Dr. Curran holds the Donald J. Hall Eminent Scholar in Pediatric Research and he serves as the Executive Director and Chief Scientific Officer of the Children’s Research Institute, Children’s Mercy, Kansas City. He is also a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine and a Professor of Cancer Biology in the University of Kansas School of Medicine. Dr. Curran is responsible for defining the vision and guiding the growth of the Children’s Research Institute into a leading center for pediatric translational research.
From 1984-1995, Dr. Curran worked at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology ultimately rising to the position of Associate Director. He then founded the Department of Developmental Neurobiology at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital where he grew the Translational Brain Tumor Program over the period 1995-2006. He served as Deputy Scientific Director of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute from 2006-2015 and he established the multi-institution Children’s Brain Tumor Tissue Consortium. Dr. Curran’s research spans the fields of cancer, signal transduction and neurobiology. He discovered and characterized the inducible Fos-Jun oncogenic transcription factor complex and demonstrated its function in diverse signal transduction processes. He also identified reelin, the gene responsible for the classic ataxic mouse mutation, reeler, and determined its role in the control of neuronal migration in the developing brain. Over the course of the last two decades, he pioneered the preclinical analysis of Hedgehog Pathway inhibitors for the treatment of pediatric medulloblastoma and transitioned this work into successful Phase I/II human clinical trials. His worked is published in over 290 papers that have been cited more than 50,000 times.
Dr. Curran was President of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) in 2000-2001 and he served on the National Cancer Institute Board of Scientific Advisors from 2000-2005. He has been elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1994), the American Society of Microbiology (1994), the Royal Society, London (2005), the National Academy of Medicine (2009), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2012) and the Academy of the American Association for Cancer Research (2013). Dr. Curran has received several awards and honors including, the Passano Foundation Young Scientist Award in 1992, the Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Research award from the AACR in 1993, the Golgi Award from the Camillo Golgi Foundation and the Italian Academy of Neurosciences in 1994 and the Fred Epstein Lifetime Achievement Award from the Children's Brain Tumor Foundation in 2015.
Dr. Curran received a bachelor of science degree from Edinburgh University in 1978 and a PhD from University College London, for studies carried out at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund Laboratories, in 1982. He was supported by a Damon-Runyon fellowship during his postdoctoral training at the Salk Institute, San Diego from 1982-84.View All Members