About the Director

Dr. Richard Schlegel, MD, PhD

Dr. Richard Schlegel

Richard Schlegel, MD, PhD, is the Oscar B. Hunter Chair of Pathology and 2023 honoree of the Distinguished University Professor at Georgetown University. He is an expert in human papillomaviruses (HPV) and cervical cancer. Dr. Schlegel received his MD and PhD degrees from Northwestern University Medical School, and was a resident and post-doctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School (Brigham Hospital) in the fields of Pathology and Virology.

He moved to the National Institutes of Health in 1980 where he continued his viral oncology studies and became the Chief of the Cell Regulation Section in the Laboratory of Tumor Virus Biology.  In 1990, he moved from NIH to Georgetown University Medical Center to join forces with immunology and pathology experts who were researching the connection between cervical cancer and HPV. His laboratory used new cell biological assays to define the genes required for HPV-mediated cell immortalization and co-developed the technology for the vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes nearly all cervical cancers and contributes to many other human cancers including those of anal, oral and skin origin. 

On June 8, 2006, the Food and Drug Administration approved the vaccine, called Gardasil, and recommended it for women between the ages of nine and 26. He has published more than 150 papers on viral oncology, served on the editorial board of the journal Virology, has been a permanent member of the NIH Virology study section, and is now a member of the College of CSR Reviewers. In addition, Dr. Schlegel has received Georgetown’s Presidents Award, Vicennial Award, and Patrick Healy Award and has patented several technologies related to HPV diagnostics and prevention. Today, Dr. Schlegel’s laboratory is focused on a new cell biology technique that his laboratory developed which allows the rapid establishment of normal and tumor cell cultures from cancer patients. This technology, termed conditional reprogramming, has multiple applications for basic science and medicine, including cancer diagnostics and therapeutics.