Shane Campbell-Staton, Ph.D.


Shane Campbell-Staton, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Princeton University
Guyot Hall 223
City, State, ZIP
Princeton, NJ 08544
[email protected]
Research field
Evolutionary Biology
Award year


The Campbell-Staton Group will investigate the evolution of protective, anti-cancer responses in wolves that live in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. In 1986, an explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear plant released 100,000 pounds of radioactive material into the environment. Although humans no longer occupy the area surrounding the facility, generations of wolves continue to hunt and breed within the exclusion zone. The Campbell-Staton Group is investigating the hypothesis that constant exposure to radiation has been a source of natural selection for the Chernobyl population, targeting genetic variants in the wolf genome associated with increased cancer resilience. In preliminary studies, we have identified genomic regions associated with cancer biology that, in the Chernobyl wolves, differ from those of wolves found in Belarus or Yellowstone National Park. Now, using a combination of genomics, genetic engineering, and molecular and population genetics, my lab will identify the candidate protective variants within these regions and test their effect on cancer response in mammals—whether by inhibiting tumor progression or by promoting anti-tumor immune response. These findings could lead to novel anti-cancer therapeutics.

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