Howard Urnovitz, a pathfinding scientist, wine expert and proud Detroiter. He has been searching for a breakthrough in detecting and treating cancer since the early 1970s when his mother Edith, in rapid succession her two brothers and several cousins, all died of the disease. His father, Al, would eventually die of cancer, too. Howard made a promise to his mother on 4 June 1972, the last day of her life, to either study cancer in order to find a cure or “if I wasn’t smart enough” to make enough money to fund others.
That day, 45 years ago, determined the course of his entire life – a life dedicated to the eradication of one of the greatest evils of our day. He has been active in corporate biotechnology discovery and research for the past 30 years. He has been the first scientist to show that nucleic acids circulating in plasma and serum originate from specific host genomic sequences. In 2017, his company published results of a blood test that reveals the efficacy of cancer treatments.
He has founded Calypte Biomedical, Inc., a manufacturer of HIV diagnostics, and served as Chief Scientific Officer from 1988-2000. Prior to Calypte Biomedical, Dr. Urnovitz had served as Senior Scientist at the Institute of Cancer Research, Medical Research Institute, in San Francisco, California. Previously, he had been the Director of Molecular and Cellular Engineering at XOMA Corporation in Berkeley, California. Prior to XOMA, he had been the Director of the Hybridoma Facility, Laboratory of Experimental Pathology at the University of Iowa.
During the nineties, Dr. Urnovitz founded Chronix Biomedical, and today serves as the Chief Science and Strategy Officer. Dr. Urnovitz has published in scientific journals, and has been an invited speaker or panelist at international scientific conferences and U.S Congressional hearings. He holds several patents related to immunoassay diagnostics.
Dr. Urnovitz has received his B.S. and M.S. in Microbiology and a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Michigan and completed his post-doctoral studies at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri.