The Best of the AACR Journals Collection: Author Profiles
Scott A. Tomlins
Title & Affiliation:
Assistant Professor of Pathology and Urology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI.
Q: What is your primary area of study/research?
A: High throughput characterization of the cancer genome and transcriptome to improve the lives of patients with cancer.
Q: What influenced your decision to embark on a research career?
A: I always liked science but wasn’t exposed to “real” research until I had a summer undergraduate internship at OHSU, where I was fortunate to be able to work in the lab of a great mentor, Karin Rodland, and was exposed to exciting and cutting edge translational cancer research. I was working down the hall from Brian Druker during the publication of the initial clinical trials with imatinib. Then when I started the MD/PhD program at the University of Michigan, I saw Arul Chinnaiyan present some of his work using microarrays to profile prostate cancer. Through his mentorship, I realized how high throughput technologies could be used to gain insight into disease biology and could be leveraged for biomarker identification. Those experiences coupled with anatomic pathology training set me on a course to try to understand cancer at a molecular level to improve cancer diagnosis, prognosis and therapeutic targeting.
Q; What excites you most about your research area?
A: The potential to translate findings to help patients. Much of my work is at the discovery and initial molecular characterization aspect, which is really exciting intellectually. However, the challenges of translating those findings to clinical tests and improved outcomes are orders of magnitude more challenging, often having nothing to do with the science or technology. Finding solutions to those challenges are what most excite me.
Q: What are your hobbies or passions outside of work?
A: Helping my wife try to chase our daughter around the house occupies most of my free time! If I can sneak in some skiing, surfing or reading that’s a bonus.