Soon after joining Wistar’s National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Cancer Center as an assistant professor, Rauscher was charged with building a world class center of excellence in gene regulation mechanisms, chromatin biology and cancer epigenetics. This effort produced a leading set of high impact researchers in the department, encompassing the burgeoning fields of histone modification, structural biology, and transcriptional regulation of cancer. He assumed the Deputy Director position of the Wistar Cancer Center in 1995, a position he held until 2017, and subsequently guided the center through five cycles of competitive grant renewal. To date, the Wistar Cancer Center has held 45 years of uninterrupted support from the NCI Cancer Center Support Grant (CCSG).
The Rauscher Laboratory at Wistar has been keenly focused on defining the molecular genetics of cancer by studying somatic and inheritable mutation in genes which predispose to human cancer. In particular, the lab has focused on how tumor suppressor and oncogene proteins that function in gene regulation, mechanisms of transcriptional regulation and transcriptional control of cellular differentiation programs and organogenesis become activated to produce a pattern of gene expression resulting in cancer. The Rauscher lab has studied the following genes: WT1 gene, BRCA1 and BRCA2, and the EWS and PAX families of fusion oncogenes. His lab also discovered BAP1, a gene encoding an enzyme that helps regulate levels of BRCA1 via ubiquitination but also is a direct cause of human uveal melanoma and mesothelioma. Other work has defined the mechanism whereby the master regulators of EMT and tumor metastasis cause the release and migration of tumor cells from the primary tumor. This work has identified druggable nodes that are currently being pursued for anti-metastatic and anti-dormancy therapeutics at Wistar.
Rauscher’s research has been supported by the NCI, the U.S. Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program, Susan G. Komen and the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance, among others. Most recently, The Jayne Koskinas-Ted Giovanis Foundation (JKTGF) established a multi-investigator, multi-year research consortium on the study of metastatic breast cancer at The Wistar Institute, which aims to fund cutting edge translational research.
Rauscher’s contributions to the academic and peer review efforts have been extensive. Most notably, he served as Editor-in-Chief of the journal Cancer Research, a post he occupied for more than a decade. He also served on numerous federal, state and private peer review committees including organizing and chairing numerous P01, P30 and R01 committees for the NIH/NCI and American Cancer Society. He chaired the Board of Scientific Counselors for five years, a body charged with a rigorous review of intramural NCI and Frederick–based research labs and provided recommendations for their continuation. A Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences, Rauscher was the recipient of the Wilson S. Stone Memorial Award, a winner of The William L. McGuire, M.D., Memorial Fellowship presented by The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
Published in more than 180 peer reviewed papers, long with many book chapters and a textbook, Rauscher has also presented more than 300 invited lectures in all corners of the globe.
He is currently a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Association for Cancer Research, the International Association for Comparative Research of Leukemia and Related Diseases, the New York Academy of Sciences, the Philadelphia Cancer Research Association and the American Society of Nephrology. Rauscher is co-founder of Innate Biologics, LLC, a privately held company targeting, treating and preventing inflammation that is developing a first of its kind recombinant protein platform, which specifically targets intracellular signaling pathways.