JAX Cancer Genetics Research Experience

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a part of a research team? How is research done, and how do you learn the skills needed to join the biomedical workforce?

This cancer genetics research experience provides an opportunity to engage in a mock research project and explore a variety of health and science careers. In completing this activity, you will have the opportunity to “join” three different research groups at JAX:

  • On the clinical research team, you will learn how to recruit patients for a clinical study and will navigate through a real cancer database to find specific patients that fit the criteria needed for our study.
  • On the bioinformatics research team, you will learn how genetic variants influence cancer types and will navigate through real databases to find information on patient tumor variants and gene expression patterns.
  • On the mouse research team, you will learn how mice are used in treatment trials and will interpret data on tumor size and outcomes from drug trials.


Let’s dive into the research experience! Start with the Introduction to learn more about cancer and our research question. Then download the Activity Spreadsheet, which will allow you to keep track of your work for all three labs. The labs can be done in any order, although we recommend starting with the Clinical Research Lab, then the Bioinformatics Research Lab, and finally the Mouse Research Lab.

After you have completed all three labs, look through the Conclusion to reflect on your work and what you’ve learned!

For Teachers

These lab activities can be completed in groups in the classroom, with each group completing one of the lab activities. Groups can then share their results with each other and discuss patterns in the data and overarching conclusions.


Provides background information on cancer biology and personalized medicine.

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Activity Spreadsheet

Use this spreadsheet to document your work and conclusion for each of the labs.

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Clinical Research Lab

Provides background information and instructions for the Clinical Research Lab.

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Bioinformatics Research Lab

Provides background information and instructions for the Bioinformatics Research Lab.

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Mouse Research Lab

Provides background information and instructions for the Mouse Research Lab.

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Provides summary of lab results and activity-wide conclusions.

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