Center for Biotechnology Education
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At Johns Hopkins, Donald “Don” Bottaro is a lecturer in the MS in Biotechnology program.

Bottaro was an Elliott P. Joslin Research Fellow at Harvard Medical School before joining the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology as an Intramural Research Fellow in 1987. He helped discover keratinocyte growth factor (KGF), hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), and their respective cell surface receptors there. These signaling pathways and the roles of heparan sulfate proteoglycans as KGF and HGF co-receptors became his laboratory’s primary research interests after becoming an NCI Principal Investigator in 1994. In 2000, Bottaro was recruited to direct the Cell and Molecular Biology Department at EntreMed, a biotechnology company developing cancer therapies that targeted HGF and other pathways that promoted tumor angiogenesis. Following the discovery of oncogenic HGF receptor mutations in kidney cancer by NCI clinicians and scientists, he returned to the NCI in 2003 to study oncogenic HGF signaling in the context of kidney cancer pathogenesis as Head of the Molecular Therapeutics Facility in the Urologic Oncology Branch (UOB). His research group focused on translating basic knowledge of HGF signaling to develop and test new growth factor-related therapies and biomarkers in human clinical trials. Bottaro became a Scientific Advisor to the UOB in July 2021.

In 35 years as a research scientist, Bottaro co-authored over 200 original articles, book chapters, and reviews, work that has been cited countless times. Bottaro received the NCI’s Outstanding Mentor Award in 2009, and many of his laboratory trainees have become scientists, physicians, or allied health professionals. He has received 10 NCI Technology Transfer Awards for translational research. He is an Inventor of 16 NCI-held US and international Patents related to agents and methods for modulating cell growth and motility in the context of cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Bottaro earned his BA in Biological Sciences from The University of Chicago and PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology from Boston University.

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