Kambez H. Benam, D.Phil.


Organ Engineering, Lung Biology and Tumor Immune-Pathology


University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Department of Medicine


The student should have passion and curiosity for causes of lung cancer, drug development and tissue engineering. Prior coursework should include classes in biochemistry, molecular biology and or engineering related courses.

Number of openings


Program objectives

Our lab (https://benamlab.net/) applies a multidisciplinary approach to design and develop bio-inspired technologies that enable us to elucidate cellular and molecular mechanisms that govern tissue pathology or offer protection during lung injury. Our research lies at the intersection of respiratory medicine, immuno-microbiology, tissue engineering, and systems and synthetic biology. Ultimately, our goal is to discover novel druggable targets and personalized diagnostics using microengineered systems that recreate complex human organ pathophysiology in vitro.

In the context of lung cancer, we have multiple ongoing projects. These include collaboration with Dr. James DeGregori to understand mechanisms of lung preneoplasia and how to recreate early stages of lung cancer outside the human body to harness for personalized drug development; as well as collaboration with Dr. Raphael Nemenoff to characterize immune cells interaction with the tumor cells.

Program description

Students will participate with others in the lab and at lab meetings. They will work under the guidance of lab manager, a senior graduate student or a postdoctoral fellow in the lab. They will work with samples from mice or humans, develop new or advance existing microphysiological models of human lung, and perform microfluidics/microfabrication. They will present experimental results to the lab and the Cancer Center poster session.