The planned Department of Cancer Biology will be the center of cancer-related research for the Stritch School of Medicine
As part of Loyola University Chicago's initiative to expand its cancer programs, the Stritch School of Medicine will be home to the planned new Department of Cancer Biology. The future Department will be the center of cancer-related research at Stritch and provide a structure through which Loyola University Chicago’s biomedical graduate programs will train the next generation of students and research scientists in cancer-related fields.
The University and Loyola University Medical Center have also committed to pursuing National Cancer Institute (NCI) Comprehensive designation for Loyola Medicine’s Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center. All NCI Cancer Centers are recognized for their scientific leadership, resources and scope of research, but the Comprehensive Centers are an elite subgroup that demonstrate substantial transdisciplinary research.
The forthcoming Department of Cancer Biology will be the basic science arm of the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center with major programs of research in immunology and immunotherapy, cell signaling, epigenetics, and gene regulation. It will house the Masters program in Cellular and Molecular Oncology and make significant contributions to the core Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics course required for all first-year medical students. The Oncology Research Institute and its affiliated faculty, staff and resources will move into the department, building on their long success to be the new department’s foundation. The department will recruit some of the nation's leading researchers in cancer biology.
To achieve this goal, cancer program leaders will transition to new roles.
Nancy Zeleznik-Le, PhD, former co-director of the Oncology Research Institute, has agreed to serve as interim chair of the Department of Cancer Biology. Dr. Zeleznik-Le is a Professor in the Department of Medicine and a member of the Oncology Research Institute since 1999. She is leader of the Cancer Gene Regulation Program and her research focuses on the Mixed Lineage Leukemia (MLL) gene and MLL-fusion proteins that cause leukemia. As interim chair, she will also serve as the deputy director and associate director for basic research of the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center.
William Small, Jr., MD, FACRO, FACR, FASTRO, Chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology, will become Director of the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center and lead the effort to achieve Comprehensive Cancer Center designation. Dr. Small will build upon the many years of work by Patrick Stiff, MD, as leader of the Cancer Center and co-director of the Oncology Research Institute.
The launch of the Department of Cancer Biology and these leadership appointments are critical steps to expand the depth and breadth of cancer research at Loyola.