Skip to Content

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer CenterVanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center

 

VICC toll-free number 1-877-936-8422

Program Leaders


Mary M. Zutter, M.D.


Thomas E. Yankeelov, Ph.D.​​​​

Host-Tumor Interactions

 

The Host-Tumor Interactions (HTI) Research Program consists of basic, translational, and clinical scientists focused on discovering the interactions between tumor cells and their host, and developing strategies to interrupt those interactions in order to target and control tumor progression and metastasis.  The central theme of the HTI program is that tumor growth, invasion, and metastasis depend not only on the tumor cell alone, but also on the complex interactions between the tumor cells and the host.  These sentiments have been embraced by the community as recently summarized by Hanahan and Weinberg, “…the biology of tumors can no longer be understood simply by enumerating the traits of the cancer cells but instead must encompass the contributions of the ‘tumor microenvironment’ to tumorigenesis” (Cell, 2011;144:646).  Furthermore, the role the host microenvironment plays in tumor biology provides an exceptional opportunity for novel therapeutic strategies.  In light of these realizations, the long-term scientific goal of the program is to develop a detailed and mechanistic understanding of not just the tumor cell and tumor mutations, but also all the components of the host microenvironment that influence cancer and the response to cancer therapy. 

Scientific Goals

The individual scientific goals of the HTI research program are to:

  1. Identify and validate molecular targets involved in communication between the tumor and host that contribute to tumor progression using sequencing and antibodies, probes and small molecules, imaging, and computational modeling

  2. Develop in vitro and in vivo systems to test therapeutics and determine their mechanism of action

  3. Develop new methodologies capable of discovering and validating novel therapeutic targets

  4. Establish dynamic, multi-disciplinary collaborations that will accelerate these discoveries

These scientific goals guide our efforts at determining the role and mechanisms of the stromal cells, including the fibroblasts, endothelial and lymphatic elements, the matrix and the inflammatory/immune cells as critical targets for therapeutic intervention. While the scientific goals of the program have not changed since the last competing renewal, an effort to focus the program in order to develop the highest impact science in this area has resulted in evolution of the program.

About the Program Leaders

Mary M. Zutt​er, M.D. assumed the role of Program Leader of the Host-Tumor Interactions Program in the spring of 2004. She is Professor of Pathology and Cancer Biology, and Ingram Professor of Cancer Research. She received her M.D. from Tulane University School of Medicine and completed a residency and hematopathology fellowship training in the Departments of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Washington. She was recruited to the faculty of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 2003 from the Department of Pathology at Washington University School of Medicine. Dr. Zutter focuses on the role of cell adhesion molecules in host-tumor interactions.

Thomas E. Yankeelov, Ph.D. is an Ingram Professor of Cancer Research and a Professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences, Physics, Biomedical Engineering, and Cancer Biology at Vanderbilt University.  He received an M.A. in Applied Mathematics (1998) and an M.S. in Physics (2000) from Indiana University. His doctorate is from SUNY at Stony Brook (2003) where he completed his Dissertation at Brookhaven National Laboratory.  His research program is focused on integrating quantitative imaging methods and biophysical models for predicting the response of cancer to therapy.

Program Members​​​​

  • Abel, Ty William, M.D., Ph.D.
    Associate Professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology; Researcher
  • Abramson, Richard G., M.D.
    Assistant Professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences
  • Boothby, Mark R., M.D., Ph.D.
    Professor of Medicine (Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology); Researcher
  • Bornhop, Darryl J., Ph.D.
    Professor of Chemistry; Researcher
  • Caprioli, Richard M., Ph.D.
    Stanford Moore Professor of Biochemistry; Professor of Chemistry, Medicine, Pharmacology; Director, Mass Spectrometry Research Center; Researcher
  • Chen, Jin, M.D., Ph.D.
    Professor of Medicine (Rheumatology); Professor of Cell and Development Biology; Professor of Cancer Biology; Researcher
  • Crowe, James E., Jr., M.D.
    Ann Scott Carrell Professor of Pediatrics(Pediatric Infectious Disease); Professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology; Director, Vanderbilt Vaccine Center; Director, VANTAGE; Researcher
  • Daniels, Anthony, M.D., M.Sc.
    Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology; Ocular Oncologist
  • Dawant, Benoit, Ph.D.
    Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair in Engineering, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science ; Professor of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science; Professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences; Professor of Biomedical Engineering; Researcher
  • Dhawan, Punita, Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor of Surgery; Researcher
  • Elefteriou, Florent, Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor of Cancer Biology; Assistant Professor of Medicine (Pharmacology); Researcher
  • Fingleton, Barbara, Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor of Cancer Biology; Researcher
  • Giorgio, Todd D., Ph.D.
    Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Cancer Biology Chemical Engineering; Associate Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering; Chair, Department of Biomedical Engineering; Researcher
  • Gore, John C., Ph.D.
    Hertha Ramsey Cress Professor of Medicine; University Professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences; Professor of Biomedical Engineering - Molecular Physiology and Biophysics - Physics and Astronomy; Director, Vanderbilt University Institute of Imaging Science; Researcher
  • Hayward, Simon W., Ph.D.
    Professor of Urologic Surgery, Cancer Biology; Researcher
  • Hudson, Billy G., Ph.D.
    Elliot V. Newman Professor of Medicine (Nephrology); Professor of Biochemistry; Director, Center for Matrix Biology; Researcher
  • Jessen, Jason R., Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor of Medicine (Genetic Medicine); Assistant Professor of Cancer Biology; Researcher
  • Kaverina, Irina, Ph.D.
    Associate Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology; Researcher
  • Mahadevan-Jansen, Anita, Ph.D.
    Orrin H. Ingram Professor of Biomedical Engineering; Researcher
  • Moses, Harold L., M.D.
    Ingram Professor of Cancer Research; Professor of Cancer Biology, Medicine and Pathology; Interim Chair, Department of Cancer Biology; Director Emeritus, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center; Researcher
  • Page-McCaw, Andrea, Ph.D.
    Associate Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology
  • Parekh, Aron, Ph.D.
    Research Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology
  • Peek, Richard, Jr., M.D.
    Mina Cobb Wallace Professor of Immunology; Professor of Medicine (Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition); Professor of Cancer Biology; Director of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition; Researcher
  • Pham, Wellington, Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences; Researcher
  • Pozzi, Ambra, Ph.D.
    Professor of Cancer Biology; Professor of Medicine (Nephrology); Associate Professor of Molecular Physiology & Biophysics; Researcher
  • Quaranta, Vito, M.D.
    Professor of Cancer Biology; Researcher
  • Quarles, C. Chad, Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences; Researcher
  • Richmond, Ann, Ph.D.
    Ingram Professor of Cancer Research; Professor of Cancer Biology; Vice Chair, Department of Cancer Biology; Researcher
  • Shanker, Anil, M.S., Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Cancer Biology, Meharry Medical College
  • Skala, Melissa, Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering
  • Takahashi, Takamune, M.D., Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor of Medicine (Nephrology); Researcher
  • Van Kaer, Luc, Ph.D.
    Elizabeth and John Shapiro Professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology; Researcher
  • Weaver, Alissa, M.D. , Ph.D.
    Associate Professor of Cancer Biology, Pathology; Researcher
  • Wikswo, John P., Jr., Ph.D.
    Gordon A Cain University Professor; A. B. Learned Professor of Living Physics; Professor of Molecular Physiology, Biophysics, Biomedical Engineering, Physics; Director, VIIBRE; Researcher
  • Yankeelov, Thomas E., Ph.D.
    Ingram Professor of Cancer Research ; Professor: Radiology and Radiological Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, Physics, and Cancer Biology; Director of Cancer Imaging Research: Vanderbilt University Institute of Imaging Science and Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center; Co-leader, Host-Tumor Interactions Research Program: Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center; Researcher
  • Young, Pampee, M.D., Ph.D.
    Medical Director and Assistant Professor of Pathology and Medicine ; Researcher
  • Zent, Roy, M.D., Ph.D.
    Thomas F. Frist, Sr. Professor of Medicine (Nephrology); Professor of Cancer Biology, Cell and Developmental Biology; Researcher
  • Zijlstra, Andries, Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology; Assistant Professor of Cancer Biology; Researcher
  • Zutter, Mary M., M.D.
    Louise B McGavock Professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology; Professor of Cancer Biology; Assistant Vice Chancellor, Integrated Diagnostics; Director, VICC Tumor-Host Interaction Program; Pathologist