University of Kansas Cancer Center

Kansas City, Kansas
Professor, Department of Cancer Biology
Hall Family Professorship in Molecular Medicine
Adjunct faculty of Department of Molecular & Integrative Physiology


Dr. Welch is a leader in the field of cancer metastasis. With support from NFCR since 1996, his team is identifying the mechanisms underlying how cancer spreads (metastasis) throughout the body from a primary tumor. Metastasized cancer leads to pain, weight loss, bleeding and impairment of organ function. More importantly, nearly 90% of cancer related deaths are due to metastasized cancer. Dr. Welch is leading a novel charge to prevent the spread of cancer by predicting how and what triggers the initiation of metastasis. He and his team are using state-of-the-art molecular biology techniques to explore the expression of biomarkers produced by metastatic and non-metastatic cancer cells in order to predict which cancer will metastasize. In addition, Dr. Welch and his laboratory discovered eight genes that get turned off when cancer cells become metastatic cells and can lead to therapeutics that arrest metastasis.

This two-pronged approach will permit Dr. Welch to not only develop novel metastatic cancer markers to assess a patient’s likelihood of developing metastasis, but also to develop unique anti-metastasis therapies. His current research regarding cancer metastasis has high impact for patients with breast, lung, ovarian, pancreatic, prostate, kidney and skin cancer.


Danny R. Welch, Ph.D., received his bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of California at Irvine and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas-Houston in tumor biology. Following his doctoral research, he became a research scientist at the Upjohn Company and Glaxo pharmaceuticals. At both companies, he was responsible for pre-clinical testing of anti-cancer drugs. In 1990, he joined the faculty of the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine where he ascended the faculty ranks to the level of Associate Professor. In 2002, Dr. Welch joined the faculty of the University of Alabama at Birmingham as a Professor of Pathology and Director of the Metastasis Program at the Comprehensive Cancer Center.

From 2002-2018, Dr. Welch led the NFCR Center for Cancer Metastasis. In 2011, he founded the Department of Cancer Biology at Kansas University Medical Center. Moreover, Dr. Welch is a Komen scholar and president of the Cancer Biology Training Consortium. He has served on numerous grant review panels for the National Institutes of Health, Department Of Defense, American Cancer Society the Susan G. Komen organization, the European Union and other international agencies.

Dr. Welch has served as editor-in-chief for Clinical and Experimental Metastasis and is currently a deputy editor at Cancer Research. He is also co-editor of the textbook Cancer Metastasis. Throughout his career, Dr. Welch has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed publications and more than 35 book chapters, and he’s the recipient of numerous mentoring and teaching awards.

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