• Researcher Profile

    Michael J. Vasconcelles, MD

    Michael J. Vasconcelles, MD

    Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School


    Thoracic Oncology

    Office phone: 617-632-6049
    Fax: 617-632-5786

    Preferred contact method: office phone

    View Physician Profile

    Research Department

    Medical Oncology/Solid Tumor Oncology


    Thoracic oncology, Hematologic malignancies

    Area of Research

    Novel Oncologic Therapeutics and Oxygen Sensing

    Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
    450 Brookline Avenue
    Dana 1234
    Boston, MA 02215


    Dr. Vasconcelles received his MD from Northwestern University in 1989. He completed his postgraduate training in internal medicine at Beth Israel Hospital and in hematology-oncology at Brigham and Women's Hospital. He then taught at BWH until 1999, when he joined the DFCI staff in the Lowe Center for Thoracic Oncology.


    Novel Oncologic Therapeutics and Oxygen Sensing

    Over the past 25 years, Dr. Vasconcelles’ research interests in oncology have primarily focused on areas within tumor biology broadly referred to as nononcogene addiction, and more recently the emerging area of immunooncology. Several years ago in the laboratory, we established a eukaryotic model system using Saccharomyces cerevisiae (Baker’s yeast) to better understand the adaptive response to low oxygen tension. We learned that changes in gene expression in yeast, in response to hypoxia, are similar to higher eukaryotes in several fundamental ways, suggesting potential conservation of oxygen-sensing pathways.  

    More recently, focus has turned to the development of novel cancer therapeutics based upon important discoveries and observations from several laboratories. Clinical research efforts have led to the development and approval of novel cancer medicines to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia, pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia, Hodgkins’ lymphoma and anaplastic large cell lymphoma, mantle cell lymphoma, and multiple myeloma.  

    Currently, our work is directed toward the development of genetically modified autologous Tcell therapies in cancer, with potential broad applications across a variety of malignancies.

    Our work has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as Eukaryotic Cell, Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Journal of Clinical Oncology, among others.

    Select Publications

    • Vasconcelles MJ, Jiang Y, Wretzel S, Light A, Gilooly L, Martin CE, Goldberg MA. Mga2p processing by hypoxia and unsaturated fatty acids in S. cerevisiae: impact on LORE-dependent gene expression. Eukaryot Cell 2002;1(3):481-90.
    • Vasconcelles MJ, Bernardo MVP, King C, Weller EA, Antin JH. Aerosolized pentamidine as pneumocystis prophylaxis following bone marrow transplantation is inferior to other regimens and is associated with decreased survival and an increased risk of other infections. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2000;6:35-43.
    • Vasconcelles MJ, Jiang Y, McDaia K, Gilooly L, Wretzel S, Porter DL, Martin CE, Goldberg, MA. Identification and characterization of a low oxygen response element (LORE) involved in the hypoxic induction of a family of S. cerevisiae genes: implications for the conversation of oxygen sensing in eukaryotes. J Biol Chem 2001;276(17):14374-84.
    • Jiang Y, Vasconcelles MJ, Wretzel S, Light A, Martin CE, Goldberg MA. Mga2 is involved in the low-oxygen response element-dependent hypoxic induction of genes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Mol Cell Biol 2001;21(18):6161-9.
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