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Research at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center

Tomorrow's cancer treatments and prevention strategies often begin in the labs of Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center researchers.  Our members are dedicated to working together as a team to discover new approaches for the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of cancer.

Research Programs

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center's eight formal research programs focus on the discovery of new approaches for the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of cancer. These active and collaborative research programs generate approximately $142 million in annual research support from public and private sources.

More than 300 members from across Vanderbilt, the Veterans Administration Medical Center, Meharry Medical College, and Tennessee State University participate in these programs, as well as our many other cancer-focused research centers and initiatives. 

Specialized Programs of Research Excellence

The National Cancer Institute’s Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPOREs) grants promote and speed up the exchange between interdisciplinary research in the laboratory to the treatment of patients in the clinical care setting. SPORE programs allow laboratory and clinical scientists to work collaboratively to plan, design, and implement research programs with the greatest potential to impact cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment.

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center holds two NCI SPORE grants supporting research in gastrointestinal (GI) and breast cancers.

Collaborative Research

In addition to our formal research programs and SPORE grants, Vanderbilt-Ingram is home to several major epidemiologic cohort studies and a number of interdisciplinary, translational research initiatives.

Vanderbilt-Ingram supports a number of institutional shared resources that provide investigators access to cutting edge technologies that are impractical to set up in individual laboratories. In addition to providing cancer center members access to state-of-the-art instrumentation and methodology, the shared resources facilitate education and technology transfer by holding workshops for members and other Vanderbilt faculty.

The Animal and Human Imaging Shared Resource (AHISR) provides scientific and technical assistance for experiments employing biomedical imaging for the study of cancer. Using this Shared Resource, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center investigators execute high throughput, quantitative and noninvasive in vivo imaging studies on animal models, apply and validate MRI, optical, CT, PET, SPECT and ultrasound methods for noninvasive detection and characterization in small animals, and incorporate emerging and clinically relevant quantitative MRI and PET protocols into Phase I, II and III clinical trials. The AHISR brings together advanced equipment and diverse expertise into a comprehensive integrated resource that ensures the quality of the imaging data, and consequently, that the overall quality, rigor, and reproducibility of the studies is the highest possible.

For more information on imaging services and prices, visit:

The Bioanalytics and Proteomics Shared Resources (BPSR) provides cost-effective, state-of-the-art instrumentation and analytical expertise in mass spectrometry to Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center investigators. The BPSR is centrally located on the Vanderbilt campus and is composed of three components that provide the following services: 1) drug and metabolomics analysis, 2) comprehensive proteomics analysis and 3) molecular profiling and tissue imaging. BPSR staff provide education and training in sample preparation, instrument-based experiments and data analysis to investigators and laboratory personnel and collaborates with cancer center investigators to continue offering the latest cutting-edge technology and methods in biomolecular mass spectrometry analysis for high-impact cancer discovery.

For information on the:

The Cell Imaging Shared Resource (CISR) provides access to cutting-edge technology and expert technical support for microscopic observation and analysis of tissue and cellular anatomy and physiology essential to modern cancer research. The CISR maintains the full range of advanced light and electron microscopy and digital imaging capabilities fundamental to current cancer research methodology. Through this Shared Resource, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center investigators obtain both significant cost advantages and vital access to a large array of valuable, advanced instrumentation and dedicated expertise, thus enabling and accelerating cancer research that would otherwise be reduced in quantity and quality. The expert staff in the CISR also ensures that trainees learn best practices for handling microscopes and for acquiring the best images possible in a quantitative and rigorous manner that is reproducible.

For information on CISR services provided and scheduling, visit: 

The Vanderbilt Chemical Synthesis and High-throughput Analytics Shared Resource (CSHTASR) provides state-of-the-art capabilities for the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center researchers, and works to harness the power of chemistry and assay technologies to support research requiring the application or discovery of chemical tools to answer biological questions. The CSHTASR provides a full range of services, from utilization of equipment and pilot assay development, to a full screen including hit validation/optimization. The combined technologies have revolutionized the process of drug and biological probe discovery used for the development of clinically useful therapeutics and diagnostics and for advancing basic biology and determining the functional roles of novel genes, proteins and signaling molecules. 

More information on the: 

The mission of the Data Science Shared Resource (DSSR) is to provide professional expertise in biostatistics, bioinformatics and clinical research informatics for all Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center investigators. Functions provided by the DSSR include:

  • Development of experimental designs, power and sample size analysis
  • Data acquisition and database development
  • Facilitation of data sharing
  • Patient identification within the electronic health record (EHR)
  • Statistical and bioinformatics analysis and interpretation of findings
  • Collaboration on presentation of results
  • Education in biostatistics and bioinformatics methods
  • Development of tools/methods with application to laboratory and clinical research

For information on services provided by the DSSR, visit: 

The Flow Cytometry Shared Resource (FCSR) supports the goals of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center by providing state-of-the-art equipment and expertise to analyze and sort individual cells for cancer center members. The FCSR works closely with cancer center members to efficiently develop and refine their experiments involving flow cytometry on cancer-related samples. The overall strategy and goals of the FCSR are guided and developed to meet the needs of the cancer center members, specifically as a major user component and scientific catalyst at Vanderbilt. The FCSR occupies a modern facility with custom equipment capable of polychromatic analytical flow cytometry, high-speed sorting with aerosol containment, a new spectral cytometer for high-content analysis and a schedule with expanded access for research work when needed.

For information on scheduling, fees, training, and services provided by the FCSR, visit: 

David K. Flaherty
Managing Director

Vanderbilt Genome Editing Resource (VGER) utilizes established procedures for the generation of genetically-altered mice for Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center researchers. VGER performs comprehensive genome-editing mouse model creation including project design, pre-injection reagent validation, microinjection into zygotes, post-injection analysis of founder pups and breeding of the first generation to provide the investigator with validated heterozygous mice. VGER also performs state-of-the-art protocols for cryopreservation, long-term storage and distribution of mouse lines. Additional services include the resuscitation of mouse models through in vitro fertilization (IVF) and embryo transfer to restore or derive mouse lines. Moreover, the Vanderbilt Cryopreserved Mouse Repository (VCMR) is an onsite collection of cryopreserved mouse models available for rederivation or shipment.

For information on scheduling, fees, and services provided by the VGER, visit: 

The mission of the Genomic Sciences Shared Resource (GSSR) is to bring new and powerful genomics approaches to Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center researchers. To support investigators with their important work, the GSSR offers high level scientific concierge support. This includes advice on appropriate technology, sample collection, processing and extraction, biobanking and storage, and quality assessment. The GSSR offers project management and study design to protect sample and data integrity, data management and analysis. The GSSR staff are particularly well suited to facilitating good experimental design and validated methods, providing authentication services for key biological resources and in defining and establishing rigorous methods for acquiring and analyzing genomic datasets.

For information on scheduling and services provided by the GSSR, visit: 

The mission of the Immunophenotyping Shared Resource (IPSR) is to advance immuno-oncological translational research projects by providing a rigorous platform to drive and manage comprehensive immunophenotyping, assess the immunological impact of anti-cancer therapy and deepen mechanistic understanding of cancer immunology. With its experience in immunophenotyping, immuno-oncology, antibody technologies, and biospecimen handling, the IPSR provides cost-effective and timely services to cancer center investigators.

For information on assistance with managing and facilitating pre-clinical and clinical trial laboratory studies, visit: 


The Survey and Biospecimen Shared Resource (SBSR) provides high-quality survey and laboratory services to support Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center investigators conducting population-based research, as well as “wet lab” capabilities for investigators without these facilities. Through the implementation and sharing of best practices, the SBSR staff demonstrates to users the effectiveness of a rigorous approach to the conduct of population-based research, which enables individual investigators, students, fellows and staff to better incorporate these practices into their research programs.

More information on


The Translational Pathology Shared Resource (TPSR) provides Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center investigators with a full range of pathology services and technologies. The TPSR capitalizes on Vanderbilt expertise, bringing together key components to provide a comprehensive array cancer tissue services for cancer center investigators including research histology, veterinary and human pathology expertise, tissue acquisition and digital histology to support all aspects of cancer research related to the analysis of human and animal tissue specimens, and thus facilitate leading cancer discovery.

For information on pricing, training and services provided by the TPSR, visit: 

Membership and Pilot Funding 

Learn about the benefits and criteria for membership – and pilot funding opportunities to support exciting research initiatives by new or established faculty.


Interested in becoming a cancer center member? Learn more about the types and benefits membership.


Have an exciting new research idea and looking for funding? Explore our pilot funding opportunities. 

Research Advocacy

Cancer survivors and caregivers provide a unique perspective and play an important role in helping researchers bring the best science to those affected by cancer.  The Research Advocacy program provides opportunities for advocates to participate and contribute to the research process and outcomes for future patients. 

Seminars & Events

Vanderbilt-Ingram sponsors a very active Seminar Program, including endowed lectures and minisymposia held throughout the year.  Through the annual Orrin Ingram Distinguished Lectureship series, distinguished extramural investigators present research discoveries that have been seminal to major advances in cancer diagnosis, prevention, treatment, and contribute to our understanding of the mechanisms of tumorigenesis.

In addition, our Annual Scientific Retreat brings together students, postdocs, fellows and principal investigators from across the cancer center for a minisymposium, shared resource displays, and a poster session. Extramural scientists deliver lectures in the minisymposium and serve as judges for prizes given to students, postdocs, and fellows at the poster session.