Helen Piwnica-Worms, Ph.D.

Vice Provost of Science; Professor of Experimental Radiation Oncology

Dr. Helen Piwnica-Worms is Professor of Experimental Radiation Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Piwnica-Worms has won national and international recognition for her scientific contributions. She was a Damon Runyon Fellow, a Pew Scholar in the biomedical sciences, an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and an established investigator of the American Heart Association. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2011, Dr. Piwnica-Worms was named an American Cancer Society Research Professor, and in 2013, she was elected to the National Academy of Medicine. 

Major goals of her research program include understanding the function and regulation of proteins involved in cell cycle and checkpoint control, identifying mutations with functional significance to the development and progression of premalignant and invasive breast cancer and translating results from basic, genomic and preclinical studies into improved clinical interventions for breast cancer patients. 

She received her bachelor’s degree from St. Olaf College and a Ph.D. degree in microbiology and immunology from Duke University Medical School. After completing postdoctoral training at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, she joined the faculty of Tufts University Medical School, followed by Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. In 1994 she joined the faculty of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis where she was the Gerty T. Cori Professor of Cell Biology and Physiology and in 2011 became Chair of the Department of Cell Biology and Physiology.  She also served as Associate Director of Basic Science of the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University. 

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