Message from the Chairman
The Department of Cancer Biology was founded in 1993. The mission of the Department was then, and is now, to develop and encourage a core of innovative basic and translational scientists to intensively and exclusively focus on cancer research. The Department has grown substantially since those early days. The Department is currently comprised of 21 primary faculty and 30 cross-appointed faculty whose research spans the range of cancer research from DNA damage to anti-cancer drug discovery. The Department faculty interact around issues such as 1) DNA damage and defense carcinogenesis and genetic risk and 2) mechanisms of cell growth and death, including tumor migration, angiogenesis, and stem cell biology. Many of our faculty approach these basic science issues in relation to prostate and breast cancer, using in vitro and animal models that are shared among investigators.
In 1996 the Department was awarded a NIH Training Grant for graduate (PhD) students, MD post-doctoral fellows and PhD post-doctoral fellows in Cancer Biology. This program has thrived, with an increasing number of graduate students in the program each year since its inception.
The Department has a special relationship with faculty members in the Department of Chemistry at Wake Forest University Reynolda Campus. These investigators lead the development of novel small molecules that serve as cancer prevention and treatment agents. The department also has a close relationship with the systems biologists who study cancer models at nearby Virginia Polytechnic University in Blacksburg, VA.
At Wake Forest, cancer biology training is taken seriously. The Department of Cancer Biology not only provides a sound and complete exposure to the fundamentals of molecular biology and molecular genetics, but also devotes courses to cancer topics such as molecular carcinogenesis, cancer cell biology, and molecular targets of cancer therapy. It does so in the context of issues and problems related to the cancer development and growth. This allows graduate students and post-doctoral fellows a focus for their future careers, whether it be in academics or industry. We not only teach, we listen. Students assess and help modify the curriculum each year.
I hope this Web page will give you a glimpse of the excitement and discovery that is palpable in our Department.