MCW Cancer Center Research Programs

The MCW Cancer Center's three research programs are built around the scientific and clinical strengths of our researchers and physician scientists. Learn more abut each program below.

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  Cancer Biology (CB)

Cancer Biology (CB)

Discovering biological abnormalities and chemical characteristics of cancer cells -- epigenetics, carcinogenesis, signal transduction, and alternations in functions and regulations -- to develop more effective methods of preventing and treating cancer.

The majority of CB members’ research focuses on breast, pancreas, lung, and prostate cancers, which are particularly relevant for patients in our local communities. CB members are discovering basic biological processes that promote these cancers by addressing three major themes: 1) cell signaling, 2) metabolism & energetics, and 3) genetics & epigenetics.

Research of the most active CB program members often cross multiple themes as is seen on the figure below:

cancer biology

The Cancer Biology program is led by Dr. Carol Williams and Dr. Balaraman Kalyanaraman. These leaders provide cohesive and complementary scientific direction and push CB members to expand individual projects into cross-disciplinary, translational research efforts. The co-leaders actively participate in CB-focused efforts, including the weekly CB Research Forum and the advancement of mentoring committees for junior faculty and physician scientists.

Balaraman Kalyanaraman, PhDBalaraman Kalyanaraman, PhD

Harry R. & Angeline E. Quadracci Professor in Parkinson’s Research; Chair and Professor of Biophysics; Director, Free Radical Research Center



Carol L. Williams, PhDCarol L. Williams, PhD

Professor, Pharmacology and Toxicology



  Discovery and Developmental Therapeutics (DDT)

Discovery and Developmental Therapeutics (DDT)

Members of the Discovery & Developmental Therapeutics research program (DDT) investigate new ways to reset and augment the immune system to fight cancer, use tumor profiling to develop personalized cancer therapies, examine novel cancer treatments and transfer cells from one person to another to kill cancer cells. Members also work to improve survivorship and quality of life for cancer patients receiving blood and bone marrow transplants, immunotherapy and other personalized cell therapies.

William Drobyski, MD

William Drobyski, MD

Professor, Medicine, Pediatrics and Microbiology and Immunology



  Cancer Prevention and Outcomes (CPO)

Cancer Prevention and Outcomes (CPO)

The scientific goal of the Cancer Prevention and Outcomes research program (CPO) is to foster and facilitate research designed to identify and reduce cancer risk and improve cancer outcomes/quality of life throughout the cancer care trajectory. In so doing we strengthen the knowledge base for developing, implementing, evaluating and disseminating information important to our community to prevent and reduce cancer incidence, mortality and morbidity.

Ann Nattinger, MD

Ann Nattinger, MD, MPH

Senior Associate Dean for Research
Director Center for Patient Care and Outcomes Research
Lady Riders Professor of Breast Cancer Research, Professor of Medicine


Reza Shaker, MDReza Shaker, MD

Senior Associate Dean
Center Director, Chief, Professor
Department of Medicine


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Page Updated 07/03/2017