Judith C.  Gasson, Ph.D. 

Professor of Medicine and Biological Chemistry, Emeritus


Judith C. Gasson, PhD, was named director of UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1995, and the David Geffen School of Medicine Senior Associate Dean for Research in 2012. A molecular biologist, Dr. Gasson heads one of only 40 institutions nationwide designated as comprehensive cancer centers by the National Cancer Institute.

The Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center is perennially named one of the top 10 cancer centers nationwide by U.S. News & World Report.

Dr. Gasson was the founding co-director of the UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center and she has testified before a key Senate subcommittee on the promise of stem cell research in cancer.

A professor of medicine and biological chemistry, Dr. Gasson was instrumental in purifying a hormone-like substance that increases the speed of bone marrow cell reproduction. That substance, called GM-CSF, is used to help prevent infections in cancer patients and is a potent stimulator of specialized immune functions. Studies underway in her lab are focused on identifying the mechanisms that regulate proliferation and differentiation of adult stem cells and how those pathways are altered in cancer stem cells.

One of Dr. Gasson's continuing goals is to bring more of the fruits of basic research to patients' bedsides. Under her leadership, the Jonsson Cancer Center has become known for its leading-edge translational research. Cancer center faculty have participated in the design and conduct of basic and clinical research contributing to the FDA approval of Herceptin in 1998, Gleevec in 2001, Avastin and Tarceva in 2004 and Sprycel and Tykerb in 2006.

Dr. Gasson earned a doctorate in physiology at the University of Colorado in 1979 and did postdoctoral work at the Salk Institute in La Jolla. In 1983, she left the Salk Institute to join the UCLA faculty.