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 laboratory investigates the microenvironment of pancreatic, breast and lung tumors with a particular emphasis on pathways that drive epithelial plasticity and immune suppression. 

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
Univ of Tx Southwestern Med Ct (1999), Biology

Research Interest

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


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Cyclooxygenase-2 inhibition potentiates the efficacy of vascular endothelial growth factor blockade and promotes an immune stimulatory microenvironment in preclinical models of pancreatic cancer.
Zhang Y, Kirane A, Huang H, Sorrelle NB, Burrows FJ, Dellinger MT, Brekken RA Mol. Cancer Res. 2018 Oct

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