Judah Folkman, MD, is surgeon-in-chief emeritus, senior associate in surgery and director of the vascular biology program at Children's Hospital Boston; and Andrus Professor of Pediatric Surgery and professor of cell biology at Harvard Medical School. He is board certified in surgery and thoracic surgery.
Born in Cleveland in 1933, Folkman graduated cum laude from Ohio State University, in Columbus, Ohio, in 1953. He continued his education at Harvard Medical School, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1957. Folkman began his surgical residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital and served as chief resident in surgery from 1964-1965.
As a student, Folkman co-authored papers describing a new method of hepatectomy for liver cancer and developed the first atrio-ventricular implantable pacemaker for which he received the Boylston Medical Prize, Soma Weiss Award, and Borden Undergraduate Award in Medicine.
While serving as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy from 1960-1962, Folkman and a colleague at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., first reported the use of silicone rubber implantable polymers for the sustained release of drugs. Their findings became the basis for development of Norplant, the contraceptive used internationally, and initiated the field of controlled release technology. At this time, Folkman also began growing tumors in isolated perfused organs, which led to the idea that tumors are angiogenesis-dependent (dependent on new blood vessel growth).
Largely because of Folkman's research, the possibility of antiangiogenic therapy is now on a firm scientific foundation, not only in the treatment of cancer, but of many noncancerous diseases as well.
Folkman is the author of 389 original peer-reviewed papers and 106 book chapters and monographs. He also holds honorary degrees from fifteen universities and is the recipient of numerous national and international awards. He has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.
In addition to his distinguished accomplishments in research, Folkman has served as a surgeon and teacher. He began his career as an instructor in surgery for Harvard's Surgical Service at Boston City Hospital, was promoted to professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School, and became the Julia Dyckman Andrus Professor of Pediatric Surgery in 1968. From 1967 he served as surgeon-in-chief at the Children's Hospital Boston for 14 years.