Eugene C. and Gail V. Sit Chair Awarded

Masato Yamamoto, MD, PhD awarded the Eugene C. and Gail V. Sit Chair in Pancreatic & Gastrointestinal Cancer Research  

Masato Yamamoto, M.D., Ph.D. obtained his medical degree in 1988 and his doctoral degree in 1997 from Osaka University School of Medicine. He is a Board-Certified Gastroenterologist in Japan. He is an expert in cancer gene-therapy and virotherapy.

From the beginning, Yamamoto’s research focused on the development of therapeutics related to gastrointestinal diseases. After working in Japan as a GI division Deputy Director in a teaching hospital, Yamamoto moved to the U.S. in pursuit of clinical translation opportunities for his research.

He had a postdoctoral appointment at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), where he rose to the rank of associate professor in surgery, medicine, and pathology. When he moved to UAB, Yamamoto shifted his focus to cancer therapeutics using adenoviruses.

In 2006, Yamamoto joined the University of Minnesota faculty in the Department of Surgery and became a member of the Masonic Cancer Center. His promising research focuses on reengineering the adenovirus selectively replicate and kill cancer cells to fight pancreatic cancer. Yamamoto is in the process of setting up a new clinical trial using oncolytic viruses in pancreatic cancer. His lab is one of the leading labs in adenovirus vector translation.  Last year, Yamamoto secured three National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants where he served as the primary investigator. In 2017, he was joint appointed by Department of Medicine in order to enhance research activity in pancreatic and GI cancers.

Yamamoto is one of the rare doctors who is both a clinician and researcher. As part of the T32 training grant the Department secured, Yamamoto is the supervising faculty involved in training the next generation of surgeon-scientists in pancreatology.

Since 2010, he has served a study section member at the NIH Development of Therapeutics. Yamamoto currently serves as the counsel in charge of international affairs with the Japanese Society of Gene Therapy (Executive Board Member), as well as the chair of the Institutional Biosafety Committee at the University of Minnesota. He is a co-Leader of Genetic Mechanism Research Program of Masonic Cancer Center.  

Yamamoto is a past beneficiary of funding and now holds the Eugene C. and Gail V. Sit Chair in Pancreatic and Gastrointestinal Cancer Research, given to an outstanding faculty member in the area of pancreatic and gastrointestinal cancer research in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Surgery.