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Director: Cynthia Timmers, PhD 

​The Solid Tumor Translational Science Shared Resource (STTSSR) team works closely with clinical and translational scientists to develop a customizable portfolio of biomarker assays in order to provide innovative, correlative science studies associated with early-phase solid tumor oncology clinical trials. This resource works closely with clinical investigators in the design and management of studies and provides guidance related to assay development and analysis. The STTSSR serves as a central repository for specimens collected from patients on trials and is responsible for processing the tissue for any number of downstream analyses. In addition to developing novel assays, i the STTS-SR partners with other OSUCCC Shared Resources to utilize available technologies such as next-generation sequencing, RNA expression analysis and proteomics. In these situations, the STTSSR is responsible for obtaining and preparing the patient samples for downstream analyses and then collects and organizes the data. 

The STTSSR resource also helps identify and develop partnerships among investigators and pharmaceutical companies to gain access to new drugs and compounds and to provide corresponding correlative testing and analyses for cancer studies.     

STTSSR goals

  • Develop and manage a strategic, correlative science plan for solid tumor clinical trials.
  • Be a central laboratory for clinical trial specimen acquisition and processing.
  • Provide project management for studies that utilize resources available through other OSUCCC Shared Resources, investigator laboratories and outside vendors.
  • Develop a customizable portfolio of validated assays not available in other Shared Resources.
  • Identify and help develop strategic partnerships among clinical investigators and appropriate pharmaceutical/biomedical companies. 


Director: Cynthia Timmers, PhD
Laboratory Manager: Tom Liu, PhD

Cynthia (Syndi) Timmers, PhD

Dr. Timmers earned her PhD in Molecular and Medical Genetics from Oregon Health and Sciences University. Of her more than 14 years of experience in human cancer genetics, seven were spent in industry. Dr. Timmers worked for Novartis Pharmaceuticals in both pre-clinical and clinical drug development. The first three years were spent establishing and utilizing genetically-engineered mouse tumor models for in vivo validation of target genes and pre-clinical studies of small molecular inhibitors. Subsequently, Dr. Timmers took a position as a medical science liaison in the clinical operations group, facilitating clinical trials and scientific education for solid tumors. Just prior to joining Ohio State, she worked for the oncology diagnostic company, MolecularMD, as director of strategic partnering. In addition to establishing and driving partnerships with pharmaceutical companies to perform diagnostic testing for clinical trials, she was responsible for evaluating new technologies to be used for translational studies in clinical trials, including next-gen sequencing and circulating tumor cells. Since joining Ohio State, Dr. Timmers has worked to develop the STTSSR by forming collaborations with clinical and basic scientists and establishing a laboratory. She has designed and written correlative studies for more than 20 clinical trial proposals (LOIs) in a variety of solid tumors, of which 10 have been funded. Co-PI on six clinical trials, five of which are open and collecting samples, Dr. Timmers has also facilitated several MTA requests for multiple pre-clinical studies.  In the laboratory, she has overseen: the development of standard procedures for the purification of DNA, RNA and protein from a variety of sources, including FFPE; the development of novel assays, including in situ hybridization, immunohistochemistry and next-generation sequencing library generation; and the design and implementation of a specimen-tracking database. 

Xinglou (Tom) Liu, PhD

After several years practicing internal medicine in China, Dr. Liu obtained a PhD from the Department of Molecular Genetics at The Ohio State University, with a dissertation focused on the development of viral vectors for gene therapy. He continued his training at Ohio State with a postdoctoral fellowship studying molecular, cellular and tumor immunology. Subsequently, Dr. Liu took a research scientist position at the department of Human Cancer Genetics at Ohio State, with his research focused on the manipulation of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) and natural killer cells (NKs) in small animal models, and development of a novel vaccine against the EBV-associated post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorders (PTLD). In 2011, he joined the Solid Tumor Translational Science Shared Resource as a senior research associate and lab manager. Dr. Liu has been instrumental in establishing the STTSSR laboratory and the standard procedure for the purification of analytes (RNA/DNA/protein) from a variety of clinical specimens.  In addition to overseeing the day-to-day operations of the lab and specimen handling, his efforts include the development and implementation of novel biomarker assays. To date, Dr. Liu has become an expert at several methods for next-generation sequencing library preparation, mRNA and miRNA in situ hybridization and the analysis of mutations in circulating tumor DNA purified from patient plasma samples.  

Contact Us

Director: Cynthia Timmers, PhD
Laboratory Manager: Tom Liu, PhD

For more information about services available through the STTS Shared Resource, call 614-366-9041 or email

Biomedical Research Tower
Room 486
460 W. 12th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210

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