Welcome to the Starr Lab

Left to right: Alice Bieda, Kelsey Mullen, Jordan Mattson, Tim Starr, Mihir Shetty, Jason Cepela, Jessica Kennedy

Mission Statement

In the Starr lab our mission is to understand the genetics of cancer in order to develop individualized, targeted therapies for treating people with cancer

To bring precision medicine to the cancer clinic we need to understand the underlying genetic causes of cancer and the complex interactions occurring within the tumor microenvironment. In the Starr lab we have developed transgenic mouse models that are capable of identifying the genetic changes that turn a normal cell into a cancerous cell. Using these models we have discovered a large number of genes that likely cause cancer in humans when mutated. We are currently studying the function of these genes in order to determine whether they could be targeted using existing or new drugs. In addition to targeted therapies, we are exploring immune based cell therapies for treating cancer. Specifically, we are using genetic engineering techniques to improve the ability of Natural Killer (NK) cells and tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) to treat cancer. In the field of ovarian cancer we are using advanced technology, including single cell sequencing, to understand the underlying causes of chemotherapy resistance and reveal novel therapeutic approaches. The long-term goal of our research is to develop novel immune and targeted therapies for treating cancer patients.

Dr. Tim Starr is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Ob-Gyn & Women's Health, with an adjunct appointment in the Department of Genetics, Cell Biology & Development. He is a member of two graduate programs: Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology & Genetics (MCDB&G) and Molecular Biology, Immunology and Cancer Biology (MICaB). Dr. Starr is also affiliated with the Masonic Cancer Center and the Center for Genome Engineering.