- Cancer Genetics
- Breast Cancer
- School of Medicine
- UNC-Chapel Hill
- Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
Area of Interest
Dr. Perou’s research crosses the disciplines of genomics, cancer research, bioinformatics, epidemiology and the clinical treatment of breast cancer. His major contribution to the field has been in the characterization of the diversity of breast tumors, which resulted in the discovery of the Basal-like/Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Subtype. This genomic-based classification, known as the intrinsic subtypes of breast cancer, is now being used to help physicians better understand why some cancers do or do not respond to standard therapies, and to tailor treatment to each patient’s disease subtype.
He and his colleagues demonstrated that breast tumors can be classified into five molecular subtypes, with his lab focusing particular attention on the Basal-like subtype. He is also elucidating the genetic causes that give rise to each subtype, modeling these events in genetically engineered mouse models, and then using these animal models to investigate the efficacy of new drugs and new drug combinations.Dr. Perou has also translated these molecular finding to a much wider patient population. Using a North Carolina-based epidemiological population-based study (Carolina Breast Cancer Study), he and his colleagues found that pre-menopausal African American women are diagnosed with Basal-like tumors approximately twice as often as their Caucasian counterparts, thus providing insight into racial outcomes disparities differences.
Dr. Perou has authored more than 150 peer reviewed articles, and is an inventor on 2 patents. His lab has received support from the NIH/NCI, Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Komen Foundation, and V Foundation for Cancer Research. He is the Faculty Director of the LCCC Bioinformatics Core Resource, and Co-Director of the Breast Cancer Research Program. He is a member of the ALLIANCE/CALGB Breast Committee, and of the Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium.. He is also the co-founder of two genomics-based biotechnology companies (BioClassifier LLC, and GeneCentric), both of which are focused on developing gene expression-based molecular signatures into cancer diagnostics. He earned his BA in Biology from Bates College, his PhD in Cell Biology from the University of Utah, and performed his postdoctoral work in the laboratory of David Botstein (then at Stanford University). He has been a faculty member at UNC since 2000. Lastly, he was the recipient of the 2009 AACR Outstanding Investigator Award for Breast Cancer Research, and recipient of the 2011 Danaher Scientific and Medical Award, a Susan G. Komen Award for Scientific Distinction.
Awards and Honors
The May Goldman Shaw Distinguished Professor of Molecular Oncology