Centre for Cancer Biomarkers CCBIO

CCBIO international affiliated investigators

Rolf A. Brekken

Professor Rolf A. Brekken received his BA in biology from Luther College in Decorah, IA and his PhD from UT Southwestern Medical Center. His graduate studies were focused on developing novel therapies that target the vascular compartment of tumors.

Professor Rolf A. Brekken is currently at the Department of Surgery at UT Southwestern where he joined as faculty in 2002 and was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2009 and to professor in 2015. His laboratory is located in the Hamon Center for Therapeutic Oncology Research. Professor Brekken is the Effie Marie Cain Scholar in Angiogenesis Research and Deputy Director of the Hamon Center for Therapeutic Oncology Research. Two therapeutic antibodies Brekken helped develop have entered clinical testing in cancer patients and he recently co-founded a company, Tuevol Therapeutics, which is focused on the development of novel therapies for cancer.

Professor Brekken’s laboratory studies the tumor microenvironment. In particular his group is focused on three areas:
1) ECM signaling in tumors;
2) therapeutic immune reactivation;
3) how immune cells contribute to the metastatic cascade.

Professor Brekken has an active and longstanding collaboration with Professor Jim Lorens on the function of Axl in tumor progression. The collaboration is focused on Axl biology and the efficacy of Axl inhibition using small molecules and specific Axl mAbs. Brekken also collaborates with Dr. Nils Halberg and Professor Emmet McCormack to investigate the microenvironment of pancreatic cancer.
Additionally, he has a joint project with Dr. Randy Watnick at Harvard, which developed through connections made at CCBIO and involves Professors Lars A. Akslen and Jim Lorens.