About Us


With the founding of the Ben May Laboratory for Cancer Research by Charles Huggins in 1951, an illustrious history of discovery and translation began that has evolved into the current mission of what is now the Ben May Department for Cancer Research.  Beginning with the pioneering work of Huggins on prostate cancer that led to his Nobel prize in 1966, followed by Elwood Jensen’s discovery of the estrogen receptor and its importance in breast cancer, Ben May faculty have continued to make outstanding discoveries and contributions to cancer research.  Our overall mission continues to be the elucidation of fundamental mechanisms responsible for carcinogenesis and metastasis and to exploit this knowledge to develop effective therapies and prevention strategies that will significantly diminish or eliminate the threat and lethality of cancer.

Dr. Huggins’ signature motto that "Discovery is our Business" has led to numerous and important contributions that have improved our understanding of signaling networks that become dysregulated in cancer and the complex nature of tumor evolution and heterogeneity that make each individual’s cancer unique and therefore difficult to treat.  Our faculty investigators are using state-of-the-art technologies and approaches that challenge existing assumptions and push the boundaries of current knowledge.  We believe that basic research on the molecular, cellular, and genetic events that contribute to carcinogenesis, metastasis and therapy resistance are the keys to making significant advances.  These advances have been and will continue to be translated into improved approaches to prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Our research enterprise requires time, talent, dedication and resources to continue our mission to reduce and ultimately eradicate the suffering that results from cancer.  Generous funding, especially from the Ben May Charitable Trust, has enabled the Ben May Department to recruit outstanding faculty researchers and to support our laboratories, which moved to the Gordon Center for Integrative Sciences in 2005.  These resources are essential for the advancement of our mission.

The Ben May Department benefits from interdisciplinary research opportunities in partnership with the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Institute for Biophysical Dynamics, the Institute for Genomics and Systems Biology, the Argonne National Laboratory and the Computation Institute.  The synergies of these relationships have created new and exciting research opportunities for all of us.

We are proud that our research accomplishments continue to be recognized by prestigious awards, publications and national and international conference invitations.  It is our hope that donors, funding agencies and partners recognize the importance and value of their generous support. We depend on it.

Geoffrey L. Greene, Ph.D.