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