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
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Medical Treatment of Kidney Cancer


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James Brugarolas, M.D., Ph.D., is a Professor at UT Southwestern Medical Center with appointments in both the Department of Internal Medicine’s Division of Hematology/Oncology and the Department of Developmental Biology. He is a Virginia Murchison Linthicum Endowed Scholar in Medical Research.

A physician-scientist specializing in renal oncology, Dr. Brugarolas leads the Kidney Cancer Program at the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, where he also serves as Co-Leader of the Cancer Cell Networks Program and runs the Renal Cell Carcinoma Tumor Board.

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. He completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at Duke University Medical Center and a medical oncology fellowship at a combined program of Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Dr. Brugarolas joined the UT Southwestern faculty in 2006 with the goal of creating a comprehensive, dedicated renal oncology program. Today’s program, which comprises some 40 investigators, is closely integrated with the Brugarolas Laboratory.

He also serves as an investigator on several clinical trials.

An active national and international speaker, Dr. Brugarolas 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.

Dr. Brugarolas is also active in a variety of grant-review and teaching activities, including serving as a reviewer for the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, and the U.S. Army Medical Research Command.

In 2019, Dr. Brugarolas received UT Southwestern's Program Development Award.

Meet Dr. Brugarolas

Kidney Cancer Specialist

Thanks in large part to the work of James Brugarolas, M.D., Ph.D., patients who come to UT Southwestern Medical Center for treatment of kidney cancer can access the most advanced therapies available, as well as a pipeline of promising new approaches based on a growing body of knowledge about the disease.

"Our patients are at the core of the kidney cancer program, and I’m here to assist them. I feel blessed, and privileged, that my profession as a physician allows me to care for people as their doctor."

A kidney cancer oncologist, Dr. Brugarolas leads UT Southwestern’s dedicated Kidney Cancer Program, one of only a few of its kind in the U.S. He says that patients benefit from the highly specialized care and team-approach the program offers.

“It’s important for patients to have physicians with extensive experience who are well versed with the drugs available for kidney cancer treatment and their side effects,” says Dr. Brugarolas. He specializes in the medical management of renal cell carcinoma, the most prevalent kind of kidney cancer among adults.

“We also work closely with UT Southwestern urologists, radiation oncologists, nephrologists, and many others to comprehensively care for our patients with kidney cancer and related conditions. This team approach offers great advantages to patients,” he says.

In addition to caring for patients, Dr. Brugarolas leads a busy research laboratory, where scientists are making promising advances in the understanding of how kidney cancer develops – and working to translate their discoveries into new therapies that target the disease’s molecular pathways.

Dr. Brugarolas was drawn to the specialty because he saw an opportunity to make a difference in treating a disease diagnosed in some 60,000 people in the U.S. each year – and for which there was only one FDA-approved therapy until 2005.

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Education & Training
  • 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)
  • Other Post Graduate Training - Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1993-1998)
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

  • Kidney Cancer
  • Medical Treatment of Kidney Cancer

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Q&A by Dr. Brugarolas

2019 Leaders in Clinical Excellence video: Kidney Cancer Program