James J. Hsieh, MD, PhD
Photo: James J. Hsieh
Elected 2010

As a medical student taking care of cancer patients in 1990, Dr. Hsieh witnessed the hopelessness metastatic cancer patients and their families faced, originating his lifelong devotion to the fight against cancer. His Ph.D. thesis elucidates the mechanisms by which EBV EBNA2 hijacks Notch signaling for tumorigenesis (Science, 1995), earning him the Young Investigator Award at Johns Hopkins Medical School in 1996. Dr. Hsieh completed Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology training from Washington University and Dana Farber Cancer Institute. At Harvard Dr. Hsieh studied under the late Dr. Korsmeyer as an HHMI Physician-Scientist Fellowship Awardee, when he discovered proteolytic processing of MLL, purified the protease, and named it “Taspase1” (Cell, 2003). As NCI K01 Howard Temin Awardee, Dr. Hsieh joined the faculty at Wash U. in 2004, became an Associate Professor, and was inducted into ASCI in 2010.

As a physician scientist taking care of metastatic kidney cancer patients, Dr. Hsieh moved to Memorial Sloan Kettering to harmonize his research and clinical interests, and founded Translational Kidney Cancer Research Program in 2011 enabling seamless collaborations among basic, preclinical, and clinical scientists. Dr. Hsieh is at the forefront integrating kidney cancer genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and therapeutics for the past decade. Dr. Hsieh proposed novel kidney cancer evolution models (Nature Reviews Urology, 2015), constructed human kidney cancer metabolic atlas (Cancer Cell, 2016), pioneered novel kidney cancer mouse models (Cell Report, 2017), reported genomic correlates of large randomized clinical trials (Eur Urol, 2017), molecularly classified unclassified RCC (Nat Comm, 2016), decoded metastatic potential of chromophobe RCC (JCI Insight, 2017), published highly-cited (400+) kidney cancer reviews (Nature Reviews Disease Primers, 2017), and serves as the Editor-in-Chief of Clinical Genitourinary Cancer (Elsevier, 2020). To fulfill his mission in curing metastatic kidney cancer, Dr. Hsieh returned to Washington University to expand his translational kidney cancer research effort by incorporating mechanism-based clinical trials. Hsieh is the Site PI of 10+ interventional kidney cancer clinical trials employing distinct mechanisms of action, and the Sponsor/PI of two Investigator-Initiated Trials.

Facing the ever-increasing complexity of treatment modalities and the demonstrated marked tumor heterogeneity in ccRCC, the notion on applying molecular pathology to the future patient management is exciting yet challenging. Currently, there is no clinically-validated predictive biomarker to guide therapeutic decision in metastatic ccRCC, which translates into an astronomical financial burden to the society. As “bulk cancer sequencing” loses the spatial details concerning individual kidney cancer cells and their corresponding microenvironment, the Hsieh laboratory at Washington University has successfully tackled this critical translational issue with the implementation of the Single-Cell CellDive Multiplexed Immunofluorescence (MxIF) technology and analytical pipelines to interrogate the spatiotemporal dynamics of immune cell infiltrates of kidney cancer upon targeted- and immuno-therapy. Dr. Hsieh now integrates State-of-the-Art Big-Data Clinical/Preclinical Multi-Omics efforts for kidney cancer biomarker discovery, encompassing multiple single-cell technologies (including CyTOF, scRNA Sequencing and MxIF).