Christopher McFarland

Christopher McFarland

Assistant Professor

Case Western Reserve University

Department of Genetics & Genome Sciences

Case Comprehensive Cancer Center

My interest in scientific research began at the age of 16 in the Morse Lab studying gene regulation.

In college, I studied protein folding in the Dumont Lab. As a graduate student under the guidance of Prof. Leonid Mirny, I began studying cancer evolution. I argued that tumors harbor many ‘deleterious passenger’ mutations that are harmful to cancer cells, yet nevertheless accumulate and can induce tumor dormancy. These mutations may be exploitable by existing therapies, including those that target heat shock pathways and the proteasome.

Working with Dmitri Petrov and Monte Winslow at Stanford University as a Postdoc, I helped develop a high-throughput technology that combined DNA barcoding with multiplexed CRISPR-based genome engineering to study combinatorial tumor suppressor losses in mice. This approach discovered a rugged fitness landscape of context dependencies between cancer-causing mutations.

I joined Case in the fall of 2020.


  • PhD in Biophysics, 2015

    Harvard University

  • B.S. in Physics, 2008

    University of Rochester

  • B.S. in Biochemistry, 2008

    University of Rochester