Cancer is composed of substantial heterogeneity. This heterogeneity exists on the population level and within individual tumors. The former challenges our traditional paradigm of standard therapies for patients and indicates that more personalized approaches are needed. The latter suggests that cancers are adept at resisting therapies through evolution and dynamic transdifferentiation programs. Our research focus is on large-scale efforts to catalogue and target genetic and non-genetic changes that confer resistance to cancer therapies. We are a group of clinicians and scientists that use our experiences in both patient care and basic science to try to develop a clinically relevant research program to study cancers and to translate laboratory discoveries into potential improvements in clinical care. Every project in the laboratory is committed to more “precise” cancer therapies as greater precision translates to improved responses in patients and less treatment-related toxicity. We demonstrate this commitment through projects that seek to enhance our understanding of targetable alterations in the genome and through the development and testing of a substantial repository of cancer avatar models. Yard, Adams, et al. A genetic basis for the variation in the vulnerability of cancer to DNA damage, Nature Communications, April 2016.

Photography by © Russell Lee