NCI Announces Senior Leadership Changes
Speaking at an "all-hands" meeting of National Cancer Institute (NCI) employees today, NCI Director Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach announced several changes among senior NCI leadership, including the departures of a deputy director and the director of the Center for Cancer Research (CCR).
Dr. Karen H. Antman, the deputy director for translational and clinical sciences, has accepted a job as provost of the Boston University Medical Campus and dean of the School of Medicine. And CCR Director Dr. J. Carl Barrett has taken a position with the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research as Global Head of Oncology Biomarkers.
"Losing these two individuals with respect to their leadership is, for us, going to be a great loss," Dr. von Eschenbach said. "But, like all great institutions, we have great people who step up." CCR Principal Deputy Director Dr. Robert Wiltrout, he announced, will become the new director of CCR.
Dr. Antman joined NCI after more than 7 years as director of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Antman has been instrumental in expanding NCI's interactions with cancer centers and in revising the P30/P50 grant guidelines for cancer centers and Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPOREs).
Prior to his arrival at NCI in 2000, Dr. Barrett worked for 23 years at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the last 5 years as the Division of Intramural Research scientific director. With the merger of the NCI divisions of Basic and Clinical Sciences into the CCR, Dr. Barrett led the effort to enhance interdisciplinary and translational biomedical research within the intramural research program by promoting closer links between basic researchers and clinical investigators.
Dr. Wiltrout joined NCI in 1986 as a researcher in the Laboratory of Experimental Immunology. During his two decades at NCI, Dr. Wiltrout has established a distinguished career in cytokine-mediated immunology while taking on increasing administrative and leadership responsibilities in CCR, particularly for the NCI campus in Frederick, Md.
Finally, Dr. von Eschenbach announced that Dr. Lee Helman, currently a CCR deputy director and chief of the CCR Pediatric Oncology Branch, has been named acting scientific director for clinical research in CCR, and that Craig Reynolds will serve as the operational head of NCI-Frederick. Dr. Helman has been at NCI since 1983, beginning his career as a research fellow. In this new role in CCR, Dr. Helman will lead a renewed focus on clinical research as the process of re-engineering the intramural research program moves forward.
Highlighting some of the challenges currently facing NCI employees - from new budgetary restraints to uncertainty about the recently proposed revised NIH conflict-of-interest restrictions - Dr. von Eschenbach affirmed his commitment to ensuring that NCI continues to grow and evolve, including ongoing opportunities for NCI staff.
"This will always remain one of my highest priorities: the mentorship, the nurturing, and the development of our 'human capital,'" he said. "Nothing is more important than the people who make up this institution."
By Carmen Phillips