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Arul Chinnaiyan

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Primary Appointment: Pathology Department
Primary PIBS Dept.: Molecular and Cellular Pathology
Other PIBS Depts.: Bioinformatics, Cancer Biology
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 DESCRIPTION OF RESEARCH
  Arul M. Chinnaiyan, M.D., Ph.D. is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, American Cancer Society Research Professor, and S.P. Hicks Endowed Professor of Pathology and Urology at the University of Michigan. He also serves as the inaugural Director of the Michigan Center for Translational Pathology (MCTP) which is comprised of a multi-disciplinary team of investigators focused on translating ď-OmicĒ technologies to patient care in terms of biomarkers and novel therapeutics. He has co-authored over 300 manuscripts and has been designated an A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute Scholar and is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS), the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences, the Association of American Physicians (AAP) and the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI). He serves on the Board of Scientific Advisors for the National Cancer Institute.

Dr. Chinnaiyan, who received his medical degree and doctorate in pathology from the U-M, has received a number of prestigious awards, including the Deanís Basic Science Research Award, the Amgen Outstanding Investigator Award, and the Pew Biomedical Scholar Award. In 2008 he received the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Research. In 2007 Dr. Chinnaiyan and his team were the recipients of the inaugural AACR Team Science Award. He has received a number of other prestigious awards including the 2009 Paul Marks Prize for Cancer Research, 2009 Philip Levine Award for Cancer Research, 2007 Ramzi Cotran Award from the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology, 2005 Benjamin Castleman Award, and the 2005 Amgen Outstanding Investigator by the American Society of Investigative Pathology. Most recently, in 2013, he received the Distinguished University Innovator Award from the University of Michigan as well as the Urology Care Foundationís Prostate Cancer Excellence Award.

His research focuses on functional genomics, proteomic, metabolomic, and bioinformatic approaches to study cancer for the purposes of understanding cancer biology, as well as to discover clinical biomarkers. He and his collaborators have characterized a number of biomarkers of prostate cancer, including AMACR, EZH2, hepsin, the sarcosine metabolite, and TMPRSS2-ETS gene fusions. AMACR is being used clinically across the country in the assessment of cancer in prostate needle biopsies while the TMPRSS2-ETS fusions are being developed as a urine biomarker for prostate cancer (in collaboration with Gen-Probe, Inc.). The Chinnaiyan laboratory is a fertile training ground for the next generation of translational researchers having already impacted the careers of over 20 graduate students and 50 research fellows.

The landmark study thus far from Dr. Chinnaiyanís laboratory is the discovery of TMPRSS2-ETS gene fusions in a majority of prostate cancers. This discovery was made using a bioinformatics approach on tumor gene expression data. TMPRSS2-ETS gene fusions are specific markers of prostate cancer as well as presumably function as rational targets for this disease. Gene fusions and translocations such as BCR-ABL in CML were thought to primarily be the basis of hematologic malignancies and sarcomas. The finding of recurrent gene fusions in prostate cancer potentially redefines the molecular basis of this disease as well as other common epithelial cancers. The team involved with these studies was awarded the 2007 AACR Team Science Award. The Chinnaiyan lab is focused on translating the prostate cancer gene fusion discovery into better diagnostics and therapies for prostate cancer. His laboratory developed the popular cancer profiling bioinformatics resource called Oncomine (www.oncomine.org) which is freely available to the academic community (hosting over 15,000 registered users from over 30 countries). Dr. Chinnaiyan has founded 3 companies including, Compendia Biosciences, which supports both the academic and commercial versions of Oncomine. In 2012, Compendia Biosciences was acquired by Life Technologies. Most recently, Dr. Chinnaiyanís group has been focused on translating massively parallel sequencing into clinical use for personalized oncology (the MI-ONCOSEQ project).