Cancer Institute A national cancer institute
designated cancer center
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Patrick O. Brown

Academic Appointments

  • Professor of Biochemistry

Key Documents

Contact Information

  • Academic Offices
    Personal Information
    Email Tel (650) 723-0005 Tel (650) 725-7567


Academic Appointments

Administrative Appointments

  • Founder, Lyrical Foods (2011 - present)
  • Founder, Maraxi (2011 - present)
  • Board of Directors, Co-founder, Public Library of Science (2001 - present)
  • Scientific Advisory Board, Canary Foundation (2004 - present)
  • Scientific Advisory Board, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (2000 - 2009)

Honors and Awards

  • Award for Excellence in Molecular Diagnostics, Association for Molecular Pathology (2010)
  • Member, Institute of Medicine (2009)
  • Medal of Honor, American Cancer Society (2006)
  • Curt Stern Award, American Society for Human Genetics (2005)
  • Rave Award, WIRED Magazine (2004)
  • Takeda Award, Takeda Foundation (2002)
View All 14honors and awards of Patrick Brown

Professional Education

MD: University of Chicago (1982)
PhD: University of Chicago, Biochemistry (1980)
BA: University of Chicago, Chemistry (1976)

Community and International Work

Research & Scholarship

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

Each cell in our bodies expresses a specific set of genes according to a precisely controlled genetic script that gives that cell its distinctive design and functional capabilities. The gene expression program that unfolds during a developmental or physiological or pathological process can be read as a kind of a script for that process.

Much of our research is directed at defining the gene expression scripts of the yeast and human genomes, understanding the logic and the molecular mechanisms that control them. These studies aim to provide a detailed picture of the rules and processes that govern expression of each gene. We are developing new genetic and biochemical approaches to systematically map out the regulatory circuitry that control that synthesis, processing, localization, translation and degradation of each gene’s transcripts. Our results thus far provide compelling evidence that post-transcriptional control plays a much richer and more important role in biological regulation than previously suspected.

We are characterizing the gene expression patterns in thousands of human cells and tissues under diverse conditions. These studies provide detailed molecular pictures of the programmed responses of the human genome to diverse physiological and pathological conditions, and clues to the mechanisms by which these processes are deranged in cancer and other diseases. We focus most of this effort in four areas:

1. Systematic investigation of the global program and molecular mechanisms of post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression in development, physiology and disease.

2. Defining the cellular and molecular composition of human tissue and tumor microenvironments; understanding how they influence the survival, proliferation, differentiation and physiology of normal and cancer cells.

3. Identifying patterns of gene expression that can be used to detect and precisely identify human cancers and predict their potential for progression or response to specific therapies.

4. Developing new strategies and technologies for diagnosis and early detection of cancer.




Graduate and Fellowship Program Affiliations



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Publication Topics

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