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Kenneth  Tsai

Kenneth Tsai

Kenneth Tsai
Associate Professor


Office: SRB 23031
Phone: 813/745-4864



PHD in Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 2001
MD, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, 2003
Clinical Internship, Internal Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, 7/2003-6/2004
Clinical Residency, Dermatology, Harvard Medical School - Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, 7/2004-6/2007
Clinical Fellowship, Dermatopathology, Harvard Medical School - Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, Boston, MA, 7/2007-6/2008


The collective goal of the Tsai Lab is to identify, test, and validate novel targets for the targeted chemoprevention and treatment of skin cancer. Dr. Tsai is a dermatologist, dermatopathologist, and NIH-funded investigator with extensive experience in mouse models of cancer, molecular biology, and in the diagnosis and research of skin cancer. He leads the Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer Research & Treatment Section of the Skin Cancer Center of Excellence at Moffitt.

Our recent work is focused on three major areas: (1) an integrated genomic and evolutionary characterization of skin squamous cell carcinoma (cuSCC) development from normal skin to precancerous actinic keratosis to cuSCC using next generation sequencing and UV-driven mouse models; and (2) examination of the roles of microRNAs and non-coding RNAs in driving cuSCC development; and (3) characterization of JNK signaling and the advent of JNK2 as a target in skin cancers (cuSCC and melanoma). Additionally, we are actively involved in technology development: we collaborate extensively with Samir Mitragotri, Ph.D. (UCSB) and Kevin Dalby, Ph.D. (UT Austin) to develop novel technologies to non-invasively sample skin for biomarker discovery and to validate additional kinase targets for cancer therapy. More information is available at

Our lab environment is highly collaborative, with regular and frequent contact with the PI, and an expectation that the best work comes from committed individuals who actively communicate. Students can expect to have intensive training in state-of-the-art research methods as well as development of presentation and writing skills with regular and frequent contact with the PI. Projects in our laboratory employ a variety of technologies based upon cell culture, human tissue samples, and mouse models and include microscopy, next generation sequencing, proteomics, informatics, flow cytometry and mass spectrometry. Trainees will be expected to attend and present their work at international meetings, to apply for internal and external funding opportunities, and to publish extensively.