Graduate Programs


The doctoral program in Cancer Biology at The University of Toledo takes a two-pronged approach to educating the next generation of cancer researchers. 

Our Ph.D. students learn the molecular, genetic basis of cancer, as well as cutting-edge research skills. Our doctoral students receive excellent training in all aspects of biomedical science research methods. They develop a depth and breadth of knowledge in cancer biology through: 

  • Course work to understand the molecular nature of cancer 
  • Mentored dissertation research 

Top Reasons to Study cancer biology at UToledo

  1. Research options.
    Each Ph.D. graduate student completes three research rotations in faculty labs before selecting a mentor and research focus. 
  2. Dual M.D./Ph.D. degree.
    Many UToledo medical students seek a combined M.D./Ph.D. in our research program. They want to learn how to become physician-scientists and develop their own basic, translational or clinical research programs after graduation and medical residency. They also recognize that expertise in the scientific method is increasingly important for excellent patient care. 
  3. Leading-edge research facilities.

    Cancer Biology Ph.D. students have access to shared instruments and labs within our department, as well as core laboratories in: 

    • Microscopy and imaging instruments 
    • Flow cytometry 
    • Genomics and proteomics instrumentation 
    • Drug design and development 
    • Nuclear magnetic resonance facility 
  4. Focus on communication skills.
    Every month, Biomedical Science graduate students publish articles about their research in The Blade, Toledo’s newspaper. This program — unique to UToledo — allows students to learn how to write and speak about their research in ways that the public can understand. These communication skills are important when trying to earn grant funding.  
  5. Collegial spirit.
    Our doctoral students thrive, thanks to the collaborative spirit fostered by the faculty, staff and students within the four departments of UToledo's College of Medicine and Life Sciences. Students enjoy the community, too. Toledo, Ohio, offers a small-town, family-oriented atmosphere with a cost of living much lower than larger cities or cities on the West or East Coast. 


Research is the backbone of UToledo's Cancer Biology doctoral program. Our Ph.D. students sample at least three faculty labs before choosing their areas of focus. 

Ph.D. students are required to: 

  • Publish research in internationally recognized, peer-reviewed journals 
  • Attend departmental research seminars featuring speakers from all over the world 

All doctoral candidates are encouraged to attend national or international meetings to present their research. Students also organize and present research at an annual cancer biology retreat off campus and at a graduate research forum organized by the Council of Biomedical Graduate Students. 

UToledo Cancer Biology faculty members have a wide range of research knowledge and strengths. They have expertise in cell culture and cloning, as well as a multitude of biochemical and molecular biological techniques.  

All faculty members with active research labs publish peer-reviewed research manuscripts in internationally recognized scientific journals. Graduate students who are contributing lab members often co-author. 

Cancer Biology research topics include:  

  • Control of tumor cell growth and cell death 
  • Mechanisms of cancer cell motility, invasion and metastasis 
  • Molecular genetics of cancer risk 
  • Influence of tumor microenvironment on cancer progression 
  • Chromatin remodeling and mechanisms of DNA repair 


What jobs can I get with a cancer biology degree?

Nearly 100% of graduates of UToledo’s cancer biology doctoral program have gone on to postdoctoral fellowships and then salaried employment in academia, industry, or government biomedical research or research-related positions. 

Our Ph.D. graduates have landed post-doctoral fellowship positions at: 

  • Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia 
  • Karmanos Cancer Center at Wayne State University, Detroit 
  • Moores Cancer Center, University of California San Diego School of Medicine 
  • Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, New York City 
  • Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania 
  • Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn. 
  • Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn. 






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Last Updated: 4/24/24