John Mendelsohn, MD

John Mendelsohn, MD
Director, Sheik Kalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy and Past President, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas

John Mendelsohn, MD | Class of 2013

Internationally renowned for demonstrating how the binding of growth factors to cell surface receptors regulates cell function, Dr. Mendelsohn and his collaborators at the University of California, San Diego produced monoclonal antibody 225, which inhibits cancer cell proliferation by blocking activation of the tyrosine kinase function of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). His subsequent research in both the laboratory and the clinic pioneered the universally adopted concept of anti-receptor and anti-tyrosine kinase therapy that targets key cell signaling pathways as a new form of cancer treatment. Antibody 225 (commercially known as Cetuximab or Erbitux) was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treatment of colon cancer in 2004 and for head and neck cancer in 2006.

During Dr. Mendelsohn’s 15-year tenure as president of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, the center grew substantially, both financially and in terms of space and infrastructure. The center’s work force and number of patients served doubled and research activities quadrupled, accompanied by a nearly ten-fold increase in private philanthropy. Throughout his career, Dr. Mendelsohn has fostered strong interdisciplinary collaborations between laboratory scientists and clinical investigators. Emblematic of that focus was his service for 10 years as the founding editor-in-chief of Clinical Cancer Research.

Career Highlights

2012 AACR-Margaret Foti Award for Leadership and Extraordinary Achievements in Cancer Research
2008 Dorothy P. Landon-AACR Prize for Translational Cancer Research
2006 Future Time Dimension in the Field of Cancer Therapy, Dan David Prize, Dan David Foundation
2005 Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal
2004 Bristol-Myers Squibb Freedom to Discover Award
2002 David A. Karnofsky Memorial Award, American Society of Clinical Oncology
1999 AACR-Joseph H. Burchenal Clinical Research Award
1997 Bristol-Myers Squibb Award for Distinguished Achievement in Cancer Research
1997 Raymond Bourgine Award for Excellence in Cancer Research
1997 Elected Member, Institute of Medicine
1996-2011 President, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
1990-1993 Board of Directors, American Association for Cancer Research
1985-1996 Chairman, Department of Medicine and Co-head, Program in Molecular Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
1970-1985 Founding Director, University of California San Diego Moores Cancer Center
1963 MD, Harvard Medical School