Chuck-picture-oct-2011-1.jpgCharles M. Perou, PhD

The May Goldman Shaw distinguished professor of molecular oncology, professor of genetics, and of pathology and laboratory medicine; co-director of the UNC Computational Medicine Program Member of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Dr. Perou’s research crosses the disciplines of genomics, genetics, cancer biology, bioinformatics, epidemiology, and clinical research. A major contribution of his has been in the characterization of the genomic diversity of breast tumors, which resulted in the discovery of the intrinsic subtypes of breast cancer, which also includes the basal-like/triple-negative breast cancer subtype. He and his colleagues demonstrated that breast cancers can be divided into at least five molecular subtypes using the “PAM50” assay, with his lab focusing particular experimental attention on the basal-like subtype. He has also elucidated many of the genetic causes that give rise to each molecular subtypes, modeled these events in genetically engineered mouse models, and then used these models to investigate tumor biology, immune system interactions, and the efficacy novel drug combinations. Perou has translated these molecular finding into the human population using a North Carolina population-based study (i.e. the Carolina Breast Cancer Study), where he and his colleagues have found that African Americans were diagnosed with basal-like breast cancers approximately twice as often as those of European decent. These studies have provided insights into the causes of the racial outcomes disparities differences seen in the USA.   

Perou has authored more than 380 peer reviewed articles, and is an inventor on multiple USA and European patents. He is currently the co-director of a new Computational Medicine Program at UNC, Faculty Director of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center (LCCC) Bioinformatics Group, and co-leader of the LCCC Breast Cancer Research Program. He is the vice chair for Correlative Sciences for the ALLIANCE Breast Committee, and steering committee member of the Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium (TBCRC). He has also co-founder two genomics-based biotechnology companies (Bioclassifier LLC and GeneCentric Therapeutics), both of which are focused on bringing genomic assays into everyday clinical use to make improvements for personalized patient care.

Perou training history includes a bachelor’s degree in biology from Bates College, a docturate in experimental pathology from the University of Utah, and then postdoctoral work in the laboratory of David Botstein (then at Stanford University). He has won numerous awards including the 2009 AACR Outstanding Investigator Award for Breast Cancer Research, the 2011 Danaher Scientific and Medical Award, the 2012 European Institute of Oncology Breast Cancer Therapy Award, the 2013 Hyman L. Battle Distinguished Cancer Research Award from UNC, the 2016 Jill Rose Award for Distinguished Biomedical Research from the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and the 2016 Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction from the Susan G. Komen. Lastly he has been named a Thomson Reuters Most Highly Cited Researcher in Clinical Medicine for 2014-17, and his work has received more than 123,000 total citations.