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Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy
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James P. Allison, PhD

Professor and Chair, Department of Immunology; Executive Director, Immunotherapy Platform; Vivian L. Smith Distinguished Chair in Immunology


James P. Allison, PhD, is professor and chair of the department of Immunology and the executive director of the immunotherapy platform at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, where he also holds the Vivian Smith Distinguished Chair in Immunology.

Allison’s research focuses on understanding the mechanisms that govern T-cell responses and applying that basic understanding to overcome cancer’s evasion of attack by the immune system. His fundamental discoveries led him to pioneer immune checkpoint blockade as a cancer treatment, working with pharmaceutical companies to develop Yervoy, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for metastatic melanoma in 2011. He continues to conduct basic research as well as translational studies of immunotherapies and combination therapies to uncover factors that influence response and resistance to checkpoint blockade.

Allison is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine. Among his awards and honors are the 2015 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award and the 2014 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences.

Education & Training

  • 1974: Postdoctoral Fellow, Molecular Immunology, Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation, La Jolla, CA
  • 1973: The University of Texas, Austin, TX, PHD, Biological Sciences
  • 1969: The University of Texas, Austin, TX, BS, Microbiology

Awards & Honors

  • 2018: Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology; Albany Medical Prize; BBVA Award; Dr. Paul Janssen Award – Johnson and Johnson
  • 2017: American Academy of Arts and Sciences; Sjöberg Prize
  • 2015: Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award; Pezcoller Foundation-American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) International Award for Cancer Research; Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize
  • 2014: Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences Foundation
  • 2013: Lloyd J.Old Award in Cancer Immunology, AACR-CRI
  • 2011: Advancement of Cancer Research Award, Gilda's Club; Breakthrough Achievements in Translational Cancer Research, American Skin Association
  • 2010: Richard V. Smalley, MD Memorial Lectureship Award, International Society for Biological Therapy of Cancer
  • 2008: C. Chester Stock Award for Distinguished Achievement in Biomedical Research, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
  • 2008: Dana Foundation Award in Human Immunology Research, American Association of Immunologists
  • 2001: Centeon Award for Innovative Breakthroughs in Immunology
  • 1997: Fellow, American Academy of Microbiology