Cheuk T. Leung, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology

Cheuk T. Leung

Contact Info

Office Phone 612-626-5309

Office Address:
3-120 Nils Hasselmo Hall
312 Church St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Lab Address:
3-230 Nils Hasselmo Hall
312 Church St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Postdoctoral Fellowship, Harvard Medical School

PhD, Johns Hopkins University

BS, University of Maryland, College Park, Biochemistry


Dr. Leung is an Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and a member of the Masonic Cancer Center’s Cellular Mechanisms Program. He received a B.S. degree in Biochemistry at University of Maryland at College Park. Dr. Leung then received his Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine working with Randall Reed, Ph.D. in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics. He then moved to Harvard Medical School for his post-doctoral training with Joan Brugge, Ph.D. before joining the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Minnesota. 


Breast cancer, kinase signaling, epigenetic regulation, organotypic cancer models

Awards & Recognition

ACS Research Scholar (declined due to overlapping NIH R01 award), American Cancer Society. 2017

John J. Stevens, MD Beginning Cancer Research Award, American Cancer Society, 2011

Postdoctoral Fellowship, American Cancer Society, 2009

Cancer Biology Training Fellowship, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, 2007, 2008

Nupur Dinesh Thekdi Young Investigator Award, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 2007

Presidential Merit Fellowship (declined), George Washington University, 1999

Professional Associations

American Association for Cancer Research


Research Summary/Interests

Research in the Leung Lab focuses on understanding the cellular and molecular control of cancer cell quiescence in the context of premalignant development, cancer treatments, and relapses. Our overarching goal is to identify early markers for cancer development and develop targeted approaches for treating residual disease and reducing cancer relapses. The laboratory focuses on breast cancer, but also studies other epithelial cancer types including lung and ovarian.

Sustained quiescence despite genetic alterations supporting tumor growth is a common feature of premalignant cells and dormant cancer cells during cancer progression and under cancer treatments. The maintenance and outgrowth of such quiescent mutant cells underlie the checkpoints that control the latency of primary and recurrent cancer development. The Leung Lab develops 3D organotypic and animal models to recapitulate the genetic, cellular, and stromal environments of premalignant development and residual diseases. Utilizing these models as discovery platforms with diverse cellular and molecular techniques including genetic engineering, live-cell imaging, proteomics and high throughput screening, current studies in the laboratory focus on elucidating the roles of kinase signaling and epigenetic regulators in quiescent cancer cell survival and cell cycle control, and exploiting these controls to develop prognostic markers for residual diseases and therapeutic strategies for cancer relapses.