Dr. Rolf Brekken received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa and his PhD from UT Southwestern Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. His graduate research was focused in the use of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) as a target for the therapy of solid tumors. He completed his postdoctoral training in the Department of Vascular Biology at the Hope Heart Institute in Seattle, Washington.

His research interests include angiogenesis and extracellular matrix remodeling in tumors and the development and evaluation of novel therapies for cancer. The laboratory is particularly interested in the biology of therapy and how the tumor microenvironment effects therapeutic efficacy.

Dr. Brekken is currently the Effie Marie Cain Research Scholar in Angiogenesis Research and is a principal investigator in the Hamon Center for Therapeutic Oncology Research.


Luther College (1991), Molecular & Cell Biology
Graduate School
UT Southwestern Medical Center (1999), Biology

Research Interest

  • Angiogenesis & ECM signaling
  • Cancer Therapy
  • Immune therapy
  • Metastasis
  • Tumor Microenvironment


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Frequent detection of infectious xenotropic murine leukemia virus (XMLV) in human cultures established from mouse xenografts.
Zhang YA, Maitra A, Hsieh JT, Rudin CM, Peacock C, Karikari C, Brekken RA, Stastny V, Gao B, Girard L, Wistuba I, Frenkel E, Minna JD, Gazdar AF Cancer biology & therapy 2011 Oct 12 7 617-28
SPARC Regulates Collagen Interaction with Cardiac Fibroblast Cell Surfaces.
Harris BS, Zhang Y, Card L, Rivera LB, Brekken RA, Bradshaw AD American journal of physiology. Heart and circulatory physiology 2011 Jun H841-7
Co-localization of prothrombin fragment F1+2 and VEGF-R2-bound VEGF in human colon cancer.
Sierko E, Wojtukiewicz MZ, Zimnoch L, Thorpe PE, Brekken RA, Kisiel W Anticancer Res. 2011 Mar 31 3 843-7
Smac mimetic-derived augmentation of chemotherapeutic response in experimental pancreatic cancer.
Awasthi N, Kirane A, Schwarz MA, Toombs JE, Brekken RA, Schwarz RE BMC Cancer 2011 11 15

Honors & Awards

  • Kavlie Fellow
  • Effie Marie Cain Research Scholar
    Endowment for Angiogenesis Research - UTSW (2002)
  • Junior Investigator Award
    Funded by the American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grant and the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center (2002)
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship
    NIH National Research Service Award, F32 - HL10352 (2000)

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (1992)
  • American Association for Cancer Research
  • American Society for Matrix Biology
  • North American Vascular Biology Association
  • Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine