Human Biology Director

About Us

Eric Holland, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Human Biology

Dr. Eric Holland

Dr. Eric Holland, M.D., Ph.D., is director of Fred Hutch's Human Biology Division. He is also a professor of neurological surgery at the University of Washington, where he holds the Chap and Eve Alvord and Elias Alvord Chair in neuro-oncology and directs the Nancy and Buster Alvord Brain Tumor Center.

Holland is an internationally-renowned neurosurgeon and brain cancer researcher. He has spent his career working across disciplines to address the molecular basis of brain tumors and develop new treatment approaches. His research focuses on developing mouse models of brain cancer that mimic how the disease behaves in patients.

Holland’s achievements include:

  • Work that led to clinical trials in glioma patients.

  • Developing imaging strategies to follow mouse brain tumors as they develop – a powerful system that is used to test promising new drugs.

  • Being the first to use a system of postnatal gene transfer to study brain cancer formation in mice, providing a model for the development of gliomas and medulloblastomas.

  • Leading a lab that was the first to show that stem cells are more sensitive to changes that can lead to cancer, providing insights into how cancer develops and evades treatment.

  • Being the first to demonstrate that the activity of a protein called Akt is elevated in human glioblastomas, a finding that provided major insights into how this cancer develops.

Holland came to Fred Hutch from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where he built one of the nation’s most successful brain cancer research and clinical programs.

Holland received his medical degree from Stanford University and his doctorate in molecular biology from the University of Chicago. His postdoctoral training included work with two Nobel laureates: Dr. Paul Berg, who pioneered recombinant DNA technology at Stanford University; and Dr. Harold Varmus, director of the National Cancer Institute and former director of the National Institutes of Health. Holland is a member of the National Academy’s Institute of Medicine.

Dr. Eric Holland, neurosurgeon and director of Human Biology at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, explains how Fred Hutch researchers are mining vast amounts of data in order to discover meaningful information that’s being used against cancer.