Charles K. Kaufman, MD, PhD

Charles K. Kaufman, MD, PhD

Associate Professor

Division of Oncology
Mail Stop 8056-0012-05
Washington University
660 South Euclid Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63110

Room 558 McDonnell Medical Sciences Building (office)
Ph: 314-273-1331 (lab)

Janet Weier

Clinical Interests
  • Melanoma
Research Interests
  • Cancer initiation
  • Epigenetics
  • Developmental biology

My clinical and research interests focus on understanding and modifying the mechanisms controlling the onset of cancer, in particular melanoma. By combining a powerful and flexible zebrafish melanoma model with molecular discoveries from human melanoma, I aim to accomplish the following:

  • Profile the earliest transcriptional and epigenetic events that occur during melanoma initiation. We can uniquely accomplish this with the zebrafish model because we can see these first cancer cells earlier than previously possible.
  • Modify the epigenetic landscape in the pre-cancerous melanocytes and determine the outcome on melanoma formation. With the genetic tools available in the zebrafish, including gain- and loss-of-function approaches, we can modify both specific loci and broad aspects of the chromatin landscape in zebrafish to determine the effect on melanoma formation.
  • Identify chemicals (i.e. ideally therapeutic drugs) that prevent melanoma formation. The zebrafish is ideally suited to rapid and large-scale screens to identify such potential therapies which will then be used to direct studies in humans.
  • Develop diagnostic tools to detect the earliest changes in pre-cancerous melanocytes that signify conversion to cancer. Earlier detection may allow for earlier treatment and improved outcomes for patients.



  • 2005-1997: MD, PhD, University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine, Chicago, IL
  • 1997-1994: AB, Honors Major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Washington University, St. Louis, MO

Post-Graduate Training

  • 2007-2005: Internal Medicine Residency, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA
  • 2011-2007: Hematology Oncology Fellowship, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA

Academic Positions & Employment

  • present-2023: Associate Professor, Departments of Medicine and Developmental Biology, Washington University Medical School
  • 2023-2016: Assistant Professor, Departments of Medicine and Developmental Biology, Washington University Medical School
  • 2016-2011: Instructor, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Division of Molecular and Cellular Oncology, Department of Medical Oncology, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School
  • 2016-2008: Postdoctoral Fellow, Laboratory of Leonard Zon, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Harvard Medical School

Board Certification

  • present-2010: Medical Oncology
  • present-2008: Internal Medicine

Honors & Awards

  • 2019-2018: Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award, Washington University Graduate Student Senate
  • 2011: Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation Fellowship – Declined
  • 2010-2009: Nirenberg Fellow, Dana Farber/Partners CancerCare
  • 2005: Graduation with Honors, University of Chicago
  • 2005: Gold Humanism Honor Society, University of Chicago
  • 2005: John Van Prochaska Award, for outstanding potential in teaching, research and clinical medicine, University of Chicago
  • 2005: The Medical and Biological Sciences Alumni Prize, best overall presentation at the 59th Annual Senior Scientific Session for research done in medical school, University of Chicago
  • 2005-2003: Frank Scholar, University of Chicago
  • 2005-1997: Medical Scientist Training Program, University of Chicago
  • 2004: Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, University of Chicago
  • 1997: Summa Cum Laude, Washington University
  • 1997: Sigma Xi, Scientific Research Society, Washington University
  • 1997: Phi Beta Kappa, Washington University
  • 1997: Alpha Epsilon Delta, Premedical Honor Society, Washington University
  • 1996: Howard Hughes Summer Research Fellowship, Washington University
  • 1997-1994: Woodward Fellowship/Half-tuition Scholarship, Washington University

Professional Societies & Organizations

  • present-2014: American Association for Cancer Research
  • present-2014: Zebrafish Disease Models Society