Mechanisms of Oncogenesis

The mission of the University of Florida Health Cancer Center (UFHCC) Mechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO) program is to increase the understanding of how normal cells undergo multiple complex changes leading to transformation into cancer cells. The research aims focus on genomic and epigenetic mutations and cell signaling, the role of noncoding RNAs in cancer, and on how DNA tumorviruses dysregulate host cellular pathways leading to cancer.

The scientific objectives of the MOO program are to identify and understand cellular pathways that are dysregulated during neoplastic transformation and progression to decipher how these changes promote the cancer phenotype, and to develop methodologies to target these cancer-specific signaling events.

Aims

  • Elucidate the origins, propagation and functions of neoplastic genomic and epigenomic instability. Data generated by contemporary genomics approaches has made it apparent that many cancers carry both genomic and epigenetic alterations that directly contribute to the neoplastic phenotype. Chemo resistance is often driven by epigenetic and genetic drift, which affects genes involved in DNA repair pathways. MOO investigators utilize state of the art technologies with the goal of understanding and targeting molecular mechanisms directly related to these processes.
  • Define the role of noncoding RNAs in oncogenesis. In addition to roughly 30,000 protein encoding genes that make up only about 3 percent of the human genome, we now understand that a much larger proportion of our chromosomes express a complex family of noncoding RNAs, including microRNAs (miRNAs) and long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs). Dysregulation of these noncoding RNAs, which regulate many molecular mechanisms, is a more recently identified hallmark of many cancer cells. MOO investigators are dedicated to deciphering molecular mechanisms of noncoding RNA dysregulation and their contributions to tumorigenesis, which will lead to identification of novel biomarkers for cancer diagnostics and development of RNA-based therapeutic approaches.
  • Study DNA tumor viruses to elucidate the role of epigenetics and non-coding RNA in cancer. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that about 15 to 20 percent of all cancers have an infectious etiology, most of which are caused by tumors. Like eukaryotic, viral tumorigenesis is a multi-step process that involves host-viral interactions affecting immunity, epigenetics, DNA repair, and both the expression and perturbation of miRNAs and lncRNAs. Studies of DNA tumorviruses by MOO investigators complement aims 1 and 2 of this program by providing easily tractable genetic model systems to study genetic and epigenetic regulation of gene expression in viral tumorigenesis.

By achieving a greater understanding of genomic and epigenetic neoplastic alterations and the role of noncoding RNAs in tumorigenesis, MOO investigators will further accelerate the identification of novel potential therapeutic targets. The long-term goal of these aims is to develop rational bases for combining interventions using these targets in a patient-specific, precision medicine manner, and to translate them into novel therapeutic approaches.

In summary, the MOO program impacts all programs and missions of UFHCC by performing cutting edge basic and translational research to identify and pursue novel therapeutic approaches. MOO members are highly collaborative (Inter and intra-programmatic) and train the next generation of cancer researchers.

Objectives

  • Enhance high impact research in all three aims.
  • Create an interactive scientific environment that facilitates collaborations within MOO and across UFHCC programs.
  • Provide opportunities for medical, graduate and postdoctoral students, as well as physician scientists in interdisciplinary cancer research.
  • Facilitate the translation of discovery of new targets and/or potential new therapeutics identified in the MOO program in collaboration with CTHR and CPS investigators into clinical trials.
  • Support research that focuses on catchment area-specific cancer.

Program Co-Leaders

Rolf Renne, Ph.D.

Rolf Renne, Ph.D.

Rolf Renne, Ph.D., is the interim program co-leader of the Mechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO) program.

For nearly 13 years, Dr. Renne has served as a professor in the UF College of Medicine’s department of molecular genetics and microbiology, studying the Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus — which has been his research focus since 1995. His laboratory uses genomics, genetics and ribonomics approaches to study how virally-encoded genes and microRNAs contribute to KSHV biology and tumorigenesis.

Dr. Renne received his master’s and Ph.D. degrees from the Albert-Ludwigs University of Freiburg, Germany. He performed most of his Ph.D. thesis work at UC Davis with Dr. Paul Luciw in the field of retrovirology. Next, he joined the laboratory of Dr. Don Ganem at UCSF where he contributed to early work on establishing tissue culture models for KSHV, which had recently been identified as the causative pathogen for Kaposi sarcoma in patients with AIDS.

In 1999, he joined the faculty at Case Western Reserve University, where he focused on molecular aspects such as the role of the KSHV latency-associated nuclear antigen (LANA) in DNA binding and latent DNA replication. He established the only available Kaposi sarcoma xenograft model. In 2004, he moved to UF where his laboratory was one of four worldwide to sequence and identify KSHV-encoded microRNAs. 

The unifying goal of Dr. Renne’s research has been to achieve a deeper understanding of how latent gamma-herpesvirus gene products, including microRNAs and long noncoding RNAs, contribute to viral tumorigenesis of AIDS malignancies. His current focus is on epigenetic regulation of viral latency, and the role of long and small non-coding RNAs in viral biology. 

Dr. Renne has been continuously funded by multiple NCI grants since 2004. In 2017, he was awarded a multi-investigator NCI Program Project together with Scott Tibbetts, Ph.D., an associate professor at UF, and Erik Flemington, Ph.D., a professor at Tulane University.

He serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Virology and Virology and has authored more than 80 peer-reviewed articles. In 2009, Dr. Renne co-chaired the 11th International Workshop on KSHV and related agents as well as the 40th International Herpesvirus Workshop in Boise, Idaho in 2015. He serves on multiple NIH special emphasis panels.

Daohong Zhou, M.D. 

Daohong Zhou, M.D.

Daohong Zhou, M.D., is program co-leader.

He is a professor in the Department of Pharmacodynamics at the College of Pharmacy and a Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the College of Medicine, University of Florida (UF) at Gainesville. He serves as the Associate Director for Translation and Drug Development and the Henry E. Innes Professorsip of Cancer Research at the UF Health Cancer Center. Dr. Zhou received his medical (1978-1983) and graduate (1983-1986) training from Yunyany Medical College of Tongji Medical University and Henan Medical University, respectively; and his postdoctoral training (1990-1992) at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Before he joined UF in 2018, he was a Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Deputy Director of the Division of Radiation Health at the College of Pharmacy and the Associate Director for Basic Research at the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute in the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).

Dr. Daohong Zhou has published more than 100 peer reviewed scientific articles and book chapters. His research has been well supported by grants from various private and government funding agencies, including the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID). Dr. Daohong Zhou serves on several national and international peer review panels and as a reviewer for various scientific publications. He was a regular member of the Radiation Therapeutics and Biology Study Section at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and a co-chair of the Panel Meeting for General Program of the Dept. of Health Sciences (Hematology) at the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC). He is a councilor of the Radiation Research Society and a co-founder of Unity Biotechnology, a biotech that develops senolytic drugs for aging and age-related diseases.

Program Members

To request an update, please email ResearchAdmin@cancer.ufl.edu.

NameDegree(s)Research ProgramTitleDepartmentCollegeResearch Interest Topics
Liao, Daiqing

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)Associate ProfessorAnatomy & Cell BiologyMedicineApoptosis & Cell Death Pathways; Breast; Cancer Genetics; Cell Signaling Pathways; Chemotherapy; Drug Design; Epigenetics & Cancer; Epigenetics & Gene Regulation; Genital-Urinary/Prostate; Immunoregulation & Suppression; Tumor Virology/Virus-Host Interactions
Ishov, Alexander

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)Associate ProfessorAnatomy & Cell BiologyMedicineBreast; Cancer Genetics; Chemotherapy; Epigenetics & Cancer
Qiu, Yi

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)Assistant ProfessorAnatomy & Cell BiologyMedicineEpigenetics & Cancer
Opavsky, Rene

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)Associate ProfessorAnatomy & Cell BiologyMedicineEpigenetics & Cancer; Epigenetics & Gene Regulation; Hematologic Malignancies/Blood & Marrow Transplant; Leukemia; Lymphoma
Huang, Shuang

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)ProfessorAnatomy & Cell BiologyMedicineBreast; Cell Signaling Pathways; Drug Design; Drug Resistance; Epigenetics & Gene Regulation; Gynecological; Metastasis; MicroRNAs; RNA Processing
Xiao, Rui

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)Assistant ProfessorAging & Geriatric ResearchMedicineTranscription Factors; Aging; Cellular Stress Response; Sensory Modulation of Aging; Environmental Factors
Lu, Jianrong

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)Associate ProfessorBiochemistry & Molecular BiologyMedicineAngiogenesis; Apoptosis & Cell Death Pathways; Breast; Cancer Genetics; Cell Signaling Pathways; Epigenetics & Cancer; Epigenetics & Gene Regulation; Genetic Determinants of Cancer; Metastasis; Post-Transcriptional Gene Regulation
Bungert, Jorg

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)ProfessorBiochemistry & Molecular BiologyMedicineEpigenetics & Gene Regulation; Hematologic Malignancies/Blood & Marrow Transplant
Brown, Kevin

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)Associate ProfessorBiochemistry & Molecular BiologyMedicineDNA Damage
Agbandje-McKenna, Mavis

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)ProfessorBiochemistry & Molecular BiologyMedicineGene Therapy; Oncolytic Viral Vectors; Structural Virology; Targeted Cancer Therapy
Kilberg, Michael

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)ProfessorBiochemistry & Molecular BiologyMedicineCell Signaling Pathways; Epigenetics & Cancer; Epigenetics & Gene Regulation; Leukemia; Liver; Post-Transcriptional Gene Regulation
Kladde, Michael

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)ProfessorBiochemistry & Molecular BiologyMedicineCancer Epigenetics; Colorectal and Breast Cancer; Glioblastoma; Cell Signaling Pathways
Xie, Mingyi

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)Assistant ProfessorBiochemistry & Molecular BiologyMedicineBioinformatics; Cancer Genetics; Cell Signaling Pathways; Epigenetics & Gene Regulation; MicroRNAs; RNA Processing; Tumor Virology/Virus-Host Interactions
Frost, Susan

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)ProfessorBiochemistry & Molecular BiologyMedicineBreast; Chemotherapy; Environment
Yang, Thomas

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)ProfessorBiochemistry & Molecular BiologyMedicineEpigenetics
Bacher, Rhonda

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)Assistant ProfessorBiostatisticsPublic Health and Health ProfessionsBioinformatics; Biostatistics
Datta, Susmita

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)ProfessorBiostatisticsPublic Health & Health ProfessionsBioinformatics; RNA processing
Toth, Zsolt

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)Assistant ProfessorOral BiologyDentistryAngiogenesis; Cancer Genetics; Epigenetics & Gene Regulation; Immunoregulation & Suppression; Infection Control; Lymphoma; Post-Transcriptional Gene Regulation; RNA Processing; Tumor Virology/Virus-Host Interactions
Concannon, Patrick

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)ProfessorPathology, Immunology & Laboratory MedicineMedicineMedicine; Breast; Diabetes
Licht, Jonathan

M.D.Mechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)ProfessorHematology & OncologyMedicineDNA Damage & Repair; Epigenetics & Cancer; Epigenetics & Gene Regulation; Genetic Determinants of Cancer; Hematologic Malignancies/Blood & Marrow Transplant; Leukemia; Lymphoma
Wang, Gary

Ph.D, M.D.Mechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)Associate ProfessorInfectious DiseaseMedicineBioinformatics; Gene Therapy; Liver
Bennett, Richard

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)Research Assistant ProfessorHematology & OncologyMedicineApoptosis & Cell Death Pathways; Cancer Genetics; Cell Signaling Pathways; Epigenetics & Gene Regulation; Hematologic Malignancies/Blood & Marrow Transplant; Immunoregulation & Suppression; Leukemia; Lymphoma; Post-Transcriptional Gene Regulation; RNA Processing; Tumor Virology/Virus-Host Interactions
Bloom, David

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)ProfessorMolecular Genetics & MicrobiologyMedicineEpigenetics & Cancer; Oncolytic Viral Vectors; Tumor Virology/Virus-Host Interactions
Renne, Rolf

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)ProfessorMolecular Genetics & MicrobiologyMedicineCell Signaling Pathways; DNA Damage & Repair; Lymphoma; Skin/Melanoma; Tumor Virology/Virus-Host Interactions
Tibbetts, Scott

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)Associate ProfessorMolecular Genetics & MicrobiologyMedicineApoptosis & Cell Death Pathways; Epigenetics & Cancer; Epigenetics & Gene Regulation; Hematologic Malignancies/Blood & Marrow Transplant; Immunotherapy; Infection Control; Leukemia; Lymphoma; MicroRNAs; Stem Cell; Tumor Virology/Virus-Host Interactions
Wu, Lizi

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)Associate ProfessorMolecular Genetics & MicrobiologyMedicineApoptosis & Cell Death Pathways; Breast; Cancer Genetics; Cell Signaling Pathways; DNA Damage & Repair; Drug Design; Epigenetics & Cancer; Gynecological; Leukemia; Tumor Virology/Virus-Host Interactions
Zhou, Lei

Ph.D, BMedMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)Associate ProfessorMolecular Genetics & MicrobiologyMedicineApoptosis & Cell Death Pathways; Bioinformatics; Cancer Genetics; Epigenetics & Cancer; Epigenetics & Gene Regulation; Genetic Determinants of Cancer; Radiation Oncology; Senescence
Conesa Cegarra, Ana

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)ProfessorMicrobiology & Cell ScienceIFASGenetic determinants; Bioinformatics
De Crecy Lagard, Valerie

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)ProfessorMicrobiology & Cell ScienceIFASCell Signaling Pathways
Maupin-Furlow, Julie

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)ProfessorMicrobiology & Cell ScienceIFASMicrobiology; Cell Signaling Pathways
Guryanova, Olga

Ph.D, M.D.Mechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)Assistant ProfessorPharmacology & TherapeuticsMedicineCancer Genetics; Cancer Susceptibility; Cell Signaling Pathways; DNA Damage & Repair; Drug Resistance; Epigenetics & Cancer; Hematologic Malignancies/Blood & Marrow Transplant; Leukemia; Stem Cell
Li, Chenglong

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)ProfessorMedicinal ChemistryPharmacyCell Signaling Pathways; Drug Design; Drug Resistance; Epigenetics & Cancer; Hematologic Malignancies/Blood & Marrow Transplant; Immunotherapy; Neuro-Oncology; Pediatric Oncology; Stem Cell; Targeted Cancer Therapy
Srivastava, Arun

Ph.D, BSc, MSc Mechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)ProfessorPediatric ResearchMedicineHematologic Malignancies/Blood & Marrow Transplant; Liver; Stem Cell; Targeted Cancer Therapy; Tumor Virology/Virus-Host Interactions
Ling, Chen

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)Research Assistant ProfessorPediatric ResearchMedicineGene Therapy
Zolotukhin, Sergei

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)ProfessorPediatric ResearchMedicineGene Therapy
Terada, Naohiro

Ph.D, M.D.Mechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)ProfessorPathologyMedicineAngiogenesis; Cell Signaling Pathways; Stem Cell
Jiang, Qiu-Xing

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)Associate ProfessorMicrobiology & Cell ScienceAgriculture & Life SciencesEndocrine; Neuroendocrine Cancers; Cancer Genetics; MicroRNAs; Nanotechnology; Structural Biology
Lele, Tanmay

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)Associate ProfessorChemical EngineeringEngineeringAngiogenesis; Breast; Epigenetics & Cancer; Epigenetics & Gene Regulation; MicroRNAs; Nanotechnology; RNA Processing
Tang, Xin

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)Assistant ProfessorMechanical & Aerospace EngineeringEngineeringAngiogenesis; Breast; Epigenetics & Cancer; Immunoregulation & Suppression; Immunotherapy; Integrative Medicine; Metastasis; Nanotechnology; Noninvasive Imaging/Tomography; Vascular Targeting
Michailidis, George

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)ProfessorInformatics InstitutePublic Health & Health ProfessionsBioinformatics
Caglayan, Melike

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)Assistant ProfessorBiochemistry & Molecular BiologyMedicineChemotherapy; DNA Damage & Repair; DNA Replication; Drug Design
Papp, Bernadett

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)Research Assistant ProfessorOral BiologyDentistryBioinformatics; Cell Signaling Pathways; Epigenetics & Cancer; Epigenetics & Gene Regulation; Stem Cell; Tumor Virology/Virus-Host interactions
Qian, Zhijian


Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)Associate ProfessorMedicine - Hematology & OncologyMedicineCancer Genetics; Cell Signaling Pathways; Drug Resistance; Epigenetics & Gene Regulation; Hematologic Malignancies/Blood & Marrow Transplant; Stem Cell
Zhang, Weizhou

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)ProfessorPathology, Immunology & Laboratory MedicineMedicineAngiogenesis; Breast; Immunoregulation & Suppression; Immunotherapy; Kidney
Baer, Charles

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)Assistant ProfessorBiologyLiberal Arts & SciencesEvolutionary Biology; Population Genetics; Quantitative Genetics
Rong, Libin

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)Associate ProfessorMathematicsLiberal Arts & SciencesEpidemiology
Zhou, Daohong


Ph.D.Mechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)ProfessorPharmacodynamicsPharmacyDrug Design
Bhaduri-McIntosh


Ph.D, M.D.Mechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)Associate ProfessorPediatrcs-Infectious DiseasesMedicineCancer Genetics; Cell Signaling Pathways; DNA Damage & Repair; DNA Replication; Epigenetics & Cancer; Epigenetics & Gene Regulation; Hematologic Malignancies/Blood & Marrow Transplant; Tumor Virology/Virus-Host Interactions
Kaye, Frederic

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO) & Cancer Therapeutics & Host Response (CTHR)ProfessorHematology & OncologyMedicineCancer Genetics; Cell Signaling Pathways; Genetic Determinants of Cancer; Head & Neck; Lung; Thoracic Oncology
Fredenburg, Kristianna


Ph.D, M.D.Mechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)Assistant ProfessorPathologyMedicineHead & Neck
Murfee, Walter

Ph.DMechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)Associate ProfessorBiomedical EngineeringEngineeringAngiogenesis; Stem Cell; Targeted Cancer Therapy; Vascular Targeting
Kahveci, Tamer


Ph.D.Mechanisms of Oncogenesis (MOO)ProfessorComputer & Information Science & EngineeringEngineeringBioinformatics