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DePinho Next MD Anderson President

CCH Newsletter - Summer 2011

Eminent researcher coming from 
Dana-Farber, Harvard Medical School

A worldwide search for the fourth full-time president of MD Anderson has ended with the appointment of Ronald DePinho, M.D., by The University of Texas System Board of Regents.

He is president-designate until he officially assumes the position on Sept. 1.

In accepting this post, DePinho leaves his positions as director of the Belfer Institute for Applied Cancer Science at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and professor of medicine (genetics) at Harvard Medical School, both in Boston.

He is a member of the Institute of Medicine and fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He also has held numerous faculty positions at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

DePinho 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.

He is internationally recognized for basic and translational research in cancer, aging and age-associated degenerative disorders.

Looking for answers

DePinho’s interest in research grew from the reality that there were too many unanswered questions — too many “why’s” of disease. He says his efforts to find a cure for cancer are in honor of his father, who died of colorectal cancer at the same time DePinho became a professor at Harvard.

“The complexity of cancer is astounding and there’s a staggering unmet need for answers,” he told Fordham magazine in fall 2003. “I decided to shift gears from being a clinician treating patients to learning and doing basic science because I got frustrated telling patients and their families, ‘We just don’t know enough right now.’”

While shifting his efforts to understanding the genetic basis of cancer, a cardinal feature of his research program has been to convert basic and clinical knowledge into advances for patients.

“Ron DePinho is a visionary and energetic leader who is committed to achieving MD Anderson’s mission,” says John Mendelsohn, M.D., who has served as president for the past 15 years. “I’m confident that under his leadership, we will continue to pioneer advances in targeted cancer therapies.”

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center