Meet Joe Gray

OHSU Extra, Winter 2012

Joe Gray, Ph.D.The Oregonian calls him the “best known person you’ve never heard of.” OHSU considers him the leader of a new era in translational cancer research.

Meet Joe Gray, Ph.D., director of the OHSU Center for Spatial Systems Biomedicine.

A physicist and engineer by training, Gray gravitated toward biological sciences because of the diversity of questions yet to be answered in medicine. He also had a personal motivation.

When Gray’s father was stricken with lung cancer, he learned how few treatments there were for the disease. He hoped that by focusing on cancer research, he could do the kind of work that would ultimately benefit mankind.

He has already exceeded that goal. Gray played a key role in developing the FISH and CGH tests, now standard breast cancer diagnostics that match patients with the appropriate treatment for their tumor type. It’s one of the accomplishments that earned his induction into the Institute of Medicine this fall. “It is my goal to work in collaboration with other scientists to transform cancer into a disease that can be controlled so that patients and their families can go on with living full lives,” he said.

Gray’s extra-curricular work includes co-leading Stand Up to Cancer’s Breast Cancer Dream Team, playing a central role in the National Institutes of Health’s Cancer Genome Atlas Project, and exploring new methods for using computer models to predict how promising targeted therapies will work against cancer as part of the National Cancer Institute’s Integrative Cancer Biology Program.