Photo: Sohail F. Tavazoie, MD, PhD
Sohail F. Tavazoie, MD, PhD
Year elected: 2015
Current membership category: Active
Rockefeller University
Laboratory of Systems Cancer Biology
1230 York Avenue, Box 16
New York, NY 10065
United States of America
Phone: 2123277208

Society service

President, 2022–2023

Biographical statement

Sohail Tavazoie graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and completed an MD-PhD program at Harvard-MIT, followed by residency training in Internal Medicine at Brigham & Women's Hospital and medical oncology andl fellowship training at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. In 2009, he was recruited to The Rockefeller University as Head of the Laboratory of Systems Cancer Biology and is currently Leon Hess Professor and Senior Attending Physician. 

The Tavazoie lab employs molecular, genetic, and biochemical methods to understand the mechanisms underlying metastasis formation. Early in his career, he showed that specific non-coding RNAs (microRNAs) act as endogenous suppressors of metastasis formation. Subsequently, the Tavazoie lab showed that cancer cells arising from distinct tissues such as breast, melanoma, and colorectal cancer modulate tissue-specific sets of microRNAs that control metastatic potential. By using these microRNAs as molecular probes, downstream effector genes and pathways were discovered and cellular phenotypes underlying metastatic colonization were uncovered. Individual genes were found to enhance tissue invasiveness, endothelial recruitment into the metastatic niche, hypoxic survival via extracellular metabolite uptake, innate immune suppression, survival upon mechanical deformation and protein secretion capacity. These findings have been applied towards development of experimental anti-metastatic therapies, one of which is has provided clinical proof-of-concept that metastasis biology targeted therapy can elicit metastasis regression responses. These studies of metastatic disease have also uncovered unexpected basic insights and demonstrated novel roles for transfer RNAs (tRNAs) in gene regulation. The overarching goal of the Tavazoie lab is to understand the biology of cancer metastasis as a means of informing the development of future therapies aimed at curbing cancer mortality.

Institutional affiliations