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BCRF Grantee Since


Area(s) of Focus

William G. Kaelin, Jr., MD

Professor of Medicine
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and
Brigham and Women’s Hospital,
Harvard Medical School
Boston, Massachusetts

Current Research

Enzymes are proteins that accelerate chemical reactions in cells and are popular targets for drug development. Dr. Kaelin’s laboratory studies a large family of enzymes called dioxygenases that utilize a specific chemical called 2-oxoglutarate (2-OG). In his ongoing BCRF studies, he has made several discoveries connecting the activities of a dioxygenase called EglN2 to tumor cell growth, drug resistance and metastasis (spreading of the tumor to other sites). His team is now searching for other 2-OG-dependent enzymes that regulate breast cancer proliferation as well as further exploring the functions of EglN2 to identify potential therapeutic targets to block its effects. Studies are in progress to test multiple targets that may be particularly important in triple negative breast cancer.


William G. Kaelin, Jr., obtained his undergraduate and MD degrees from Duke University and completed training in internal medicine at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he served as chief medical resident. He was a clinical fellow in medical oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and later a postdoctoral fellow David Livingston’s laboratory, during which time he was a McDonnell Scholar. He is currently a Professor in the Department of Medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. He is Associate Director, Basic Science, for the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center and Chair of the Executive Committee for Research at Dana-Farber.

Dr. Kaelin is a member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation and the American College of Physicians. He recently served on the NCI Board of Scientific Advisors, the AACR Board of Trustees, and the Institute of Medicine National Cancer Policy Board. He is a recipient of the Paul Marks Prize for cancer research from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the Rosenthal Prize from the AACR, and a Doris Duke Distinguished Clinical Scientist award. He has been elected to the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences and was a recipient of the Gairdner Award. In 2012, he was a co-recipient of the ASCI’s Stanley J. Korsmeyer Award and the Scientific Grand Prix (Foundation Lefoulon-Delalande and the Institute of France). In 2014,  Dr. Kaelin became an Elected Fellow of the AACR Academy and was awarded the Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences.