Joan S. Brugge is the Louise Foote Pfeiffer Professor of Cell Biology and the Director of the Ludwig Center at Harvard Medical School, where she also served as the Chair of the Department of Cell Biology from 2004 to 2014. Her research focuses on cancer biology, and she has been recognized for her explorations into the Rous sarcoma virus, extracellular matrix adhesion, and epithelial tumor progression in breast cancer. Her lab focuses on elucidating the cellular processes and signaling pathways that are involved in the initiation and progression of epithelial tumors, primarily of the breast and ovary.
Dr. Brugge joined Harvard Medical School in July, 1997. Prior to this time, she was the Scientific Director of ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in Cambridge, MA. From 1989 to 1992, Dr. Brugge was a Professor of Microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. From 1979 to 1988, Dr. Brugge was on the faculty of the State University of New York at Stony Brook, most recently as Professor of Microbiology.
Dr. Brugge received her B.A. in biology from Northwestern University and her Ph.D. in Virology from Baylor College of Medicine. After the completion of her doctorate degree, Brugge joined Dr. Ray Erikson at the University of Colorado for her postdoctorate work. It was there that she discovered a protein that was formed from both the viral and cellular forms of the Src gene. This was a major breakthrough in cancer research, since it proved that genes that cause cells to become cancerous originate from normal cellular genes.
Dr. Brugge is a member of the American Society of Cell Biologists (ASCB). She received the society’s annual Women in Cell Biology Award in 2001 and was elected to serve on the governing Council in 2008. She was awarded an American Cancer Society Research Professorship in 2001, and her work has been funded by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.