San Diego Branch
My research program is directed at defining the genetic lesions in human cancer, determining their physiological significance and using that information for therapeutic approaches.
Current interests include the malignant progression of astrocytic (brain) tumors, the role of DNA methylation in tumor initiation, the differentiation pathways of astrocytes and the role of fusion transcription factors in pediatric neoplasms. I am perhaps best known for providing the first direct genetic evidence for the existence of human genes that could suppress cancer and the use of that information for the first genetic premorbid predictions of cancer development in people.
I received my PhD with honors in 1977 and did postdoctoral work at the Jackson Laboratory at MIT and the University of Utah. I have held professorships at the University of Cincinnati and McGill University. Since 1991 I have been Director of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in San Diego and a Distinguished Professor at the University of California at San Diego. I am an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences (1997), the Institute of Medicine NAS (2007), the Leopoldina German Academy of Science (2012) and the American Society of Clinical Investigation (1995), as well as past president of the American Association for Cancer Research (1998), and a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology (1997), the International Union Against Cancer (1994), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2008) and the Academy of the American Association for Cancer Research (2013). I serve on the editorial boards of several journals, as well as the scientific advisory boards of several companies and private foundations. I also have served on the boards of Scientific Counselors of the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. I have published more than 330 scientific papers and received more than 90 honors.
PhD, Microbiology, University of Kansas, Kansas City, Kansas, 1977
BSc, Microbiology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, 1973
AACR Takamatsu Prize, American Association for Cancer Research, 2007
Albert Szent Gyorgyi Award, National Foundation for Cancer Research, 2007
Anthony Dipple Award, European Association for Cancer Research, 2002
Farber Prize, American Association of Neurological Surgeons, 1994
Charles S. Mott Prize, General Motors Cancer Research Foundation, 1990
The San Diego Branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research has been located at the University of California, San Diego since 1991, and is affiliated with the UCSD Medical School and the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center. Each Branch member also serves on the faculty at UCSD, and our relationship is close and cooperative.
The San Diego Branch focuses mainly on cancer genetics, cell signaling, gene regulation and the mechanisms of cell division. We have made important achievements investigating the processes that cells use to maintain the integrity of their genome, and how failure in these processes can lead to cancer.
Web Cavenee, Ludwig San Diego director and member, gave a keynote presentation at the October 3-4, 2013 National Brain Tumor Society Summit describing the Defeat GBM Research Collaborative’s most innovative strategic research initiative to date and the potential for a future global model of integrated brain cancer research. Through this international collaborative effort, leveraging investments from each country, Cavenee talks about achieving its goal of doubling the five-year survival rate for this deadly disease which annually claims almost 14,000 lives in the United States.