The research focused on lung cancer in the division is successfully supported by funding from the NIH and private foundations. The central theme of this program is to investigate the impact of the tumor microenvironment (TME) on the progression and metastasis of lung cancer, with an ultimate goal of identifying novel targets and designing new strategies for the therapy of lung cancer.

The current areas of investigation include TGF-beta-signaling in TME, epithelial-mesenchymal transitions, tumor-stromal interactions, chemokine biology, and immune evasive /tolerance mechanisms in TME and tumor angiogenesis. An emerging area of interest for this group is to investigate the role of lung microbiome on tumorigenesis and in the susceptibility of other lung conditions (eg: COPD) to lung cancer. The program adopts a multidisciplinary approach involving animal models, clinical samples, cell biology, immunology, molecular biology, signal transduction, Omics technologies and computational biology to dissect cellular and molecular interactions in the TME, identify therapeutic targets and develop potential mechanism-based biomarkers.

Faculty within this program are also members of he University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center and/or hold cross-appointments in the Department of Immunology and Microbiology. They have long standing collaborations with thoracic surgeons and oncologists and participate in the multidisciplinary lung cancer clinic. Members in the program are active participants in the Immunology and Cancer Biology PhD programs and serve as mentors in different post-graduate and graduate training grants and in the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP). This provides multiple training opportunities for clinical fellows, post-doctoral trainees, and graduate and undergraduate students in the areas of cancer biology and tumor immunology.