Joe W. Gray, PhD

Joe W. Gray, PhD
​Gordon Moore Endowed Chair, Department of Biomedical Engineering; Director, Center for Spatial Systems Biomedicine; Associate Director for Biophysical Oncology, Knight Cancer Institute, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon

Joe W. Gray, PhD | Class of 2016

​A distinguished leader in cancer research, Dr. Gray developed technologies that have transformed the understanding of the form and function of complex biological systems and have enabled a high-resolution view of the genetic and genomic alterations that contribute to cancer onset and progression. He contributed to the development of high-speed fluidic sorting for chromosomes and established bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) as a tool for studying cell cycle progression using flow microfluorimetry, a technique that has allowed greater understanding of the cell cycle in both normal and cancerous cells. 

Dr. Gray and colleagues also developed widely used techniques that allow detailed molecular analysis of genetic abnormalities including fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and chromosome painting, which replaced classic chromosome banding methods and allow for the analysis of disease-specific genomic aberrations such as HER2 amplification in breast cancer and BCR-ABL translocations in chronic myeloid leukemia. They also developed the methods of comparative genomic hybridization and end-sequence profiling, which allow detection of copy number variations and unbalanced chromosomal abnormalities in DNA samples. These techniques have been vital to precision medicine efforts dedicated to optimizing treatment strategies for select cancer patient populations. 

In addition to his technological accomplishments, Dr. Gray has also contributed greatly to the ongoing Cancer Genome Atlas Project. This collaboration between the National Cancer Institute and the National Human Genome Research Institute seeks to utilize mathematical modeling and computational biology to identify, characterize, and catalog the key genomic drivers of various cancers.

Career Highlights

2014  Alfred G. Knudson Award for Excellence in Cancer Genetics, National Cancer Institute
2012  Simon M. Shubitz Cancer Prize and Lectureship, University of Chicago
2011  Elected Member, Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC
2011  William L. McGuire Memorial Lecture Award, San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium
2011  Elected Fellow, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering
2010  Fulwyler Award for Innovative Excellence, International Society for Analytical Cytology
2008  AACR Team Science Award
2007  Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in
Basic Science, Susan G. Komen®
2007  Innovator Award, U.S. Department of Defense
2005  Distinguished Achievement Award, Colorado School of Mines
2001  Curt Stern Award, American Society for Human Genetics
1996  Elected Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
1986  Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award, U.S. Department of Energy
1972  PhD, Kansas State University