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Joan S. Brugge, PhD

Joan S. Brugge, PhD

Ludwig Center
Harvard Medical School
Boston, Massachusetts

Class of 2014

A pioneer in the field of cancer biology, Dr. Brugge has devoted her career to proving how disturbances in normal cellular processes give rise to cancer. From her early isolation of the protein encoded by the src transforming gene of Rous sarcoma virus, to the evolving understanding of the cellular processes and pathways responsible for the initiation and progression of epithelial tumors, to the use of three-dimensional culture conditions to reveal significant changes in the organization of normal tissue associated with cancer, hers has been a lifelong journey to discover how cells regulate the mechanisms that contribute to human carcinogenesis.

Dr. Brugge’s laboratory team is currently studying multiple aspects of tumor cell biology in order to identify vulnerabilities of tumor cells that can be targeted for therapeutic intervention and to develop strategies to overcome mechanisms that drive therapy resistance. In addition, her group is investigating the nature of cooperative interactions between tumor cell populations and mutual dependencies among tumor cell variants and how these affect tumor expansion or metastasis. Dr. Brugge has recently assumed leadership of the Ludwig Center at Harvard, a collaborative initiative that is focused on developing new strategies to overcome cancer therapy resistance.

Dr. Brugge takes pride in the accomplishments of her group at Harvard and especially enjoys the mentoring process. In an interview for AACR’s Cancer Discovery, she stated that she encourages her fellows to be independent thinkers and empowers them to follow their ideas wherever they may lead them.

Career Highlights

2019 Science of Oncology Award and Lecture, American Society of Clinical Oncology
2014 Director, Ludwig Center, Harvard Medical School
2014 Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction
2013 The Bloomingdale’s Award, Breast Cancer Research Foundation
2012 Komen Scholar, Scientific Advisory Board, Susan B. Komen®
2011-2014 Board of Directors, AACR
2011 AACR Distinguished Lectureship in Breast Cancer Research
2005 AACR-Women in Cancer Research Charlotte Friend Memorial Lectureship
2004-2014 Chair, Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School
2002 Senior Career Recognition Award, American Society of Cell Biology
2001 American Cancer Society Research Professor
2001 Elected Member, Institute of Medicine
2001 Elected Member, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C.
2000 Elected Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
1986 MERIT Award, National Institutes of Health
1975 PhD, Baylor College of Medicine