Federico Innocenti, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor Research Associate Professor, Medicine-Hematology

Federico Innocenti, M.D., Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Division of Pharmacotherapy and Experimental Therapeutics of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the Associate Director of the Pharmcogenomics and Individualized Therapy Program of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. He holds appointments in the UNC School of Medicine and is a member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Professor Innocenti obtained his MD and completed residencies in Clinical Pharmacology and Oncology at the University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy. He is licensed to practice medicine in Italy and in countries of the European Union. He received a PhD in Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Chemotherapy from the University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.

After 12 years of research in precision oncology at the University of Chicago, he joined UNC in 2011. At UNC, Professor Innocenti’s research program is focused on genomics of cancer treatment. He also directs the graduate course “Precision Therapeutics through Genomics.”

Professor Innocenti serves as the Chair of the Gastrointestinal Solid Tumor Correlative Science Group in the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology (previously, Cancer and Leukemia Group B). He is also the Translational Science Representative of the NCI Colon Task Force of the Gastrointestinal Steering Committee.


Professor Innocenti’s NIH-funded program applies genomic technologies to discover novel determinants of efficacy and safety of cancer therapy. This research aims to achieve the goal of precision therapy in oncology through the selection of the most effective treatment regimen for any given patient.

The program is structured in three main themes:

  • Theme 1: Genomic studies in patients with gastrointestinal tumors. Genomic data are obtained from patients enrolled in clinical trials of novel therapies using next-generation sequencing of DNA (tumor and germline) and RNA (tumor). Genomic profiling of the patient and the tumor will predict the outcome of patient survival and the side effects of therapy.
  • Theme 2: Genome-wide regulation of gene expression. Elucidating the genetic basis of differences in gene expression in the human liver is instrumental to discover new heritable determinants of liver-mediated response to medications.
  • Theme 3: Functional analysis of novel genes and their variants. The results of both Themes 1 and 2 provide a large series of new genetic variants for functional validation. The laboratory employs various cell-based assays to test the function of new genetic variants. They provide the mechanistic foundations to the novel determinants of patient outcome and safety (Theme 1) and liver gene expression (Theme 2).

Recognitions and Achievements

Professor Innocenti has published more than 150 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters in clinical pharmacology, pharmacogenomics, and oncology. Major findings from landmark studies and seminal discoveries have been reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, JAMA, Cell, Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Clinical Cancer Research, Nature Genetics and other noteworthy journals. He is the editor of five books in pharmacogenomics and oncology. Professor Innocenti sits on the editorial board of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, and Pharmacogenetics and Genomics, among other journals. He is the Associate Editor for Pharmacogenomics.

Professor Innocenti received the Leon I Goldberg Young Investigator Award from the American Society of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics in 2012, as well as a Young Investigator Award from the Cancer Research Foundation in 2006. He has received the National Scientific Qualification as Full Professor of Pharmacology, Clinical Pharmacology, and Pharmacognosy from Italy in 2014. Professor Innocenti is frequently invited to speak internationally on the topics of precision medicine and genomics in oncology. He has organized several international symposia and meetings on genomic and translational medicine and has chaired the Oncology Section of the American Society of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

Among Professor Innocenti’s exemplary achievements is the elucidation of the genetic basis of severe neutropenia in cancer patients treated with irinotecan, a poster child for pharmacogenetics. Dr. Innocenti is the co-inventor of the FDA-approved UGT1A1 genetic test for patients treated with irinotecan. As a result of this pioneering work, the labeling of irinotecan has since been revised.



  • MD, University of Pisa, Italy
  • PhD, University of Pisa, Italy