David Agus

Oncology and Genomics Research

A leading Researcher and entrepreneur in personalized medicine for major diseases like cancer As an oncologist, David Agus' work has focused on the use of genomics (information from an individual's genetic makeup) and proteomics (unique combinations of proteins at work within the body) to understand individual variations in cancer and response to treatment. He is also the founder of Oncology.com, the largest Internet resource and community for cancer patients, and of Navigenics Inc., a genomics technology and wellness company.

Self Exam

  • Occupation: Oncologist/Cancer researcher
  • Alternative career choice: I would love to be a sportswriter or journalist
  • Musical Instrument I Play: I try to play electric guitar. I am learning together with my 9-year-old son, Miles. (Although he is much better than me).
  • I tend to approach life: With a sense of optimism and excitement.
  • Biggest misconceptions about me or my work: That taking care of patients with cancer is depressing. The reality is that I am very lucky. Every day, we bring hope to people.
  • Worst part-time job ever: I was a pizza delivery boy in college. Riding a bike while balancing pizzas, in the New Jersey winter, was rough.
  • Longest med school study session: Studying for my anatomy test in the first year of medical school—I still have nightmares about memorizing body parts!
  • Best moment in medicine/research: Collaborating with many of my science, engineering, and technology heroes to optimize the way we understand and treat disease. I feel so fortunate that the work we do on a regular basis is able to create new opportunities of care for our patients.


Dr. Agus heads USC’s Norris Westside Cancer Center and the Center for Applied Molecular Medicine. His research focuses on the application of proteomics and genomics for the study of cancer and the development of new therapeutics for prostate cancer. Dr. Agus’s clinical responsibilities include the development of clinical trials for new drugs and treatments for prostate cancer, his groundbreaking work being supported by the National Cancer Institute and other private foundations.

Dr. Agus is founder of Oncology.com, the largest online cancer resource and virtual community, and Navigenics—a consumer-focused healthcare technology and wellness company.

Dr. Agus is the author of the New York Times #1 Bestseller “The End of Illness” published in January 2012 by the Free Press Division of Simon and Schuster.

Prior to joining USC, Dr. Agus served as Director of the Spielberg Family Center for Applied Proteomics and Research Director of the Louis Warschaw Prostate Cancer Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He also served as attending physician at Cedars-Sinai and Associate Professor of Medicine and Molecular Pharmacology at the UCLA School of Medicine.

Dr. Agus completed his oncology fellowship training at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, where he later became an attending physician in the Department of Medical Oncology and head of the Laboratory of Tumor Biology. He was also Assistant Professor of Medicine at Cornell University Medical Center.

Dr. Agus graduated cum laude with honors in molecular biology from Princeton University, and received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He completed his medical internship and residency training at John Hopkins Hospital.