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Victor Velculescu

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Victor E. Velculescu
BornAugust 16, 1970
Alma materStanford University
Johns Hopkins University
SpouseDelia Velculescu
AwardsPaul Marks Prize for Cancer Research (2011)
AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Research (2009)
Judson Daland Prize (2008)
Scientific career
FieldsGenomics, Cancer biology
InstitutionsJohns Hopkins University

Victor E. Velculescu (born August 16, 1970) is a Professor of Oncology and Co-Director of Cancer Biology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.[1][2] He is internationally known for his discoveries in genomics and cancer research.

Early life and education[edit]

Velculescu was born in Bucharest, Romania and moved with his family to Westlake Village, California at the age of seven.[3] He began molecular biology research as an undergraduate at Stanford University, graduating with honors and distinction in biological sciences in 1992. Velculescu completed his M.D. degree, a Ph.D. in human genetics and molecular biology, and postdoctoral studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine where he remains on the faculty.[4]

He is married to Delia Velculescu, an economist and the current IMF mission chief in Greece.[5]


Velculescu and members of his research group have pioneered approaches for discovering molecular alterations in human cancer and applying these discoveries to improve the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

In 1995 Velculescu developed SAGE (serial analysis of gene expression), a gene expression technology for the global and quantitative measurement of gene activity.[6] The SAGE approach provided some of the first insights into gene expression patterns in eukaryotic cells and the identification of gene expression patterns in human cancer. These studies led Velculescu to coin the term transcriptome in a 1997 paper to describe the comprehensive gene expression patterns that could now be analyzed.[7] SAGE contributed to the development of next-generation sequencing methods used for genome-wide expression analyses.[8]

In the early 2000s, Velculescu and members of his laboratory devised new technologies for characterizing the cancer genome. These included digital karyotyping, which allows for quantitative characterization of amplifications and deletions at the DNA level.[9] This approach provided the underlying methodology for next-generation sequencing analyses to detect chromosomal abnormalities in human cancer as well as in prenatal genetic testing.[10][11]

In parallel, Velculescu was an early developer of methods for high-throughput sequencing of human cancer, which his group used to identify the PIK3CA gene as one of the most highly mutated cancer genes.[12]

Starting in 2005, Velculescu extended these approaches, and together with Bert Vogelstein, Ken Kinzler and other colleagues at Johns Hopkins performed the first sequence analysis of the coding genome in human cancers, including breast, colorectal, brain, and pancreatic cancers.[13][14][15][16][17] His group also led the effort to sequence the first pediatric tumor genome for medulloblastoma.[18][19] These studies defined the genomic landscapes of human cancers and identified alterations in a variety of genes and pathways not previously known to be involved in tumorigenesis, including the IDH1 and IDH2 genes in gliomas,[16] and chromatin modifying genes MLL2/3 and ARID1 in medulloblastomas, neuroblastomas and other tumor types.[18][19][20]

In 2010, Velculescu and his group developed the PARE (personalized analysis of rearranged ends) technology that can help detect genomic tumor biomarkers circulating in the blood to enable the monitoring and personalized treatment of human cancer.[21] Using this approach, his laboratory performed the first whole-genome analysis detecting chromosomal alterations in the blood of cancer patients.[22]

Translational efforts[edit]

Velculescu co-founded the cancer genomics company Personal Genome Diagnostics (PGDx) in 2010 to bring individualized cancer genome analyses to patients, physicians, researchers and drug developers. PGDx was the first clinical laboratory to provide whole-exome sequencing for cancer patients in 2011.

Awards and honors[edit]

  • Grand Prize Winner of the Amersham/Pharmacia & Science Young Scientist Prize (1999)[4]
  • “Brilliant Ten Young Scientists of the Year" from Popular Science (2003)[23]
  • Pew Scholar Award from The Pew Charitable Trusts (2004)[24]
  • Sir William Osler Young Investigator Award from the Interurban Clinical Club (2006)[25]
  • European Association of Cancer Research and Carcinogenesis Young Investigator Award (2008)[26]
  • The AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Research (2009)[27]
  • Judson Daland Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Patient-oriented Clinical Investigation (2007)[28]
  • The Paul Marks Prize for Cancer Research (2011)[29]
  • AACR Team Science Award for Pancreatic Cancer Research (2013)[30]
  • AACR Team Science Award for Malignant Brain Tumor Research (2014)[30]


  1. ^ "Author Details: Victor Velculescu". Scopus.
  2. ^ Victor Velculescu's publications in Google Scholar
  3. ^ "Românul care vrea să pună frână celei mai grele boli a omenirii: cancerul. Decoperirea sa va revoluționa medicina". Stirileprotv.ro (in Romanian). December 1, 2017. Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Pharmacia Prize". Science. 1999. ISSN 0036-8075. Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  5. ^ ""Doamna Drăculescu" ține în mână destinele Greciei! Vezi cum a ajuns o româncă de succes sefa misiunii FMI!" ["Mrs. Drăculescu" is holding Greece's destinies! See how a successful Romanian has become the head of the IMF mission!]. cancan.ro (in Romanian). July 22, 2015. Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  6. ^ "Background: Victor Velculescu". The World Technology Network. 2005. Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  7. ^ Velculescu VE, Zhang L, Vogelstein B, Kinzler KW (October 1995). "Serial analysis of gene expression". Science. 270 (5235): 484–7. Bibcode:1995Sci...270..484V. doi:10.1126/science.270.5235.484. PMID 7570003. S2CID 16281846.
  8. ^ Velculescu VE, Zhang L, Zhou W, Vogelstein J, et al. (January 1997). "Characterization of the yeast transcriptome". Cell. 88 (2): 243–51. doi:10.1016/s0092-8674(00)81845-0. PMID 9008165. S2CID 11430660.
  9. ^ Mardis ER (2008). "Next-generation DNA sequencing methods". Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics. 9: 387–402. doi:10.1146/annurev.genom.9.081307.164359. PMID 18576944. S2CID 2484571.
  10. ^ Wang TL, Maierhofer C, Speicher MR, Lengauer C, et al. (December 2002). "Digital karyotyping". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 99 (25): 16156–61. Bibcode:2002PNAS...9916156W. doi:10.1073/pnas.202610899. PMC 138581. PMID 12461184.
  11. ^ Ding L, Wendl MC, Koboldt DC, Mardis ER (October 2010). "Analysis of next-generation genomic data in cancer: accomplishments and challenges". Human Molecular Genetics. 19 (R2): R188–96. doi:10.1093/hmg/ddq391. PMC 2953747. PMID 20843826.
  12. ^ Haber DA, Velculescu VE (June 2014). "Blood-based analyses of cancer: circulating tumor cells and circulating tumor DNA". Cancer Discovery. 4 (6): 650–61. doi:10.1158/2159-8290.CD-13-1014. PMC 4433544. PMID 24801577.
  13. ^ Bardelli A, Parsons DW, Silliman N, Ptak J, et al. (May 2003). "Mutational analysis of the tyrosine kinome in colorectal cancers". Science. 300 (5621): 949. doi:10.1126/science.1082596. PMID 12738854. S2CID 85934154.
  14. ^ Samuels Y, Wang Z, Bardelli A, Silliman N, et al. (April 2004). "High frequency of mutations of the PIK3CA gene in human cancers". Science. 304 (5670). New York, N.Y.: 554. doi:10.1126/science.1096502. PMID 15016963. S2CID 10147415.
  15. ^ Sjöblom T, Jones S, Wood LD, Parsons DW, et al. (October 2006). "The consensus coding sequences of human breast and colorectal cancers". Science. 314 (5797). New York, N.Y.: 268–74. Bibcode:2006Sci...314..268S. doi:10.1126/science.1133427. PMID 16959974. S2CID 15764172.
  16. ^ a b "Cancer genetics, Variations on a theme". The Economist. September 7, 2006.
  17. ^ Wood LD, Parsons DW, Jones S, Lin J, et al. (November 2007). "The genomic landscapes of human breast and colorectal cancers". Science. 318 (5853). New York, N.Y.: 1108–13. Bibcode:2007Sci...318.1108W. doi:10.1126/science.1145720. PMID 17932254. S2CID 7586573.
  18. ^ a b Parsons DW, Jones S, Zhang X, Lin JC, et al. (September 2008). "An integrated genomic analysis of human glioblastoma multiforme". Science. 321 (5897). New York, N.Y.: 1807–12. Bibcode:2008Sci...321.1807P. doi:10.1126/science.1164382. PMC 2820389. PMID 18772396.
  19. ^ a b Jones S, Zhang X, Parsons DW, Lin JC, et al. (September 2008). "Core signaling pathways in human pancreatic cancers revealed by global genomic analyses". Science. 321 (5897): 1801–6. Bibcode:2008Sci...321.1801J. doi:10.1126/science.1164368. PMC 2848990. PMID 18772397.
  20. ^ Parsons DW, Li M, Zhang X, Jones S, et al. (January 2011). "The genetic landscape of the childhood cancer medulloblastoma". Science. 331 (6016). New York, N.Y.: 435–9. Bibcode:2011Sci...331..435P. doi:10.1126/science.1198056. PMC 3110744. PMID 21163964.
  21. ^ Fox M (December 16, 2010). "Gene Scan Shows Childhood Brain is Different". Reuters.
  22. ^ Sausen M, Leary RJ, Jones S, Wu J, et al. (January 2013). "Integrated genomic analyses identify ARID1A and ARID1B alterations in the childhood cancer neuroblastoma". Nature Genetics. 45 (1): 12–7. doi:10.1038/ng.2493. PMC 3557959. PMID 23202128.
  23. ^ "PopSci's 2nd Annual Brilliant 10". Popular Science. August 4, 2003.
  24. ^ "Victor E. Velculescu, M.D., Ph.D." Pew's Scholars Directory. The Pew Charitable Trust. Archived from the original on July 20, 2012.
  25. ^ "The Sir William Osler Young Investigator Award". Interurban Clinical Club.
  26. ^ "Carcinogenesis Award Winners". Oxford University Press.
  27. ^ "AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Research Recipients". American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).
  28. ^ "Victor Velculescu". Judson Daland Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Patient-oriented Clinical Investigation. The American Philosophical Society. 2007. Archived from the original on July 20, 2012.
  29. ^ "Paul Marks Prize Honors Young Investigators for Promising Cancer Research". Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. March 2012.
  30. ^ a b "AACR Team Science Award Recipients". American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).

External links[edit]

  • Johns Hopkins University Kimmel Cancer Center [1]
  • Johns Hopkins University Institute of Genetic Medicine [2]
  • Johns Hopkins Cellular and Molecular Medicine Program [3]
  • Paul Marks Prize Lecture at Memorial Sloan Kettering [4]