Thursday, June 9, 2011

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DePinho Named President of UT MD Anderson Cancer Center

AUSTIN -- The University of Texas System Board of Regents today (June 9) named Ronald A. DePinho, M.D., president of the UT MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.  

The Board announced Dr. DePinho, a Harvard professor and cancer institute administrator, as president following a special called meeting of regents. Dr. DePinho had been named the sole finalist for the post last month. Texas law requires university governing boards to name a finalist or finalists at least 21 days prior to their selection as president. He will begin his duties as president on Sept. 1.

"We are pleased to bring on board Dr. DePinho, whose credentials as a distinguished scientist and administrator at a prestigious cancer institute make him an outstanding choice to lead the nation’s premiere comprehensive cancer center, UT MD Anderson,” Regents’ Chairman Gene Powell said. “Dr. DePinho has demonstrated extraordinary talent and his vast experience will make him an effective administrator for this complex medical institution.” 

Dr. DePinho is the director of the Belfer Institute for Applied Cancer Science at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and professor of medicine (genetics) at Harvard Medical School. Dr. DePinho, a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies and fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, previously held numerous faculty positions at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. He received a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from Fordham College and his medical degree with distinction in microbiology and immunology from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. DePinho’s research interest is in the genetic aspects of cancer and the translation of such knowledge into clinical endpoints. He has authored and peer reviewed hundreds of scientific journals and articles.

“Dr. DePinho's talents and experience make him an ideal choice to lead UT MD Anderson,” UT System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., said. “It is because he has such deep understanding of the impact of cancer research at the patient's bedside – and of the complexities of cancer care – that he is so well suited to the responsibilities of leading the nation’s, and in my opinion the world’s, most revered cancer center.”

“It is with great pride that I have accepted this solemn responsibility as it is my belief that MD Anderson – armed with its scientific and clinical brilliance, determined spirit, and singular focus on cancer – is supremely positioned to make major progress in the prevention, detection and treatment of this disease,” Dr. DePinho said. “This is a special moment in the history of cancer science and medicine, marked by a confluence of deep knowledge and innovative technologies capable of illuminating cancer’s complexities.  These advances, coupled with the enormous scientific and clinical power of MD Anderson, have positioned us to make a decisive assault on this dreaded disease.”

Dr. DePinho's wife, Lynda Chin, M.D., also will join the faculty of UT MD Anderson. Dr. Chin is the scientific director of the Belfer Institute for Applied Cancer Science at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and professor of dermatology at the Harvard Medical School and department of medical oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She received her medical degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and her research interest is in cancer genomics and cancer biology.

Dr. DePinho will succeed Dr. John Mendelsohn, who announced last December his plans to step down as president. Mendelsohn, who has served as the president of the institution for the past 15 years, will remain on the faculty, returning to clinical and translational research as co-director of its new Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy (IPCT). During his tenure as president, Mendelsohn greatly expanded UT MD Anderson’s clinical and research programs, and the institution has become widely acknowledged as the nation's number one cancer center.

About UT MD Anderson Cancer Center
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston ranks as one of the world's most respected centers focused on cancer patient care, research, education and prevention. MD Anderson is one of only 40 comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute. For seven of the past nine years, including 2010, MD Anderson has ranked No. 1 in cancer care in “America's Best Hospitals,” a survey published annually in U.S. News & World Report. MD Anderson faculty hold more research grants and grant dollars from the National Cancer Institute than any other U.S. institution.

About The University of Texas System
The University of Texas System is one of the nation’s largest higher education systems, with nine academic campuses and six health institutions. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $12.8 billion (FY 2011) including $2.3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. Preliminary student enrollment exceeded 211,000 in the 2010 academic year. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state's undergraduate degrees and educates nearly three-fourths of the state's health care professionals annually. With more than 68,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.

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