNA replication and chromosome organization. Our focus on a model organism allows us to dissect the evolutionarily conserved molecular mechanisms that duplicate and organize chromosomes.

Lab website

portrait of matthew bochman

Matthew Bochman, PhD

The Bochman lab broadly studies the processes that underpin genome integrity, with current focuses on DNA crosslink repair, telomere maintenance, and the regulatory roles of protein post-translational modifications. Defects in all of these pathways cause genomic instability and cancer. By better understanding the basic biology of genome integrity, we ultimately seek to provide insight into personalized medicines to combat malignancies.

Lab website

portait of brian calvi

Brian Calvi, PhD

The Calvi lab seeks to discover molecular mechanisms that regulate cell division, genome stability, and cancer. To do this, we use the powerful tools available in Drosophila melanogaster, and through collaborations translate findings to human cells.

Lab website

38773-Carpenter, Richard

Richard Carpenter, PhD

The Carpenter lab is interested in studying transcription factors that play a role in metastasis and tumor progression. We endeavor to understand how these transcription factors are regulated at the molecular level as well as what genes the transcription factors go on to regulate that causes an effect on metastasis. We utilize tools and models from molecular biochemistry and proteomics up to animal models of metastasis to address these topics

Lab website

Carpenter Lab Tour

26607-Foley, John

John Foley, PhD

My lab is interested in exploring the basic molecular and cellular biology of the nipple. The goal is to use this information to develop strategies to ameliorate structural defects (inverted nipples) and soreness/chapping of the appendage during nursing. In addition, mastectomies eliminate nipples in many breast cancer patients and satisfactory reconstruction options often are not available for this specialized skin. We intend to use the information gained from a basic studies to develop a cell-based regeneration nipple strategy for mastectomy victims.

Read Bio John Foley, PhD

26604-Forrester, Wayne

Wayne Forrester, PhD

The Forrester lab studies the mechanisms by which cells migrate from their place of birth to the position that they occupy in the mature animal. To do this we use molecular, genetic and genomic approaches in the small nematode Caenorhabditis elegans.

Read Bio Wayne Forrester, PhD

26675-Hollenhorst, Peter

Peter Hollenhorst, PhD

The Hollenhorst lab utilizes biochemistry and genomics to identify molecular mechanisms of transcription factors that promote cancer by altering gene expression. One current focus is on transcription factors expressed due to gene fusions in prostate cancer, ewing sarcoma and renal cell carcinoma.

Lab website

Hollenhorst Lab Tour

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Heather Hundley, PhD

Research in the Hundley lab focuses on post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression and uses a combination of biochemistry, genomics and molecular biology to identify the molecular mechanisms that regulate RNA editing and the consequences of aberrant editing on gene expression.

Lab website

Hundley Lab Tour

portrait of justin kumar

Justin Kumar, PhD

The general focus of my research is to understand the genetic and molecular mechanisms underlying the specification and patterning of tissues/organs. My lab studies the transcriptional networks, signaling pathways, and epigenetic enzymes underlying the development of the Drosophila compound eye. Since these elements are conserved across evolutionary history our work has implications for human retinal development and disease.

Lab website

portrait of soni lacefield

Soni Lacefield, PhD

The Lacefield Lab studies the cell cycle regulation of chromosome segregation in meiosis and mitosis. Our main interest is in understanding the mechanisms of cell cycle checkpoints which stop the cells from dividing in the presence of damage. We are interested in these processes because errors can result in a gain or loss of chromosomes, which can result in trisomy conditions, infertility, and is a hallmark of cancer.

Lab website

portrait of scott michaels

Scott Michaels, PhD

Our laboratory studies gene regulation and epigenetics, primarily in the model plant Arabidopsis. One of our current interests is how the regulation of RNA Polymerase II elongation rate contributes to the establishment of epigenetic gene silencing and the prevention of transcriptional interference between neighboring genes.

Lab website

26686-Mitra, Anirban

Anirban Mitra, PhD

The Mitra Lab studies the regulation of ovarian cancer metastasis through productive reciprocal interactions of the cancer cells with the metastatic microenvironment. We have identified specific transcription factors, microRNAs and epigenetic alterations induced by signals from the microenvironment and are investigating the underlying mechanisms that help establish metastases. We also study how cancer associated fibroblasts in the tumor microenvironment provide a cancer stem niche, which promotes chemoresistance and disease relapse.

Lab website

Mitra Lab Tour

26559-Nephew, Kenneth

Kenneth Nephew, PhD

The main areas of investigation in the Nephew Laboratory are epigenetics, women’s reproductive cancers, cancer stem cells and epigenetic therapies. Translational research and clinical trials testing epigenetic therapies against solid tumors (ovarian, breast, germ cell and lung cancers), performing correlative analyses, and testing new hypotheses in the laboratory (bench-bedside-bench) are of the utmost importance to the Nephew Laboratory.

Lab website

26689-O'Hagan, Heather

Heather O'Hagan, PhD

The overall focus of the O’Hagan lab is to understand the role of epigenetics in promoting colorectal and ovarian cancer. We study how the acute chromatin response to inflammation and/or DNA damage results in heritable epigenetic changes during carcinogenesis. We also examine how epigenetic factors contribute to cell fate determination in cancer and if epigenetic inhibitors can be used to improve the response of cancer cells to standard chemotherapy by altering cell fate.

Lab website

O'Hagan Lab Tour

26533-Walczak, Claire

Claire Walczak, PhD

The Walczak lab is interested in the mechanisms that control genome stability in both normal and cancer-derived cells. We are particularly interested in mechanisms that function in cells with abnormal ploidy as well as mechanisms that govern the accurate segregation of chromosomes.

Lab website

Walczak Lab Tour

photo of Lesley Weaver PhD

Lesley Weaver, PhD

Reproductive success is required for the continual survival of a species. Many external stimuli such as diet, infection, and environmental toxins can alter the physiology of an organism, resulting in disruption of tissue homeostasis and infertility. The Weaver lab is interested in understanding how signaling between organs in response to physiological changes influences reproductive output.

Lab website

portrait of Gabriel Zentner, PhD

Gabriel Zentner, PhD

The Zentner Lab uses genetic and epigenomic methods to study basic mechanisms of transcriptional regulation in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and mammalian cells. We are also interested in the development and application of new epigenomic methods.

Lab website

Zentner Lab Tour