Ronald John Buckanovich MD, PhD

Associate Professor, Medical Oncology
Medical Oncology
Clinical Interests:

Internal Medicine Division of Hematology Oncology Obstetrics and Gynecology Division of Gynecologic Oncology

Video profile


U of M Internal Medicine Oncology

Cancer Center Floor 1
1500 E Medical Center Dr SPC 5912
Ann Arbor


Medical School or Training

  • Weill Medical College of Cornell University, 1998


  • Hospital of The University Of Pennsylvania, Internal Medicine, PA, 2001


  • Hematology/Medical Oncology, Hospital of The University Of Pennsylvania, 2004

Professional Organizations

  • ASCO

  • American Association of Cancer Research

  • Society of Gynecologic Oncology

  • American Society of Clinical Investigation

Board Certification

  • Medical Oncology


Cancer stem cells (CSC) are rare, inherently chemoresistant cells, which have the capacity to differentiate and generate the numerous cancer cell types observed in a tumor. CSC are hypothesized to be the primary source of cancer recurrence and ultimately a patients demise. The primary objective of my laboratory is to understand cellular interactions in the tumor vascular/cancer stem cell niche with the goal of developing novel therapeutics targeting CSC proliferation and differentiation. In order to characterize these interactions, we have performed an extensive characterization of ovarian CSC and have begun to define a differentiation hierarchy of the ovarian CSC. In addition, we have characterized several components of the ovarian CSC niche; we have extensively characterized the ovarian tumor vasculature, tumor vascular associated leukocytes, and cancer associated mesenchymal stem cells. We have developed novel in vitro microfluidics devices as a means to study symmetric vs asymmetric divisions of CSC, and novel human in vivo tumor models for the study of ovarian CSC growth and differentiation. Finally, we have developed tumor vascular niche targeted nanoparticle platform with which to assess the efficacy of CSC targeted therapies delivered specifically to CSC. We are now perfectly placed to significantly develop the field of cancer stem cell based differentiation targeted therapies. Our research program is described in detail on the research page.


Ronald Buckanovich graduated from Cornell University in 1990 with a B.S. in Genetics and Biochemistry. He then completed the Medical Scientist Training Program receiving his Ph.D. in 1996 from the Rockefeller University and his M.D. in 1998 from Cornell University. For his thesis research he characterized the cellular target of an auto-immune neurologic disease associated with breast and ovarian cancer. This work resulted in a novel diagnostic test currently used in clinical practice. Dr. Buckanovich then went on to complete an Internal Medicine residency and a Hematology-Oncology fellowship at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. During his fellowship he continued his research on ovarian cancer, identifying dozens of novel clinical targets expressed in ovarian tumor vasculature. This work resulted in a clinical trial of a novel therapeutic in ovarian cancer and the development of a second therapeutic to enhance tumor vaccine therapy. Dr. Buckanovich joined the University of Michigan as an Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine in 2006. Here he has continued his studies developing of novel diagnostic tests and therapeutic agents for women's cancer. Currently, his laboratory is developing immunotherapeutics which target proteins uniquely expressed in ovarian tumor vessels. These biologic therapies can be used to kill tumor vessels and cancer stem cells which reside within the tumor vascular niche. In addition, his laboratory has identified two novel compounds which directly target cancer stem cells; one which blocks the ability of cancer stem cells to self renew, and a second which is poisons a protein made only by cancer stem cells. In addition to his laboratory studies, Dr. Buckanovich has a busy clinical practice, specializing in the treatment of ovarian and uterine cancers. He is currently the principal investigator of two clinical trials at the University of Michigan. The author, or co-authored of 20 original research articles, Dr. Buckanovich was recently awarded a Clinical Investigator Award from the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, New Innovator - Directors Award. In addition, his labs work was recognized by the Society of Gynecologic Oncology with the Best Basic Science Award and Gynecologic Cancer Foundation's Carol Cause Award.