As Scientific Director, I oversee the execution of Ludwig’s scientific strategy, with a special focus on the operations and staffing of the Lausanne, Oxford and San Diego Branches of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research. I also manage the alignment of their efforts with those of the six independent Ludwig Centers across the US to further cultivate collaboration within Ludwig’s global research community. As a researcher, I am perhaps best known for my work on the molecular signaling pathways and mechanisms that govern the unusual metabolism of cancer cells, which require vast quantities of energy and molecular building blocks to sustain proliferation. My laboratory was the first to show that a master regulator of gene expression named MYC—a gene whose mutation or aberrant expression is associated with many types of cancer—alters the utilization of a key sugar in cancer cells. This body of work bolstered the hypothesis that cancer cells can become addicted to their reengineered metabolic signaling and that disrupting these pathways could be a powerful approach to treating cancer. I currently lead a Ludwig laboratory housed at The Wistar Institute in Philadelphia.
Prior to joining Ludwig, I served as Director of the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, where I launched a series of Translational Centers of Excellence to develop novel interventions for various cancers. I began my career in medicine and research at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where I was Director of the Division of Hematology and eventually became the Johns Hopkins Family Professor in Oncology Research, the Vice Dean for Research and Director of the Hopkins Institute for Cell Engineering. I have authored over 250 scientific and medical articles, book chapters and two books and am a member of the National Academy of Medicine (Institute of Medicine), American Academy of Arts & Sciences and chair the National Cancer Institute’s Board of Scientific Advisors.