Professor Ron Firestein will spend the next two years establishing a unique catalogue of low-survival brain cancer in children.

Professor Ron Firestein, NHMRC Senior Research Fellow

Professor Ron Firestein is the Head of the Centre for Cancer Research at Hudson Institute of Medical Research, Co-lead and Head of Discovery Research of the Victorian Paediatric Cancer Consortium, and Head of the VPCC Next Generation Precision Medicine program. Prof Firestein is a physician scientist double board certified in Pathology (Anatomic and Molecular Genetics) and his research focuses on identifying new targets and developing therapies for solid tumour malignancies.

Prof Firestein earned his BA from the University of Pennsylvania in Biology and his MD/PhD from Stanford University as part of the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). He completed residency in Anatomic Pathology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and fellowships in molecular pathology and cancer genetics at Harvard Medical School and the Broad Institute.

Prior to joining the Hudson Institute in August 2015 as head of the Centre for Cancer Research, Prof Firestein led a basic research lab at Genentech Inc., where he focused on developing integrative genomic technologies to identify new therapeutic targets in solid tumor malignancies. His scientific work has resulted in peer-reviewed high impact publications (including NatureCancer CellCell, and Journal of Clinical Investigation) as well as ten patents.

Selected publications

  • Adler AS, McCleland ML, Yee S, Yaylaoglu M, Hussain S, Cosino E, Quinones G, Modrusan Z, Seshagiri S, Torres E, Chopra VS, Haley B, Zhang Z, Blackwood EM, Singh M, Junttila M, Stephan JP, Liu J, Pau G, Fearon ER, Jiang Z, Firestein R (2014) An integrative analysis of colon cancer identifies an essential function for PRPF6 in tumor growth. Genes Dev 28:1068-1084.

  • Liu J, McCleland M, Stawiski EW, Gnad F, Mayba O, Haverty PM, Durinck S, Chen YJ, Klijn C, Jhunjhunwala S, Lawrence M, Liu H, Wan Y, Chopra V, Yaylaoglu MB, Yuan W, Ha C, Gilbert HN, Reeder J, Pau G, Stinson J, Stern HM, Manning G, Wu TD, Neve RM, de Sauvage FJ, Modrusan Z, Seshagiri S, Firestein R, Zhang Z (2014) Integrated exome and transcriptome sequencing reveals ZAK isoform usage in gastric cancer. Nature Commun 5:3830.

  • Adler AS, McCleland ML, Truong T, Lau S, Modrusan Z, Soukup TM, Roose-Girma M, Blackwood EM, Firestein R (2012) CDK8 maintains tumor dedifferentiation and embryonic stem cell pluripotency. Cancer Res 72:2129-39.

  • Firestein R, Hahn WC (2009) Revving the throttle on an oncogene: CDK8 takes the driver seat. Cancer Res 69:7899-901.

  • Firestein R, Bass AJ, Kim SY, Dunn IF, Silver SJ, Guney I, Freed E, Ligon AH, Vena N, Ogino S, Chheda MG, Tamayo P, Finn S, Shrestha Y, Boehm JS, Jain S, Bojarski E, Mermel C, Barretina J, Chan JA, Baselga J, Tabernero J, Root DE, Fuchs C, Loda M, Shivdasani RA, Meyerson M, Hahn WC (2008) CDK8 is a colorectal cancer oncogene that regulates beta-catenin activity. Nature 455:547-51.