Darren A. Cusanovich, PhD

Cancer Biology Program


Dr. Cusanovich received his B.S. in Music Business from Loyola University New Orleans in 2002. He got his Ph.D. in Human Genetics from The University of Chicago, working in Yoav Gilad's lab, and studying the impact of genetic variation in human populations on gene expression and complex disease susceptibilities. He then did his postdoctoral research in Jay Shendure's lab at the University of Washington, developing a novel single-cell epigenomic assay and applying it to several model systems. In 2018, Darren accepted a position at the University of Arizona through the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and the Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center.

Cancer Focus

Our lab studies how the human genome regulates itself to bring about all of the cellular diversity present in our bodies. In addition, we are interested in how genetic variation and environmental exposures in human populations impact that regulation and sometimes lead to complex disease. We study development and disease through the lens of single-cell genomics, which has led us into several cancer-relevant projects, including looking at the epigenomic encoding of mechanical memory in a breast cancer model and cellular responses to colon cancer drug treatment in an organoid model. To study these phenomena, we use single-cell genomics technologies to evaluate these complex processes from the perspective of whole tissues.