Gary Hammer

Gary Hammer, M.D., Ph.D.

Millie Schembechler Professor of Adrenal Cancer
Director - Endocrine Oncology Program
Accepting Students?
Yes

Biography

Gary D. Hammer, M.D., Ph.D. is a Professor in the Departments of Internal Medicine (Metabolism, Endocrinology & Diabetes), Cell & Developmental Biology, and Molecular & Integrative Physiology at the University of Michigan (UofM).  Before arriving in Michigan in 1999, he obtained his MD and PhD in Neuroscience from Tufts University and completed his residency in Internal Medicine followed by a clinical fellowship in Endocrinology and a post-doctoral fellowship with Holly Ingraham at the University of California – San Francisco. He currently serves as the Director of the Endocrine Oncology Program in the  Rogel Cancer Center at UofM where he holds the Millie Schembechler Professorship in Adrenal Cancer. He is past Director of the UofM Center for Organogenesis. He has brokered the recent renaissance of the current Michigan team of adrenal scientists that includes a who’s who in the clinical and basic study of adrenal disease.  He received the UofM Jerome Conn Award for Outstanding Research in Internal   Medicine, the Endocrine Society Edwin B. Astwood Award for Outstanding Research in Endocrinology and is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and Association of American Physicians.  He has serves in numerous advisory roles in the public and private sector including recent tenure as a member of the  Board of Scientific Advisors for the NCI.  He is the editor of four textbooks:  Adrenocortical Carcinoma: Basic Science and Clinical Concepts (Springer 2011), Pathophysiology of Disease: An Introduction to Clinical Medicine (Harper Row, 2014; 2018), Genetics Steroid Disorders (Elsevier, 2014) and the upcoming Adrenal Section Editor for Degroot’s Endocrinology, 8th edition (2022). In addition to being a founding organizer of the biennial International Adrenal Cancer Symposium, he also is a member of the coordinating team of the biennial International Adrenal Meetings and has served in numerous capacities across the multiple constituencies of the Endocrine Society including Chair of the Student Affairs Committee, Chair of the Mentoring Task Force, Basic Science Chair of the Annual Meeting Trainee Day, Council Member At-Large and Society Ambassador to King Edward Memorial Hospital in Mumbai India as part of the inaugural Endocrine Society Ambassador Exchange Program. Most recently he served as the Clinical Research Chair of the 2016 Endocrine Society Annual Meeting, the Overall Chair of the 2017 Annual Meeting, and the current immediate Past President of the Society. Research projects in his own laboratory are aimed at elucidating the mechanisms by which growth factor signaling and transcriptional programs initiate adrenal- specific growth and differentiation with an emphasis on dysregulated adrenocortical stem cells in development and cancer.  Collaborative work with colleagues has led to the development of international cooperative groups, most recently the A5 (American Australian Asian Adrenal Alliance) that leverages collaboration to secure projects from Pharma and funding agencies to advance research and clinical care across the spectrum of adrenal diseases. He is a co- founder of two companies -  MILLENDO and most recently VASARAGEN that focuses on rare endocrine diseases and the development of new biological-based therapies that target molecular defects in disease while sparing normal tissue.

Research Interests

Research projects in his own laboratory are aimed at elucidating the mechanisms by which growth factor signaling and transcriptional programs initiate adrenal- specific growth and differentiation with an emphasis on dysregulated adrenocortical stem cells in development and cancer. Collaborative work with colleagues has led to the development of international cooperative groups, most recently the A5 (American Australian Asian Adrenal Alliance) that leverages collaboration to secure projects from Pharma and funding agencies to advance research and clinical care across the spectrum of adrenal diseases. He is a co- founder of two companies - MILLENDO that focuses on rare endocrine diseases and VASARAGEN that aims to develop new biological-based therapies for adrenal cancer that target the molecular defects in cancer while sparing normal tissue.

Research Opportunities for Rotating Students

1) Role of signaling pathways and growth factors, transcription factors (nuclear receptors – NRA51) in adrenocortical progenitor cell programing (self-renewal and differentation) in health and disease. Molecular, cellular and mouse modeling (single cell genomics, lineage tracing, adrenocortical failure and cancer using human samples, transgenic and KO models)

2) Immune-cortical cell cross-talk and the role of intratumoral steroidogenesis in immune modulation – cellular biology and modeling in syngeneic mice

3) Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) epigenetics:

ACC is a rare cancer of the adrenal gland, and to date the only therapy with potential to cure is surgery. ~75% of patients develop deadly metastatic disease, highlighting an urgent need for improved medical agents. In The Cancer Genome Atlas study on ACC, we identified a rapidly recurrent, routinely fatal molecular subtype of ACC characterized by tumor CpG island hypermethylation and a unique transcriptional program and somatic alteration profile. We are focused on developing molecular tools to enable accurate prospective identification of patients with this ACC subtype, and on refining the understanding of dysregulated epigenetic programs.