Institute for Applied Cancer Science

Giulio Draetta, M.D., Ph.D. - Director

Prior to joining MD Anderson, Giulio Draetta, M.D., Ph.D., was Dana-Farber Presidential Scholar, chief research business development officer and deputy director of the Belfer Institute for Applied Cancer Science at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Draetta has held appointments at Pharmacia and Merck, as vice-president and as worldwide head of oncology drug discovery. He has served as an investigator at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany and at the European Institute of Oncology.  

During his time in academia, Draetta spearheaded fundamental research in the biology of the eukaryotic cell division cycle and of DNA damage induced checkpoints. His research led to the discovery of the first mammalian cyclin-dependent kinase and to the demonstration that cyclin-dependent kinases and cyclins physically interact and regulate multiple cell cycle transitions in eukaryotes.

Draetta also was co-founder and vice president of research for Mitotix, a biotechnology company, where he established programs in cancer, inflammation and infectious diseases that led to successful partnerships with several pharmaceutical companies. He led numerous drug discovery and development programs, targeting cyclin-dependent kinases and other mitotic kinases, developmental pathways (Notch, Hedgehog, WNT), receptor tyrosine kinases, AKT and PDK1 kinases, epigenetics and tumor metabolism, which led to two drug approvals in recent years. He recently co-founded Karyopharm, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on the development of selective inhibitors of nuclear export in Oncology and other disease indications.  

Draetta earned his medical and post-graduate degrees from the University of Naples Medical School, Italy.