The goal of the Molecular Oncology Research Institute (MORI) is the application of state-of-the-art molecular methods to understanding the mechanisms important in human biology and disease as it affects cancer. The MORI seeks to translate basic research findings into new clinical strategies for diagnosis and therapy.
MORI Is Central to the Strategic Mission of Fighting Cancer at Tufts Medical Center
The strategic plan of Tufts Medical Center identified cancer as a primary target. Responding to this plan, the Board of Tufts Medical Center established the Molecular Oncology Research Institute and appointed Philip N. Tsichlis MD as its Executive Director on September 1, 2002.
A core component of the Cancer Center at Tufts Medical Center, MORI currently has 17 faculty members and occupies a space of more than 44,000 square feet in the 75 Kneeland Street research building. Its mission is to explore the molecular mechanisms of neoplastic transformation and to promote the translation of basic research findings into the clinic. To achieve this objective, MORI scientists carry out research that spans the spectrum from gene discovery to target validation for drug development.
Meet MORI Director Philip N. Tsichlis, MD
Following graduation from the Medical School of the University of Athens, Philip N. Tsichlis, MD trained in internal medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and in Hematology at Tufts Medical Center. During hematology training, under the guidance of inspiring teachers such as Drs. Robert Schwartz and Jane Desforges, he became interested in the biology of hematologic neoplasms.
To pursue this interest, Dr. Tsichlis did a postdoctoral Research Fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. John Coffin at Tufts University School of Medicine. His work in John’s lab revealed that the major determinant of the retrovirus oncogenic potential resides in the proviral LTR and suggested an insertional mutagenesis model for retroviral oncogenesis. Subsequent studies in Dr. Tischlis’ lab utilized insertional mutagenesis as a tool to identify genes involved in tumor induction and in phenotypic changes in tumor cells. Genes identified via this strategy were used as probes to explore function.
Dr. Tsichlis’ first independent lab was at the National Cancer Institute, and after moves to the Fox Chase and Kimmel Cancer Centers, he returned to Tufts Medical Center in September 2002 to head the MORI. Over the years, the Tsichlis Laboratory has trained more than 50 students and postdoctoral fellows who are now pursuing independent scientific careers in the United States and Europe.