Michael Hemann received his B.A. in molecular biology and biochemistry from Wesleyan University and his Ph.D. in human genetics from Johns Hopkins University, where he worked with Carol Greider. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in the laboratory of Scott Lowe, a 1999 Rita Allen Foundation Scholar (now at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center). Hemann’s research focuses on identifying new approaches to improve conventional and targeted anticancer therapeutics. He is the recipient of the Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award (which honors the 1976 Rita Allen Foundation Scholar, who passed away in 1995) and was a Helen Hay Whitney Fellow. Hemann is a codirector of the MIT graduate program in biology.
Many human cancers fail to respond to traditional therapeutics due to acquired drug resistance. The mechanism of this chemo-resistance has yet to be fully elucidated, and thus poses a major hurdle in the effectiveness of cancer therapies. Hemann’s group uses cutting-edge genetic tools combined with mouse tumor transplantation systems to study tumor progression and the role that individual genes and combinations of genes play in drug resistance. This approach not only has the potential to identify novel targets for effective therapies, but can also be used to help modify traditional therapies to be more effective against typically resistant cancers.