Skip to main content

Noted UCSF Scientist Joins Research Team at Huntsman Cancer Institute

Expert in how cancer forms, progresses and responds to therapy in melanoma, lung, thyroid, and pancreas cancer

Martin McMahon, Ph.D., joins Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah in August as professor in the Department of Dermatology and HCI Senior Director of Pre-Clinical Translation.

Professor McMahon is currently the Efim Guzik Distinguished Professor of Cancer Biology at the University of California, San Francisco and Assistant Director of Professional Education and Co-leader of the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center (HCFCCC) Developmental Therapeutics Program.

"Dr. McMahon is a distinguished scientist who is passionate about improving cancer outcomes," said Mary Beckerle, Ph.D., CEO and Director of Huntsman Cancer Institute. "He is a natural leader who will play a major role in advancing the development of HCI research discoveries to improve cancer treatments."

John Zone, M.D., Chair of Dermatology, notes "Dr. McMahon's recruitment illustrates a great partnership between HCI and the Department of Dermatology. Utah has the highest incidence of melanoma in the USA and Dr. McMahon's expertise will advance our strategic goal of expanding our melanoma research excellence and impact."

In his new role as HCI Senior Director of Pre-Clinical Translation, McMahon will serve as a member of the HCI executive leadership board, the Director's Cabinet, with key responsibilities in strategic planning and development of the cancer center.

"With the arrival of Dr. McMahon, HCI will be able to take new initiatives in the development of pre-clinical models, so essential to the discovery of not only new treatments for cancer, but prevention strategies as well," said Bradley Cairns, Ph.D., HCI Senior Director of Basic Science. "His laboratory will actively pursue the design and evaluation of treatments that will combat a mutant protein, BRAF, known to be at the root of many cancers."

McMahon is a highly sought after speaker in national and international forums, giving nearly 60 invited lectures in the past five years, both nationally and internationally. He is the current President of the Society for Melanoma Research.

"I am honored and very excited to join the faculty of the Department of Dermatology and the Huntsman Cancer Institute at this most exciting time in the battle against cancer," McMahon said. "What excites me most is the opportunity to work closely with Mary Beckerle, John Zone, Brad Cairns and the entire team at HCI to build the research infrastructure required to transform clinical outcomes for our patients."


About Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah
Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) is one of the world's top academic research and cancer treatment centers. HCI manages the Utah Population Database - the largest genetic database in the world, with more than 16 million records linked to genealogies, health records, and vital statistics. Using this data, HCI researchers have identified cancer-causing genes, including the genes responsible for melanoma, colon and breast cancer, and paraganglioma. HCI is a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (a 26-member alliance of the world's leading cancer centers) and is a National Cancer Institute-Designated Cancer Center. HCI treats patients with all forms of cancer and operates several high-risk clinics that focus on melanoma and breast, colon, and pancreas cancers. The HCI Cancer Learning Center for patient and public education contains one of the nation's largest collections of cancer-related publications. The institute is named after Jon M. Huntsman, Sr., a Utah philanthropist, industrialist, and cancer survivor.