Systems Biologist Joins The Cancer Institute of New Jersey

Dr. Elke K. Markert to explore genetic profiles of prostate and other cancers
February 13, 2013

Elke K. Markert, PhDNew Brunswick, N.J. – Expanding a vital component of its research enterprise, The Cancer Institute of New Jersey is welcoming systems biologist Elke K. Markert, PhD, to its Center for Systems Biology.  Dr. Markert, who has an extensive mathematics background, was most recently at the Simons Center for Systems Biology at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. The Cancer Institute of New Jersey is a Center of Excellence of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

Systems Biology is a comprehensive approach to examining large data sets that range from single cells to the patient and his or her disease as a whole.  With large quantities of this genetic information gathered directly from clinics and laboratories at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, researchers continually collect, package, store and analyze these data. The ultimate goal in interpreting the information is to identify patterns that might shed light on how cancer develops – which in turn can help scientists identify novel treatment options. This is done through a variety of means including computational science.

Markert, an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Medical Oncology at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, complements these extensive research efforts.  Along with cancer genetics and the development of cancer, her focus includes comprehensive analysis of how gene expression translates into operational structures within the cell and how that information is integrated with other types of genetic and molecular data.

Using topological and geometric methods in data analysis, Markert interprets high-dimensional data sets in an abstract way. Much like looking at an ornate carpet or a three-dimensional image, the goal is to find patterns that might help scientists understand the molecular mechanisms active in cancer cells that underlie physical attributes and critical features such as invasiveness, so that clinicians can better target treatment for their patients. 

Arnold J. Levine, PhD, resident member of The Cancer Institute of New Jersey and professor emeritus at the Simons Center for Systems Biology, has collaborated with Markert in recent years. “Dr. Markert’s unique expertise will enhance our team’s ability to further define the varied genetic signatures associated with cancer,” notes Dr. Levine, who is also a professor of pediatrics and biochemistry at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

Markert also will continue her work as a co-investigator on a project examining embryonic stem cell expression profiles and their impact on prognosis and treatment of prostate cancer.

About The Cancer Institute of New Jersey
The Cancer Institute of New Jersey ( is the state’s first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center dedicated to improving the detection, treatment and care of patients with cancer, and serving as an education resource for cancer prevention. Physician-scientists at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey engage in translational research, transforming their laboratory discoveries into clinical practice, quite literally bringing research to life.  To make a tax-deductible gift to support The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, call 732-235-8614 or visit Follow us on Facebook at

The Cancer Institute of New Jersey Network is comprised of hospitals throughout the state and provides the highest quality cancer care and rapid dissemination of important discoveries into the community. Flagship Hospital: Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. System Partner: Meridian Health (Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Ocean Medical Center, Riverview Medical Center, Southern Ocean Medical Center, and Bayshore Community Hospital). Major Clinical Research Affiliate Hospitals: Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Morristown Medical Center, Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Overlook Medical Center, and Cooper University Hospital. Affiliate Hospitals: CentraState Healthcare System, JFK Medical Center, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton (CINJ Hamilton), Somerset Medical Center, The University Hospital/UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School*, and University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro. *Academic Affiliate


Michele Fisher


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