The University of Illinois Cancer Center Working Groups are charged with fostering collaboration and providing the scientific and clinical expertise to address a site-specific cancer topic or another cancer research discipline. These groups provide Cancer Center members opportunities to discuss specific problems and priorities, which can lead to novel approaches to cancer prevention or treatment.
Breast Cancer Working Group (BCWG) and BCWG Tissue Microarray (TMA)
The Breast Cancer Working Group is the longest standing working group at the Cancer Center, with participation from clinicians, basic scientists, and population scientists. The overall goals of the BCWG include:
- Enhance research infrastructure and resources to support breast cancer research at the University of Illinois Chicago.
- Expand the breast cancer research and funding portfolio of the Cancer Center.
Leader and contact person: Debra Tonetti, PhD
Meetings: Monthly, 3rd Tuesdays at 4 p.m.
The BCWG led the development of a diverse Breast Cancer Tissue Microarray (TMA). The BCWG, in collaboration with the University of Illinois Biorepository (UIB) and the UI Health Department of Pathology, is offering qualified investigators access to sections from TMA for breast cancer research. Plans are in place to expand the availability of other TMAs and organoids for Cancer Center members.
Cancer Metabolism Working Group (CMWG)
Cancer cells are distinguished from normal cells by their higher level of glucose metabolism and by other metabolic adaptations to fulfill their anabolic demands. The metabolic changes in cancer cells could uncover vulnerabilities that would ultimately be exploited for cancer therapy. Comprehensive multidisciplinary efforts are required to understand the metabolic demands of tumors both at the cellular and organismal levels. Investigators including basic, population, and clinician scientists from the three research programs at the University of Illinois Cancer Center participate in this working group to foster multidisciplinary collaborations.
Leader and contact person: Nissim Hay, PhD
Meetings: Monthly, 2nd Friday at 4:00pm
Lung Cancer Working Group (LCWG)
The goal of the Lung Cancer Working Group is to foster collaborations between various cancer research groups at the University of Illinois to catalyze development of new multi-investigator research on lung cancer.
The LCWG is building on the expertise of specialists in multiple disciplines who collaborate internally and with investigators from other programs and institutions to share services and resources in order to advance research on lung cancer.
Leader and contact person: Elizaveta Benevolenskaya, PhD
Meetings: Monthly, 2nd Mondays at 11 a.m.
Tumor Microenvironment (TME) Working Group
Tumors and their microenvironments are complex entities, and identifying therapeutically feasible approaches to target them requires a comprehensive understanding of their physiological function and pathological dysregulation. Gaining a deeper and a broader understanding into these mechanisms can only be achieved through multidisciplinary approaches.
The Tumor Microenvironment Working Group’s goal is to foster multidisciplinary and collaborative research efforts at the Cancer Center by integrating biology, translational and clinical sciences, and engineering disciplines.
Leader and contact person: Ekrem Emrah Er, PhD
Meetings: Monthly, 2nd Tuesdays at 5 p.m.
The Cancer Bioinformatics Working Group (CBWG)
Bioinformatics studies are meant for developing or using computational tools to solve biological problems. The Cancer Bioinformatics Working Group was established in 2020 to bring together bioinformatics faculty across the UIC campuses and coordinate bioinformatics support for cancer research.
The CBWG aims to facilitate the development of strong interdisciplinary cancer programs by providing necessary bioinformatics resources to Cancer Center members. In particular, the group strives to bridge the gap between clinicians and basic researchers for collaborations on translational cancer research. There is now an emerging Cancer Center Bioinformatics shared resource, which is focused on supporting Cancer Center members for a variety of bioinformatics and genomics research topics. The group also offers bioinformatics help with data management to enhance tumor banking efforts and provides access to high-performance computing servers.
Leader and contact person: Xiaowei Wang, PhD
Ultimately, the goal is to catalyze new multi-investigator, multidisciplinary preclinical, and clinical translational research. Attendees include Cancer Center members, other faculty experts interested in cancer research, resident physicians, and fellows. For more information or to initiate a new group, please contact Farah Mirza.
In addition to Working Groups, the Cancer Center also supports Think Tanks. Think Tanks represent groups that come together to evaluate expertise and determine future direction in an area of interest. As a Think Tank becomes organized and focused, it is transitioned into a more formal Working Group with defined goals and expectations.
Cervical Cancer Think Tank
The Cervical Cancer Think Tank was convened to address the late stage diagnosis and unequal burden of cervical cancer on the Cancer Center catchment population.
The intended outcomes of the Cervical Cancer Think Tank are:
- improved awareness of research and engagement efforts of cancer center members in the cervical cancer space.
- increased opportunities for collaborative research, grant and manuscript development.
- enhanced dissemination of community and catchment data to inform research and policy efforts.
Leader and contact person: Shannon MacLaughlan, MD
Additional Contact: Margaret Wright, PhD