Jean-Pierre Issa, MD

President and Chief Executive Officer

Jean-Pierre Issa, MD, is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Coriell Institute for Medical Research. As such, Dr. Issa leads all aspects of the Coriell Institute in its mission to better understand human health and disease as well as serve as a trusted supplier of high quality biomaterials to the global scientific community.

Dr. Issa is an expert in the study of epigenetics – how the turning on and off of genes affects our health – and to better understanding epigenetic changes in aging and cancerous cells. He has discovered that aging dramatically affects the epigenetic states of human genes and recently published a paper in Nature Communications which shed new light on the long-sought link between calorie-restriction and extended lifespan. He and his team found that age-related changes in a mammal’s epigenome could be slowed by restricted calorie diets, leading to longer lifespans. Dr. Issa has also studied the epigenetics of cancer cells and he has published many studies showing how the information could be used to better understand clinical outcomes after cancer therapies. Finally, Dr. Issa has also been involved in epigenetic based drug discovery and his recently published research in Cell described a new way to reverse epigenetic changes in cancer that could lead to a new drug being tested in patients within the next few years.

Dr. Issa’s research has been recognized by several awards including a Sidney Kimmell Foundation Scholar Award in 1997, election to the American Society of Clinical Investigation in 2003, the Faculty Achievement Award in Basic Research from MD Anderson in 2007, the Rosenthal Award from the American Association for Cancer Research in 2011, election to the American Association of Physicians in 2015, and the Temple University Faculty Research Award in 2018. Dr. Issa was also named an American Cancer Society Professor in 2007. 

Prior to joining Coriell, Dr. Issa was Director of Temple University’s Fels Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Biology from 2011 to 2019. At Temple he also served as Program Co-Leader for the Cancer Epigenetics Program as the Fox Chase Comprehensive Cancer Center from 2012 to 2019 and as Deputy Director of the Fox Chase Comprehensive Cancer Center from 2017 to 2019. Before joining Temple University in 2011, Dr. Issa served as the Chief of Translational Research in the department of Leukemia at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Center in Houston, Texas. There, he held a faculty position as professor in the department of Leukemia. 

Dr. Issa earned his Bachelors of Science and Doctorate of Medicine degrees from The American University of Beirut in Lebanon, and completed his residency in internal medicine and fellowship in medical oncology at Good Samaritan Hospital and Johns Hopkins University respectively, both in Baltimore, Maryland. 

He currently holds an academic appointment at the Fels Institute for Cancer Research, Temple University School of Medicine.