Children's Hospital Oncology Researcher Elected to Institute of Medicine

10/13/2009

- Thomas Curran, Ph.D., FRS, is expert in childhood brain cancers

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A prominent scientist at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Thomas Curran, Ph.D., FRS, has been elected to the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Curran has long been a leading researcher in pediatric oncology.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) yesterday announced the election of 65 new members from throughout the United States, in recognition of their major contributions to the advancement of medical sciences, health care and public health. Established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences, the IOM honors professional achievement in the health sciences and serves as a national resource for independent analysis and recommendations on issues related to medicine, biomedical sciences and health.

Current members of the Institute elect new members from a slate of candidates nominated for their professional achievement.

Dr. Curran is the deputy scientific director of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute, one of the nation's largest pediatric research programs. He also is professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, professor of Cell and Developmental Biology, and associate director, Translational Genomics, Penn Genome Frontiers Institute, all at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Curran's research has concentrated on the molecular biology of the brain's growth and development, with the goal of finding new treatments for childhood brain tumors--the focus of his laboratory at Children's Hospital. His work has been supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, as well as the Brain Tumor Society and the Children's Brain Tumor Foundation.

Born in the tiny Scottish village of Addiewell in the U.K., Dr. Curran earned his Ph.D. in Zoology and Anatomy from the Imperial Cancer Research Fund Laboratories and University College in London, U.K., in 1982. He completed postdoctoral training at the Salk Institute in San Diego before joining Hoffman La Roche as a senior scientist in 1984. Subsequently he moved to the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology, rising to the position of Associate Director in 1992.

In 1995, Dr. Curran joined St. Jude Children's Research Hospital as the founding chairman of the Department of Developmental Neurobiology, where he launched a new program in brain tumor research. The research he pioneered at that time is now continuing at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. This work led to the opening of a clinical trial to test a new treatment of the pediatric brain tumor medulloblastoma in January 2009. Dr. Curran has been a resident of center city Philadelphia since joining the staff of Children's Hospital in 2006.

A member of the editorial boards of numerous scientific journals, Dr. Curran has presented hundreds of invited lectures around the world, and has authored more than 250 peer-reviewed publications. He was ranked fourth in the world among high-impact researchers in molecular biology between 1988 and 1992 by the Institute for Scientific Information, and is currently listed as a Highly Cited Scientist in three distinct fields (neuroscience, molecular biology and genetics, and microbiology). He has served as President of the American Association of Cancer Research and on the Board of Scientific Advisors of the National Cancer Institute. In 2005 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, the national scientific academy of the United Kingdom.

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation's first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals and pioneering major research initiatives, Children's Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country, ranking second in National Institutes of Health funding. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have brought the 430-bed hospital recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents. For more information, visit http://www.chop.edu.

Contact: John Ascenzi
Phone: (267) 426-6055
Ascenzi@email.chop.edu