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University of California San Francisco

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Jean L. Nakamura, M.D.

Professsor and Vice-Chair
Director of Faculty Development
Department of Radiation Oncology

Scientist, mother, martial arts practitioner

Meet Dr. Nakamura

Tackling the most difficult problems in medicine for the benefit of our patients and humankind is a privilege.

Dr. Nakamura is a radiation oncologist whose clinical practice focuses on the management of tumors involving the brain and spinal cord. She utilizes multiple state-of-the-art techniques in clinical practice, with a particular emphasis on radiosurgical techniques such as Gamma Knife radiosurgery. Dr. Nakamura received undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Chicago. She completed an internship in Internal Medicine at the University of Chicago and residency in Radiation Oncology at UCSF. Dr. Nakamura joined the faculty in 2003 and established a clinical practice focusing on neuro-oncology. A physician-scientist, Dr. Nakamura also leads a multi-disciplinary research team focused on cancer genetics, cancer metabolism, radiation susceptibility and drug-resistance. She is an investigator in the UCSF Brain Tumor Center and the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center Program Pediatric Malignancies Program. Dr. Nakamura is a recognized expert in radiation-induced malignancies and an investigator in an innovative Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) program of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) known as the Developmental and HyperActive Ras Tumor (DHART) SPORE. Her laboratory leads studies investigating cancer susceptibility and the responsible genetic mechanisms. The laboratory utilizes multiple disease models, including glioma, nerve sheath tumors, sarcomas and lung cancers to investigate central mechanisms of genetic and metabolic control of tumorigenesis. A member of multiple national and international committees on cancer research, Dr. Nakamura works with investigators from around the world to advance cancer research and discoveries in the radiation sciences.



1993 University of Chicago AB Biology
1998 University of Chicago MD Pritzker School of Medicine
1998-1999 University of Chicago Internship Department of Internal Medicine
1999-2003 UCSF Resident Radiation Oncology
01/03 – 04/03 UCSF Chief Resident Radiation Oncology
2001-2002 UCSF Research Fellow Comprehensive Cancer Center
Professional Experience

Professional Experience

2019-present UCSF Professor in Residence Radiation Oncology
2019-present UCSF Director of Faculty Development  
2018-2019 UCSF Director of Faculty Mentoring, Radiation Oncology
2018-present UCSF Vice-Chair, Radiation Safety Committee Radiation Oncology
2013-2019 UCSF Associate Professor in Residence Radiation Oncology
2007-2013 UCSF Assistant Professor in Residence Radiation Oncology
2005-2007 UCSF Adjunct Professor Radiation Oncology
2003-2005 UCSF Clinical Instructor Radiation Oncology

Awards & Honors

1990 Illinois State Scholar
1990 National Merit Scholarship
1992 University of Chicago, Richter Fund Grant for Undergraduate Research
1993 Graduated with General Honors from The University of Chicago College in the Biological Sciences
1995 Student Summer Research Award, University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine
1998 Catherine Dobson Prize for Best Oral Presentation given at 52nd Annual Senior Scientific Session by a Non-PhD Student in the Area of Clinical Investigation Research done in Medical School
1998 University of Chicago Departmental Award for Outstanding Performance in the General Field of Radiation Oncology
2001 Radiological Society of North America Roentgen Award for Resident Research
2002 Radiological Society of North America Roentgen Award for Resident Research
2004 American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology Basic Science Travel Grant to the 46th Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA
2005 National Institutes of Health Clinical Research Loan Repayment Award
2005 Kaiser Teaching Award Nomination
2008 Irene Holmes Perstein Award, UCSF
2012 St. Baldrick’s Foundation Scholar Award
2022 Lawrence Margolis, M.D. Lifetime Teaching Award




NIH: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/myncbi/1Desjwh-SGf5u/collections/49496694/public/

Significant Research Highlights:

J.L. Nakamura, C. Phong, E. Pinarbasi, S.C. Kogan, S. Vandenberg, A.E. Horvai, B.A. Faddegon, D. Fiedler, K. Shokat, B.T. Houseman, R. Chao, R.O. Pieper, K. Shannon. Dose-dependent effects of focal fractionated irradiation on secondary malignant neoplasms in Nf1 mutant mice. Cancer Res. 2011 Jan 1;71(1):106-15. PMID: 21199799
This manuscript reports our development of a novel mouse model of radiation-induced malignancies recapitulating both clinical radiotherapy and common radiation-induced malignancies in humans.

Mroue, B. Huang, S. Braunstein, A. Firestone, J.L. Nakamura.  Loss of the imprinted gene Grb10cooperates with Nf1 loss to promote tumorigenesis.  PloS Genetics. 2015 May 22;11(5)   PMID: 26000738.
We provide the first experimental evidence indicating that gene imprinting and the parental origin influences genetically-determined cancer development.

A.L. Sherborne, P.R. Davidson, K. Yu, A.O. Nakamura, R. Mamunur, J.L. Nakamura.   Mutational analysis of ionizing radiation-induced neoplasms. Cell Reports 2015 Sep 22;12(11):1915-26. PMID: 26344771
This work is the first analyses of genome-wide mutations in radiation-induced malignancies (any species) and yields new insights concerning both mutagenic exposure and the influence of genetic background.

Bhatia, Y. Chen, F.L. Wong, L. Hageman, K. Smith, G. Friedman, J.P. Neglia, M. Arnold, L.M. Turcotte, P. de Blank, G.T. Armstrong, L.L. Robison, D.W. Clapp, K. Shannon, J.L. Nakamura, M.J. Fisher.  Subsequent neoplasms after a primary tumor in patients with Neurofibromatosis type I. Journal of Clinical Oncology 2019 Sept 18 PMID: 31532722.
This is the largest epidemiological analysis of a genetically-susceptible population indicating subsequent cancer risk, validating predictions made by our mouse models.

Redefining Possible