Speaker

Michael Karin, University of California San Diego, USA
Michael Karin

Dr. Karin was born in Tel Aviv, Israel and received the Bachelor of Science degree in 1975 from Tel Aviv University, with a major in Biology. In 1975 he arrived in the US and in 1979 received a Ph.D. degree in Molecular Biology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Karin followed his graduate studies with postdoctoral fellowships at the Fox Chase Institute for Cancer Research, working in the laboratory of Dr. Beatrice Mintz, and the laboratory of Dr. John Baxter at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Karin joined the faculty at the University of California, San Diego in 1986, where currently he is a Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology.

Dr. Karin has received numerous awards including the Oppenheimer Award for Excellence in Research from the Endocrine Society in 1990, an American Cancer Society Research Professorship in 1999, the C.E.R.I.E.S. Research Award for Physiology or Biology of the Skin in 2000, the Harvey Prize in Human Health in 2011, the Brupbacher Prize in Cancer Research in 2013 and the William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic and Tumor Immunology in 2013. Dr. Karin was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2005, as a Foreign Associate of EMBO in 2007, and to the Institute of Medicine in 2011. Dr. Karin also serves on several advisory boards and was cofounder of Signal Pharmaceuticals (currently Celgene).

Dr. Karin has spent his entire academic career investigating stress and inflammation signaling covering the entire gamut of research approaches from basic biochemistry through molecular cell biology to animal pathophysiology. After discovering how environmental stress caused by either infection, inflammation or exposure to toxic substances leads to activation of AP-1, NF-κB and other transcription factors, his lab began to examine the role of the key signaling pathways controlling these transcription factors in the pathogenesis of cancer, degenerative and metabolic diseases. The Karin group has identified some of the fundamental mechanisms through which inflammation and obesity promote tumor development and progression and contribute to type II diabetes. They had established the mechanisms through which members of the IL-6 cytokine family contribute to the development of colorectal and liver cancer through activation of STAT3 and other transcription factors. They had also established the complex and cell type specific mechanisms through which NF-κB activation via IκB kinases (IKK) controls development and progression of colon, liver and prostate cancers. They were amongst the first to demonstrate that not only innate immune cells, such as macrophages, but also adaptive immune cells, including T regulatory cells and B lymphocytes, also contribute to tumorigenesis and its progression. Through this work, Dr. Karin has contributed to the founding of the Inflammation and Cancer field.

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