Molecular Oncology Department Faculty

Department Overview

The research of the Department of Molecular Oncology is centered on understanding basic mechanisms of cancer biology and identifying opportunities for further translational and clinical cancer research. The long-term goal is to develop novel cancer therapies for a variety of cancers in close collaboration with clinical faculty at Moffitt.

Our research falls into five research themes including gene expression & signal transduction, mouse models of human cancer, epigenetics, systems oncology, and cancer therapeutics. Our faculty use sophisticated models and techniques to accomplish their research. Postdoctoral, PhD students, undergraduates, and staff are exceptionally trained in technologies ranging from mouse modeling, 3D organoid tissue culture methods, Next-Generation sequencing, molecular biology and biochemistry.

Primary Faculty

Elsa FloresElsa R. Flores, PhD – Department Chair and Senior Member

The Flores Lab utilizes mouse models to identify therapeutic vulnerabilities of the p53 pathway in cancer.

Research Themes: Gene expression & Signal Transduction, Mouse Models, Cancer Therapeutics

Moffitt Profile 


Mark AlexanderMark G. Alexandrow, PhD – Associate Member

The Alexandrow Lab studies the mechanisms involved in the assembly and activation of the replicative CMG helicase, how deregulation of this process promotes tumorigenesis, and how the CMG helicase offers innovative targeting for chemotherapeutic drug development.

Research Themes: Gene expression & Signal Transduction, Cancer Therapeutics

Moffitt Profile


Jiandong ChenJiandong Chen, PhD – Senior Member

The Chen Lab investigates the function, regulation, and therapeutic targeting of the p53 tumor suppressor pathway.

Research Themes: Gene expression & Signal Transduction, Mouse Models, Cancer Therapeutics

Moffitt Profile 


Doug CressW. Douglas Cress, PhD – Senior Member

The Cress Lab is interested in the molecular biology of lung adenocarcinoma

Research Themes: Gene expression & Signal Transduction, Systems Oncology, Cancer Therapeutics 

Moffitt Profile 


Florian KarrethFlorian A. Karreth, PhD – Assistant Member

The Karreth Lab creates mouse models to elucidate the functions of cancer-associated proteins and non-coding RNAs in melanoma and ovarian cancer.

Research Themes: Mouse Models, Systems Oncology, Cancer Therapeutics

Moffitt Profile | Lab website 


John KoomenJohn M. Koomen, PhD – Associate Member

The Koomen Lab uses mass spectrometry-based techniques to better understand cancer biology, evaluate hypotheses derived from basic science experiments in human tumors, and contribute to the development of novel strategies for patient assessment and treatment.

Research Themes: Systems Oncology, Cancer Therapeutics

Moffitt Profile | Proteomics Software websiteProteomics Core website


Karen MannKaren M. Mann, PhD – Assistant Member

The Karen Mann Lab aims to define and characterize cooperating molecular events driving cancer progression, metastasis and drug resistance, with a focus on pancreatic cancer and myeloid leukemia. 

Research Themes: Mouse Models, Systems Oncology, Cancer Therapeutics

Moffitt Profile | Lab website


Michael MannMichael B. Mann, PhD – Assistant Member

The Michael Mann Lab's research program is dedicated to discovering the genetic events that drive skin cancer evolution.

Research Themes: Mouse Models, Systems Oncology, Cancer Therapeutics

Moffitt Profile | Lab website


Gary ReutherGary W. Reuther, PhD – Associate Member

The Reuther Lab utilizes molecular, cellular, and genetic approaches to identify novel therapies that could improve the lives of patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms. 

Research Themes: Gene expression & Signal Transduction, Cancer Therapeutics

Moffitt Profile


Lixing WanLixin Wan, PhD – Assistant Member

The Wan Lab is dedicated to understanding how cancer cells hijack protein post-translational modification machinery to rewire the central signaling pathways for proliferation advantage and drug resistance.

Research Themes: Gene expression & Signal Transduction, Cancer Therapeutics

Moffitt Profile 


Robert GatenbySecondary Faculty

Robert Gatenby, MD – Senior Member

The Gatenby Lab is interested in the role of eco-evolutionary principles in cancer biology and therapy.

Research Themes: Systems Oncology, Cancer Therapeutics

Moffitt Profile