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Neal G. Copeland, PhD

Emeritus Professor of Oncology, Institute for Academic Medicine
Full Emeritus Member, Research Institute
Houston Methodist
Weill Cornell Medical College


Neal Copeland received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Utah. Following postdoctoral studies at Harvard Medical School, he joined the staff of The Jackson Laboratory and then the National Cancer Institute-Frederick, where he was Director of the Mammalian Genetics Laboratory, the forerunner of the Mouse Cancer Genetics Program that he also directed. He moved to the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Singapore in 2006, where he served as the Executive Director for most of his stay. In 2011 he returned to the US to serve as Director of the Houston Methodist Cancer Biology Program at Houston Methodist Research Institute. For more than 30 years he has co-headed a laboratory with Nancy Jenkins. The focus of their current research is cancer genetics. They have co-authored more than 800 papers and are among the most cited biomedical research scientists in the world today. Both have served on numerous scientific advisory and editorial boards and they have consulted for several biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Both are also members of the US National Academy of Sciences.

Description of Research

Jenkins and Copeland have modeled many different types of human disease in the mouse, but the focus of their current research is exclusively cancer. They are using the Sleeping Beauty transposable element system to tag and clone genes involved in the initiation, progression and metastasis of cancer. It is hoped that a better understanding of the genetics of cancer will lead to the development of additional targeted therapies for the treatment of various forms of the disease.

Areas Of Expertise

Mouse models of cancer Insertional mutagenesis Forward genetic screens High throughput sequencing Candidate cancer gene detection
Education & Training

Postdoctoral Fellowship , Dana Farber Cancer Institute
PhD , The University of Utah

In vivo loss-of-function screens identify KPNB1 as a new druggable oncogene in epithelial ovarian cancer
Kodama, M, Kodama, T, Newberg, JY, Katayama, H, Kobayashi, M, Hanash, SM, Yoshihara, K, Wei, Z, Tien, JC, Rangel, R, Hashimoto, K, Mabuchi, S, Sawada, K, Kimura, T, Copeland, NG & Jenkins, NA 2017, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol 114, no. 35, pp. E7301-E7310. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1705441114

Identification of new tumor suppressor genes in triple-negative breast cancer
Rangel, R, Guzman-Rojas, L, Kodama, T, Kodama, M, Newberg, JY, Copeland, NG & Jenkins, NA 2017, Cancer Research, vol 77, no. 15, pp. 4089-4101. DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-17-0785

A recellularized human colon model identifies cancer driver genes
Chen, HJ, Wei, Z, Sun, J, Bhattacharya, A, Savage, DJ, Serda, R, Mackeyev, Y, Curley, SA, Bu, P, Wang, L, Chen, S, Cohen-Gould, L, Huang, E, Shen, X, Lipkin, SM, Copeland, NG, Jenkins, NA & Shuler, ML 2016, Nature Biotechnology, vol 34, no. 8, pp. 845-851. DOI: 10.1038/nbt.3586

Transposon mutagenesis identifies genes and cellular processes driving epithelial-mesenchymal transition in hepatocellular carcinoma
Kodama, T, Newberg, JY, Kodama, M, Rangel, R, Yoshihara, K, Tien, JC, Parsons, PH, Wu, H, Finegold, MJ, Copeland, N & Jenkins, NA 2016, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol 113, no. 24, pp. E3384-E3393. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1606876113

Sleeping Beauty transposon mutagenesis identifies genes that cooperate with mutant Smad4 in gastric cancer development
Takeda, H, Rust, AG, Ward, JM, Yew, CCK, Jenkins, NA & Copeland, N 2016, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol 113, no. 14, pp. E2057-E2065. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1603223113

Structure-function integrity of the adult hippocampus depends on the transcription factor Bcl11b/Ctip2
Simon, R, Baumann, L, Fischer, J, Seigfried, FA, De Bruyckere, E, Liu, P, Jenkins, NA, Copeland, NG, Schwegler, H & Britsch, S 2016, Genes, Brain and Behavior, vol 15, no. 4, pp. 405-419. DOI: 10.1111/gbb.12287

Loss of the transcription factor Meis1 prevents sympathetic neurons target-field innervation and increases susceptibility to sudden cardiac death
Bouilloux, F, Thireau, J, Ventéo, S, Farah, C, Karam, S, Dauvilliers, Y, Valmier, J, Copeland, NG, Jenkins, NA, Richard, S & Marmigère, F 2016, eLife, vol 5, no. FEBRUARY2016, e11627. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.11627

Two-Step Forward Genetic Screen in Mice Identifies Ral GTPase-Activating Proteins as Suppressors of Hepatocellular Carcinoma
Kodama, T, Bard-Chapeau, EA, Newberg, JY, Kodama, M, Rangel, R, Yoshihara, K, Ward, JM, Jenkins, NA & Copeland, NG 2015, Gastroenterology. DOI: 10.1053/j.gastro.2016.04.040

Cardiomyocyte-specific overexpression of the ubiquitin ligase Wwp1 contributes to reduction in Connexin 43 and arrhythmogenesis
Basheer, WA, Harris, BS, Mentrup, HL, Abreha, M, Thames, EL, Lea, JB, Swing, DA, Copeland, NG, Jenkins, NA, Price, RL & Matesic, LE 2015, Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology, vol 88, 8184, pp. 1-13. DOI: 10.1016/j.yjmcc.2015.09.004

Bcl11a (Ctip1) Controls Migration of Cortical Projection Neurons through Regulation of Sema3c
Wiegreffe, C, Simon, R, Peschkes, K, Kling, C, Strehle, M, Cheng, J, Srivatsa, S, Liu, P, Jenkins, NA, Copeland, NG, Tarabykin, V & Britsch, S 2015, Neuron, vol 87, no. 2, pp. 311-326. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.06.023

The transcription factor Bcl11b is specifically expressed in group 2 innate lymphoid cells and is essential for their development
Yu, Y, Wang, C, Clare, S, Wang, J, Lee, SC, Brandt, C, Burke, S, Lu, L, He, D, Jenkins, NA, Copeland, NG, Dougan, G & Liu, P 2015, The Journal of experimental medicine, vol 212, no. 6, pp. 865-74. DOI: 10.1084/jem.20142318

Transposon mutagenesis identifies genetic drivers of Braf V600E melanoma
Mann, MB, Black, MA, Jones, DJ, Ward, JM, Yew, CCK, Newberg, JY, Dupuy, AJ, Rust, AG, Bosenberg, MW, Mcmahon, M, Print, CG, Copeland, NG & Jenkins, NA 2015, Nature Genetics, vol 47, no. 5, pp. 486-495. DOI: 10.1038/ng.3275

BCL11A is a Triple-negative breast cancer gene with critical functions in stem and progenitor cells
Khaled, WT, Lee, SC, Stingl, J, Chen, X, Ali, HR, Rueda, OM, Hadi, F, Wang, J, Yu, Y, Chin, SF, Stratton, M, Futreal, A, Jenkins, NA, Aparicio, S, Copeland, NG, Watson, CJ, Caldas, C & Liu, P 2015, Nature communications, vol 6, 6987, pp. 5987. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms6987

Identification of FoxR2 as an oncogene in medulloblastoma
Koso, H, Tsuhako, A, Lyons, E, Ward, JM, Rust, AG, Adams, DJ, Jenkins, NA, Copeland, NG & Watanabe, S 2014, Cancer Research, vol 74, no. 8, pp. 2351-2361. DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-13-1523

Mice carrying a hypomorphic Evi1 allele are embryonic viable but exhibit severe congenital heart defects
Bard-Chapeau, EA, Szumska, D, Jacob, B, Chua, BQL, Chatterjee, GC, Zhang, Y, Ward, JM, Urun, F, Kinameri, E, Vincent, SD, Ahmed, S, Bhattacharya, S, Osato, M, Perkins, AS, Moore, AW, Jenkins, NA & Copeland, NG 2014, PLoS ONE, vol 9, no. 2, e89397. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0089397

Sleeping Beauty mutagenesis: Exploiting forward genetic screens for cancer gene discovery
Mann, MB, Jenkins, NA, Copeland, NG & Mann, KM 2014, Current Opinion in Genetics and Development, vol 24, no. 1, pp. 16-22. DOI: 10.1016/j.gde.2013.11.004

LIM Domain Only-2 (LMO2) induces T-cell leukemia by two distinct pathways
Smith, S, Tripathi, R, Goodings, C, Cleveland, S, Mathias, E, Hardaway, JA, Elliott, N, Yi, Y, Chen, X, Downing, J, Mullighan, C, Swing, DA, Tessarollo, L, Li, Q, Love, P, Jenkins, NA, Copeland, NG, Thompson, MA, Du, Y & Davé, UP 2014, PLoS ONE, vol 9, no. 1. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0085883

Mutation of murine Sox4 untranslated regions results in partially penetrant perinatal lethality
Wiles, WG, Mou, Z, Du, Y, Long, AB, Scharer, CD, Bilir, B, Spyropoulos, DD, Jenkins, NA, Copeland, NG, Martin, WD & Moreno, CS 2014, In Vivo, vol 28, no. 5, pp. 709-718.

Transposon insertional mutagenesis models of cancer
Mann, KM, Jenkins, NA, Copeland, NG & Mann, MB 2014, Cold Spring Harbor Protocols, vol 2014, no. 3, pp. 235-247. DOI: 10.1101/pdb.top069849

Transposon mutagenesis identifies genes driving hepatocellular carcinoma in a chronic hepatitis B mouse model
Bard-Chapeau, EA, Nguyen, AT, Rust, AG, Sayadi, A, Lee, P, Chua, BQ, New, LS, De Jong, J, Ward, JM, Chin, CKY, Chew, V, Toh, HC, Abastado, JP, Benoukraf, T, Soong, R, Bard, FA, Dupuy, AJ, Johnson, RL, Radda, GK, Chan, ECY, Wessels, LFA, Adams, DJ, Jenkins, NA & Copeland, NG 2014, Nature Genetics, vol 46, no. 1, pp. 24-32. DOI: 10.1038/ng.2847