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Ferris Named Director of UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

Published Online:9:28 AM, Fri June 30, 2017

Robert L. Ferris, MD, PhD

Robert L. Ferris, MD, PhD, has been named director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Hillman Cancer Center. His new position will start July 1.
 
Ferris, a renowned expert in immunotherapy and a specialist in head and neck cancer, is a 15-year veteran of the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center and currently serves as chief of the Division of Head and Neck Oncologic Surgery in the Department of Otolaryngology and in the Department of Immunology. He also serves as co-leader of the Cancer Immunology Program and most recently was appointed associate director for translational research and co-director of the Tumor Microenvironment Center.
 
Spreading beyond UPMC, Ferris is also the co-chair of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Steering Committee for Head and Neck Cancer, at-large director of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer, senior examiner of the American Board of Otolaryngology, and chair of the NCI Tumor Microenvironment Study Section.
 
In his new role at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, Ferris will direct all aspects of cancer research and education at the NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center. His appointment follows a nationwide search after the departure of Nancy Davidson, MD, the former director of the center.
 
“Dr Ferris is a nationally known leader in cancer immunology and will expertly serve UPMC, the University of Pittsburgh and the western Pennsylvania community as we continue to advance the future of cancer care,” Steven Shapiro, MD, chief medical and scientific officer of UPMC, said in a statement.
 
In his lab, Ferris’ primary focus has been the development and implementation of immunotherapy for the treatment of patients with head and neck cancer, including a recent investigation of the way immune cells in the tumor microenvironment influence cancer progression and can be harnessed to advance treatment.
 
“Under Dr Ferris’s leadership, we expect that UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh will continue to lead the way locally, nationally, and internationally in the development of new therapies to treat and prevent the numerous forms of cancer,” Arthur S. Levine, MD, senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and John and Gertrude Petersen Dean of Pitt’s School of Medicine, said in a statement.
 
Ferris was trained at Johns Hopkins Medical School where he received his medical degree and PhD in immunology. He completed his residency in otolaryngology/head and neck surgery.
 
“I am very excited to take on this new role in an institution that has been a proven leader in cancer research and treatment, with more than 400 clinical trials offering hope and cutting-edge therapies to our patients in the communities where they live,” said Ferris.

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