Director of National Cancer Institute to deliver special cancer biology lecture

Dr. Norman Sharpless, director of the National Cancer Institute at the NIH, will give this semester’s Distinguished Lecture in Cancer Biology Sept. 24 from noon-1 p.m.

The talk, entitled, “The National Cancer Institute: Leading Cancer Research in 2021 and Beyond,” will take place over Zoom. Dr. Robert Weiss, associate dean for research and graduate education at the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine and Dr. Praveen Sethupathy, associate professor and director of the Center for Vertebrate Genomics, will co-host the lecture. This free event is open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to register in advance here.

“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Sharpless for the 2021 distinguished lecture,” Weiss said. “The work done by the National Cancer Institute is crucial to improving the prevention and treatment of cancer, a disease that has a devastating impact world-wide. Basic and applied cancer research is a major emphasis at Cornell, and we are excited to hear more about Dr. Sharpless’ vision for the future cancer research.”

As the largest institute at the NIH, the National Cancer Institute is the federal government’s principal agency for cancer research and training. Sharpless has served as director since 2017. After earning his medical degree from the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine, Sharpless completed a residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital and a fellowship at Harvard Medical School, where he served as a faculty member for two years. He then joined the faculty at the UNC School of Medicine, becoming the Wellcome Professor of Cancer Research in 2012.

Sharpless served as director of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at UNC before his appointment as director of the National Cancer Institute. He is a member of the Association of American Physicians and the American Society for Clinical Investigation, and is a fellow at the Academy of the American Association of Cancer Research. He has authored more than 160 original scientific papers, reviews and book chapters, and is an inventor on 10 patents. He cofounded two clinical-stage biotechnology companies and served as acting commissioner for food and drugs at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2019, before returning to the National Cancer Institute directorship.

The Distinguished Lecture in Cancer Biology is sponsored by the Sandra Atlas Bass Endowment for Cancer Research and the Comparative Cancer Biology Program at the College of Veterinary Medicine.