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BCRF Grantee Since


Donor Recognition

The Play for P.I.N.K. Award

Area(s) of Focus

Peter Kuhn, PhD

Professor of Biological Sciences
Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
University of Southern California
Associate Professor of Cell & Molecular Biology
The Scripps Research Institute
Los Angeles, California

Current Research

The goal of precision, or personalized, medicine is to deliver the right drug to the right person at the right time. This requires a deep understanding of the changes in breast cancer that occur throughout the course of treatment. Advances in technology have made it possible to study breast cancers at the cellular level with a simple blood draw, or fluid biopsy. Fluid biopsy is a non-invasive way to identify rare circulating tumor cells and circulating tumor DNA fragments that together provide the opportunity for a complete description of the disease each time a blood sample is drawn. Using state-of-the-art technology developed in their laboratories, Drs. Kuhn and Hicks will compare information from DNA in the blood with information obtained from circulating tumors cells to identify clinically useful biomarkers and advance the technology and utility of the fluid biopsy to aid in treatment decisions.


Dr. Kuhn is a scientist and entrepreneur with a career long commitment in personalized medicine and individualized cancer patient care. He is focused on the redesign of cancer care.

Dr. Kuhn is a Professor at USC, a founding member of a new Institute of Convergent Sciences and director of the Southern California Physics Oncology Center. His research is shedding new light at how cancer spreads through the body. This new science will lead to a personalized care strategy that is biologically informed and clinically actionable.

Leveraging the laboratory’s fluid biopsy technology innovation, the Southern California Physics Oncology Center is advancing daily the forefront of both improving healthcare effectiveness for cancer patients by providing drug guidance and increasing our understanding of cancer as a disease in each individual patient. 

Dr. Kuhn is a physicist who trained initially at the Julius Maximilians Universität Würzburg, Germany, before receiving his Masters in Physics at the University of Albany, Albany, NY in 1993 and his PhD. in 1995. He then moved to Stanford University where he later joined the faculties of Medicine and Accelerator Physics. From 2002 to 2014 he established a translational science program at the Scripps Research in La Jolla, CA that brought together over forty scientists from basic, engineering and medical sciences to work on understanding the spread of cancer in the human body. He has published over 180 peer scientific articles and filed 16 patents as a result of his research. Dr. Kuhn joined USC in 2014.