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Institute for Applied Cancer Science

Lynda Chin, M.D. - Scientific Director

Lynda Chin, M.D., joined MD Anderson in September 2011 as chair of Genomic Medicine and as scientific director of the Institute for Applied Cancer Science.  

For 14 years prior to joining MD Anderson, Chin was a member of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School community in Boston. She was professor of Dermatology at Harvard Medical School, member of the Department of Medical Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and senior associate member of the Broad Institute, where she was principal investigator of the Genome Data Analysis Center in The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). Chin also served as scientific director of the Belfer Institute for Applied Cancer Science and co-leader of Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center’s Melanoma Program and the Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant for skin research. She serves on the scientific steering committee of the International Cancer Genome Consortium.  

Chin received her M.D. from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, followed by clinical and scientific training at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where she was chief resident of dermatology.

She has made multiple scientific discoveries spanning the fields of transcription, telomere biology, mouse models of human cancer, oncogenomics and personalized cancer medicine.  Using telomerase-knockout mice, she conducted the first cancer studies, which demonstrated that, in a p53 deficient setting, deactivated DNA damage signaling unleashes a telomere-based crisis as a potent mutational mechanism in the development of cancer.   

Building on her successful effort to establish oligo-based array-CGH, Chin has championed comparative oncogenomics of mouse and human cancers and its integration with functional genomics to identify novel cancer genes. As a leader in translational genome medicine, she has enlisted these new cancer gene discoveries into productive drug discovery efforts. She has developed function-based prognosis determinants, solving the longstanding clinical problem of identifying the subset of early-stage melanoma patients who are hardwired for lethal progression.  This opens the opportunity for adjuvant therapy for the first time. She serves on the TCGA executive subcommittee and is actively involved in enabling the community to translate genome data via her establishment of “disease working groups” that bring together genome scientists, biologists and clinicians in the broader community. She chairs the glioblastoma multiforme working group and the melanoma disease working group.  

Chin co-founded AVEO Pharmaceuticals in 2002, a cancer biotechnology company that emphasizes cancer biology and genetics to identify new targets with tumor maintenance roles. Most recently, she founded Metamark Genetics, a cancer diagnostics company developing function-based prognostic assays to guide customized care of cancer patients with early-stage disease, including melanoma and prostate cancer.  

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center