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Sean Tavtigian

Sean Tavtigian

University of Utah School of Medicine
Dr Sean V. Tavtigian is a Professor of Oncological Sciences at the University of Utah School of Medicine and an Investigator at Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, where he holds a Jon and Karen Huntsman Presidential Endowed Chair in Cancer Research. He received a BA in biology and chemistry from Pomona College in 1984 and then a PhD in molecular biology and biochemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 1992.

From 1993 until 2002, Dr Tavtigian worked at Myriad Genetics, where he progressed from postdoctoral fellow through several promotions to Vice President of Cancer Genetics Research. During that time, he contributed to projects including the characterization and/or discovery of the cancer susceptibility genes CDKN2A, BRCA1, BRCA2, and PTEN, plus sequencing of the rice and pufferfish genomes.

In 2002, Dr Tavtigian moved to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), in Lyon, France, where he was the Head of the Genetic Cancer Susceptibility Group. While there, he developed one of the leading models for in silico analysis of missense substitutions observed during clinical gene testing. In 2008, Dr Tavtigian convened an IARC Working Group on unclassified sequence variants in cancer susceptibility genes; that meeting led to publication of a highly influential set of 10 papers in the November, 2008 issue of Human Mutation, including a key paper on recommendations for interpretation of genetic test results.

In late 2009, Dr Tavtigian moved to the University of Utah's Huntsman Cancer Institute where he is now Director of their Center for Cancer Genetics. His current interests include (i) analysis of unclassified sequence variants observed during clinical testing of high-risk cancer susceptibility genes and (ii) a new project examining the potential for interaction between pathogenic alleles of susceptibility genes, exposure to ionizing radiation, and cancer risk.