Elizabeth Lawlor, M.D., Ph.D.

Russell G. Adderley Professor of Pediatric Oncology
Associate Professor, Departments of Pediatrics and Pathology
Director, Doctoral Program in Cancer Biology


Dr. Lawlor received her M.D. from McMaster University in 1989 and her PhD in Pathology & Laboratory Medicine from the University of British Columbia in 2002. She completed clinical training in Pediatric Hematology-Oncology in Vancouver, Canada and post-doctoral research training in Molecular Oncogenesis at UCSF. She began her independent lab at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles in 2004 and since 2010 has been at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. As a dual-trained MD and PhD physician-scientist, Dr. Lawlor is committed to educating the next generation of basic and translational researchers and is dedicated to both graduate and post-graduate education in the arenas of cancer biology and pediatric oncology. She is the director of the PhD graduate program in Cancer Biology and the Associate Director for Education at the University of Michigan Cancer Center.

Research Interests

Research in the Lawlor is focused on investigating how hijacking of normal stem cell and developmental processes contributes to the initiation and progression of Ewing sarcoma. The central hypothesis underlying her research program is that pediatric cancers depend on dysregulation of genes and pathways that are integral to normal stem cell biology. The overall goal is to discover and define similarities and differences between normal stem cells and cancer cells. To achieve this her lab uses human stem cell models as well as mouse models and tumor cell lines. The current focus is on elucidating the contribution of HOX genes to tumor pathogenesis and the role of cellular and epigenetic plasticity in tumor metastasis. Dr. Lawlor’s lab has been continuously funded by external grant support since 2005, including grants from the NIH/NCI, AACR-Stand Up to Cancer, Alex’s Lemonade Stand, the V Foundation, as well as numerous smaller funding agencies.