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Dr. Yusuf Hannun
Dr. Yusuf A. Hannun

Cancer Research: A Decade of Progress at Hollings Cancer Center

Dr. Yusuf Hannun is Deputy Director of MUSC’s Hollings Cancer Center.
HCC has focused on four primary basic research areas in addition to clinical and translation.

There are four basic science research areas at HCC. The first area is cancer genetics, which aims to identify how genes function in cancer. A second program focuses on individual therapeutics, examining how to effectively treat various individual types of cancer. Cancer is a collection of many subtypes of dysfunction, and different types require different approaches. The third area is cancer immunology and explores mechanisms of how the body tries to attach cancer cells – and how the cancer cells develop mechanisms to evade detection. The fourth program focuses on lipid signalling. Lipids are fatty molecules that play pivotal roles in cell membrane function and regulatory mechanisms.

Yusuf A. Hannun, M.D. is the Ralph F. Hirschmann Chair and Distinguished University Professor of Biomedical Research and the chairman of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Medical University of South Carolina. Dr. Hannun is an internationally known researcher in the area of lipids, protein kinases, and signal transduction, Dr. Hannun joined MUSC in 1998 as Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He also serves as deputy director of the Hollings Cancer Center. His novel contributions to science in the field of lipid biology have opened up a new field of investigation centered on the study of sphingolipids and their roles in cancer biology, inflammation, diabetes, and neurodegeneration.

Dr. Hannun received his medical degree from the American University of Beirut and completed a fellowship in hematology/oncology and did postgraduate work in biochemistry at Duke University where he also held faculty positions, culminating in the Wayne Rundles Professorship of Medical Oncology. Dr. Hannun has published approximately 400 scientific manuscripts, and he has received numerous national scientific and professional honors, including election as a fellow to the AAAS, election to the AAP and ASCI, the Mallinckrodt scholarship, and the Pew scholarship in biomedical sciences. He currently holds multiple grants from the National Institutes of Health and other resources. He is co-investigator of the five-year, $10.9-million Center for Biomedical Research Excellence in Lipidomics and Pathobiology (COBRE) grant helping scientists gain a better understanding and knowledge of the relationship with fatty molecules and human disease.

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