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About MCCB

The Department of Molecular, Cell and Cancer Biology (MCCB) at UMass Chan Medical School is a vibrant community of scholars with a strong commitment to research, education and service.

History and Mission

MCCB was established in 2015 from the merger of two research programs: the Department of Cancer Biology (created in 2002) and the Program in Gene Function and Expression (created in 1999). The merger was designed to integrate the strengths of the two research groups into one department, and was facilitated by their close physical proximity on the 4th, 5th and 6th floors of the Lazare Research Building.

MCCB has two research missions:
(1) to continue to build a strong cancer biology program
(2) to continue to build a broadly-defined eukaryotic genetics program and other areas of biomedical research that are of strategic interest to MCCB and UMass Chan

Research

MCCB has a diverse scientific environment, with research programs encompassing a wide range of areas, including: cell death in development and disease, developmental biology, aging, and regulation and manipulation of cellular and viral genes. MCCB researchers are at the forefront of investigating how cell death and cellular dysfunction contribute to diverse human pathologies, elucidating the mechanisms regulating developmental processes such as vasculogenesis and erythropoiesis, understanding the genetic and environmental factors that contribute to aging, delineating mechanisms of genetic and epigenetic regulation of gene expression, and pioneering new genome editing technologies.

In addition, MCCB is the nexus of basic cancer research at UMass Chan. The Chair of MCCB, Michael Green, MD, PhD, serves as the Director of the UMass Cancer Center, and the majority of MCCB faculty are members and/or program leaders of the Cancer Center. MCCB faculty investigating aspects of cancer biology and cancer genetics ranging from the study of basic cancer molecular biology to the development of cell-based and animal models for studying cancer initiation, progression and metastasis, to the discovery of novel oncogenic drivers and therapeutic targets for the treatment of cancer. As the only cancer-focused basic research department at UMass Chan, MCCB has actively sought to consolidate cancer research activities within the department and therefore has an extensive network of secondary appointments with faculty who have cancer-related research interests.

Our multi-disciplinary research program is facilitated by an in-house Bioinformatics Core, a unique asset that provides cutting-edge, high-level bioinformatics and biostatistics support to MCCB researchers.

Education and Training

The diverse scientific environment makes MCCB an incredibly strong training ground for postdoctoral fellows and graduate students, and our faculty provide opportunities for training in all aspects of biomedical science. The department offers many didactic activities that expose postdocs and students to the depth and breadth of biomedical research, including an in-house seminar series for trainees, an external seminar series that attracts world-class researchers, specialized disease-based conferences that bring together basic scientists and clinicians, a student-led cancer biology journal club, and an institution-wide cancer-based research retreat. The Cancer Biology Program in the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences is home-based in MCCB. Finally, many MCCB faculty have received awards in recognition of their excellence in education, and participate in programs designed to encourage undergraduate students to consider biomedical research as a career and to promote student diversity.

Service

MCCB faculty are dedicated to service at the department and institutional levels, serving in major leadership positions and as members of UMass Chan committees and advisory bodies for administrative, academic, education and research activities. They also make important contributions to the scientific community through their leadership on external advisory boards, councils and committees at the state, national and international levels, as meeting organizers, and through their service as reviewers for funding programs and scientific journals.

MCCB faculty are also actively engaged in community service, and participate in a wide range of voluntary educational activities in local schools from kindergarten through high school, as well as fundraising events in the community. Several MCCB faculty participate in the annual UMass Cancer Walk and Run and in fundraising activities to raise money for cancer research at UMass Chan.