Department of Experimental Oncology
The Department of Experimental Oncology is composed of twenty independent research groups, whose scientific interests include the basic mechanisms regulating cell proliferation and differentiation (cell cycle, signal transduction), molecular mechanisms of tumorigenesis (genomic instability, chromatin alterations), tumor biology (stem cells, angiogenesis, tumor immunology), tumor models, functional and structural genomics, and bio-informatics.
The department is directed by Prof. Pier Giuseppe Pelicci, who has been its Chairman since its foundation in 1996.
The Department of Experimental Oncology has been very successful in securing funds to support its research activities both at the national and international level. Success in fundraising has been crucial for the steady expansion experienced by the Department during the past several years, that has brought the Department from its original size of 5-6 research groups to the current state of 20 groups flanked by a number of associated core facilities. Hiring of new group leaders has been made possible by competitive start-up packages including provisions to fund students and postdoctoral fellows and the availability of many state-of-the-art core facilities.
The Department of Experimental Oncology is organized in an open structure that is meant to promote communication and collaboration between research groups. The research activities are supported by a number of centralized high-quality departmental support units, run by the staff members of the department and coordinated by a lab manager.
The IFOM-IEO Campus
In February of 2007, the laboratories of the Department of Experimental Oncology moved to a new site, adjacent to of the IFOM research institute, creating, together with IFOM, one of the largest European centers for cancer research (IFOM-IEO Campus). The IFOM-IEO Campus research facilities consist of about 24,000 m2 and host about 400 researchers.
To support their research, the Department of Experimental Oncology and IFOM have together developed a number of Technological Services, including genomic technologies. These activities are organized within a Consortium (Cogentech) between IFOM and IEO, which is based at the IFOM-IEO campus.
In addition to its research activities, the campus also houses the five PhD programs of the European School of Molecular Medicine Foundation (SEMM), that are focused on: i) Molecular Oncology, ii) Human Genetics iii) Computational Biology iv) Medical Nanotechnology and v) Foundations Of the Life Sciences, and enroll over 100 PhD students from around the world.
The Molecular Medicine Program.
Recent developments in Genomic Sciences have provided new conceptual frameworks and technological tools for the genetic classification of cancer and the discovery of novel approaches to its prevention, diagnosis and treatment. IEO has launched a Molecular Medicine Program, located within the IEO building, whose primary goals are the development of translational research and the creation of an active interface between the basic research programs of the IFOM-IEO Campus and the IEO clinical activities.
Major objectives of the Molecular Medicine Programs are: potentiation of the Tumor Bank and Tumor Registry, promotion of Phase 0 clinical trials for the rapid screening of new drugs, personalization of patient stratification and treatment through the use of genomic screens, as well as stem cell research and therapy.