James Allison PhD

Recipient of the Canada Gairdner International Award, 2014
"For his discovery of immune checkpoint blockade and its successful application to immune therapy of cancer"

Professor and Chair, Department of Immunology
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Dr. Allison is a professor and chair of the Department of Immunology, executive director of the Immunotherapy Platform and deputy director of the David H. Koch Center for Applied Research of Genitourinary Cancers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. A recent addition to MD Anderson in November 2012, Dr. Allison is building a team of clinicians and physician-scientists to accelerate the movement of immune-based combinatorial therapies into clinical trials. Since joining us, he has already received funding from Stand Up to Cancer and the Cancer Research Institute (SU2C/CRI) to lead a Dream Team in Translational Immunology Research with the aim of facilitating clinical development of new and improved forms of cancer immunotherapy.

Dr. Allison received a B.S. in microbiology and a Ph.D. in biological sciences from the University of Texas at Austin, then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Molecular Immunology at the Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation in California. He began his academic career as an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Texas, Science ParkÔÇôResearch Division in Smithville, Texas, and quickly achieved the rank of professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Division of Immunology at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Allison was recruited to MD Anderson from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where he had been the chair of the Immunology Program, the attending immunologist and director of the Ludwig Center for Cancer Immunotherapy, and a professor at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University since 2004.

Dr. Allison has more than 260 publications, including articles in Nature, Science, Cell, Immunity, Cancer Cell and Blood. He has received numerous awards in recognition of his seminal work, including the Dana Foundation Award in Human Immunology Research (2008), the Richard V. Smalley, M.D. Memorial Lectureship Award (2010), a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Association of Immunologists (2011), the Roche Award for Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy (2011), the Novartis Prize for Clinical Immunology (2013), and the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences (2013).