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Ronald A. DePinho, M.D., president of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, is internationally recognized for basic and translational research in cancer, aging and age-associated degenerative disorders.
Prior to joining MD Anderson, he spent 14 years at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School in Boston. There, he was founding director of the Belfer Institute for Applied Cancer Science at Dana-Farber and was a professor in the Department of Medicine (genetics) at Harvard and an American Cancer Society Research Professor. Previously, he held numerous faculty positions during 10 years at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.
At Dana-Farber and Harvard, DePinho guided major basic-translational research programs focused on brain, colorectal, pancreatic and prostate cancers. Under his leadership, the Belfer Institute followed industry-like principles to systematically translate basic research findings into clinical endpoints.
His scientific program has made fundamental discoveries underlying cancer in the aged and factors governing acquired and inherited degenerative disorders. He established the concept of tumor maintenance, discovered a core pathway of aging and demonstrated that aging is a reversible process. He has constructed and used refined mouse models of cancer to identify many new cancer targets and diagnostics.
DePinho was born in the Bronx, N.Y in 1955 to Celeste and Alvaro DePinho. He is the third of five children. He earned a bachelor's degree in biological sciences in 1977 from Fordham University, where he graduated summa cum laude as class salutatorian. He received his medical degree with distinction in microbiology and immunology in 1981 from Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
He completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, followed by postdoctoral fellowships in the Department of Cell Biology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center.
DePinho's independent scientific career began at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where he was the Feinberg Senior Scholar in Cancer Research. There, he established the first National Cancer Institute-supported shared transgenic and gene targeting facility, which enabled his laboratory and many other researchers to model and study the genetic basis of cancer and other complex diseases.