Pier Paolo Pandolfi, BIDMC/Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA
Jun Wang

Pier Paolo Pandolfi received his M.D. in 1989 and his Ph.D. in 1995 from the University of Perugia, Italy, after having studied Philosophy at the University of Rome, Italy. He received post-graduate training at the National Institute for Medical Research and the University of London in the UK. He became an Assistant Member of the Molecular Biology Program and the Department of Human Genetics at Memorial-Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in 1994. Dr. Pandolfi grew through the ranks to become a Member in the Cancer Biology and Genetics Program at the Sloan Kettering Institute; Professor of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics at the Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences at Cornell University; Professor, Molecular Biology in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Weill Medical College at Cornell University; and Head of the Molecular and Developmental Biology Laboratories at MSKCC. Dr. Pandolfi was also the incumbent of the Albert C. Foster Endowed Chair for Cancer Research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Dr. Pandolfi presently holds the Reisman Endowed Chair of Medicine, and is Professor of Medicine and Pathology at Harvard Medical School (HMS). He joined the HMS faculty at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in 2007 to serve as Scientific Director of the Cancer Center, the Director of the Cancer Genetics Program, and the Chief of the Division of Genetics in the Department of Medicine; he is also a Member of the Department of Pathology at BIDMC. He was recently appointed to serve as the Cancer Center Director and the Director of the Cancer Research Institute at BIDMC and HMS.

Dr. Pandolfi has been the recipient of numerous Awards for his research including the LLSA Scholar Award (1997), the Irma T. Hirschl Trust Award (1999), the Alexandra J. Kefalides Prize for Leukemia Research (1999), the Louise and Allston Boyer Young Investigator Award in Biomedical Research (1999), the Hamdan Award for Medical Research Excellence (2000), the Lombroso Prize for Cancer Research of the Weizmann Institute of Science (2001), the Leukemia and Lymphoma Societyʼs Stohlman Scholar Award (2001), the William and Linda Steere Foundation Award (2004), the prize for Scientific Excellence in Medicine from the American-Italian Cancer Foundation (2005), the Fondazione Cortese International Award (2008), the Prostate Cancer Foundation Creativity Award (2009) and the Ischia International Award (2009).

He also has been awarded the NIH MERIT Award for superior competence and outstanding productivity in research in 2005. In 2006, Dr. Pandolfi was elected as a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) and the American Association of Physicians (AAP), and in 2007 as Member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO).

In 2011, Dr. Pandolfi received the Pezcoller Foundation–AACR International Award for Cancer Research, dubbed as the Nobel Prize in Cancer Research. He was also awarded the Scanno International Award for Medicine in 2012, the Pomilio Ethic International Award in Biomedicine, the European Foundation Guido Venosta Award for Cancer Research in 2013, and the America International Award in 2014.

On June 2, 2015, Dr. Pandolfi was Knighted by the President of the Italian Republic and received the Medal of Honor as “Officer of the Order of the Star of Italy” (Ufficiale dell'Ordine della Stella d'Italia).

The research carried out in Dr. Pandolfiʼs laboratory has been seminal to elucidating the molecular mechanisms and the genetics underlying the pathogenesis of leukemias, lymphomas and solid tumors as well as in modeling these cancers in the mouse. Dr. Pandolfi and colleagues have characterized the function of the fusion oncoproteins and the genes involved in the chromosomal translocations of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), as well as of major tumor suppressors such as PTEN and p53, and novel protooncogenes such as POKEMON. The elucidation of the molecular basis underlying APL pathogenesis has led to the development of novel and effective therapeutic strategies.

As a result of these efforts, APL is now considered a curable disease. Additional novel therapeutic concepts have emerged from this work and are currently being tested in clinical trials. More recently, Dr. Pandolfi and colleagues have presented a new theory describing how mRNA, both coding and non-coding, exerts their biological functions with profound implications for human genetics, cell biology and cancer biology.

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