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UC Davis School of Medicine

UC Davis School of Medicine

Biomedical research programs

Cancer biology

UC Davis Cancer Center is established to integrate the basic and clinical research in areas of cancer biology and cancer therapy, and to promote interdisciplinary and translational research among investigators. The Cancer Center, located at both Davis and Sacramento campuses, consists of faculty members and researchers from various departments and different colleges. The research areas encompass cancer genomics, molecular genetics, tumor biology, biochemistry, pathology, virology, immunology, experimental therapeutics, etc. It provides a stimulating and interactive training environment for Ph.D. students, physician scientists and M.D./Ph.D. candidates.

Cancer biology research can be broadly divided into three programs: 1) Molecular oncology, with emphasis on the studies of kinases and oncogenic signals, and cell cycle and transcriptional controls; 2) comparative oncology, with emphasis on the studies of viral oncology and AIDS-associated malignancies, and mouse biology and transgenic models; and 3) translational oncology, with emphasis on prostate cancer and other common neoplasia.

Comparative medicine

Current Center for Comparative Medicine related research involves human, simian and feline immunodeficiency viruses; human, simian, bovine, feline and murine leukemia viruses; human and simian cytomegaloviruses; human and simian papillomaviruses; human and animal Lyme disease; human and animal ehrlichiosis; and murine gene targeting for animal model development. The scope of the research program will expand as Center for Comparative Medicine faculty recruitment progresses. Center for Comparative Medicine faculty possess a broad range of complementary and interdisciplinary expertise that should lead to novel approaches to prevention and therapy of persistent infectious diseases that have proven otherwise refractory to clinical intervention by conventional means. Faculty also provide expertise beyond infectious disease models, including laboratory animal sciences and model development.

Human genetics

The Rowe Program in Human Genetics and Molecular Medicine is dedicated to the development of a multidisciplinary approach towards understanding the molecular genetic mechanisms that underlie the pathophysiology of human disease. Its mission is to promote biomedical genetic research and education at UC Davis. At its core, the faculty is focused on several different and complementary approaches to defining genes, mechanisms and pathways that are important in disease susceptibility or pathogenesis utilizing both human subject based investigations or model organisms.

Research projects include: 1) genetic analysis of complex diseases (primarily the genetics of obesity, primarily systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis); 2) development of novel quantitative statistical methodology for disease gene mapping; 3) molecular and cytogenetic approaches to understanding the role of parental imprinting in the human genetic disorders; 4) the detection of molecular alterations in human tumors by automated fluorescent imaging technologies; 5) biochemical, molecular, cell biological and genetic approaches are being used to investigate the function and regulation of a family of plasma membrane hyaluronan synthases in hyaluronan biosynthesis; 6) the genetics of mouse telomere length regulation is being studied using an interspecific mouse model that has identified a novel chromosomal locus that in part determines telomere length differences in different mouse species and 7) obesity gene expression: cDNA arrays and gene chips are being used to develop expression profiles of adipose tissue. Differentially expressed genes are being examined for their role in obesity.

Mouse biology

UC Davis intends to become the national/international leader in interdisciplinary biologic and health sciences research. It will accomplish this goal by focusing on the biological sciences that contribute to the solution of the important health problems facing the people of California and our country overall. A central focus of research program development at UC Davis will be whole animal biology, wherein mouse model systems will be used as surrogates for understanding and resolving problems in human and animal disease. This is an extraordinary opportunity to evaluate novel therapeutic strategies occurring in natural or unique experimental animal model systems. One key element toward this broader goal is the development of the UC Davis Mouse Biology Program, which in turn will be a key element toward the longer-term development of the comprehensive UC Davis National Center for Integrative Biology.


Research at the Center for Neurosciences ranges from single-cell recordings and studies of neuronal populations in isolation to studies of human perception, attention, memory, language, and the nature of consciousness. The center places special emphasis on combining information obtained from different brain-imaging techniques, including fMRI, PET, and ERPs, to develop improved methods to treat brain injury and disease.

Neurodevelopmental disorders

UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute is a unique interdisciplinary institute to conduct research and provide clinical programs focused on neurodevelopmental disorders. Our vision for the institute includes becoming a national resource for the study and treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders. Leading scientists, physicians and educators in fields as diverse as molecular genetics and clinical pediatrics are joining forces to better understand development and brain function.