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NCI Acting Director Dr. Douglas R. Lowy

NCI Principal Deputy Director Dr. Douglas R. Lowy

Credit: National Cancer Institute

Douglas R. Lowy, M.D., was named the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) acting director in May 2022. He also served as acting director between April 2015 and October 2017 and between April 2019 and October 2019. Prior to these appointments, Dr. Lowy has held the principal deputy director position since July 2010, helping to lead NCI's key scientific initiatives. 

Dr. Lowy received his medical degree from New York University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine at Stanford University and dermatology at Yale University.

His research interests include the biology of papillomaviruses and the regulation of normal and neoplastic cell growth. The papillomavirus research is carried out in close collaboration with Dr. John Schiller, with whom he has coauthored more than 150 papers over the past 30 years.

In the 1980s, Drs. Lowy and Schiller studied the genetic organization of papillomaviruses and identified the oncogenes encoded by the virus. More recently, they have worked on papillomavirus vaccines and the papillomavirus life cycle. Their laboratory was involved in the initial development, characterization, and clinical testing of the preventive virus-like particle-based HPV vaccines that are now used in three FDA-approved HPV vaccines.

Follow Dr. Lowy on Twitter to get his perspective on cancer research and issues important to NCI.

Dr. Lowy’s growth regulation research includes prior studies that established the importance of the RAS gene family in cancer and the main mechanisms by which the NF1 tumor suppressor gene regulates normal cell growth. His growth regulation research is now focused primarily on the DLC family of tumor suppressor genes and their mechanism of action.

In addition to serving as NCI principal deputy director, Dr. Lowy is chief of the Laboratory of Cellular Oncology in NCI’s Center for Cancer Research. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and a member of the Institute of Medicine of the NAS.

Dr. Lowy, along with Dr. Schiller, received the Federal Employee of the Year Service to America Medal from the Partnership for Public Service in 2007, and the Sabin Gold Medal Award from the Sabin Vaccine Institute in 2011. In November 2014, they were honored by President Obama with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. In September 2017, the two received the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award, the country’s most prestigious honor for biomedical research, for their significant research leading to the development of HPV vaccines. They were also recognized for their contributions toward the development of HPV vaccines with the 2018 Szent-Györgyi Prize for Progress in Cancer Research.

Dr. Lowy received the 2019 Association of American Cancer Institutes' Distinguished Scientist Award in recognition of his long-term research on the molecular biology of tumor viruses and growth regulation, his role in enabling the development of HPV vaccines, and his exploration of oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes and their signaling pathways. His most recent honor is the 2020 American Association for Cancer Research Distinguished Public Service Award in recognition of his outstanding leadership of NCI during his terms as acting director.

Find written testimony from Dr. Lowy about NCI-specific appropriations and cancer research topics on our Hearings and Testimonies page.

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