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Department of Oncology Science

The Department of Oncology Science seeks to provide a research home to trainees, young investigators, and national/international leaders working in the areas of cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure. We intend to achieve this through programs of excellence in research, education, outreach, and cost-effective patient care. The Department of Oncology Science is committed to facilitating interdisciplinary, collaborative, and innovative team-science to make OU Health Sciences Center a world-leader in translational cancer research.

Research Themes

The department is focused on several key areas of cancer research.

  • Signaling basis of cancer cell growth, cell death, and senescence
  • Mechanisms of chemo- and radiotherapy resistance
  • Metabolic alterations in cancer cells supporting survival under various abiotic stresses, including hypoxia, low pH, and nutrient deprivation
  • Metabolic vulnerabilities of various cancer types
  • Cancer-induced systemic organ failure, including cachexia
  • Tumor immunology, immunotherapies, and immunometabolism
  • Epigenetic and transcriptomic alterations and intratumoral heterogeneity
  • Cancer health disparity research

Department of Oncology Seminar Series

The Department of Oncology Seminar Series is focused on current and emerging areas of cancer research. The seminars are organized with the goal of educating faculty, postdocs, students, and other trainees about the latest advancements in the field and facilitating interdisciplinary collaborations. 

Follow us on X @OncologyScience for upcoming seminar presentation announcements!

News and Events

The Department of Oncology Science Welcomes Dr. Jay Kim to the Faculty!

The Department of Oncology Science Welcomes Dr. Jay Kim to the Faculty!

Published: Tuesday, April 18, 2023

     Dr. Pankaj Singh, PhD, and the Department of Oncology Science are pleased to announce that Dr. Jay Kim joined the department as an Associate Professor. Dr. Kim had most recently been an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas, Chief Scientific Officer of Precision & Personalized Medicine Inc., and Research Director at VIP Animal Medical Center. His entire research career has been devoted to revealing the critical contributions of hypoxia and metabolic alterations to the pathophysiology of human diseases including cancer, diabetes, and obesity. His initial training during his Ph.D. study was in the Chi Dang lab at Johns Hopkins Medical School as a prestigious HHMI Predoctoral fellow focused on understanding how hypoxic and oncogenic signaling reprograms glucose metabolism in cancer (Cell Metabolism. 2006;3:177 & MCB. 2007;27:7381).

     After graduate study, Dr. Kim joined the Randall Johnson and Reuben Shaw labs at UCSD /Salk to expand his research expertise to genetic animal model systems that uncovered the unexpected role of HIFs in tumor-associated fibroblasts (Cancer Res. 2012;72:3187) as well as adipocytes in obesity (Cell. 2014;157:1339). Since starting his own lab at UT Dallas in 2013, Dr. Kim has established an active research program that focuses on identifying and elucidating the distinct metabolic signature and vulnerabilities in human cancers as well as directed Small Animal Imaging Core facility funded by federal (NIH, Department of Defense), Texas State (CPRIT), and private (American Lung Association, Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation) grants. One of the most prominent findings is that a squamous lineage-specific transcriptional program dictates a previously unrecognized strict glucose reliance in squamous cell carcinomas, which can be effectively targeted by systemic glucose restriction (Nature Communications. 2017;8:15503 & Cell Reports. 2019;28:1860). In addition, his group made a seminal discovery for the role of glucose metabolic reprogramming in lung fibrotic disease progression (Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2018;58:216). These findings provided a fundamental framework for the overarching goal of his research program to identify and evaluate metabolic alterations that cause human diseases including cancer, fibrosis, and metabolic disorders for novel targeted therapy as well as therapeutic dietary intervention.

     Initially trained as a prominent veterinarian with emphasis on veterinary oncology and laboratory animal medicine, Dr. Kim’s interdisciplinary research expertise in metabolism, cancer biology, animal models of human diseases, and experience on industrial drug development will be leveraged to provide crucial foundation to newly established Oncology Science Department and spur dynamic collaborations with the faculty and students as well as to complement the Stephenson Cancer Center’s existing strengths in advancing knowledge of the pathobiology and therapeutics of human cancers. In addition, with his extensive and diverse teaching experience in Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology in both undergraduate and graduate levels, Dr. Kim also looks forward to fostering open and encouraging environments for students in both the classroom and the laboratory.