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Cancer and Stem Cell Biology Program


Luisa Iruela Arispe

Gay Crooks

Luisa Iruela-Arispe, Ph.D.

Gay Crooks, M.B., B.S.


The Cancer and Stem Cell Biology Program seeks to understand the basic mechanisms that regulate cancer progression; to characterize alterations in cancer cells versus their normal counterparts; to incorporate emerging technologies in the field and to promote interaction with the clinical components of UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC). This research program focuses on three scientific themes: 1) Nanotechnology Applications to Cancer, 2) Cancer Stem Cell Biology and 3) Model Organism Contributions to Cancer Cell Biology.


  • Investigate the basic mechanisms that regulate cancer progression
  • Understand the interaction between environmental exposures and molecular genetic alterations
  • Explore parallels between developmental processes and cancer progression in order to attack vulnerable, altered pathways in tumor progression
  • Develop nanotechnologies to facilitate detection and treatment of cancer

Meetings and Events

  • Bi-monthly working dinner for Cancer and Stem Cell Biology Program members
  • Quarterly working dinner for Cancer and Stem Cell Biology Program and other JCCC research program members
  • Sponsors three seminar series: the Stem Cell seminar series, the Nanotechnology seminar series, and the Embryology Club (linked to the Model Organism subgroup)
  • Annual Symposia in either Stem Cell Biology or Nanotechnology (usually in collaboration with the Signal Transduction and Theraputics Program Area)


Dr. Luisa Iruela-Arispe, Director of the Cancer and Stem Cell Biology Program, is a professor and vice-chairman of molecular, cellular and developmental biology. Her research focus is understanding the process by which blood vessels are formed and its regulation in vivo. Establishment of a vascular system is a key requirement for the development and survival of the mammalian embryo. In the adult, deregulation of vascular growth contributes to the pathology of devastating disorders including but not restricted to cancer.

Co-Director Dr. Gay Crooks is a professor of pediatrics and pathology and laboratory medicine at UCLA and Co-Director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research. Her research program was founded on the question of how to identify and functionally define human hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. This central theme has reached over time into three related areas: 1) the characterization and manipulation of human hematopoietic stem cells and lymphoid progenitors in cord blood, bone marrow and thymus; 2) mechanisms of engraftment and thymopoiesis after bone marrow transplantation; and 3) hematopoiesis from human embryonic stem cells.

Last updated: 12/17/2014 3:57:59 PM