Loren D. Walensky, MD, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics
Attending Physician in Pediatric Oncology
Principal Investigator, Linde Program in Cancer Chemical Biology
Director, Harvard/MIT MD-PhD Program
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Boston, MA

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Loren D. Walensky, MD, PhD, is a Principal Investigator and Attending Physician in the Department of Pediatric Oncology and the Linde Program in Cancer Chemical Biology at the Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, and Director of the Harvard/MIT MD-PhD Program.

Dr. Walensky’s research focuses on the chemical biology of deregulated apoptotic and transcriptional pathways in cancer and other pediatric diseases. The goal of his laboratory is to develop an arsenal of new compounds – a “chemical toolbox” – to investigate and block pathologic protein interactions. Dr. Walensky has broken new ground in our understanding of BCL-2 family protein interactions, which govern the critical balance between cellular life and death. His team has generated highly specific and stable “stapled peptides” that preserve the structure of biologically-active alpha-helices, maximizing their potential as novel tools to elucidate biological pathways and as prototype therapies for cancer, infectious diseases, and diabetes. His research contributed to the founding of Aileron Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Massachusetts biotechnology company, which has advanced to clinical trials a first-in-class stapled peptide drug to reactivate p53 in cancer, developed based on Dr. Walensky’s work.

Dr. Walensky is the recipient of numerous awards including a Stand Up to Cancer Innovative Research Grant, an NIH Director’s Transformative RO1 Award, a Burroughs Wellcome Career Award in the Biomedical Sciences, a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Scholar Award, a Harvard Medical School Young Mentor Award, and most recently, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Morse Award for Research Excellence, the Samuel Rosenthal Prize for Excellence in Academic Pediatrics, the E. Mead Johnson Award for Pediatric Research, and an NCI Outstanding Investigator R35 Award. He is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Society for Pediatric Research, and the American Pediatric Society.

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