Cancer Biology Track

Welcome to the Cancer Biology Graduate Track

The Cancer Biology track in the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Education program at the University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences takes an integrated approach to training the next generation of cancer researchers by developing broad knowledge and research expertise in cancer biology. Students may pursue the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or combined M.D./Ph.D. in the Cancer Biology track.


Cancer is defined as a group of diseases characterized by uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells. Uncontrolled growth of cancer cells can result in death. All cancers involve the malfunction of genes that regulate cellular growth, division and death.  Approximately 5% of cancers are strongly hereditary in that an inherited gene confers a high risk of developing one or more types of cancer. Cancer arises from gene mutations and stable changes in gene expression that occur during one’s lifetime. These genetic changes may be caused by external agents such as chemicals, irradiation, and viruses; or by internal factors such as hormones or natural metabolic processes. Cancer is treated by surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, biological therapy, and targeted therapy.


Research in Cancer Biology at the University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences encompasses a wide spectrum of topics:

Cancer Biology Research Topics
  • Control of tumor cell growth and cell death
  • Intracellular signal transduction
  • Mechanisms of cancer cell motility, invasion and metastasis
  • Molecular genetics of cancer risk
  • Influence of tumor microenvironment on cancer progression
  • Protein trafficking
  • Epigenetic regulation of oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes
  • Chromatin remodeling and mechanisms of DNA repair
  • Nitric oxide signaling alterations in cancer cells
  • Adipogenesis and preadipocyte/adipocyte functions


Internationally recognized faculty mentors in these areas strive to support their work with grants from extramural agencies, including the National Institutes of Health. Modern research laboratories in the Cancer Biology track are well-equipped to apply state-of-the-art technologies in biochemistry, cell biology, and molecular genetics to the study of cancer.

Please email questions, comments and suggestions to Cancer Biology track directors, Dr. Kandace Williams and Dr. Xiaohong Li

Last Updated: 3/11/21