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This archived information is dated to the 2008-09 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.

Cancer Biology

Program Director: Amato Giaccia (Radiation Oncology)

Committee on Cancer Biology: Nicholas Denko (Radiation Oncology), Howard Chang (Dermatology), Jeffrey Axelrod (Pathology), Katrin Chua (Medicine, Endocrinology), Julien Sage (Pediatrics), Alexandro Sweet-Cordero (Pediatrics), Timothy Stearns (Biology, Genetics), Jonathan Pollack (Pathology)

Program Office: 4235A 269 Campus Drive

Mail Code: 94305-5173

Phone: (650) 723-6198


Web Site:

Courses offered by the Cancer Biology Program have the subject code CBIO, and are listed in the "Cancer Biology [CBIO] Courses" section of this bulletin.

The Cancer Biology Program at Stanford University is an interdisciplinary program leading to the Ph.D. degree. During the past three decades, understanding of cancer has increased with the discovery of oncogenes, tumor suppressor genes, pathways of DNA damage and repair, chromatin remodeling, cell cycle regulation, angiogenesis and responses to hypoxia, and recent glimpses into the molecular basis of metastasis and cancer stem cell biology. In addition, methods of parallel analysis including gene expression arrays, protein arrays, and tissue arrays have begun to refine and redefine the taxonomy of cancer diagnosis. This explosion of basic and clinical science has resulted in the first successful cancer chemotherapies and immunotherapies based on the knowledge of specific molecular targets. Stanford presents a unique environment to pursue interdisciplinary cancer research because the schools of Medicine, Humanities and Sciences, and Engineering are located on a single campus

The goal of the Cancer Biology Ph.D. program is to provide students with education and training that enables them to make significant contributions to this field. Course work during the first year is designed to provide a broad understanding of the molecular, genetic, cell biological, and pathobiological aspects of cancer. Students also learn about the current state of the epidemiology, clinical diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of human cancers. Equally important during the first year is a series of three rotations in research laboratories chosen by each student. By the beginning of the second year, each student chooses a research adviser and begins work on the dissertation project. A qualifying examination must be completed by the end of the second year. An annual Cancer Biology conference at Asilomar on the Pacific Ocean provides students with an opportunity to present their research to one another and to faculty. The expected time to degree is four to five years.

Students are not limited to a single department in choosing their research adviser. The Cancer Biology Ph.D. program currently has approximately 60 graduate students located in basic science and clinical departments throughout the School of Medicine and the School of Humanities and Sciences.

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