Victor Velculescu
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Victor Velculescu
Victor E. Velculescu
Dr. Vicotor Velculescu in his lab.tif
BornAugust 16, 1970
ResidenceUnited States
Alma materStanford University
Johns Hopkins University
AwardsPaul Marks Prize for Cancer Research (2011)
AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Research (2009)
Judson Daland Prize (2008)
Scientific career
FieldsGenomics, Cancer biology
InstitutionsJohns Hopkins University

Victor E. Velculescu (born August 16, 1970) is a Professor of Oncology and Co-Director of Cancer Biology at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. [1,2]. He is internationally known for his discoveries in genomics and cancer research.

Early life and education

Velculescu was born in Bucharest, Romania and moved with his family to Westlake Village, California at the age of seven [3]. He began molecular biology research as an undergraduate at Stanford University, graduating with honors and distinction in biological sciences in 1992. Velculescu completed his M.D. degree, a Ph.D. in human genetics and molecular biology, and postdoctoral studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine where he remains on the faculty [4].


Velculescu and members of his research group have pioneered approaches for discovering molecular alterations in human cancer and applying these discoveries to improve the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

In 1995 Velculescu developed SAGE (serial analysis of gene expression), a gene expression technology for the global and quantitative measurement of gene activity [5]. The SAGE approach provided some of the first insights into gene expression patterns in eukaryotic cells and the identification of gene expression patterns in human cancer. These studies led Velculescu to coin the term transcriptome in a 1997 paper to describe the comprehensive gene expression patterns that could now be analyzed [6]. SAGE contributed to the development of next-generation sequencing methods used for genome-wide expression analyses [7].

In the early 2000s, Velculescu and members of his laboratory devised new technologies for characterizing the cancer genome. These included digital karyotyping, which allows for quantitative characterization of amplifications and deletions at the DNA level [8]. This approach provided the underlying methodology for next-generation sequencing analyses to detect chromosomal abnormalities in human cancer as well as in prenatal genetic testing [9-10].

In parallel, Velculescu was an early developer of methods for high-throughput sequencing of human cancer [11], which his group used to identify the PIK3CA gene as one of the most highly mutated cancer genes [12].

Starting in 2005, Velculescu extended these approaches, and together with Bert Vogelstein, Ken Kinzler and other colleagues at Johns Hopkins performed the first sequence analysis of the coding genome in human cancers, including breast, colorectal, brain, and pancreatic cancers [13-17]. His group also led the effort to sequence the first pediatric tumor genome for medulloblastoma [18,19]. These studies defined the genomic landscapes of human cancers and identified alterations in a variety of genes and pathways not previously known to be involved in tumorigenesis, including the IDH1 and IDH2 genes in gliomas [16], and chromatin modifying genes MLL2/3 and ARID1 in medulloblastomas, neuroblastomas and other tumor types [18-20].

In 2010, Velculescu and his group developed the PARE (personalized analysis of rearranged ends) technology that can help detect genomic tumor biomarkers circulating in the blood to enable the monitoring and personalized treatment of human cancer [21]. Using this approach, his laboratory performed the first whole-genome analysis detecting chromosomal alterations in the blood of cancer patients [22].

Translational Efforts

Velculescu co-founded the cancer genomics company Personal Genome Diagnostics (PGDx) in 2010 to bring individualized cancer genome analyses to patients, physicians, researchers and drug developers. PGDx was the first clinical laboratory to provide whole-exome sequencing for cancer patients in 2011.

Awards and honors

Grand Prize Winner of the Amersham/Pharmacia & Science Young Scientist Prize (1999) [3]

"Brilliant Ten Young Scientists of the Year" from Popular Science (2003) [23]

Fellow, World Technology Award for Health and Medicine (2004) [4]

Pew Scholar Award from The Pew Charitable Trusts (2004) [24]

Sir William Osler Young Investigator Award from the Interurban Clinical Club (2006) [25]

Judson Daland Prize from the American Philosophical Society (2007) [26]

European Association of Cancer Research and Carcinogenesis Young Investigator Award (2008) [27]

The AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Research (2009) [28]

The Paul Marks Prize for Cancer Research (2011) [29]

AACR Team Science Award for Pancreatic Cancer Research (2013) [30]

AACR Team Science Award for Malignant Brain Tumor Research (2014) [30]


  1. Victor Velculescu [1] from the Scopus bibliographic database
  2. Victor Velculescu's publications in Google Scholar[
  6. Velculescu VE, Zhang L, Vogelstein B, Kinzler KW. Serial analysis of gene expression [2]. Science. 1995 Oct 20;270(5235):484-7. PMID 7570003
  7. Velculescu VE, Zhang L, Zhou W, Vogelstein J, Basrai MA, Bassett DE Jr, Hieter P, Vogelstein B, Kinzler KW. Characterization of the yeast transcriptome [3]. Cell. 1997 Jan 24;88(2):243-51. PMID 9008165
  8. Mardis ER. Next-generation DNA sequencing methods [4]. Annu Rev Genom Hum Genet. 2008;9:387-402. PMID 18576944
  9. Wang TL, Maierhofer C, Speicher MR, Lengauer C, Vogelstein B, Kinzler KW, Velculescu VE. Digital karyotyping [5]. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Dec 10;99(25):16156-61. Epub 2002 Dec 2. PMID 12461184
  10. Ding L, Wendl MC, Koboldt DC, Mardis ER. Analysis of next-generation genomic data in cancer: accomplishments and challenges [6]. Hum Mol Genet. 2010 Oct 15;19(R2):R188-96. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddq391. Epub 2010 Sep 15. Review. PMID 20843826
  11. Haber DA, Velculescu VE. Blood-Based Analyses of Cancer: Circulating Tumor Cells and Circulating Tumor DNA. Cancer Discov [7]. 2014 Jun;4(6):650-661. Epub 2014 May 6. Review.
  12. PMID 24801577
  13. Bardelli A, Parsons DW, Silliman N, Ptak J, Szabo S, Saha S, Markowitz S, Willson JK, Parmigiani G, Kinzler KW, Vogelstein B, Velculescu VE. Mutational analysis of the tyrosine kinome in colorectal cancers [8]. Science. 2003 May 9;300(5621):949. PMID 12738854
  14. Samuels Y, Wang Z, Bardelli A, Silliman N, Ptak J, Szabo S, Yan H, Gazdar A, Powell SM, Riggins GJ, Willson JK, Markowitz S, Kinzler KW, Vogelstein B, Velculescu VE. High frequency of mutations of the PIK3CA gene in human cancers [9]. Science. 2004 Apr 23;304(5670):554. Epub 2004 Mar 11. No abstract available. PMID 15016963
  15. Sjöblom T, Jones S, Wood LD, Parsons DW, Lin J, Barber TD, Mandelker D, Leary RJ, Ptak J, Silliman N, Szabo S, Buckhaults P, Farrell C, Meeh P, Markowitz SD, Willis J, Dawson D, Willson JK, Gazdar AF, Hartigan J, Wu L, Liu C, Parmigiani G, Park BH, Bachman KE, Papadopoulos N, Vogelstein B, Kinzler KW, Velculescu VE. The consensus coding sequences of human breast and colorectal cancers [10]. Science. 2006 Oct 13;314(5797):268-74. Epub 2006 Sep 7. PMID 16959974
  16. Cancer genetics, Variations on a theme, The Economist, September 7, 2006 print edition [11]
  17. Wood LD, Parsons DW, Jones S, Lin J, Sjöblom T, Leary RJ, Shen D, Boca SM, Barber T, Ptak J, Silliman N, Szabo S, Dezso Z, Ustyanksky V, Nikolskaya T, Nikolsky Y, Karchin R, Wilson PA, Kaminker JS, Zhang Z, Croshaw R, Willis J, Dawson D, Shipitsin M, Willson JK, Sukumar S, Polyak K, Park BH, Pethiyagoda CL, Pant PV, Ballinger DG, Sparks AB, Hartigan J, Smith DR, Suh E, Papadopoulos N, Buckhaults P, Markowitz SD, Parmigiani G, Kinzler KW, Velculescu VE, Vogelstein B. The genomic landscapes of human breast and colorectal cancers [12]. Science. 2007 Nov 16;318(5853):1108-13. Epub 2007 Oct 11. PMID 17932254
  18. Parsons DW, Jones S, Zhang X, Lin JC, Leary RJ, Angenendt P, Mankoo P, Carter H, Siu IM, Gallia GL, Olivi A, McLendon R, Rasheed BA, Keir S, Nikolskaya T, Nikolsky Y, Busam DA, Tekleab H, Diaz LA Jr, Hartigan J, Smith DR, Strausberg RL, Marie SK, Shinjo SM, Yan H, Riggins GJ, Bigner DD, Karchin R, Papadopoulos N, Parmigiani G, Vogelstein B, Velculescu VE, Kinzler KW. An integrated genomic analysis of human glioblastoma multiforme [13]. Science. 2008 Sep 26;321(5897):1807-12. doi: 10.1126/science.1164382. Epub 2008 Sep 4. PMID 18772396
  19. Jones S, Zhang X, Parsons DW, Lin JC, Leary RJ, Angenendt P, Mankoo P, Carter H, Kamiyama H, Jimeno A, Hong SM, Fu B, Lin MT, Calhoun ES, Kamiyama M, Walter K, Nikolskaya T, Nikolsky Y, Hartigan J, Smith DR, Hidalgo M, Leach SD, Klein AP, Jaffee EM, Goggins M, Maitra A, Iacobuzio-Donahue C, Eshleman JR, Kern SE, Hruban RH, Karchin R, Papadopoulos N, Parmigiani G, Vogelstein B, Velculescu VE, Kinzler KW. Core signaling pathways in human pancreatic cancers revealed by global genomic analyses [14]. Science. 2008 Sep 26;321(5897):1801-6. doi: 10.1126/science.1164368. Epub 2008 Sep 4. PMID 18772397
  20. Parsons DW, Li M, Zhang X, Jones S, Leary RJ, Lin JC, Boca SM, Carter H, Samayoa J, Bettegowda C, Gallia GL, Jallo GI, Binder ZA, Nikolsky Y, Hartigan J, Smith DR, Gerhard DS, Fults DW, VandenBerg S, Berger MS, Marie SK, Shinjo SM, Clara C, Phillips PC, Minturn JE, Biegel JA, Judkins AR, Resnick AC, Storm PB, Curran T, He Y, Rasheed BA, Friedman HS, Keir ST, McLendon R, Northcott PA, Taylor MD, Burger PC, Riggins GJ, Karchin R, Parmigiani G, Bigner DD, Yan H, Papadopoulos N, Vogelstein B, Kinzler KW, Velculescu VE. The genetic landscape of the childhood cancer medulloblastoma [15]. Science. 2011 Jan 28; 331(6016):435-9. doi: 10.1126/science.1198056. Epub 2010 Dec 16. PMID 21163964
  21. Gene Scan Shows Childhood Brain is Different, Maggie Fox, Reuters, Dec. 16, 2010,[16]
  22. Sausen M, Leary RJ, Jones S, Wu J, Reynolds CP, Liu X, Blackford A, Parmigiani G, Diaz LA Jr, Papadopoulos N, Vogelstein B, Kinzler KW, Velculescu VE, Hogarty MD. Integrated genomic analyses identify ARID1A and ARID1B alterations in the childhood cancer neuroblastoma [17]. Nat Genet. 2013 Jan;45(1):12-7. doi: 10.1038/ng.2493. Epub 2012 Dec 2. PMID 23202128
  23. Leary RJ, Kinde I, Diehl F, Schmidt K, Clouser C, Duncan C, Antipova A, Lee C, McKernan K, De La Vega FM, Kinzler KW, Vogelstein B, Diaz LA Jr, Velculescu VE. Development of personalized tumor biomarkers using massively parallel sequencing [18]. Sci Transl Med. 2010 Feb 24;2(20):20ra14. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3000702. PMID 20371490
  24. Leary RJ, Sausen M, Kinde I, Papadopoulos N, Carpten JD, Craig D, O'Shaughnessy J, Kinzler KW, Parmigiani G, Vogelstein B, Diaz LA Jr, Velculescu VE. Detection of chromosomal alterations in the circulation of cancer patients with whole-genome sequencing [19]. Sci Transl Med. 2012 Nov 28;4(162):162ra154. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3004742. PMID 23197571

External links

  • Johns Hopkins University Kimmel Cancer Center [20]
  • Johns Hopkins University Institute of Genetic Medicine [21]
  • Johns Hopkins Cellular and Molecular Medicine Program [22]
  • Paul Marks Prize Lecture at Memorial Sloan Kettering [23]

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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