Scientific Leadership

Overview

The University of Chicago has assembled a highly-respected, interdisciplinary team of scientists from its Comprehensive Cancer Center (UCCCC) and Institute for Genomics and Systems Biology (IGSB). Led by Michelle Le Beau, PhD, a pioneer in therapy-related acute myeloid leukemia (t-AML) research, members of the interactive team are world experts in their respective fields, which span basic, translational, and clinical science. Each investigator shares a common interest in discovering the mechanisms of cancer development and defining the genetic susceptibilities to cancer.

Few other institutions in the world possess the depth of expertise found within the University of Chicago team:

  • Adult and Pediatric Oncology
  • Hematopathology
  • Leukemia Genetics and Biology
  • Genomics and Systems Biology
  • Pharmacogenomics
  • Stem Cell Biology and Hematopoiesis
  • Cancer Informatics and Molecular Networks Analysis

Team members are pursuing highly-coordinated research using a systems biology approach to study t-AML. This innovative approach to cancer research will give way to a more detailed understanding of t-AML than any investigator could obtain independently. Each team member has an impressive track record of securing funding to support his or her own research, but traditional sources of funding have been slow to support pioneering work of this comprehensive nature. The Cancer Research Foundation (CRF) has stepped up to this challenge to support the University of Chicago team in fighting the growing incidence of therapy-related cancer mortality.

Meet the Team

Michelle Le Beau, PhD

Professor of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology
Director, The University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center
Director, Cancer Cytogenetics Laboratory

Dr. Le Beau’s research focuses on the molecular analysis of the recurring chromosomal abnormalities in human leukemias and lymphomas, correlating specific abnormalities with morphological and clinical features and the development of risk-adapted therapy.

John Cunningham, MD

Professor of Pediatrics and Stem Cell Research Chief, Section of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

Dr. Cunningham is an internationally known expert in the treatment and research of childhood cancers and blood diseases. He has particular expertise in treating hemoglobinopathies, which are disorders that affect red blood cells, such as sickle cell disease and thalassemia. He is a recognized leader in the field of pediatric stem cell transplantation and has developed novel uses for this life-saving treatment.

M. Eileen Dolan, PhD

Professor of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology
Program Co-Leader, Clinical and Experimental Therapeutics, The University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center
Chair, Committee on Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacogenomics
Chair, Committee on Reappointment of Assistant Professors

Dr. Dolan’s research focuses on the pharmacogenetics of DNA damaging agents. Her laboratory is involved with developing a DNA repair modulator that enhances alkylating agent chemotherapy, determining the role of DNA repair in protecting against therapy-related leukemia, identifying heritable and nonheritable genes important in susceptibility to DNA damaging agents, and evaluating genetic variation in human metabolizing genes that may be important in determining variability in patient response/toxicity to these agents.

Lucy Godley, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology

Dr. Godley is an expert in the care and treatment of patients with diseases of the bone marrow, including leukemias, lymphomas, and multiple myeloma. She also cares for patients undergoing stem cell transplantation and patients with benign hematologic conditions. Dr. Godley has a special interest in the molecular basis of bone marrow malignancies and studies the basis for abnormal patterns of DNA methylation in cancer cells, as well as the molecular changes present in particular cases of unusual bone marrow pathology.

Sandeep Gurbuxani, MBBS, PhD

Instructor of Pathology

Dr. Gurbuxani studies the mechanisms of resistance to chemotherapy-induced cell death in cancer. The focus of his current research is the mechanism of glucocorticoid-induced cell death (and the resistance to this cell death) in acute lymphoblastic leukemia. As an experienced hematopathologist, Dr. Gurbuxani plays an important role in diagnosing patients with leukemia.

R. Stephanie Huang, PhD

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology

Dr. Huang’s research focuses on the pharmacogenomics of chemotherapeutic drugs. She focuses on the development and application of genomic models to identify genetic predictors of chemotherapeutic agents’ susceptibility.

Richard Larson, MD

Professor of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology
Director of the Hematologic Malignancies Clinical Research Program
Chairman of the Leukemia Committee of the Cancer and Leukemia Group B

Dr. Larson is an international leader in the treatment of leukemias and myelodysplastic syndromes. His research interests include clinical trials in hematologic malignancies and stem cell transplantation, the determinants of response to therapy in leukemia and myelodysplastic syndromes, and the etiology of therapy-related leukemias.

Yves Lussier, MD

Associate Professor of Medicine, Section of Genetic Medicine
Director, Center for Biomedical Informatics
Associate Director for Biomedical Informatics, The University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center

Dr. Lussier conducts research in the emerging field of phenomics, using computation to model phenotypes, integrate genomic with phenotypic datasets, and analyze phenomes in order to accurately individualize the understanding, the prediction, and the treatment of diseases.

Toyosi Odenike, MBBS

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology

Dr. Odenike’s research focuses on the development of novel therapeutic agents for the treatment of acute and chronic leukemias, and chronic myeloproliferative diseases, with the ultimate goal of improving treatment options for patients with these diseases. She is the principal investigator on a number of clinical trials investigating molecularly-targeted agents in this patient population.

Kenan Onel, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Section of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
Director, Pediatric Familial Cancer Clinic

Dr. Onel is an expert in pediatric and other familial genetic cancer syndromes. The goal of his clinical practice is to assess individual and familial cancer risk, and then to develop individualized cancer prevention strategies for those found to be at increased risk. Dr. Onel’s research focuses on the genetic basis of cancer susceptibility by identifying genes and genetic markers that alter cancer risk. His research may also lead to the discovery of targets for new molecularly-engineered cancer treatments.

Harinder Singh, PhD

Louis Block Professor of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology
Chairman, Committee on Immunology
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Dr. Singh has received international recognition for his work on elucidating the regulation of hematopoiesis. Dr. Singh’s laboratory is assembling and analyzing gene regulatory networks that orchestrate the development of various cell types of the innate and adaptive immune system including B- and T- lymphocytes, macrophages, neutrophils, dendritic, and mast cells.

Wendy Stock, MD

Professor of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology
Director, Leukemia Program

Dr. Stock is an authority in the medical management of all types of leukemia and myelodysplastic syndromes. She collaborates with other oncologists around the world to help identify and develop better approaches to chemotherapy and other cancer treatments. Dr. Stock’s laboratory focuses on studies to determine the clinical significance of the molecular detection and monitoring of minimal residual disease (MRD) states following treatment for leukemia and lymphoma.

Kevin White, PhD

James and Karen Frank Family Professor of Human Genetics
Professor of Ecology & Evolution
Director, Institute for Genomics & Systems Biology

Dr. White is a pioneer in combining experimental and computational techniques to understand the networks of factors that control biological systems during development and evolution. He has developed novel integrated systems biology approaches for studying complex diseases and identifying new diagnostic biomarkers for a variety of cancer types.