William G. Kaelin, Jr., M.D.

William G. Kaelin, Jr., M.D.

Professor of Medicine, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School

Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Associate Director, Basic Science, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Cancer Center

B.A. (1979) – Duke University, North Carolina (Mathematics)
A.B. (1979) – Duke University, North Carolina (Chemistry)
M.D. (1982)- Duke University School of Medicine
Internship/Residency (1983-86) - Johns Hopkins Hospital (Internal Medicine)
Fellowship - Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (Medical Oncology)
Dana Farber Cancer Institute


William Kaelin is a Professor in the Department of Medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and at the Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, where he currently serves as Associate Director, Basic Science, for the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center and Chair of the Executive Committee for Research. He obtained his undergraduate and M.D. degrees from Duke University and completed his training in internal medicine at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he served as chief medical resident. He was a clinical fellow in medical oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and later a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of David Livingston, during which time he was a McDonnell Scholar. 

Dr. Kaelin is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the American Society of Clinical Investigation, and the American College of Physicians. He recently served on the National Cancer Institute Board of Scientific Advisors, the AACR Board of Trustees, and the Institute of Medicine National Cancer Policy Board. He is a recipient of the Paul Marks Prize for cancer research from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Prize from the AACR; a Doris Duke Distinguished Clinical Scientist award; the 2010 Canada International Gairdner Award; ASCI’s Stanley J. Korsmeyer Award; the Scientific Grand Prix of the Foundation Lefoulon-Delalande; the Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences; the Steven C. Beering Award; the AACR Princess Takamatsu Award; and the Science of Oncology Award from ASCO.

A Howard Hughes Medical Investigator since 1998, Dr. Kaelin’s research seeks to understand how, mechanistically, mutations affecting tumor-suppressor genes cause cancer. His laboratory is currently focused on studies of the VHL, RB-1, and p53 tumor suppressor genes. His long-term goal is to lay the foundation for new anticancer therapies based on the biochemical functions of such proteins. His work on the VHL protein helped to motivate the eventual successful clinical testing of VEGF inhibitors for the treatment of kidney cancer. Moreover, this line of investigation led to new insights into how cells sense and respond to changes in oxygen, and thus has implications for diseases beyond cancer, such as anemia, myocardial infarction, and stroke.