Renowned clinician-scientist Alec Kimmelman, MD, PhD, has been named Chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at NYU Langone Medical Center. His appointment is effective February 1, 2016.
Dr. Kimmelman joins the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone following a distinguished career as Associate Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Harvard Medical School and its major teaching affiliates, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. His laboratory has made seminal contributions to the biological underpinnings of pancreatic cancer. Dr. Kimmelman also is a practicing radiation oncologist specializing in the treatment of gastrointestinal cancers.
For more than 15 years, Dr. Kimmelman’s research has focused on RAS oncogenes, one of the most commonly mutated families of cancer-causing genes. His research team has made seminal contributions to the understanding of the biology of pancreatic cancer, which is driven by “activating” mutations in the KRAS oncogene. Dr. Kimmelman and his colleagues used sophisticated mouse and cellular models to provide one of the first demonstrations that KRAS was required for the continued growth of pancreatic tumors through its role in rewiring cellular metabolism.
His laboratory continues to be at the forefront of studies identifying metabolic adaptations in pancreatic cancer and exploiting them for the development of novel therapeutics. Recent work from his laboratory on a form of metabolic process called “autophagy” has shown that pancreatic cancers depend on this “self-eating” pathway for proper growth. Based on these studies, multiple clinical trials targeting autophagy are underway worldwide.
Dr. Kimmelman is a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded investigator. He has served as an editor for journals such as Oncogene and PLOS ONE and on several grant review committees, including those for the NIH. Dr. Kimmelman has been the recipient of many prestigious awards, including the Ruth Leff Siegel Award from Columbia University for excellence in pancreatic cancer research, and was recently inducted into the American Society for Clinical Investigation.
Dr. Kimmelman earned a dual MD/PhD degree from the Medical Scientist Training Program at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He completed his residency in radiation oncology at the Harvard Medical School Combined Program, as well as a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Ronald A. DePinho, MD, current President of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. ■