Molecular and Cellular Oncology Program

 

The Molecular and Cellular Oncology Program (MCO) organizes an outstanding group of researchers whose work provides insights into gene expression regulation and its deregulation in cancer, the cellular response to genomic insults, the molecular structure of cancer-relevant proteins, and new signaling processes driving tumor growth. 

Our researchers collaborate with other programs to translate their basic discoveries into better tools for cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

We develop these novel technologies and approaches: 

  • Synthetic lethal shRNA screens in human cells to identify pathways conferring resistance to targeted therapies
  • New phospho-proteomics approaches to elucidate oncogenic protein kinase signaling pathways
  • Cutting-edge metabolomics approaches to uncover weaknesses in cancer cells that can be exploited to therapeutic advantage 
  • Advanced crystallographic, electron microscopy, and NMR studies of protein structure

Scientific Goals:

Research in the MCO program is directed toward elucidating fundamental biological processes in cancer biology and translating these basic discoveries into better tools for cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment through collaborative research with other CU Cancer Center programs.

Focus Groups

Maintenance of Genomic Integrity - Investigators work on genomic re-arrangements and retro-transposition; DNA replication, repair and the DNA damage cell cycle checkpoint; mutagenesis and the response to ionizing irradiation, telomerase, and DNA end-repair.  

Gene Expression and Biomarkers - Investigators work on specification of cell fates; nuclear acceptors of signaling and environmental pathways; fundamental mechanisms of transcriptional regulation; the interplay between transcription and RNA processing, cancer survival pathways; and the regulation of protein synthesis and proteomic identification of cancer biomarkers that result from altered gene expression. 

Cancer Structural Biology - Investigators delineate the molecular structure of RNA, DNA-binding proteins, signaling molecules, and oligopeptides using biophysical techniques, cryo-EM, NMR, and X-ray crystallography.

Programmatic Goals:

  • Promote career development for junior members and trainees
  • Maintain a diverse, equitable, and inclusive climate for all members
  • Stimulate inter- and intra- program collaborations 
  • Facilitate access to new technologies and resources 
  • Create forums for scientific exchange and discussion 
  • Discover basic cancer processes that can be collaboratively translated to the clinic
  • Generate improved understanding and treatment of cancer types relevant to Colorado populations

Molecular and Cellular Oncology Leadership

Craig Jordan, PhD

Craig Jordan, PhD

Program Co-Leader

Dr. Jordan is the Co-Leader for the Molecular and Cellular Oncology (MCO) Program.  He is an experienced investigator in the fields of leukemia stem cell biology and experimental therapeutics.  He has maintained continuous funding for over 20 years and is currently the PI of R35CA242376, R01CA200707, BX004768-01, and a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society SCOR grant.  In addition to his role as program co-leader, Dr. Jordan serves as Chief of the Division of Hematology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.  He was appointed as program co-leader for MCO by Dr. Schulick in 2020.  As program co-leader, Dr. Jordan serves as the site leader for the University of Colorado Anschutz Campus, and works closely with MCO co-leader Dr. Su to coordinate all aspects of MCO planning, development, execution, and evaluation.

Tin Tin Su, PhD

Tin Tin Su, PhD

Program Co-Leader

Dr. Su is the Co-Leader for Molecular and Cellular Oncology (MCO) Program.  She is an experienced investigator in the field of radiation biology of Drosophila and human cancer models. She has maintained continuous funding for over 20 years and is currently the PI of R35GM130374 and is one of two PIs for the NCI SBIR phase II contract 75N910196C00038.  In addition to her role as program co-leader, Dr. Su serves as the Director of Graduate Student Affairs in her home department.  She was appointed as program co-leader for MCO in 2018.  As program co-leader, Dr. Su serves as the site leader for the University of Colorado Boulder Campus and a liaison for the Colorado State University and works closely with MCO co-leader Dr. Jordan to coordinate all aspects of MCO planning, development, execution, and evaluation.