University of Southern California
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center

Michael Kahn, Ph.D.

Photograph of Michael Kahn

Michael Kahn, Ph.D., is the first Provost’s Professor of Medicine and Pharmacy at the University of Southern California with a joint appointment in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Keck School of Medicine and the Department of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences in the School of Pharmacy. He is co-leader of the Developmental Therapeutics Program. Prior to joining USC, Dr. Kahn was the scientific director at the Institute for Chemical Genomics and a professor at the University of Washington. He was the scientific founder of Molecumetics, a drug discovery company that developed small molecule mimics of large proteins. Dr. Kahn’s lab has emerged as a leader in the study of chemical genomics, which uses small molecules to dissect complex signaling pathways.

He obtained his B.A. at Columbia University in chemistry, his Ph.D. at Yale University in organic synthesis and was an National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University with Professor Gilbert Stork. Dr. Kahn’s lab has been working in the area of Wnt signaling for the past eight years. Recently, his lab’s efforts have focused on Wnt signaling in development, cancer and cancer stem cells. For the past three years, his lab has been particularly involved in the role of Wnt signaling in ES cells and the maintenance of pluripotency versus the initiation of differentiation. He has published over 75 papers and more than 20 U.S. patent applications.