Charles M. Perou, PhD
The May Goldman Shaw Distinguished Professor of Molecular Oncology
Co-Director of the UNC Computational Medicine Program
Professor in the Department of Genetics
Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Breast cancer is a prevalent disease with known clinical and molecular diversity. To address these challenges, my research uses a multidisciplinary approach based upon genomics, genetics, cancer biology, bioinformatics, epidemiology, and clinical trials research to improve the outcomes of cancer patients. A major contribution of mine has been the discovery of the intrinsic subtypes of breast cancer where here we demonstrated that breast cancers can be divided into at least five molecular subtypes using the “PAM50” assay. My lab has focused on identifying the molecular causes of each subtype, with particular attention on the Basal-like subtype, which represents >80% of Triple Negative Breast Cancers. We have discovered many of the genetic causes of each subtype, modeled these events in Mouse Models, and then used these models to investigate tumor biology, immune system interactions, and the efficacy of novel drug combinations. We have also translated these molecular finding into the human population using a North Carolina population-based study (i.e. Carolina Breast Cancer Study), where we found that African Americans were diagnosed with Basal-like Breast Cancers approximately twice as often as those of European decent. These studies have provided insights into the causes of the racial outcomes disparities seen in the USA.
I have authored more than 470 peer reviewed articles, and have been named an inventor on multiple USA and European patents. I am currently the Co-Director of the Computational Medicine Program, Faculty Director of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center (LCCC) Bioinformatics Group, and Co-Leader of the LCCC Breast Cancer Research Program at UNC. I am also a member of the ALLIANCE Breast Committee, and Executive Steering Committee Member of the Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium (TBCRC). I have co-founded 3 biotechnology companies (Bioclassifier, GeneCentric Therapeutics, and Reveal Genomics), all of which are focused on using genomic assays to make improvements for personalized patient care.
My training history includes a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Bates College, a PhD in Experimental Pathology from the University of Utah, and postdoctoral work in the laboratory of David Botstein (then at Stanford University). I have won a number of awards including the AACR Outstanding Investigator Award for Breast Cancer Research, the Danaher Scientific and Medical Award, the European Institute of Oncology Breast Cancer Therapy Award, the Jill Rose Award for Distinguished Biomedical Research from BCRF, the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction from Komen, and the Distinguished Scientist Award from the Association of American Cancer Institutes. Lastly, I have been named a Thomson Reuters Most Highly Cited Researcher in 2014-21, where my work has received more than 210,000 total citations according to Google Scholar.