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NCI Director Dr. Norman E. Sharpless

NCI Director Dr. Norman E. Sharpless

Credit: National Cancer Institute

Norman E. “Ned” Sharpless, M.D., was officially sworn in as the 15th director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) on October 17, 2017. From April 5, 2019 to November 1, 2019, Dr. Sharpless served as Acting Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Prior to his NCI appointment, he served as the director of the University of North Carolina (UNC) Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, a position he held since January 2014.

Dr. Sharpless was a Morehead Scholar at UNC–Chapel Hill and received his undergraduate degree in mathematics. He went on to pursue his medical degree from the UNC School of Medicine, graduating with honors and distinction in 1993. He then completed his internal medicine residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital and a hematology/oncology fellowship at Dana-Farber/Partners Cancer Care, both of Harvard Medical School in Boston.

After 2 years on the faculty at Harvard Medical School, he joined the faculty of the UNC School of Medicine in the Departments of Medicine and Genetics in 2002. He became the Wellcome Professor of Cancer Research at UNC in 2012.

Dr. Sharpless is a member of the Association of American Physicians as well as the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI), the nation’s oldest honor society for physician–scientists, and served on the ASCI council from 2011 to 2014. Dr. Sharpless was an associate editor of Aging Cell and deputy editor of the Journal of Clinical Investigation. He has authored more than 150 original scientific papers, reviews, and book chapters, and is an inventor on 10 patents. He cofounded two clinical-stage biotechnology companies: G1 Therapeutics and HealthSpan Diagnostics.

In addition to serving as director of NCI, Dr. Sharpless is chief of the Aging Biology and Cancer Section in the National Institute on Aging’s Laboratory of Genetics and Genomics, where he continues his research on the biology of the aging process that promotes the conversion of normal self-renewing cells into dysfunctional cancer cells. Dr. Sharpless has made seminal contributions to the understanding of the relationship between aging and cancer, and in the preclinical development of novel therapeutics for melanoma, lung cancer, and breast cancer.

Follow Dr. Sharpless on Twitter to get his perspective on cancer research and issues important to NCI. 

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