James Brugarolas, M.D., Ph.D.

James Brugarolas, M.D., Ph.D.

Director of the Kidney Cancer Program

  • The Sherry Wigley Crow Cancer Research Endowed Chair in Honor of Robert Lewis Kirby, M.D.
  • Internal Medicine - Hematology/Oncology
  • Medical Treatment of Kidney Cancer
  • Kidney Cancer


James Brugarolas, M.D., Ph.D., is a tenured Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center (UTSW) and a member of its Division of Hematology/Oncology. He holds the Sherry Wigley Crow Cancer Research Endowed Chair in Honor of Robert Lewis Kirby, M.D.

A practicing physician-scientist specializing in kidney cancer, Dr. Brugarolas is the founding director of the Kidney Cancer Program (KCP) at the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center. Recognized for its clinical excellence with a Leaders in Clinical Excellence Program Development Award, for its innovation with a finalist Healthcare Innovation Award, and for its research with one of two National Cancer Institute (NCI) Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) Awards for kidney cancer in the US, the KCP has become a trailblazing program despite its short history. The program is one of a few across the world to have completed the journey from gene discovery to the development of a drug, a first-in-class HIF2 inhibitor, now approved by the FDA.

Dr. Brugarolas joined the UT Southwestern faculty in 2006. Discoveries from the Brugarolas Laboratory have led to the identification of kidney cancer causing genes, established the foundation for the first molecularly-based classification of the most common type of kidney cancer, enabled mouse models reproducing the human disease, established HIF2 as a core dependency, identified drivers of tumor grade, and provided a biological explanation for elusive prognostic factors.

Dr. Brugarolas earned his medical degree at Spain’s Universidad de Navarra before earning a doctoral degree in biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he trained with Tyler Jacks, PhD. He completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at Duke University Medical Center and an oncology fellowship at a combined program of Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI), where he trained in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate, William G. Kaelin, MD.

An active national and international speaker, Dr. Brugarolas serves on the NCI Renal Cancer Task Force and is the chair of the scientific advisory board of the Academy of Kidney Cancer Investigators. He is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Association for Cancer Research, and the American Society for Clinical Investigation.

He has authored groundbreaking research and published in journals such as The New England Journal of Medicine, Nature, Cancer Cell, Nature Genetics, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Education & Training
  • Other Post Graduate Training - Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1993-1998)
  • Fellowship - Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham & Women's Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School (2001-2003), Medical Oncology
  • Residency - Duke University - Medicine Residency (1999-2001), Internal Medicine
  • Internship - Duke University - Medicine Internship (1998-1999), Internal Medicine
  • Graduate School - Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1993-1998)
  • Medical School - Universidad de Navarra (1987-1993)
Professional Associations & Affiliations
  • American Society for Clinical Investigation (2013), Member
  • MIT chapter of Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society of North America (1998), Member
  • American Society of Clinical Oncology (2006), Member
  • American Society for Advancement of Science (2006), Member
  • American Association for Cancer Research (2006), Member
Honors & Awards
  • D Magazine Best Doctor 2021
  • Program Development Award – UT Southwestern 2019
  • Sherry Wigley Crow Endowed Chair in Cancer Research 2017
  • Elected Member 2013, American Society for Clinical Investigation
  • Individual Investigator Research Award 2010, Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas
  • Basil O'Connor Research Award 2007, March of Dimes
  • Clinical Scientist Development Award 2007, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
  • V Scholar Award 2007, The V Foundation for Cancer Research
  • Claudia Adams Barr Award for Innovative Basic Cancer Research 2003, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • Young Investigator Award 2004, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School
  • Virginia Murchison Linthicum Endowed Scholar in Medical Research 2006, UT Southwestern Medical School
  • Research Scholar 2008, American Cancer Society
Books & Publications
  • Immunotherapy
  • Biomarkers
  • Kidney cancer, renal cell carcinoma (RCC)
  • Molecular genetics and genomics of cancer
  • Molecularly targeted therapies
  • Signaling mechanisms and mechanisms of resistance to targeted agents
  • Research translation

Clinical Focus

  • Medical Treatment of Kidney Cancer
  • Kidney Cancer

See More

Q&A by Dr. Brugarolas

2019 Leaders in Clinical Excellence video: Kidney Cancer Program