Markus Müschen Lab

Over the past 10 years, the Markus Müschen laboratory has developed a multidisciplinary research program to study oncogenic signaling and clonal evolution in B cell malignancies, including acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most frequent type of cancer in children and young adults. Despite increasing survival rates over the past decades, around 70 percent of children who relapse still die from their disease. With current algorithms of risk stratification, relapsing patients are undistinguishable from patients who will respond well to standard chemotherapy. Many of the approximately 110,000 survivors in the U.S. who would benefit from milder forms of chemotherapy are nonetheless treated with an aggressive regimen and suffer late effects from unnecessary toxicity.
For these reasons, Müschen’s group has developed a comprehensive research program to predict relapse of ALL and other B cell-derived lymphoid malignancies, including mantle cell lymphoma and B-CLL. Applying forward genetic screens in PDX models, his drug-discovery program will leverage newly discovered vulnerabilities to broaden treatment options and validate a diagnostic test. Müschen’s research is guided through close collaboration with clinician-scientists in the Children’s Oncology Group, a clinical trials group supported by the National Cancer Institute. As principal investigator of the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program “preclinical drug-testing” project, he developed a testing platform with clinical, phenotypic and genetic annotation.
After medical training in Düsseldorf, Germany, and Paris and Nantes, France, Müschen completed his M.D. thesis in biochemistry (summa cum laude) in the laboratory of Helmut Sies and joined the laboratories of Ralf Küppers and Klaus Rajewsky for his M.D,-Ph.D. training in Cologne and Janet D. Rowley in Chicago for postdoctoral training. In 2006, he was recruited to the U.S. to start his independent laboratory at University of Southern California and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles in 2009.
In 2010, Müschen joined the faculty of University of California San Francisco (UCSF) and was promoted to full professor and program leader of the Hematological Malignancies Program at the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center. In 2017, he joined City of Hope as chair of the Department of Systems Biology and associate director of basic science of City of Hope's comprehensive cancer center. Markus Müschen was named The Norman and Sadie Lee Foundation Endowed Professor in Pediatrics and has been named a scholar of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, a senior investigator of the Wellcome Trust at the University of Cambridge (U.K.), and Sir Alexander Haddow Professor of the Institute for Cancer Research in London. He is currently a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Faculty Scholar and recipient of the National Cancer Institute ‘Outstanding Investigator Award’ (R35).