MD Anderson salutes Ronald DePinho, M.D., in gratitude for his service as the institution's fourth full-time president, Sept. 2011—March 2017. A visionary leader, DePinho leaves a legacy of historic innovation and global impact. Throughout his tenure, he set an ambitious agenda to recruit and retain world-class clinicians and researchers, speed technology transfer, develop national and international collaborations, and mobilize faculty and staff to effect significant change — in the way teams work, the way research is enabled, the way ideas are applied to create new treatments and digital solutions, and the way knowledge and expertise can inspire health policies that aim to reduce youths' cancer risk.
As he resumes his passion for research, DePinho remains a champion of MD Anderson's efforts in Making Cancer History®, conducting translational science to make a meaningful impact in the clinic and advocating for cancer research funding and effective health policy as vice chair of ACT for NIH: Advancing Cures Today, a nonpartisan effort to increase support for biomedical research. In addition, he will coordinate a global multi-sector effort to advance cancer care, particularly for the impoverished.
Ronald DePinho, M.D., professor of Cancer Biology, Division of Basic Science Research, is internationally recognized for his groundbreaking basic and translational cancer research and for his studies in aging and age-associated degenerative disorders. Effective June 1, he holds the Harry Graves Burkhart III Distinguished University Chair in Cancer Research. In 2012, DePinho led MD Anderson in launching the Moon Shots Program™, an accelerated effort to reduce cancer deaths and transform cancer care. Before joining MD Anderson in September 2011, DePinho spent 14 years at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School in Boston. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Science and the National Academy of Medicine. He is the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, Portugal's Order of Saint James of the Sword (knighthood) and many other prestigious honors and awards.
"Having served on the Board of Visitors for nearly 25 years, it has been an honor and pleasure to work closely with Dr. DePinho during his tenure as president, as it was with Drs. LeMaistre and Mendelsohn. Dr. DePinho brought his quest to cure cancer to MD Anderson with great vision and enthusiasm. Worldwide, thousands of cancer patients' lives have been saved and extended by MD Anderson's skilled physicians and staff under Dr. DePinho's leadership. We look forward to following his continued success with best wishes to him and his family"
— Harry Longwell, Past Chair, MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors
"A true visionary who kept an eye on the horizon and worked hard to shape a better future beyond it, Dr. DePinho remains a tireless advocate for patients and for MD Anderson. As president, he helped us redefine what was possible. Dr. DePinho's positive impact on our institution and our nation will be felt for years to come. I, for one, am proud he will always be a member of our MD Anderson team."
— Marshall Hicks, M.D., President ad interim
"As president of this great institution, Dr. DePinho challenged the Board of Visitors to seize unique opportunities to effectively maintain MD Anderson's position as the No. 1 institution for cancer research and patient care. Together we pushed the boundaries, especially in the areas of innovative cancer research and philanthropic support. We are grateful for his leadership, vision and expertise."
— Jim Mulva, Chair, MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors
"Dr. DePinho is an outstanding scientist who has tremendous passion for innovative research that will lead to better understanding, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancer. This was the main focus for his recruitment of leading investigators to MD Anderson, and for his bold Moon Shot and drug development research agendas for the institution. He greatly expanded our funding from both industry and philanthropy, at a time when federal grants no longer cover the majority of our research costs. And he promoted the continued growth of our national and international collaborative programs, bringing our expertise to patients and cancer programs worldwide."
— John Mendelsohn, M.D., Director, Sheik Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nayan Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy; MD Anderson President, 1996—2011
"Ron is an inspirational leader, a highly effective researcher and doctor, and a man of deep passion for those suffering from cancer. He is committed at his core to advancing knowledge that will lead to cures for this disease that has taken far too many of our loved ones for far too long."
— Mel Klein, Immediate Past Chair, MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors
"Ron DePinho is a great friend, a true innovator and one of the most dedicated individuals in the search for a cure for cancer. He was a driving force behind establishing the Andrew Sabin Family Fellowship Program at MD Anderson. It has been a pleasure to work with him as advocates for increased medical funding through ACT for NIH."
— Andy Sabin, MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitor Member
Milestones in Making Cancer History®
DePinho's signature achievement was the 2012 launch of MD Anderson's Moon Shots Program™, bolstered by more than $435 million in philanthropy to date. The comprehensive assault on cancer has expanded to 13 areas of focus, with 10 enabling platforms. The initiative has inspired the White House Cancer Moonshot Initiative (renamed the Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot under the 21st Century Cures Act) led by former Vice President Joe Biden.
Additional highlights of DePinho's administration include:
- Top ranking in cancer care in U.S. News & World Report's annual "Best Hospitals" survey
- Close working relationships with key world leaders to advance public health
- Doubling of annual funding from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas
- Expansion of the MD Anderson Cancer Network to seven partner and 15 certified members in the U.S. and to three international associate members
- Growth of MD Anderson's Global Academic Programs to 34 institutions in 24 countries
- Increase in technology licensing revenue to $264 million
- More than $1.2 billion in private philanthropy over five years, including a record $294 million in FY2016