Cell Identity and Signaling

Program Summary

The Cell Identity and Signaling (CIS) Research Program is comprised of faculty members at Purdue University in the broad range of research areas from basic science studies using non-mammalian model organisms, to highly cancer-focused studies using animal models and human tumors. Significantly, studies-to-date with non-mammalian models have enabled better understanding of human biology and cancer, because essential cellular processes, such as cell growth, cell division, cell migration, and gene expression, are highly conserved. CIS members use non-mammalian model organisms, including yeast, Drosophila, Arabidopsis and zebrafish, as well as genetically engineered mouse models, mammalian cell lines, and human tumors. Employing state-of-the-art approaches of molecular, cellular and computational biology, biochemistry and genetics, CIS investigators use these model systems to examine essential questions that focus on mechanisms of cell signaling, gene expression and epigenetics, cell migration, metastasis, pluripotency and cell differentiation, among others.

The CIS Program is organized into four research themes/clusters that include:

  • Model Organisms & Cancer Models
  • Cancer Cell Signaling
  • Gene Expression & Epigenetics
  • Genomics & Bioinformatics

Despite the broad range, these research clusters successfully integrate and synergize towards achieving the CIS goal: namely to advance discovery of novel molecular mechanisms of cell identity, cell signaling, and basic cell biology, with application to cancer pathogenesis and cancer cell targeting, a foundational program for our basic science cancer center. Importantly, CIS members belong to more than one of the four clusters, demonstrating the inter-connected nature of the CIS laboratories.

The Purdue University Center for Cancer Research also inspires the continuing development of scientific leaders in cancer research through innovative training and mentoring.

Program leaders 

Ourania Andrisani, Co-Leader (Basic Medical Sciences)

Chang-Deng Hu, Co-Leader (Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology)

View our entire membership list.