A National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center

Make an appointment: 800-826-HOPE

About Beckman Research Institute

Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope
Nestled in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, Beckman Research Institute was the first of five Beckman Institutes to be founded. The Beckman Institute at City of Hope is unique because it has held a National Cancer Institute Cancer Center Support Grant for more than 30 years.
 
It encompasses over 60 years of expertise in basic science that includes research at City of Hope prior to the establishment of the Institute by Arnold and Mabel Beckman in 1983. Faculty and investigators here revolutionize the treatment of life-threatening diseases. They are focused on investigating the biology, biological chemistry, and pathology of cancer and diabetes, and they examine the emerging links between the two. Researchers are committed to identifying opportunities at the cellular and molecular level to predict, prevent, diagnose, treat and cure these and other serious diseases.
 
Fundamental advances in understanding of acute illnesses translate into an improved armamentarium for clinicians at City of Hope, which for 10 years has been ranked a U.S.News & World Report Best Cancer Hospital.

Beckman Research Institute investigators examine a wide range of research areas that includes diabetes progression and treatment, immunology and imaging, interfering RNAs and HIV treatment, total synthesis of complex and therapeutic natural products, mechanisms of drug action, neurogenesis, DNA repair and radiation, and the immunobiology of viral infection.
 
In addition, the City of Hope NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center is comprised of five research programs in the areas of basic, translational, and prevention research: Cancer Biology, Developmental Cancer Therapeutics, Cancer Immunotherapeutics, Hematologic Malignancies, and Cancer Control & Population Sciences. These programs conduct activities across the entire Duarte campus facilitating interactions among researchers and clinicians of all disciplines.
 
 
 

Scientific Leadership and Administration

Departments and Divisions

The Department of Cancer Biology offers a multidisciplinary research and training environment in molecular biology, genetics, epigenetics and developmental biology.
 
Dedicated to discovering immune-based cancer therapies, the Department of Cancer Immunotherapeutics & Tumor Immunology conducts research in a new and evolving field and is known particularly for its studies using genetically engineered T-cells.
 
This department focuses on understanding the genetic and molecular bases of diabetes, developing novel treatment approaches for diabetes and preventing associated diseases such as cancer, heart disease and stroke.
 
 
Immunology
With a dual focus on immunology and structural biology, the Department of Immunology explores cancer immunology and biochemistry, antigen processing and T cell development.
Maintaining a strong emphasis on the interface of chemistry and biology, the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology focuses on gene structure, modeling of antibodies, theoretical biology and more.
Established in 1996, the Department of Molecular Medicine seeks to understand basic mechanisms underlying cancer and other diseases for the purpose of developing novel molecular therapeutics.
The Department of Molecular Pharmacology aims to bridge the gap between the development of promising new drugs and their application in the clinic.
 
The Department of Neurosciences focuses on a range of research related to the brain and nervous system, including studies of molecular neurobiology/neurochemistry, neurophysiology, neuromorphology and molecular genetics.
 
Department researchers collaborate to better understand the causes of cancer, improve outcomes and develop ways to prevent cancer through discoveries made in population studies, survivorship, patterns of care and more.
 
  • Division of Cancer Etiology
    The goal of the Division of Cancer Etiology is to understand the causes of cancer. By understanding the causes of cancer, solutions can be developed to help prevent cancer, especially in people who are at highest risk.
     
  • Division of Clinical Cancer Genetics
    The Division of Clinical Cancer Genetics includes clinical services, research, and educational programs focusing on people who are at increased risk for developing cancer because of family history or personal risk factors.
     
  • Division of Outcomes Research
    The goal of the Division of Outcomes Research is to better understand the after-effects (physical, emotional, and social) of cancer and its treatment.
    • Center for Cancer Survivorship
      This is a clinical long-term follow-up program designed to create a bridge between cancer treatment and community medical care.
       
  • Division of Nursing Research and Education
    The Division of Nursing Research and Education is well recognized on a national level for its research and education focused on nursing care for patients with cancer, which has helped to increase the quality of care provided to cancer patients across the United States.
The Department of Radiation Biology studies the fundamental mechanisms of cancers and radiation resistance in cancer cells to find a solution to improve the efficacy of radiation therapy.

Research in the Department of Virology supports eight faculty members and laboratories with research including viral vector development, viral immunology, and vaccine development. The program includes early phase clinical trials in gene transfer and in vaccine evaluation.

  • Translational Vaccine Research
    The Division of Translational Vaccine Research (TVR) develops vaccines to combat hematologic malignancies, solid tumors, and infectious pathogens such as CMV and HIV.
     
 

Research Department Chairs

Research Division Directors

Milestones: 2001 - Present

2001
The Graduate School of Biological Sciences is accredited.

Fouad Kandeel, M.D., Ph.D., wins NIH approval for City of Hope as one of 10 national centers for isolating and distributing islet cells for transplantation into patients with Type 1 diabetes.


2005
The Division of Cancer Immunotherapeutics and Tumor Immunology is created.


2006
Arthur Riggs, Ph.D., is elected to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of his work explaining how methylation modifies and changes the function of DNA.


2007
Groundbreaking on the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center for Cancer Immunotherapeutics and Tumor Immunology.


2008
John Rossi, Ph.D., and John Zaia, M.D., open the first-in-human clinical trial for HIV related malignancies using a lentiviral vector to deliver a triple small RNA based gene therapy.

Richard Jove, Ph.D., is named director of the Beckman Research Institute.

Arthur Riggs, Ph.D., receives California Institute of Technology Distinguished Alumni Award.

The Department of Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases is created.
 

Milestones: 1984-2000

1984
The Beckman Research Institute is dedicated.

Arthur Riggs, Ph.D., and Shmuel Cabilly, Ph.D., demonstrate the feasibility and describe a method for making humanized monoclonal antibodies, technology later used in “smart” cancer drugs such as Herceptin, Rituxan and Avastin.


1988
Eugene Roberts, Ph.D., is elected to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of his work on the existence and function of GABA and other neurotransmitters on the brain and nervous system.


1990
John Rossi, Ph.D., reports first use of RNA to block the progress of the virus that causes AIDS.


1994
The Graduate School of Biological Sciences is chartered.


1996
The Division of Molecular Medicine is created.

Gerd Pfeifer, Ph.D., definitively links smoking to lung cancer, identifying the genetic damage done by the active compounds in cigarettes.


1998
The Division of Molecular Biology is created.

Barry Forman, M.D., Ph.D., identifies the first new steroid-like hormone in 30 years, androstanol, a hormone that reverses or halts gene activity.


1999
The Division of Virology is created.

Arthur Riggs, Ph.D., is named Director of the Beckman Research Institute.


2000
The Center for Biomedicine & Genetics is established to ensure that City of Hope scientific discoveries are efficiently translated from the research lab to the clinical setting.

Milestones: 1952-1983

These milestones outline how Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope has grown to become one of the nation’s premier centers for innovative biomedical research, advancing the fundamental understanding of molecular genetics, cellular biology and more.
 
1952
The Research Institute is dedicated
 
1960s
The Division of Neurosciences is created.

The Division of Biology is created.


1972
The Division of Immunology is created.


1976
The Bone Marrow Transplantation Program is initiated, making City of Hope one of the first of six medical centers in the nation to perform this lifesaving procedure.

Ernest Beutler, M.D., is elected to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of his research on the genetics of hematological diseases.


1978
Arthur Riggs, Ph.D., and Keiichi Itakura, Ph.D., synthesize the human insulin gene resulting in the production of Humulin®, a pure source of human insulin available to people with diabetes.


1979
Keiichi Itakura, Ph.D., and Arthur Riggs, Ph.D., pioneer the recombinant DNA techniques used to synthesize human growth hormone, enabling thousands of undersized youngsters to reach near-normal height.


1981
The National Cancer Institute awards the first in a series of major grants to City of Hope’s Bone Marrow Transplantation Program.

Susumu Ohno, D.V.M., Ph.D., is elected to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of his work on X chromosome inactivation and his theory of evolution by gene duplication.


1982
Yoko Fujita-Yamaguchi, Ph.D., purifies the insulin receptor molecule.


1983
The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation provides a $10 million grant to establish the Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope.

Rachmiel Levine, M.D., is elected to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of his pioneering work on discovering how insulin controls blood sugar levels.
 
Research Departments/Divisions

City of Hope is a leader in translational research - integrating basic science, clinical research and patient care.
 

Research Shared Services

City of Hope embodies the spirit of scientific collaboration by sharing services and core facilities with colleagues here and around the world.
 

Our Scientists

Our research laboratories are led by the best and brightest minds in scientific research.
 

City of Hope’s Irell & Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences equips students with the skills and strategies to transform the future of modern medicine.
Learn more about City of Hope's institutional distinctions, breakthrough innovations and collaborations.
Support Our Research
By giving to City of Hope, you support breakthrough discoveries in laboratory research that translate into lifesaving treatments for patients with cancer and other serious diseases.
 
 
 
 
NEWS & UPDATES
  • Nausea is the one of the most well-known, and dreaded, side effects of cancer treatment — and with good reason. Beyond the quality-of-life issues that it causes, severe nausea can prevent patients from receiving enough nutrients and calories at a time when they need every edge they can get. A few simple actions...
  • With Labor Day just around the corner, summer is on its way out. But just because summertime is ending doesn’t mean we can skip sunscreen. Protection from ultraviolet (UV) radiation is needed all year round. Exposure to UV radiation — whether from the sun or from artificial sources such as sunlamps used i...
  • Undergoing reconstructive surgery may seem like a forgone conclusion for survivors of breast cancer, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. A new study has found that most breast cancer survivors who undergo a mastectomy decide against surgical reconstruction of their breasts. The reasons for such a deci...
  • Nearly four decades ago, City of Hope began its bone marrow transplant program. Its first transplant reunion celebration was a single patient and his donor, also his brother. This year, City of Hope welcomed hundreds of hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) recipients to the annual bone marrow transplant/HCT reun...
  • The burgeoning type 2 diabetes epidemic casts a pall over the health of America’s public. New research now shows the looming threat is getting worse. Much worse. A diabetes trends study published earlier this month in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology by researchers at the federal Centers for Disease Contro...
  • An aspirin a day might help keep breast cancer away for some breast cancer survivors, a new study suggests. Obese women who have had breast cancer could cut their risk of a recurrence in half if they regularly take aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, called NSAIDs, report researchers from the...
  • Christine Crews isn’t only a fitness enthusiast, she’s also a personal trainer and fitness instructor. Being active defines her life. So when she was diagnosed with bladder cancer at age 30, she decided she absolutely couldn’t let the disease interfere with that lifestyle. And it didn’t. For t...
  • Cancer treatment and the cancer itself can cause changes in your sense of taste or smell. These side effects typically subside after treatment ends, but there are ways to help alleviate those bitter and metallic tastes in your mouth. Here are tips from the National Cancer Institute to help keeps tastes and food...
  • Immunotherapy — using one’s immune system to treat a disease — has been long lauded as the “magic bullet” of cancer treatments, one that can be more effective than the conventional therapies of surgery, radiation or chemotherapy. One specific type of immunotherapy, called adoptive T cell thera...
  • Today, when cancer spreads from its original site to other parts of the body, a process known as metastasis, patients face an uphill battle. Treatments are poorly effective, and cures are nearly impossible. Further, incidence rates for these types of cancers are increasing – particularly for cancers that have s...
  • Thanks to the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), high school students across the state gained valuable hands-on experience with stem cell research this summer. City of Hope hosted eight of those students. As part of the CIRM Creativity Awards program, the young scholars worked full time as m...
  • Radiation therapy can help cure many children facing Hodgkin lymphoma and other cancers. When the radiation is delivered to a girl’s chest, however, it can lead to a marked increase in breast cancer risk later in life. A recent multi-institutional study that included City of Hope’s Smita Bhatia, M.D., M.P.H., t...
  • A patient diagnosed with cancer – especially a rare, advanced or hard-to-treat cancer – needs specialized care from exceptionally skilled and highly trained experts. That kind of care saves lives, improves quality of life and keeps families whole. That kind of care is best found at comprehensive cancer centers ...
  • Appetite loss may be common during cancer treatment, lasting throughout your therapy or only occasionally, but it can be managed. Below are tips from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) that can help you keep your weight up and, in doing so, keep your body well-nourished. (See the end of this article for a deli...
  • Myelodysplasia, sometimes referred to as myelodysplastic syndrome or MDS, is a rare group of blood disorders caused by disrupted development of blood cells within the bone marrow, resulting in a decreased number of healthy blood cells. People diagnosed with the condition, considered a precancer, may be at great...