Ronald A. DePinho, M.D. Ph.D. (hon) is Past President and Professor of Cancer Biology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He holds the Harry Graves Burkhart III Distinguished University Chair in Cancer Research. His basic and translational research program focuses on pathways and processes governing aging and age-related disorders, particularly cancer. His scientific and public health contributions have been recognized with Portuguese knighthood, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, AACR Clowes Award, Albert Szent-Gyorgyi Award, among others. He is a member of the National Academies of Science and Medicine, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association of the Advancement of Science and the American Association of Cancer Research. He is Chairman & Founder of Opa Health, a non-profit focused on disease prevention for underserved communities. He is the founder of several private and public biotechnology companies.

Research Interests

Dr. DePinho's research focuses on (i) mechanisms governing aging and cancer, (ii) role of telomeres in cancer, aging and somatic and inherited degenerative conditions, (iii) mouse models of cancer including melanoma, GBM, prostate, pancreas and colorectal cancer, (iv) use of these models to discover and validate new drug targets, early detection biomarkers markers and prognostic biomarkers now in clinical use. His development of inducible oncogene models led to the concept of tumor maintenance, leading to 12 therapeutics in clinical development. These inducible oncogene models have elucidated how genetic alterations in cancer cells shape the tumor microenvironment. His laboratory defined the role of telomeres in driving age-associated epithelial cancers and in generating complex genome alterations including amplifications and deletions. The telomere model identified a core molecular pathway of aging, determined that aging is a reversible process, and established an essential pathogenetic role of telomere dysfunction in liver cirrhosis, inflammatory bowel disease and premature aging syndromes. Dr. DePinho's strategic focus on translation is reflected in his launch of several biotechnology companies as well as the creation of the MD Anderson Cancer Moonshot Program and its translational platforms leading to practice changing advances, new drugs and new public policies including Federal T21.

Membership Type


Election Year


Primary Section

Section 41: Medical Genetics, Hematology, and Oncology