Cancer cells hijack normal cellular and developmental programs. Scientists in the CDB home area investigate how genetic hits reprogram cancer cells and enable aggressive phenotypes. As in development, both cell autonomous regulation and the complex interplay of cell-cell interactions contribute to tumorigenesis. Accordingly, CDB cancer research overlaps with the other thematic areas of the home area. For example, how can signaling be disrupted to more specifically target cancer cells in therapeutic approaches? Which cancer sub-types fit the cancer stem cell hypothesis? What is the role of differentiation and de-differentiation in the plasticity and heterogeneity of cancer? How do epigenetic changes cooperate with the mutational genetic changes underlying cancer? How do the vascular and lymph systems contribute to tumor biology? How do multiple aspects of cancer, such as metabolism, signaling and epigenetics, interact at the systems level? The combined expertise of the basic science and medical labs, and the proximity of the main campus and medical campus at UCLA, facilitate the translation of research findings into clinical trials. Conversely, lab research and small animal cancer models are guided by the analysis of patient samples. Students have the opportunity to delve deeply into a research topic, and to bridge labs through multi-disciplinary studies.