AUSTIN – The University of Texas System Board of Regents today (May 11) named Ronald A. DePinho, M.D., as the sole finalist for the presidency of the UT MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
The Board announced the decision during a meeting in which candidates were interviewed for the post. Each candidate recently met several constituent groups within the cancer center’s community as part of a series of campus visits.
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 is a distinguished scientist and proven administrator capable of leading the nation’s premiere comprehensive cancer center, UT MD Anderson. He has an excellent background in teaching and research and a demonstrated ability to work effectively within complex medical institutions,” Regents’ Chairman Gene Powell said. “The Board is extremely confident he has the ability to advance the institution's mission "to make cancer history," Powell added.
“Dr. DePinho's impressive experience in cancer research and expertise working at outstanding academic health institutions makes him an ideal choice to lead UT MD Anderson,” UT System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., said. “He is committed to advancing excellence at UT MD Anderson during a rapidly changing health care environment. Dr. DePinho has based his career on teaching and research, and he deeply understands the medical culture of cancer research and the enormous responsibility involved in running the nation’s – and perhaps the world’s – best cancer center,” Cigarroa added.
Dr. DePinho's wife, Lynda Chin, M.D., will also 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.
A presidential search advisory committee formed in January reviewed more than 70 nominations for the position.
“On behalf of the presidential search advisory committee and the UT System I would like to thank all the candidates who have taken part in this process,” said Kenneth I. Shine, M.D., executive vice chancellor for health affairs and chair of the presidential search committee. “The extraordinary members of the presidential search advisory committee played an integral role in identifying candidates for consideration by the Board, and I express our sincere gratitude for their dedication and efforts,” Shine added.
Under state law, university governing boards must name finalists for a presidency at least 21 days before making a formal appointment. The board is tentatively scheduled to finalize the selection at a meeting in June.
Dr. DePinho will succeed Dr. John Mendelsohn, who announced last December his plans to step down as president of the institution once his successor is in place. Mendelsohn, who has served as the president of the institution for almost 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).
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.
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 206,000 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.