Knight Cancer Research Building, 4th Floor Lounge

The primary mission of the Division of Oncological Sciences is to better understand cancer through basic, translational and population-based research that improves cancer prevention, detection and treatments for all.

Our community of faculty, trainees and staff brings together scientists from a broad range of disciplines and works collaboratively to advance innovation and translate discoveries from the lab into meaningful impacts for cancer patients and our community.

Centered on team science, our research is organized around four areas:

  • Precision Systems Oncology 
  • Cancer Data Science (includes Computational Biology, Bioinformatics and Biostatistics)
  • Chemical Biology and Experimental Therapeutics
  • Cancer Population Science

A foremost priority is to better understand cell plasticity by gaining the ability to experimentally decipher transitions from normal to cancer, cancer to metastasis and metastasis to resistance.

Led by OHSU Knight Cancer Institute Director Brian Druker, M.D., the division aligns academic and research structures in support of scientific success in the OHSU School of Medicine.

The division is part of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, known as one of the pioneers in personalized cancer medicine and an international leader in research and cancer treatment.

We are on a mission to end cancer as we know it.

Driven by its mission to end cancer as we know it, the institute is a world leader in groundbreaking cancer research.

  • National recognition: The Knight Cancer Institute has been awarded Comprehensive Cancer Center status, the National Cancer Institute’s top designation for research excellence. 
  • World-class care: The Knight Cancer Institute is home to groundbreaking cancer discoveries. Dr. Brian Druker, the Knight Cancer Institute’s director, helped pioneer Gleevec, a pill that turned an aggressive type of leukemia into a manageable disease. That paved a path to precision medicine, in which therapies target a cancer’s specific traits while mostly sparing healthy cells.
  • Early detection: The Knight Cancer Institute, thanks to the $1 billion Knight Cancer Challenge, is leading an effort to detect cancer earlier. Cancer is most treatable when found early. Our Cancer Early Detection Advanced Research, CEDAR, Center is bringing together some of the world’s brightest minds in cancer research.
  • SMMART trials: Our innovative SMMART program takes a new approach to fighting cancer. SMMART (Serial Measurements of Molecular and Architectural Responses to Therapy) trials use a combination of targeted medications tailored to each patient. The idea is to attack multiple cancer pathways at once, stopping the cancer from growing before it can develop resistance to medications. The SMMART team also tracks each tumor, rapidly gathering data to adjust treatment and build knowledge. 

Our guiding principles inform everything we do.

The Knight Cancer Institute's guiding principles describe our shared beliefs and guide our behavior and decision-making.

We act boldly We support each other We work as a connected team
Breakthroughs require pushing the boundaries of science, exploring new frontiers, and thinking differently. Respect leads to trust, which leads to excellence. We must leverage our collective brainpower to conquer cancer because no individual can do it alone.
Ask questions that may not have answers | Take smart risks | Admit mistakes and embrace failure | Move intentionally, because our patients' lives depend on us Prioritize diversity of all kinds | Provide guidance and direction | Commit time to know and understand one another | Call out disrespectful words or actions | Ask and seek understanding instead of assuming Set and support collaborative goals | Freely share what we know | Reward people who work for the success of others | Answer the question: "What are you doing today to help cure cancer?"

OHSU does not tolerate racism or discrimination of any kind.

OHSU will not tolerate racism or discrimination of any kind
Signs around campus make it clear that discrimination doesn't belong at OHSU.

We are better together.

The Division of Oncological Sciences provides an academic home to all members where they can work and thrive in a setting of mutual respect and inclusiveness built on diversity at all levels.

This foundation begins with recruitment through multidisciplinary search committees trained to recognize and negate unconscious bias, and intentional in seeking enhanced participation of women and individuals from traditionally underrepresented groups.

OHSU provides support, training and guidelines for recruitment and culturally aware mentorship that is required for faculty involved in these activities. DOS faculty members are expected to actively support and promote DEI efforts within their research, teaching and service and include these activities in summaries for review, promotion and career advancement.

A culture of collaboration

Knight Cancer Research Building

The division is based in the Knight Cancer Research Building, a state-of-the-art research facility designed to support a collaborative atmosphere that brings multidisciplinary scientists together under one roof.