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 Brekken is the Effie Marie Cain Scholar in Angiogenesis Research, vice chair of research in the Department of Surgery, deputy director of the Hamon Center for Therapeutic Oncology Research and chair of the Cancer Biology Graduate Program at UT Southwestern. His laboratory is focused on understanding how the tumor microenvironment affects therapeutic efficacy. Two therapeutic antibodies Professor 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 is focused on three general areas:
1. ECM signaling in tumors;
2. therapeutic immune reactivation;
3. how immune cells contribute to the metastatic cascade.
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 at CCBIO to investigate the microenvironment of pancreatic cancer. Additionally, he has a joint project with Dr. Randolph Watnick at Harvard, which developed through connections made at CCBIO and involves Professors Lars A. Akslen and Jim Lorens.