Translational Oncology (TO) Research Program



The TO Program supports the MCC’s mission by validating mechanistic oncogenic targets, developing novel cancer therapeutics and leading early-phase clinical trials that focus specifically on our catchment population.



susanne arnold
Susanne Arnold, MD
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jill kolesar
Jill Kolesar, PharmD
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The overarching goal of the Translational Oncology (TO) Program is to use precision medicine tenets to decrease Kentucky’s cancer burden. The TO Program serves as the fulcrum for clinical translation, taking novel cancer discoveries from the Molecular and Cellular Oncology (MCO) Program, moving them into clinical trials and disseminating discoveries to the community in collaboration with the Cancer Prevention and Control (CP) Program.

Specific Aims

  1. Identify and validate mechanistic targets of cancer.
  2. Discover, re-design and develop new anticancer agents and devices.
  3. Develop and lead biomarker-directed, catchment-relevant clinical trials.

The TO Research Program has members across the University of Kentucky campus, representing four colleges and sixteen departments. 

Markey Research Member profiles can be accessed through the Scholars@UK platform. Click below to see the TO members and their profiles.

View TO Members

TO Program members join clinical cancer and research teams of interest to increase clinical translation and have joint program meetings with MCO and CP members to enhance collaborations across the spectrum of cancer research.

If you would like to be added to the mailing list for the Translational Oncology (TO) Program and receive meeting dates and times, please contact TO program leaders Dr. Jill Kolesar and Dr. Susanne Arnold.

TO members lead or co-lead Markey's six Transdisciplinary Working Groups to enhance the translation of Markey science across the center.

  • Breast
  • Gastrointestinal
  • Lung
  • Prostate
  • Immunotherapy
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  1. Leverage strengths in target validation, drug discovery and population level genomics to identify novel, Research Priority cancer targets, and discover and develop new anticancer agents to these targets.
  2. Expand clinical translation of MCC science by enhanced interactions with MCO and CP Program members, mentoring of junior investigators, and targeted recruitment and retention of diverse translational faculty.
  3. Enhance precision medicine infrastructure and increase access to early phase clinical trials across the Commonwealth.
  4. Continually assess emerging therapeutic areas and supporting their development.
NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center - A Cancer Center Designated by the National Cancer Institute

Markey Cancer Center is designated by the National Cancer Institute as a Comprehensive Cancer Center – a distinction that recognizes our commitment to accelerating precision cancer research and care to patients. We are the first and only NCI-Comprehensive Cancer Center in Kentucky, and one of 56 in the nation.