Named Professorships

Zachary Schafer

Zachary Schafer

Coleman Foundation Associate Professor of Cancer Biology

A 2001 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Zach Schafer returned to his alma mater in 2009, fresh from a stint as a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard Medical School, where he helped to discover that antioxidants can play a role in promoting cell survival among a certain class of mammary cells. That line of inquiry—understanding the basic biological processes that govern the survival of normal cells and tumor cells—forms the basis for much of the work now being done in the Schafer Laboratory at Notre Dame.

Current approaches for the treatment and prevention of cancer are often inadequate because modern medicine still knows relatively little about how to kill tumor cells without also harming non-cancerous cells. Seeking to fill this information void, Schafer is investigating the means by which cancer cells survive outside their natural niches and how changes in cellular metabolism can promote survival or induce cell death. His research could have important implications for the future of cancer treatment.

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The original Coleman Professorship was established in 1985, with a grant from the Coleman Foundation, of Chicago. The late Dorothy W. and J.D. Stetson Coleman were entrepreneurs and owners of Fannie Mae Candies. One of the core programs of their foundation is cancer research and treatment.