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Charles M. Perou, PhD

May Goldman Shaw Distinguished Professor of Molecular Oncology Research
Professor of Genetics & Pathology
Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Current Research

  • Seeking to identify the underlying genetic alterations that give rise to aggressive breast cancers to guide the development of new treatments.
  • Tumor genetic analyses are conducted to understand how cancer cells become resistant to therapy. 
  • Efforts are ongoing to develop computational models to aid diagnosis and treatment.

Breast cancer is not a single disease, but a collection of diseases with distinct characteristics in prognosis and response to therapies. Dr. Perou’s research has characterized breast cancer by distinct subtypes based on the genetic profile of the tumor. He is continuing this work with a focus on the most aggressive types of breast cancer so that new treatments can be developed for patients with these diseases. 

Full Research Summary

Dr. Perou's research continues to guide the development of new therapies and inform precision medicine approaches. His research has established that breast cancer is not a single disease but instead represents a collection of diseases that vary in their prognosis and response to treatment. His group is focused on identifying the genetic alterations that give rise to the most aggressive types of breast cancer and identifying new therapeutic strategies to target these cancer-causing events.

In the coming year, they will conduct analyses of normal breast epithelial and breast cancer cells to understand how epithelial tumor cells adapt to chemotherapy treatment.

Dr. Perou continues to build, test, and validate computational models based on tumor genetics, genomics, and pathology features to improve personalized patient treatment regimens. These methods consider both DNA mutations and RNA expression patterns to create coordinated predictive algorithms. Using this approach, he has shown that combining these factors provides a more accurate prediction than using a single factor.


Dr. Perou is a member of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at UNC, and the Scientific Director of the UNC Bioinformatics Core. He received his PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the Department of Pathology at the University of Utah (1996) where he cloned the human Chediak-Higashi Syndrome gene. He next performed his postdoctoral training in the laboratory of David Botstein at Stanford University (1997-2000) where he began his genomic studies of human tumors using DNA microarrays. These genomic analyses resulted in the identification of novel subtypes of human breast tumors that predict patient survival times and response to therapy. Dr. Perou's laboratory at UNC is focused on using genomics, genetics, and laboratory models to decipher the underlying biology of the molecular subtypes of breast cancer. He then uses this biological information to develop novel therapeutic strategies that are specifically targeted against each of these distinct subtypes of breast cancer.

Grid Researcher Headshot - Perou C

BCRF Investigator Since


Donor Recognition

The Susan Hertog Award

Area(s) of Focus