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Directory at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center

Search or browse for cancer center researchers, leadership and key staff by last name, research program or department.

1352 results found


The Breast Cancer Program has expertise in and leads clinical trials related to:

Identifying the role of PI3K inhibitors in resistance to antiestrogens in ER+ breast cancer

Molecular sub-classification of triple negative breast cancer and discovery of novel treatment targets

Evaluating non-invasive imaging technologies to predict anti-cancer drug action and treatment response

Studying the role of ERBB3 in mammary gland development, transformation and adaptive resistance

Understanding the role of TGFβ in cancer stem-like behavior and tumor progression

Investigating obesity as a metabolic marker of breast cancer risk in African Americans

Discovering actionable therapy targets in drug-resistant breast tumors after neoadjuvant therapy

Leading innovative clinical trials with targeted therapies and combinations


The Translational Research and Interventional Oncology program is dedicated to translating our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of oncogenesis and tumor progression into novel therapeutic strategies for cancer. 

Developing early phase clinical trials for therapies directed at genetic changes in tumors

Investigating why some tumors become resistant to genetically targeted therapies and developing new strategies to prevent and overcome resistance

Applying and enhancing immune strategies and cellular therapies for cancer

Developing and evaluating screening methods and biomarkers for early detection of lung cancers

Search at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center

Fundraising to support discovery grants at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. 

By personally supporting and raising funds for grants through the Victory Over Cancer fund, the Ambassadors spark the beginning of new major research initiatives.

Advocating for Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. 

Through their personal and professional networks, the Ambassadors spread the word about how Vanderbilt-Ingram is leading the way in cancer treatment and research and work to identify and recruit new Ambassadors.

Participating in the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center community. 

The VICC Ambassadors support the services provided at Vanderbilt-Ingram as active members of the community through attending meetings and events, hearing from Vanderbilt-Ingram leaders and partnering with Medical Center Development staff.

To inquire about joining the VICC Ambassadors, email

Meet the VICC Ambassadors

Visit each Ambassador’s page to learn more about why they have joined VICC Ambassadors and how you can support their individual goals in the fight against cancer.

Other Ways To Give

If you wish to make a general gift to support the Ambassadors' mission, please choose one of these options:

Donor-Supported Research

A personal experience often is the catalyst for private gifts that will allow cancer scientists to do everything from prove the value of an untested idea to harvest tissue samples that will be stored and used for years in research studies.

Philanthropic giving often kick-starts the contributions of exceptional, early-career scientists and advances early ideas that are too “risky” to earn support from governmental sources.

Some donors attach very specific uses to the dollars while others give with the only restriction that cancer center put the funds where they will have the biggest impact. Vanderbilt-Ingram holds true to our donors’ wishes, and uses outside peer review to help prioritize the projects based on scientific merit.

In 2005, Jim and Janet Ayers gave $10 million to help Vanderbilt University scientists find early markers for colorectal cancer that could improve diagnosis and potentially save lives.

That gift established the Ayers Institute and has yielded an impressive return: identification of protein “signatures” of the genetic mutations that drive the nation’s second leading cancer killer after lung cancer.


When Waddell Walker Hancock founded the A.B. Hancock Jr. Memorial Laboratory for Cancer Research 40 years ago at Vanderbilt, she was determined that the right combination of imagination, perseverance and scientific talent could win the fight against cancer.

Hancock Lab researchers have earned many national honors and 13 patents for their studies of the role of the COX-2 enzyme in the progression of cancer and as a target for prevention and early detection.

The T.J. Martell Foundation became an important partner with the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in 1993, when the Martell Foundation established the Frances Williams Preston Laboratories. These “laboratories without walls” were created in honor of Frances Preston, the late music industry icon and former president of the Martell Foundation's board and served as an important cornerstone in the creation of the then-new Vanderbilt Cancer Center.

The generous support from the Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation has played a pivotal role in Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center's ability to impact cancer discovery for nearly two decades.

Due to a long-term investment in basic and translational cancer science, support from the Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation has enabled Vanderbilt to emerge as an international leader in the early detection of cancer and precision cancer medicine—matching the right therapy to the right patient at the right time.

Vandana Abramson at computer

The SPORE in Breast Cancer

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center's SPORE in Breast Cancer, established in 2003, is one of only five in the country, and focuses on innovative, translational research for better diagnosis, prognosis, screening, prevention and treatment of breast cancer.


The Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center SPORE in Breast Cancer has established a true multidisciplinary program focused on conducting multidisciplinary, mechanism-based, translational research of the highest possible impact that will contribute meaningfully to measurable progress in breast cancer. Our investigators have expertise in cellular signaling and molecular biology, breast pathology, medical, surgical, and radiation oncology, clinical trial design, epidemiology and population studies, mass spectrometry, biostatistics, and biomedical informatics.

The Breast SPORE supports several initiatives including four scientific research projects, five cores that provide essential services to SPORE projects, a developmental research program to support pilot projects, and career development opportunities for physician-scientists in training. 

Breast SPORE Research Projects

The SPORE in Breast Cancer supports four research projects aimed at addressing basic, clinical and population research questions of importance in human breast cancer. All projects are translational and multidisciplinary and are led by co-investigators from multiple departments across the School of Medicine, with complementary basic science and translational/clinical expertise.

Learn more about our Breast SPORE research projects and cores

Mechanisms of Resistance to Endocrine Therapy in ER+ Breast Cancer 

  • Clinical co-leader: Brent Rexer, MD, PhD
  • Basic co-leader: Carlos L. Arteaga, MD
  • Basic co-investigator: Ariella Hanker, PhD
  • Clinical co-investigator: Ingrid A. Mayer, MD, MSCI
  • Patient advocate: Janet Piper

Strategies to Improve Outcomes for Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Patients Integrating Subtype-Specific Genomic and Immune-Based Discoveries 

  • Clinical co-leader: Vandana G. Abramson, MD
  • Basic co-leader: Jennifer A. Pietenpol, PhD
  • Basic co-investigators: Brian Lehmann, PhD and Alissa Weaver, MD, PhD
  • Patient advocate: Patricia [Patty] Lee

Targeting the DNA Damage Response in Breast Cancer 

  • Clinical co-leader: Vandana Abramson, MD
  • Basic co-leader: David Cortez, PhD
  • Basic co-investigators: Violeta Serra, PhD, Kimberly Dahlman, PhD, Deborah Lannigan, PhD and Mark O’Connor, PhD
  • Patient advocate: Lynn Cargen

Targeting Antigen Presentation to Improve Immunotherapy Responses in Breast Cancer 

  • Clinical co-leader: Ingrid A. Mayer, MD, MSCI
  • Basic co-leader: Justin M. Balko, PharmD, PhD
  • Basic co-investigator: Brent Ferrell, MD
  • Patient advocate: Linda Horton