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Charles K. Kaufman, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor
Department of Medicine
Oncology Division
Molecular Oncology
Department of Developmental Biology

Clinical Interests

  • Melanoma

Research Interests

  • Cancer initiation
  • Epigenetics
  • Developmental biology


  • 314-273-1330 (office)
  • 314-273-1331 (lab)
  • 314-747-2797 (fax)
  • 558 McDonnell Medical Sciences Building (office/lab)
    4565 McKinley Avenue
    St. Louis, MO 63110
  • Division of Oncology
    Campus Box 8069
    Washington University Medical School
    660 South Euclid Avenue
    St. Louis, MO 63110


My clinical and research interests focus on understanding and modifying the mechanisms controlling the onset of cancer, in particular melanoma. By combining a powerful and flexible zebrafish melanoma model with molecular discoveries from human melanoma, I aim to accomplish the following:

  • Profile the earliest transcriptional and epigenetic events that occur during melanoma initiation. We can uniquely accomplish this with the zebrafish model because we can see these first cancer cells earlier than previously possible.
  • Modify the epigenetic landscape in the pre-cancerous melanocytes and determine the outcome on melanoma formation. With the genetic tools available in the zebrafish, including gain- and loss-of-function approaches, we can modify both specific loci and broad aspects of the chromatin landscape in zebrafish to determine the effect on melanoma formation.
  • Identify chemicals (i.e. ideally therapeutic drugs) that prevent melanoma formation. The zebrafish is ideally suited to rapid and large-scale screens to identify such potential therapies which will then be used to direct studies in humans.
  • Develop diagnostic tools to detect the earliest changes in pre-cancerous melanocytes that signify conversion to cancer. Earlier detection may allow for earlier treatment and improved outcomes for patients.