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Arul Chinnaiyan

Director, Michigan Center for Translational Pathology; S.P. Hicks Endowed Professor of Pathology; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; American Cancer Society Research Professor
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734.615.4062

Dr. Chinnaiyan is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, the S.P. Hicks Endowed Professor of Pathology and Professor of Pathology and Urology at the University of Michigan Medical School, and is also a member of the Comprehensive Cancer Center and Bioinformatics Program. In 2007, he was named the Director of a new initiative at the University called the Michigan Center for Translational Pathology (MCTP), the goal of which is to develop new molecular tests and therapeutics for human disease with a primary focus on cancer. Dr. Chinnaiyan is a board certified Clinical Pathologist and currently serves as Director of the Division of Pathology Research Informatics and Director of Cancer Bioinformatics.

In addition to receiving his undergraduate degree and medical training at Michigan, he received his Ph.D. in Pathology and has made seminal contributions to the understanding of the molecular mechanisms of how cells die (a process called apoptosis). Dr. Chinnaiyan has received a number of awards including the Basic Science Research Award awarded by the University of Michigan Medical School Dean’s Office, the AMGEN Outstanding Investigator Award, the Pew Biomedical Scholar Award, the Burroughs Welcome Foundation Award in Clinical Translational Research, the 2006 Benjamin Castleman Award, the 2007 Ramzi Cotran Young Investigator Award and was recently appointed as an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. Chinnaiyan was also elected as a member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians.

Dr. Chinnaiyan's research is focused on functional genomic, proteomic and bioinformatics approaches to study cancer for the purposes of understanding cancer biology as well as to discover clinical biomarkers.  His group has characterized a number of biomarkers of prostate cancer including AMACR, EZH2, hepsin and sarcosine.  AMACR is being used clinically across the country in the assessment of cancer in prostate needle biopsies. The landmark study from Dr. Chinnaiyan's lab thus far is the discovery of TMPRSS2-ETS gene fusions in prostate cancer.  TMPRSS2-ETS gene fusions are specific markers of prostate cancer as well as presumably function as rational targets for this disease. This finding potentially redefines the molecular basis of prostate cancer as well as other common epithelial cancers.   Currently efforts are underway to target this gene fusion as well as discover similar gene fusions in other common epithelial tumors such as those derived from the breast, lung, and colon.  The group has also developed the popular cancer profiling bioinformatics resource called Oncomine (www.oncomine.org) that is freely available to the academic community (hosting nearly 10,000 registered users from over 30 countries).

1998: Amersham Pharmacia Biotech and Science Prize, North America Region, Uppsala, Sweden

2000: Cheryl Whitlock/Pathology Memorial Prize, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA

2002: Pew Biomedical Scholar

2004: Young Investigator Award, Society of Basic Urological Research (SBUR)

2005: AMGEN Outstanding Investigator Award, American Society of Investigative Pathology

2005: Dean’s Basic Science Research Award, University of Michigan Medical School

2006: Elected Member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation

2006: United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology (USCAP) Benjamin Castleman Award

2007: United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology (USCAP) Ramzi Cotran Young Investigator Award

2007: Inaugural American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Team Science Award

2008: AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Research

2009: Elected Member of the American Association of Physicians

2009: Elected Member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (IOM)

2009: Philip Levine Award for Outstanding Research from the American Society of Clinical Pathology

2009: Paul Marks Prize for Cancer Research from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

2013: Urology Care Foundation Richard D. Williams, MD Prostate Cancer Research Excellence Award

2013: Distinguished University Innovator Award, University of Michigan

Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications (15 from a total of 280 peer-reviewed publications):

  1. Varambally S, Dhanasekaran SM, Barrette TR, Sanda MG, Ghosh D, Pienta KJ, Sewalt RGAB, Otte AP, Rubin MA, Chinnaiyan AM. The polycomb group protein EZH2 is involved in prostate cancer progression. Nature. 2002; 419:624-9.
  2. Rubin MA, Zhou M, Dhanasekaran SM, Varambally S, Barrette TR, Sanda MG, Pienta KJ, Ghosh D, Chinnaiyan AM. alpha-Methylacyl coenzyme A racemase as a tissue biomarker for prostate cancer. JAMA. 2002; 287(13):1662-70. 
  3. Tomlins SA, Rhodes DR, Perner S, Dhanasekaran SM, Mehra R, Sun X-W, Varambally S, Cao X, Tchinda J, Kuefer, R, Lee C, Montie JE, Shah RB, Pienta KL, Rubin MA, Chinnaiyan AM. Recurrent fusion of TMPRSS2 and ETS transcription factor genes in prostate cancer.  Science. 2005; 310(5748): 644-648.
  4. Tomlins SA, Dhanasekaran SM, Laxman B, Cao Q, Helgeson BE, Cao X, Morris DS, Menon A, Jing X, Han B, Montie JE, Rubin MA, Pienta KJ, Roulston D, Shah RB, Varambally S, Mehra R, Chinnaiyan AM.  Distinct classes of chromosomal rearrangements create oncogenic ETS gene fusions in prostate cancer, Nature. 2007; 448(7153):595-9.
  5. Varambally S, Cao Q, Mani RS, Shankar S, Wang X, Ateeq B, Laxman B, Cao X, Jing X, Ramnarayanan, Brenner JC, Yu J, Kim JH, Han B, Tan P, Kumar-Sinha C, Lonigro RJ, Palanisamy N, Maher CA, Chinnaiyan AM. Genomic loss of microRNA-101 leads to overexpression of histone  methyltransferase EZH2 in cancer.  Science. 2008; 322(5908):1695-1699. PMCID: PMC2684823.
  6. Maher CA, Kumar-Sinha C, Cao X, Kalyana-Sundaram S, Han B, Jing X, Sam L, Barrette T, Palanisamy, N, Chinnaiyan AM. Transcriptome sequencing to detect gene fusions in cancer. Nature. 2009; 458(7234): 97-101. PMCID: PMC2725402.
  7. Sreekumar A, Poisson LM, Rajendiran TM, Khan AP, Yu, J, Cao Q, Laxman B, Mehra R, Lonigro RJ, Li Y, Nyati MK, Ahsan A, Kalyana-Sundaram S, Han, Bo, Cao X, Byun J, Omenn GS, Ghosh D, Pennathur S, Alexander DC, Shuster JR, Wei JT, Varambally S, Beecher C, Chinnaiyan AM. Metabolomic profiling delineates a role for the sarcosine pathway in prostate cancer progression. Nature. 2009; 457(7231):  910-914. PMCID: PMC2724746.
  8. Mani RS, Tomlins SA, Callahan K, Ghosh A, Nyati MK, Varambally S, Palanisamy N, Chinnaiyan AM.  Induced chromosomal proximity and gene fusions in prostate cancer. Science. 2009; 326(5957):1230.  PMCID: PMC2935583
  9. Palanisamy N, Ateeq B, Kalyana-Sundaram S, Pflueger D, Ramnarayanan K, Shankar S, Han B, Cao Q, Cao X, Suleman K, Kumar-Sinha C, Dhanasekaran SM, Chen YB, Esgueva R, Banerjee S, LaFargue CJ, Siddiqui J, Demichelis F, Moeller P, Bismar TA, Kuefer R, Fullen DR, Johnson TM, Greenson JK, Giordano TJ, Tan P, Tomlins SA, Varambally S, Rubin MA, Maher CA, Chinnaiyan AM. Rearrangements of the RAF kinase pathway in prostate cancer, gastric cancer and melanoma. Nat Med. 2010; 16(7):793-8. PMCID:  PMC2903732
  10. Prensner JR, Iyer MK, Balbin OA, Dhanasekaran SM, Cao Q, Brenner JC, Laxman B, Asangani I, Grasso C, Kominsky HD, Cao X, Jing X, Wang X, Siddiqui J, Wei JT, Robinson D, Iyer HK, Palanisamy N, Maher CA, Chinnaiyan AM. Transcriptome Sequencing Identifies PCAT-1, a Novel lincRNA Implicated in Prostate Cancer Progression. Nat Biotech. 2011; 29(8): 742-749. PMCID: PMC3152676
  11. Robinson DR, Kalyana-Sundaram S, Wu Y-M, Shankar S, Cao X, Ateeq B, Asangani IA, Iyer M, Maher CA, Grasso CS, Lonigro RJ, Quist M, Siddiqui J, Mehra R, Jing X, Giordano TJ, Sabel MS, Kleer CG, Palanisamy N, Natrajan R, Lambros MB, Reis-Filho JS, Kumar-Sinha C, Chinnaiyan AM. Functionally recurrent rearrangements of the MAST kinase and Notch gene families in breast cancer. Nat Med. 2011; 17(12):1646-1651. PMCID: PMC3233654
  12. Roychowdhury S, Iyer MK, Robinson DR, Longiro RJ, Wu Y, Cao X, Kalyana-Sundaram S, Sam L, Balbin OA, Quist MJ, Araujo JC, Troncoso P, Logothetis CJ, Innis JW, Smith DC, Lao CD, Kim SY. Roberts JS, Gruber SB, Pienta KJ, Talpaz M, Chinnaiyan AM.  Personalized oncology throught integrative high-throughput sequencing: A pilot study.  Sci Trans Med. 2011; 3(111):1-10. PMCID: PMC3476478
  13. Kalyana-Sundaram S, Kumar-Sinha C, Shankar S, Robinson DR, Wu Y-M, Cao X, Asagani, IA, Kothari V, Prensner JR, Lonigro RJ, Iyer M, Barrette T, Shanmugam A, Dhanasakaran SM, Palanisamy N, Chinnaiyan AM. Expressed Pseudogenes in the Transcriptomic Landscape of Cancer. Cell 2012, 149(7):1622-1634.  NIHMSID: 381120
  14. Grasso CS, Wu Y-M, Robinson DR, Cao X, Dhanasakaran SM, Khan AP, Quist MJ, Jing X, Lonigro RJ, Brenner JS, Asangani IA, Ateeq B, Chun SY, Siddiqui J, Sam L, Anstett M, Mehra R, Prensner JR, Palanisamy N, Ryslik GA, Vandin F, Raphael BJ, Kunju LP, Rhodes DR, Pienta KJ*, Chinnaiyan AM*, Tomlins SA. The mutational landscape of lethal castrate resistant prosate cancer. Nature 2012, 487(7406): 239-243.  PMCID:PMC3396711 * co-corresponding authors
  15. Robinson DR, Wu YM, Kalyana-Sundaram S, Cao X, Lonigro RJ, Sung YS, Chen CL, Zhang L, Wang R, Su F, Iyer MK, Roychowdhury S, Siddiqui J, Pienta KJ, Kunju LP, Talpaz M, Mosquera JM, Singer S, Schuetze Sm, Antonescu CR, Chinnaiyan AM.  Identification of recurrent NAB2-STAT6 gene fusions in solitary fibrous tumor by integrative sequencing.  Nat Genet 2013 Jan 13 [Epub ahead of print]. NIHMSID: 460061
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