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NCI Director Dr. W. Kimryn Rathmell

NCI Director Dr. Rathmell stands in front of the U.S. flag, smiling with her arms crossed

Dr. W. Kimryn Rathmell

W. Kimryn Rathmell, M.D., Ph.D., M.M.H.C., was sworn in as the 17th NCI director on December 18, 2023. She previously led the Vanderbilt University Medical Center as physician-in-chief and chair of the Department of Medicine.

Dr. Rathmell is a recipient of the 2019 Louisa Nelson Award for Women of Achievement, Vision, and Inspiration, the 2019 Eugene P. Schonfeld Award from the Kidney Cancer Association, and the Paragon Award for Research Excellence from the Doris Duke Foundation. She was a leader of The Cancer Genome Atlas’s (TCGA) kidney cancer projects and served as a TCGA analysis working group member across the spectrum of cancers, winning the 2020 American Association for Cancer Research Team Science Award. She has served on the NCI Board of Scientific Advisors, and the Forbeck Foundation Scientific Advisory Board.

Dr. Rathmell has held leadership positions with the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American Society for Clinical Investigation, serving as secretary–treasurer and president. As a result of her efforts, Dr. Rathmell has been elected to the Association of American Physicians, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Medicine.

Dr. Rathmell’s specialty is the research and treatment of complex and hereditary kidney cancers. She also focuses on underlying drivers of kidney cancers using genetic, molecular, and cell biology to develop interventions to improve patients’ lives. Dr. Rathmell’s research has resulted in more than 250 articles in leading peer-reviewed journals, including The New England Journal of Medicine, Nature, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Dr. Rathmell earned undergraduate degrees in biology and chemistry from the University of Northern Iowa and her Ph.D. in biophysics and M.D. from Stanford University. She completed an internal medicine internship at the University of Chicago and an internal medicine residency, medical oncology fellowship, and postdoctoral studies at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2022, she completed her Master of Management in Health Care from the Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management.

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