Allan Balmain, PhD, FRS
Barbara Bass Bakar Distinguished Professorship in Cancer Genetics, UCSF
A major goal of our research for many years has been to use mouse genetics to understand the relationships between exposure to environmental carcinogens, including chemicals and radiation, and cancer susceptibility. We have generated mouse models that recapitulate the genetic heterogeneity in human populations, with a view to develop approaches to personalized diagnosis and treatment. The focus of our most recent projects is the development of “Systems Genetics” approaches to analysis of normal tissue biology, and the changes in the genome mutational landscapes and gene expression architecture that are induced by carcinogen exposure. These seek to integrate multidimensional data sets to provide a network view of normal genetic architecture in mouse and human tissues, and the perturbations that take place during development of benign tumors and their progression to metastasis. Studies to date have revealed important roles for genes and pathways linked to stem cell fate decisions, cell cycle control, inflammation, and immune regulation. These integrated systems approaches represent a novel and highly promising route to the identification of the critical interacting components of signaling pathways, and identification of the critical changes in expression networks that are linked to cancer. They will further provide a platform, using chemically induced tumors that have many point mutations, to design and test novel approaches to combinatorial therapy including radiotherapy and immunotherapy, and the development of biomarkers of responsiveness. Finally, analysis of mouse tumors induced by different carcinogens can provide a deeper understanding of the etiology and mutational origins of human cancers.
University of Glasgow, BSc, 1966, Hons. Chemistry
University of Glasgow, Ph.D., 1969, Organic Chemistry
University of Strasbourg, France, Postdoc, 1969-71
German Cancer Research Centre, Heidelberg, West Germany, Postdoc, 1971-72