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Signal Transduction and Chemical Biology Research Program

The pathways that send chemical signals from the cell surface to the nucleus are major targets of genotype-driven therapies for cancer. The Signal Transduction and Chemical Biology Research Program aims to better understand how changes in tumor cells alter these signaling networks, and to identify—or create—molecules that target these pathways as potential new therapies for cancer.


The Signal Transduction and Chemical Biology Research Program is organized into four groups with common research interests:

Identifying how changes in key cell cycle proteins help tumor cells escape the typical response of cell death and lead to uncontrollable growth

Finding and developing compounds that inhibit key drivers of cancer formation

Combining ‘big data’ experimental approaches to understand the changes in signaling networks that drive cancer formation

Determining how cancer-initiating stem cells continuously renew and seed distant sites to promote metastasis, and understanding the role of these cells in resistance to chemotherapies

Meet the Program Members

The Signal Transduction and Chemical Biology program, led by Ian Macara, PhD, and Stephen Fesik, PhD, is an active group of over 40 basic, translational, and clinical scientists whose goal is to understand how signaling networks control cell proliferation and function, to identify drug leads, and to develop new cancer therapeutics.

Featured Publications

Program News

December 14, 2018

The exocyst dynamo

A recent study in Nature Communications reveals new insights about the function of the exocyst - a crucial cellular protein complex involved in vesicle trafficking.
November 12, 2018

Evading cell death

A recent study reveals how cellular structures called 'stress granules' help cells evade death. The findings may lead to new strategies for improving the efficacy of cancer therapy.

Seminars & Events

“Understanding Epigenetic Regulation during Hematopoiesis and in Leukemia: Lessons from MLL Family Histone Methyltransferases”

24 January 2019

VICC Seminar Series: Erik Andersen, PhD

14 March 2019

Back to the future: investigating cell state changes in cancer from a developmental perspective

04 April 2019