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Wahl Lab

Welcome to the Gene Expression Laboratory at the Salk Institute.

Dr. Geoffrey M. Wahl is a Professor at the Salk Institute, an Adjunct Professor at the University of California, San Diego in the Department of Biology, and the past President of the American Association for Cancer Research (2006-2007). His research focuses on two important problems related to cancer biology. The first concerns the signal transduction pathways that ensure the control of genetic stability in normal cells. These pathways are invariably disrupted during cancer progression. p53 ProjectThis work emphasizes the stress response pathway involving the p53 tumor suppressor and its negative regulators. An important objective of this work is to develop more effective therapeutic strategies to selectively activate p53 and preferentially induce death of cancer cells.

Mammary Project

A second project involves identifying, isolating, and characterizing the cells that initiate cancer. His strategy is to develop molecular-genetic approaches in the mouse to facilitate identification of stem cells in the embryo that are responsible for organ development. Currently, the studies revolve around the mammary gland to determine whether breast cancer arises from mutations within the stem cells that generate this tissue. The long-term goal of these studies is to determine whether such cells exhibit growth requirements and patterns of drug sensitivity that might be targeted for the development of more effective therapeutics.


Geoff with Bianca Lundien Kennedy, the lab's very special breast cancer advocate who inspires them to work harder to detect breast cancer earlier, and to develop more effective, personalized treatments.