David J. VanderWeele, M.D., Ph.D.

David J. VanderWeele, M.D., Ph.D.
Special Volunteer

Dr. VanderWeele’s lab investigates the progression of clinically significant prostate cancer. The lab is interested in the heterogeneity and evolution of the prostate cancer genome, with efforts to identify and target the molecular features that allow prostate cancer subclones to develop metastatic potential and gain clonal dominance. Other work in the lab investigates molecular responses to therapy that lead to development of resistance. The lab uses next-generation sequencing techniques combined with in vitro and in vivo functional studies to accomplish these goals.

Areas of Expertise
1) cancer genomics, 2) tumor evolution, 3) prostate cancer, 4) genetic heterogeneity

Contact Info

David J. VanderWeele, M.D., Ph.D.
Center for Cancer Research
National Cancer Institute
Building 37, Room 1066A
Bethesda, MD 20892-4254
Ph: 240-760-6829

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Western men.  Though the vast majority of men diagnosed with prostate cancer have indolent disease and die of other causes, it is the second leading cause of cancer death in Western men.  Given the morbidity and cost of primary intervention, identifying which men require aggressive treatment remains a key question in the field today.  At the same time, metastatic disease is incurable and causes significant morbidity and mortality.  All conventional cancers initially respond to androgen deprivation therapy, but there is nearly universal development of resistance and progression. 

Our lab is interested in defining and targeting the molecular features that separate organ-confined, curable prostate cancer from metastatic, lethal disease.  A number of labs have contributed to a better understanding of the catalogue of alterations that occur in primary, untreated and end-stage, lethal prostate cancer.  We are using next-generation sequencing techniques to study the heterogeneity and evolution of the disease, from evaluation of localized, multifocal disease to use of circulating tumor cells at later stages.

Based on these data we conduct functional studies using a number of in vitro and in vivo models of prostate cancer.  These studies are designed to evaluate the significance of alterations that appear to be driving prostate cancer progression, and to expose the mechanisms that underly resistance to targeted therapy.

Scientific Focus Areas:
Cancer Biology, Genetics and Genomics, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

Selected Recent Publications

  1. VanderWeele DJ, Finney R, Katayama K, Gillard M, Paner G, Imoto S, Yamaguchi R, Wheeler D, Lack J, Cam M, Pontier A, Nguyen YTM, Maejima K, Sasaki-Oku A, Nakano K, Tanaka H, Vander Griend D, Kubo M, Ratain MJ, Miyano S, Nakagawa H.
    European Urology Focus. [ Journal Article ]
  2. Gillard M, Lack J, Pontier A, Gandla D, Hatcher D, Sowalsky AG, Rodriguez-Nieves J, Vander Griend D, Paner G, VanderWeele D
    European Urology Focus. [ Journal Article ]
  3. Lack J, Gillard M, Cam M, Paner GP, VanderWeele DJ
    J Transl Med. 15(1):44: 2017. [ Journal Article ]
  4. McCann S, Jiang Y, Fan X, Wang J, Antic T, VanderWeele DJ, Oto A.
    Am J Roentgenol. 206(3):559-65, 2016. [ Journal Article ]
  5. Packiam VT, Patel SG, Pariser JJ, Richards KA, Weiner AB, Paner GP, VanderWeele DJ, Zagaja GP, Eggener SE.
    Urology. 86(4): 777-82, 2015. [ Journal Article ]

Dr. VanderWeele did his Ph.D. in the laboratory of Charles Rudin at the University of Chicago, where he also received his M.D.  He did his postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Kevin White in the Institute for Genomics and Systems Biology at the University of Chicago before joining the faculty.  In 2015 he came to the Laboratory of Genitourinary Cancer Pathogenesis (LGCP) in the Center for Cancer Research as an Assistant Clinical Investigator.   

Name Position
Remi Adelaiye-Ogala Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Yen Thi Minh Nguyen Postbaccalaureate Fellow (CRTA)