Arul Chinnaiyan

Director, Michigan Center for Translational Pathology; S.P. Hicks Endowed Professor of Pathology; Professor of Urology; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; American Cancer Society Research Professor
5309 CCC

Arul M. Chinnaiyan, M.D., Ph.D. is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, American Cancer Society Research Professor, and S.P. Hicks Endowed Professor of Pathology and Urology at the University of Michigan.  He is also a member of the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center. He is the founding Director of the Michigan Center for Translational Pathology (MCTP) which is comprised of a multi-disciplinary team of investigators focused on translating “-Omic” technologies to patient care in terms of biomarkers and novel therapeutics. He has co-authored over 450 manuscripts and has been designated an A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute Scholar, is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS), the National Academy of Medicine, the Association of American Physicians (AAP), the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).  He serves on the Board of Scientific Advisors for the National Cancer Institute.

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 expertise is in functional genomic, proteomic and bioinformatics approaches to study cancer for the purposes of understanding cancer biology as well as to discover clinical biomarkers. The landmark study from his lab was the discovery of TMPRSS2-ETS gene fusions in prostate cancer in 2005.  This finding redefined the molecular basis of prostate cancer as well as other common epithelial cancers. He also led the development of the popular cancer profiling bioinformatics resource called Oncomine ( (hosting over 20,000 registered users from over 30 countries and serving 16 of the 20 top oncology biopharma).  Most recently, he has been involved in developing high-throughput clinical sequencing approaches for precision oncology (i.e., MI-ONCOSEQ). This has led to a number of discoveries including the pathognomomic gene fusion for solitary fibrous tumor (SFT), diverse targetable gene fusions of FGFR across a diverse array of common solid tumors, and identification of activating mutations in ESR1 that are a key mechanism in acquired endocrine resistance in breast cancer therapy. Moreover, the mutational landscape of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer and diverse adult and pediatric cancers have been analyzed through this study. Recently, his team carried out a comprehensive molecular analysis of metastatic solid tumors of diverse lineage and biopsy site from 500 adult patients (MET500 cohort) by performing clinical-grade integrative whole exome (tumor/normal) and transcriptome sequencing. Results of this study demonstrated that integrative sequence analysis provides clinically relevant, multidimensional view of the complex molecular landscape and microenvironment of metastatic cancers. The manuscript presenting the analysis of the MET500 cohort was published in Nature and featured on the cover of the journal.

            Dr. Chinnaiyan’s lab has also been devoting considerable effort towards understanding the role of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNA) and exploring their clinical potential. One of the lncRNAs that has been extensively studied in the lab, SChLAP1, was associated with a higher risk for biochemical recurrence, metastases, death from prostate cancer, and death from any cause at 10 years after prostatectomy. They showed that non-invasive detection of SChLAP1 in urine is feasible and are currently developing SChLAP1 as a clinical biomarker.

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; Clifford Prize for Cancer Research, Centre for Cancer Biology, Australia

2014: Elected Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 2014 Class of Members; Elected Fellow of National Academy of Inventors (NAI)

2015: McNair Scholar Award, Baylor College of Medicine

2016: Heath Memorial Award, MD Anderson Cancer Center

2017: Paulette Shirey Pritchett Endowed Lecture in Pathology Award, University of Alabama Birmingham,

           Simon M. Shubitz Cancer Prize and Lectureship, University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Foundation and University of Chicago Cancer Research Foundation

           2016 Victoria and Vinny Smith-PCF Challenge Award

Selected 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. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. Cao Q, Wang X, Zhao M, Yang R, Malik R, Qiao Y, Poliakov A, Yocum AK, Li Y, Chen W, Cao X, Jiang X, Dahiya A, Harris C, Feng FY, Kalantry S, Qin ZS, Dhanasekaran SM, Chinnaiyan AM. The central role of EED in the orchestration of polycomb group complexes. Nat Commun. 2014;5:3127. doi: 10.1038/ncomms4127. PubMed PMID: 24457600.
  16. Prensner JR, Iyer MK, Sahu A, Asangani IA, Cao Q, Patel L, Vergara IA, Davicioni E, Erho N, Ghadessi M, Jenkins RB, Triche TJ, Malik R, Bedenis R, McGregor N, Ma T, Chen W, Han S, Jing X, Cao X, Wang X, Chandler B, Yan W, Siddiqui J, Kunju LP, Dhanasekaran SM, Pienta KJ, Feng FY, Chinnaiyan AM. The long noncoding RNA SChLAP1 promotes aggressive prostate cancer and antagonizes the SWI/SNF complex. Nat Genet. 2013 Nov;45(11):1392-8. doi: 10.1038/ng.2771. Epub 2013 Sep 29. PubMed PMID: 24076601; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3812362.
  17. Wu YM, Su F, Kalyana-Sundaram S, Khazanov N, Ateeq B, Cao X, Lonigro RJ, Vats  P, Wang R, Lin SF, Cheng AJ, Kunju LP, Siddiqui J, Tomlins SA, Wyngaard P, Sadis  S, Roychowdhury S, Hussain MH, Feng FY, Zalupski MM, Talpaz M, Pienta KJ, Rhodes  DR, Robinson DR, Chinnaiyan AM. Identification of targetable FGFR gene fusions in diverse cancers. Cancer Discov. 2013 Jun;3(6):636-47. doi: 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-13-0050. Epub 2013 Apr 4. PubMed PMID: 23558953; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3694764.
  18. Robinson DR, Wu YM, Vats P, Su F, Lonigro RJ, Cao X, Kalyana-Sundaram S, Wang  R, Ning Y, Hodges L, Gursky A, Siddiqui J, Tomlins SA, Roychowdhury S, Pienta KJ, Kim SY, Roberts JS, Rae JM, Van Poznak CH, Hayes DF, Chugh R, Kunju LP, Talpaz M, Schott AF, Chinnaiyan AM. Activating ESR1 mutations in hormone-resistant metastatic breast cancer. Nat Genet. 2013 Dec;45(12):1446-51. doi: 10.1038/ng.2823. Epub 2013 Nov 3. PubMed PMID: 24185510.
  19. Prensner JR, Chen W, Iyer MK, Cao Q, Ma T, Han S, Sahu A, Malik R, Wilder-Romans K, Navone N, Logothetis CJ, Araujo JC, Pisters LL, Tewari AK, Canman CE, Knudsen KE, Kitabayashi N, Rubin MA, Demichelis F, Lawrence TS, Chinnaiyan AM, Feng FY. PCAT-1, a long noncoding RNA, regulates BRCA2 and controls homologous recombination in cancer. Cancer Res. 2014 Mar 15;74(6):1651-60. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-13-3159. Epub 2014 Jan 28. PubMed PMID: 24473064.
  20. Asangani IA, Dommeti VL, Wang X, Malik R, Cieslik M, Yang R, Escara-Wilke J, Wilder-Romans K, Dhanireddy S, Engelke C, Iyer MK, Jing X, Wu YM, Cao X, Qin ZS,  Wang S, Feng FY, Chinnaiyan AM. Therapeutic targeting of BET bromodomain proteins in castration-resistant prostate cancer. Nature. 2014 Apr 23. doi: 10.1038/nature13229. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 24759320
  21. Robinson D, Van Allen EM, Wu YM, Schultz N, Lonigro RJ, Mosquera JM, Montgomery B, Taplin ME, Pritchard CC, Attard G, Beltran H, Abida W, Bradley RK, Vinson J, Cao X, Vats P, Kunju LP, Hussain M, Feng FY, Tomlins SA, Cooney KA, Smith DC, Brennan C, Siddiqui J, Mehra R, Chen Y, Rathkopf DE, Morris MJ, Solomon SB, Durack JC, Reuter VE, Gopalan A, Gao J, Loda M, Lis RT, Bowden M, Balk SP, Gaviola G, Sougnez C, Gupta M, Yu EY, Mostaghel EA, Cheng HH, Mulcahy H, True LD, Plymate SR, Dvinge H, Ferraldeschi R, Flohr P, Miranda S, Zafeiriou Z, Tunariu N, Mateo J, Perez-Lopez R, Demichelis F, Robinson BD, Schiffman M, Nanus DM, Tagawa  ST, Sigaras A, Eng KW, Elemento O, Sboner A, Heath EI, Scher HI, Pienta KJ, Kantoff P, de Bono JS, Rubin MA, Nelson PS, Garraway LA, Sawyers CL, Chinnaiyan AM. Integrative clinical genomics of advanced prostate cancer. Cell. 2015 May 21;161(5):1215-28. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2015.05.001. PubMed PMID: 26000489
  22. Rajen J. Mody, Yi-MiWu, Robert J. Lonigro, Xuhong Cao, Sameek Roychowdhury, Pankaj Vats, Kevin M. Frank, John R. Prensner, M, Irfan Asangani, Nallasivam Palanisamy, Jonathan R. Dillman, Raja M. Rabah, Laxmi Priya Kunju, Jessica Everett, Victoria M. Raymond, Yu Ning, Fengyun Su, RuiWang, Elena M. Stoffel, JeffreyW. Innis, J. Scott Roberts, Patricia L. Robertson, Gregory Yanik, Aghiad Chamdin, James A. Connelly, Sung Choi, Andrew C. Harris, Carrie Kitko, Rama Jasty Rao, John E. Levine, Valerie P. Castle, Raymond J. Hutchinson, Moshe Talpaz, Dan R. Robinson, Arul M. Chinnaiyan. Integrative Clinical Sequencing in the Management of Refractory or Relapsed Cancer in Youth. Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 314, No. 9, Sept. 1, 2015, doi:10.1001/jama.2015.10080.