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Robert Clarke

Robert-ClarkeRobert Clarke, PhD, DSc, F.S.Biol., F.R.S.Chem., F.R.S.Med. (UK) is a Professor of Oncology and co-Director of the Breast Cancer Program at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. Breast cancer research at Georgetown University consistently ranks in the top 10 world-wide as determined by Thompson Scientific (ISI Citation Index) in its two reviews of breast cancer to date (2001; 2005).

Dr. Clarke is also an Associate Vice President of Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) and Interim Director of its Biomedical Graduate Research Organization, home to 60% of the university's research activities. He was appointed as GUMC's Dean for Research.

A native of Northern Ireland, Dr. Clarke earned a DSc in 1999, a PhD in 1986, and a MSc in 1982 (each in biochemistry) from the Queen's University of Belfast, and a BSc (Biological Sciences) in 1980 from the University of Ulster. He completed his postdoctoral training with Dr. Marc Lippman at the medical breast section of the National Cancer Institute (National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD) as a breast cancer study group fellow (1988). Dr. Clarke joined the faculty at Georgetown University in 1989, where he served as Secretary/Treasurer of the Georgetown University Faculty Senate (2004-2007).

An elected fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Royal Society of Medicine, and the Royal Society of Biology (U.K.), Dr. Clarke also is a member of the American Association of Cancer Research, Endocrine Society, Society for Endocrinology, New York Academy of Sciences, and the American Chemical Society.

Regularly invited to speak at international and national meetings, Dr. Clarke serves on the editorial board of more than a dozen peer review journals, e.g., Cancer Research (Senior Editor), Endocrine-Related Cancer(Senior Editor), Clinical Cancer Research, Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, Cancer Prevention Research,British Journal of Cancer, and Breast Cancer Research and Treatment. He regularly serves on state, national, and international grant peer-review study sections. Having recently completed tenure as chair of a N.I.H. study section, Dr. Clarke currently serves on the basic mechanisms of cancer therapeutics study section.

An internationally recognized leader in breast cancer research, Dr. Clarke studies how hormones and growth factors affect breast cancer. Focusing initially on the interactions among hormones and anticancer drugs, his work expanded to include the cellular and molecular mechanisms that explain how breast cancers become resistant to hormone and cytotoxic therapies. He and his colleagues developed a series of hormone resistant breast cancer models that are widely used in the field. Dr. Clarke leads two NIH-funded centers at Georgetown University; a Center for Cancer Systems Biology funded through the Integrative Cancer Biology Program, and an In Silico Research Center of Excellence funded through the Cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid (caBIG) Program.

Dr. Clarke is currently developing and applying novel bioinformatic methods in translational breast cancer studies. He and his collaborators have recently described a novel molecular signaling network that incorporates the unfolded protein response to endoplasmic reticulum stress. This signaling network contributes directly to the hormonal regulation of breast cancer cell proliferation and cell death. One key gene in this network is IRF1, which was first implicated in affecting hormone responsiveness and breast cancer cell survival in Dr. Clarke's laboratory. His team has now shown that IRF1 is a new breast cancer suppressor gene. Other key network genes include XBP1, NF?B, and BECN1 and select members of the BCL2 gene family. Dr. Clarke has authored/co-authored more than 200 publications and has several patents, mostly in the field of breast cancer research.