Christopher Vakoc

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Christopher Vakoc
CitizenshipUnited States of America
  • Biochemistry
  • M.D.
  • Ph.D.
Alma mater
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Molecular biologist
  • Professor
OrganizationCold Spring Harbor Laboratory
  • American Association for Cancer Research Outstanding Achievement Award
  • Pershing Square Sohn Cancer Research Alliance Prize
  • Paul Marks Prize for Cancer Research

Christopher Vakoc is a molecular biologist and a Professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.[1]


Vakoc graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a degree in Biochemistry in 2001.[1] He then attained his M.D. and his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. His PhD research was performed with Gerd Blobel on the regulation of gene expression during hematopoiesis.[1] In 2008, he established his own independent research group at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.[1][2]

Career and research

Vakoc uses CRISPR/Cas9 technology to probe the epigenetic regulation of cancer and to identify new cancer drug targets.[1][2] In 2011, Vakoc discovered that the epigenetic protein BRD4 was particularly important for leukemia, leading to a series of clinical trials with a new drug, JQ1.[3][4][5] By studying cancer epigenetics, Vakoc has also identified a new subtype of lung cancer[6] and has discovered how gene expression changes affect metastasis in pancreatic cancer.[7][8]

Recently, Vakoc has developed a CRISPR screening approach to identify the protein domains that are most important for cancer growth.[9][10]

Awards and honors

  • American Association for Cancer Research Outstanding Achievement Award, 2015[11]
  • Paul Marks Prize for Cancer Research, 2019[12]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Christopher Vakoc, MD, PhD". Pershing Square Foundation. Retrieved 2020-05-01.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Ryan, Joe (2013-06-07). "Cold Spring Harbor Lab targeting cancer cells". Newsday. Retrieved 2020-05-04.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. "A Conversation with Christopher Vakoc". Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology. 81: 344–346. 2016-01-01. doi:10.1101/sqb.2016.81.031617. ISSN 0091-7451. PMID 28123048.
  4. Zuber, Johannes; Shi, Junwei; Wang, Eric; Rappaport, Amy R.; Herrmann, Harald; Sison, Edward A.; Magoon, Daniel; Qi, Jun; Blatt, Katharina; Wunderlich, Mark; Taylor, Meredith J. (October 2011). "RNAi screen identifies Brd4 as a therapeutic target in acute myeloid leukaemia". Nature. 478 (7370): 524–528. doi:10.1038/nature10334. ISSN 1476-4687.
  5. Ricks, Delthia (2015-04-18). "Cold Spring Harbor researchers test treatment that can halt acute myeloid leukemia". Newsday. Retrieved 2020-05-01.
  6. Ricks, Delthia (2018-07-14). "Cold Spring Harbor scientists discover new form of lung cancer". Newsday. Retrieved 2020-05-01.
  7. Kwon, Diana (2017-07-27). "Enhancers Drive Pancreatic Cancer Metastasis: Study". The Scientist. Retrieved 2020-05-01.
  8. "LI scientists make key pancreatic cancer find". Newsday. Retrieved 2020-05-04.
  9. Rood, Jenny (2015-05-13). "Targeting Protein Domains with CRISPR". The Scientist. Retrieved 2020-05-01.
  10. Howley, Elaine K. (2018-09-12). "What's the likelihood that CRISPR will cure Cancer?". U.S. News & World Report.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. "AACR recognizes outstanding cancer research achievements of Dr. Christopher Vakoc". EurekAlert!. Retrieved 2020-05-04.
  12. Grisham, Julie (2019-11-08). "Three Scientists are Named Winners of the Paul Marks Prize for Cancer Research". Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Retrieved 2020-05-03.

External links

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