James DeGregori, PhD, has been named deputy director of the University of Colorado Cancer Center. DeGregori previously was the associate director for basic research and was also responsible for overseeing multiple CU Cancer Center Shared Resources.
“James is an outstanding molecular biologist who has made innovative scientific contributions throughout his career” said Dan Theodorescu, MD, PhD, director of the CU Cancer Center and professor of surgery and pharmacology at University of Colorado School of Medicine. “James has been very involved, not only with the Molecular Oncology program which he has co-led since 2010, but also in helping to bring new technologies, such as functional genomics, to the CU Cancer Center and teaching our members how to use these technologies.”
DeGregori, professor in the Department of Biochemistry and the Courtenay C. and Lucy Patten Davis Endowed Chair in Lung Cancer Research, is developing new evolutionary models to understand how aging and smoking promote selection for cancer-causing mutations, leading to cancers. DeGregori’s lab also is working towards the development of novel therapeutic strategies to treat non-small cell lung cancers and finding better, less toxic treatments for acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
“It’s an honor to step into this position. The CU Cancer Center respects and prioritizes innovative ideas and new approaches in science, which I hope to continue to foster in my new position, DeGregori said “Colorado already has an extremely collaborative research culture, which I want to support and continue to build upon, bringing together basic and clinical investigators as well as researchers of varied disciplines.”.
Heide Ford, PhD, a professor in the Department of Pharmacology, will take over for DeGregori as associate director for basic research. Ford’s work focuses on the parallels between normal development and tumor progression, and how cancer cells utilize developmental programs to mediate metastatic spread. In addition, her work has recently broached topics such as tumor heterogeneity, an important issue when thinking about therapeutically targeting tumor progression.
“My own work has led me to collaborate with investigators in disparate fields, and thus I appreciate the value of collaboration, of breaking down silos, of including the expertise of many different fields and backgrounds and ways of looking at the problem of cancer,” said Ford. “If there’s one idea I hope to promote in this position it’s that we discover more when we work together.”
DeGregori and Ford will assume their new roles February 1, 2017.
“I couldn’t be more excited about the future of CU Cancer Center,” Theodorescu said. “We are increasingly recognized as a national and international leader in cancer research, from the most basic science discoveries to our ability to deliver cutting-edge, compassionate care. James and Heide are excellent scientists and have been an essential part of our growth. They both also mentor promising young researchers. I expect their leadership and wisdom will be an essential piece of our progression toward ever greater levels of scientific discovery and delivery of innovations in clinical care for our patients. ”