William C. Hahn, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Senior Associate Member, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
Dr. William C. Hahn is a medical oncologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Medical Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and a Senior Associate Member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. He co-directs the Center for Cancer Genome Discovery, is the Chief of the Division of Molecular and Cellular Oncology and is the Deputy Chief Scientific Officer at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Dr. Hahn has made numerous seminal discoveries that have informed our current molecular understanding of cancer and which have defined new conceptual paradigms and formed the foundation of new translational studies. His laboratory has helped develop widely adopted experimental models and genome-scale tools, all of which he has made openly available to the research community. Dr. Hahn and his colleagues helped demonstrate that activation of the reverse transcriptase telomerase plays an essential role in malignant transformation. This observation provided the means to create novel experimental model systems to identify and characterize the cooperative genetic interactions that lead to malignant transformation. Together with his colleagues at the Broad Institute, he helped develop genome scale tools and technology (RNAi and open reading frame collections) to perform somatic cell genetics in human cells. His laboratory has pioneered the use of integrated functional genomic approaches to identify and validate cancer targets. Using these approaches, his laboratory has discovered several new oncogenes including IKBKE, CRKL, CDK8 and SOX2 as well as targets (TBK1 and CYCLOPS genes) that are essential in specific genetic contexts, which will pave the way for new therapeutic approaches. The tools, models and approaches that his laboratory has developed have already become widely used worldwide to discover and validate molecularly targeted cancer therapies. Dr. Hahn and his collaborators are now engaged in clinical trials testing whether inhibition both of these new oncogenes or synthetic lethal partners will lead to clinical responses.
Clinically, he is a member of the Lank Center for Genitourinary Oncology and is devoted to the development of new therapeutic strategies for the treatment of prostate and other cancers. As the co-director of the Center for Cancer Genome Discovery, he is committed to the development and implementation of technologies that permit the interrogation of cancer-associated mutations at genome scale and to implement these technologies prospectively in newly diagnosed patients.
Dr. Hahn has been the recipient of many honors and awards including the 2000 Wilson S. Stone Award from M.D. Anderson Cancer Center for outstanding research in cancer, a Kimmel Scholar Award, the Howard Temin Award from the National Cancer Institute, a Doris Duke Clinical Scientist Development Award, and the Ho-Am Prize in Medicine (2010).