Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Neal G. Copeland Ph.D.

Neal G. Copeland, Ph.D.

Neal G. Copeland, Ph.D.

Neal G. Copeland, Ph.D.

Senior Member
The Methodist Hospital Research Institute
The Methodist Cancer Research Program
Dean of Cancer Biology
The Methodist Academy

E-mail: ncopeland@houstonmethodist.org
Phone: 713-441-8253


B.S.   University of Utah
Ph.D.   University of Utah

Postdoctoral Training

Postdoctoral Fellow, Dana Farber Cancer Institute (Viral Oncology)



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 The Methodist Cancer Biology Program at The Methodist Hospital 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 780 papers and are among the 50 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.

Major Areas of Research

Mouse models of cancer, insertional mutagenesis, forward genetic screens, high throughput sequencing, candidate cancer gene detection

Recent Publications

Copeland NG, Jenkins NA. Harnessing transposons for cancer gene discovery.  Nature Reviews Cancer. 2010;10:696-706.

 Dupuy AJ, Rogers LM, Kim J, Nannapaneni K, Starr TK, Liu P, Swick BL, Largaespada DA, Scheetz TE, Jenkins NA, Copeland NG. A modified Sleeping Beauty transposon system that can be used to model a wide variety of human cancers in mice.  Cancer Res. 2009;69:8150-8156.

Starr TK, Allaei R, Silverstein KAT, Staggs RA, Bergemann TL, O’Sullivan MG, Matise I, Dupuy AJ, Collier LS, Powers S, Thibodeau SN, Tessarollo L, Copeland NG, Jenkins NA, Cormier RT, Largaesapda DA. A transposon-based genetic screen in mice identifies genes altered in colorectal cancer.  Science. 2009;323:1747–1750.

Dupuy AJ, Akagi K, Largaespada DA, Copeland NG, Jenkins NA. Mammalian mutagenesis using a highly mobile somatic Sleeping Beauty transposon system.  Nature. 2005;436:221-226.