Port High grad named director of MIT cancer research institute


Matthew Vander Heiden was named director of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, effective April 1. 

He is a 1990 graduate of Port Washington High School and graduate of the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.

Vander Heiden has been an MIT professor of biology, a practicing oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and a pioneer in the field of cancer cell metabolism. 

Vander Heiden was one of the first faculty members hired to join the Koch Institute in 2010 after it was created in 2007. 

He has served as associate director of the Koch Institute since 2017 and is a member of the MIT Center for Precision Cancer Medicine, the Ludwig Center for Molecular Oncology and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. 

His work has received many awards, including the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Faculty Scholar Award and an National Cancer Institute Outstanding Investigator Award. 

As he guides the Koch Institute into its second decade, he looks forward to taking advantage of new opportunities to make fundamental discoveries in the biology of cancer, as well as translating existing knowledge into better treatments. 

“I don’t think of my colleagues as being scientists or engineers. I just view them as people who are asking interesting questions, trying to solve translational problems and trying to solve basic problems,” Vander Heiden said. “We have broken down all these barriers, these traditional silos of fields, and I think that uniquely positions us to answer the big questions about cancer research going forward.”

While serving as director, Vander Heiden plans to continue working as an oncologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where he treats prostrate cancer patients.



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