Skip to Content
Discovering the causes of cancer and the means of prevention

Kevin Brown, Ph.D.


Kevin Brown, Ph.D.

Kevin Brown, Ph.D.

Organization:National Cancer Institute
Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics, Laboratory of Translational Genomics
Address:8717 Grovemont Circle
ATC Room 152H


Dr. Brown received a Ph.D. in Genetics from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. in 2003. He conducted his post-doc training at the Translational Genomic Research Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. In his position as an investigator at the Translational Genomic Research Institute, Dr. Brown has worked on studies using whole-genome familial linkage, candidate gene, and genome-wide association approaches to identify genetic variants associated with melanoma susceptibility. His lab has also used high-throughput functional genomics to investigate genes associated with therapeutic sensitivity and resistance in melanoma. Dr. Brown has served as an adjunct professor at the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center in basic medical sciences, the University of Arizona College of Medicine and Arizona State University.

Research Interests

Germline cancer genetics

My research is focused on identifying the genetic contributions and functional pathways associated with cancer risk. While early-stage melanoma is largely curable via surgical resection, late-stage melanoma remains nearly incurable despite decades of research. Much of the effort in my laboratory is directed towards better understanding genetic factors contributing to melanoma risk, with a goal of ultimately facilitating prevention and early-detection efforts in at-risk individuals. Collaborations with studies in the United Kingdom and Australia are underway to identify variants in melanoma-specific oncogenes and understand the functional pathways related to transcriptional activity of these oncogenes. My lab also focuses on the genetics of melanoma susceptibility in melanoma families. Familial linkage studies have identified a locus on chromosome band 1p22. However, these studies demonstrate that in families, melanoma risk is heterogeneous and is likely explained by a combination of rare high-penetrance loci as well as common, low-penetrance loci.

Somatic cancer genetics and therapeutic applications

My research interests also extend to the downstream therapeutic applications of melanoma genome-wide association studies (GWAS). My laboratory is engaged in large-scale RNAi drug sensitization screening efforts with the aim of identifying molecularly-informed combination therapies to move into preclinical and clinical testing. The first step of this process has been to fully characterize somatic patterns of loss within the chromosome band 1p22 melanoma susceptibility region. We have since expanded our efforts and generated an in-house panel of over 70 well-characterized melanoma cell lines for use as a screening resource in the area of melanoma therapeutics.


Dr. Brown and colleagues have recently developed VEGAS, a Versatile Gene-based Test for GWAS. This new approach is applicable to GWAS study designs where permutation-based approaches are not possible. VEGAS is applicable to family-based GWAS, GWAS meta-analysis and data-pooling-based GWAS. For more information, see VEGAS: versatile gene-based tests for genome-wide association studies.


International Melanoma Genetics Consortium (GenoMEL), Pancreatic Cancer Genetics and Epidemiology Consortium (PACGENE), Canine Hereditary Cancer Consortium (CHCC), Melanoma Post-GWA Consortium (MPGC)

Back to Top

Information for Journalists

To request an interview with a DCEG investigator, contact the NCI Office of Media Relations:


Phone: 301-496-6641

Spotlight on Investigator

Read Kevin Brown's profile in the March 2012 Linkage newsletter.