Cancer Biology


BMS Faculty in Cancer Biology


Research Area Leaders: Tannishtha Reya and Emily Wang

The Cancer Biology Research Area provides a unique opportunity for graduate students in the Biomedical Sciences Program to learn from the expertise of a highly collaborative group of world-renowned cancer biologists at UC San Diego, Salk Institute, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute and the La Jolla Institute for Immunology. Within UC San Diego, faculty participating in the Cancer Biology research area are drawn from diverse departments, including Chemistry & Biochemistry, Pharmacology, Cellular & Molecular Medicine, Pathology, Medicine and Surgery. The overall goal of the research area is to provide students with a strong foundation in cancer biology, as well as a current perspective on translational and clinical research.

Graduate students interested in the cancer biology research area will have the opportunity to work with an outstanding group of scientists and physicians who are focused on a wide range of adult and pediatric cancers, including leukemia, brain cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer and colon cancer. Their research spans topics of broad interest such as understanding the basis of cancer initiation, progression and metastasis, angiogenesis, cancer stem cells, in vivo imaging, therapeutic targeting and drug design and delivery. A guiding principle throughout their research is the use of cutting-edge technology and multi-disciplinary approaches to address fundamental questions in cancer biology with an emphasis on translational research. The research area is structured to integrate the scientific and clinical faculty and to provide students exposure to different areas of cancer research. The research area is also closely affiliated with several training initiatives on campus. This includes the Growth Regulation & Oncogenesis Training Program, Cancer Therapeutics Training Program, and Cancer Cell Biology Training Program which complement the training students receive within the cancer biology program.


BMS provides a unified core curriculum for all first-year students. Based on their interests, students can choose from a range of elective courses to fill their 15-unit elective requirement. Courses related to this research area are listed below.


Recommended Elective Courses

Course Number Course Title
CMM 220 Cancer Cell Biology Journal Club
PHAR 224 Cancer Biology II (Offered every alternate (odd) year)


Suggested Elective Courses

Course Number Course Title
BGGN 230 Intracellular Signaling Transduction
BGGN 231 Current Concepts in Stem Cell Biology
CMM 262 Quantitative Methods in Genetics
CMM 264 Proteomics for Biologists
MED 224 Molecular and Cellular Basis of Disease
MED 296 Med into Grad
PATH 223 Mouse Models for Human Disease
PHAR 201 Bioinformatics
PHAR 234 Careers in Biomedical Sciences
PHAR 294  Pharmacology and Signal Transduction Journal Club
SPPS 284 Scientific Writing
SPPS 298/276 Frontiers in Therapeutic and Diagnostic Delivery