Bert Gold, Ph.D., FACMG
Bert  Gold, Ph.D., FACMG
Staff Scientist

Dr. Gold is a geneticist who studies breast and and prostate cancer in at-risk populatons. These studies involve examination of emerging biomarkers such as PCA3 and TMPRSS2-ERG fusion as prodromal markers of prostate cancer and Fascin in breast cancer. The validation of these markers in African American populations is a central focus of his current research. In addition, Dr. Gold oversees bioinformatics for the Human Genetics Section. This includes oversight of the theta and theta2 webservers and responsibility for a series of computational engines that provide statistical underpinings for Next Generation Sequencing studies, Nanostring, and Big Dye Sequence interpretation.

Areas of Expertise
1) human molecular genetics, 2) cancer genetics, 3) bioinformatics, 4) molecular test validation, 5) emerging biomarker development

Contact Info

Bert Gold, Ph.D., FACMG
Center for Cancer Research
National Cancer Institute
Building 559, Room 8
Frederick, MD 21702-1201
301-846-5098
goldb@ncifcrf.gov

My research is mainly geared toward understanding the genetic basis of common disease. Common diseases are often described as 'complex' in genetic circles because numerous factors, both genetic and environmental, contribute to their causation. Sorting out how much of the basis of common disease is genetic and how much is environmental is a central task for biology in the 21st century.

Cancer provides an excellent model for a common disease with a genetic basis because it is both common, and is known to have a genetic basis in two senses: First, many cancers are heritable, and cluster in families and ethnic groups. Second, even cancers that are not heritable (called sporadic or idiopathic), are often characterized by changes in the genetic material of transformed cells. My group studies a number of common diseases known to have a genetic basis. These include breast and prostate cancer, some skin cancers, some cardiovascular diseases, some psychiatric disorders, a few metabolic diseases, some lung disease, and finally, some ocular diseases.

During 2006, my group was privileged to participate in the discovery that Complement gene variations contribute to a model complex disease: Age Related Macular Degeneration. This discovery has been widely heralded as permitting an assessment, perhaps for the first time, of how much gene variation may contribute to a complex disorder. During 2008, we participated in one of the first Genome Wide Association Studies of Breast Cancer. In that study we replicated the observations of others which suggested that an FGFR2 haplotype affects risk. In addition, our publication implicated a risk locus on Human Chromosome 6. During 2010, we discovered that this FGFR2 locus also modifies the risk of those predisposed to BRCA2 Breast Cancer. We hope our insights will lead to new targeted therapies and more reasoned use of the treatments that we already know about.

Selected Publications
  1. Esnakula AK, Ricks-Santi L, Kwagyan J, Kanaan YM, DeWitty RL, Wilson LL, Gold B, Frederick WA, Naab TJ.
    J Clin Pathol. 67: 153-60, 2014. [ Journal Article ]
  2. Nickerson ML, Im KM, Misner KJ, Tan W, Lou H, Gold B, Wells DW, Bravo HC, Fredrikson KM, Harkins TT, Milos P, Zbar B, Linehan WM, Yeager M, Andresson T, Dean M, Bova GS.
    Hum Mutat. 34: 1231-41, 2013. [ Journal Article ]
  3. Kirchhoff T, Gaudet MM, Antoniou AC, et. al.
    PLoS ONE. 7: e35706, 2012. [ Journal Article ]
  4. Lou H, Li H, Yeager M, Im K, Gold B, Schneider TD, Fraumeni JF, Chanock SJ, Anderson SK, Dean M.
    Hum Genet. 131: 1453-66, 2012. [ Journal Article ]
  5. Im KM, Kirchhoff T, Wang X, et. al.
    Hum Genet. 130: 685-99, 2011. [ Journal Article ]

Bert Gold is a graduate of the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis (1976) and did graduate studies at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts on mouse spermatogenesis (Ph.D., 1981). Initial postdoctoral studies were with William Haseltine at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and with Lawrence Bogorad (now deceased) at The Biological Laboratories at Harvard. After several positions in industry and academia, Dr. Gold obtained a fellowship to complete his formal studies in human genetics. In 1996, he became Board Certified in Clinical Molecular Genetics after completing a program at UMDNJ and the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Gold was Research Manager and Clinical Scientist at SmithKline Beecham Clinical Laboratories and Quest Diagnostics in Van Nuys, California (1997-2000) and came to the National Cancer Institute in 2000. In 2002, Dr. Gold was elected as a Fellow of the American College of Medical Genetics.

Research

My research is mainly geared toward understanding the genetic basis of common disease. Common diseases are often described as 'complex' in genetic circles because numerous factors, both genetic and environmental, contribute to their causation. Sorting out how much of the basis of common disease is genetic and how much is environmental is a central task for biology in the 21st century.

Cancer provides an excellent model for a common disease with a genetic basis because it is both common, and is known to have a genetic basis in two senses: First, many cancers are heritable, and cluster in families and ethnic groups. Second, even cancers that are not heritable (called sporadic or idiopathic), are often characterized by changes in the genetic material of transformed cells. My group studies a number of common diseases known to have a genetic basis. These include breast and prostate cancer, some skin cancers, some cardiovascular diseases, some psychiatric disorders, a few metabolic diseases, some lung disease, and finally, some ocular diseases.

During 2006, my group was privileged to participate in the discovery that Complement gene variations contribute to a model complex disease: Age Related Macular Degeneration. This discovery has been widely heralded as permitting an assessment, perhaps for the first time, of how much gene variation may contribute to a complex disorder. During 2008, we participated in one of the first Genome Wide Association Studies of Breast Cancer. In that study we replicated the observations of others which suggested that an FGFR2 haplotype affects risk. In addition, our publication implicated a risk locus on Human Chromosome 6. During 2010, we discovered that this FGFR2 locus also modifies the risk of those predisposed to BRCA2 Breast Cancer. We hope our insights will lead to new targeted therapies and more reasoned use of the treatments that we already know about.

Publications

Selected Publications
  1. Esnakula AK, Ricks-Santi L, Kwagyan J, Kanaan YM, DeWitty RL, Wilson LL, Gold B, Frederick WA, Naab TJ.
    J Clin Pathol. 67: 153-60, 2014. [ Journal Article ]
  2. Nickerson ML, Im KM, Misner KJ, Tan W, Lou H, Gold B, Wells DW, Bravo HC, Fredrikson KM, Harkins TT, Milos P, Zbar B, Linehan WM, Yeager M, Andresson T, Dean M, Bova GS.
    Hum Mutat. 34: 1231-41, 2013. [ Journal Article ]
  3. Kirchhoff T, Gaudet MM, Antoniou AC, et. al.
    PLoS ONE. 7: e35706, 2012. [ Journal Article ]
  4. Lou H, Li H, Yeager M, Im K, Gold B, Schneider TD, Fraumeni JF, Chanock SJ, Anderson SK, Dean M.
    Hum Genet. 131: 1453-66, 2012. [ Journal Article ]
  5. Im KM, Kirchhoff T, Wang X, et. al.
    Hum Genet. 130: 685-99, 2011. [ Journal Article ]

Biography

Bert Gold is a graduate of the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis (1976) and did graduate studies at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts on mouse spermatogenesis (Ph.D., 1981). Initial postdoctoral studies were with William Haseltine at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and with Lawrence Bogorad (now deceased) at The Biological Laboratories at Harvard. After several positions in industry and academia, Dr. Gold obtained a fellowship to complete his formal studies in human genetics. In 1996, he became Board Certified in Clinical Molecular Genetics after completing a program at UMDNJ and the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Gold was Research Manager and Clinical Scientist at SmithKline Beecham Clinical Laboratories and Quest Diagnostics in Van Nuys, California (1997-2000) and came to the National Cancer Institute in 2000. In 2002, Dr. Gold was elected as a Fellow of the American College of Medical Genetics.