“My fourth grade health science class first inspired me to become a doctor. I was especially fascinated by the idea of medical discoveries and applying medical research to clinical care.”
“WORLD-CLASS PHYSICIAN-SCIENTIST AND CANCER GENETICIST”
Charis Eng is Director of the Division of Human Genetics, Department of Internal Medicine and Director of the Clinical Cancer Genetics Program in the Comprehensive Cancer Center of The Ohio State University. As a Professor of Medicine, she holds joint appointments in the Division of Human Cancer Genetics, Department of Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics and the Department of Molecular Genetics, and is a principal investigator of the Human Cancer Genetics Program and the Dorothy M. Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute.
She grew up in Singapore and Bristol, UK, and entered the University of Chicago at the age of 16. After completing a PhD and an MD at its Pritzker School of Medicine, she specialized in internal medicine at Beth Israel Hospital, Boston and trained in medical oncology at Harvard's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She was formally trained in clinical cancer genetics at the University of Cambridge and the Royal Marsden NHS Trust, UK, and in laboratory-based human cancer genetics by Bruce Ponder, MB, PhD.
Her work at OSU uses acid- and protein-based work to identify, characterize, and understand genes that cause susceptibility to inherited cancer syndromes and to determine how these genes can be used to develop new clinical applications. As a result of these studies, Dr. Eng was the first in the world to map and identify PTEN, the gene that codes for a tumor suppressor phosphotase on chromosome 10. This has proven to be a major factor in determining susceptibility for Cowden syndrome and other related diseases. She has conducted extensive research on characterizing PTEN, showing that it suppresses tumor growth.
Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-OH-15), called Eng an outstanding choice to be a Local Legend of Medicine because of her "deep commitment to her groundbreaking biomedical research in the genetics of cancer; to translating her research findings in to diagnosis, prognosis, prevention and treatments for cancer patients; to educating and training students, physicians and scientists at all levels; and her international renown as a physician-scientist uniquely trained in both medical oncology and cancer genetics."
Dr. Eng has published over 180 peer reviewed original papers in such journals as the New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, JAMA, Nature Genetics, Nature and Molecular Cell. She has received numerous awards and honors including election to the American Society of Clinical Investigation, the Stephanie Spielman Breast Cancer Research Award and the Harry de Lozier Lecturership. She is the North American Editor and Cancer Genetics Associate Editor of the Journal of Medical Genetics and is an Associate Editor of Cancer Research.
Aside from her work at the university, Eng has acted as the primary genetics consultant to the Discovery Health Channel documentary "Curse of the Elephant Man" which traced the genetic causes of this famous individual's disfiguring disorder. This eye-opening documentary, bolstered by Dr. Eng's insight and research, received First Prize in the 2003 Brazilian Film Festival and the Bronze Medal at the New York Film Festival.
She describes her work as "truly the fulfillment of a lifelong dream."
Enters University of Chicago at age of 16
Awarded Ph.D. in Developmental Biology, Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago
Awarded M.D., Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago
Named the Dorothy E. Klotz Endowed Chair in Cancer Research, The Ohio State University, Columbus
Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago
Medical Oncology; Clinical Cancer Genetics