Christopher R. Vakoc, MD, PhD

1997-2001, B.S., The Pennsylvania State University

2001-2007, MD, PhD, University of Pennsylvania

2008-2011, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Fellow

2011-2015, Assistant Professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

2015-2018, Associate Professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

2019-present, Professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Chris graduated with an undergraduate degree in biochemistry from Penn State University and subsequently earned Ph.D.and M.D. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. His dissertation research was performed in the laboratory of Gerd Blobel, where he studied basic mechanisms of long-range enhancer function, hematopoietic transcription factors, and histone lysine methylation. In 2008, Chris accepted a position as a Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Fellow and during this time, he initiated research into how chromatin modifications support the pathogenesis of leukemia. A key focus of this work has been to use genetic screens to reveal unique genetic dependencies and drug targets in human cancer. Their early work led to the discovery of BRD4 as a drug target in hematological malignancies, which contributed to a rationale for ongoing clinical trials of BRD4 inhibitors in human cancer patients. Over the last 10+ years, the Vakoc lab identified several novel cancer dependencies in leukemia, pancreatic cancer, sarcoma, and lung cancer, which has a strong focus on transcriptional protein complexes as cancer cell vulnerabilities. Chris is the recipient of a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Scholar Award, the AACR Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Research Award, the Pershing Square Sohn Cancer Research Alliance Prize, and the Paul Marks Prize. Chris lives on the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory campus with his wife and two sons.