Dr. Craig B. Thompson, a leading immunologist who now heads the University of Chicago's Gwen Knapp Center for Lupus and Immunology Research, has been named the first scientific director of the Leonard and Madlyn Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute at the PennMed Cancer Center.
Dr. Thompson will come to Penn early in 1999 from Chicago, where he is professor of medicine and of molecular genetics and cell biology. He is also an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
His appointment signals "the Abramson Institute's intent to position itself in the vanguard of basic research into the causes of cancer and the development of the next generation of cancer treatments," the Institute's announcement said. "Many oncologists believe that immune-based therapies against cancer are among the most promising types of new treatments being explored today."
"For reasons not yet well understood," said Dr. Thompson, "the immune system largely ignores cancers when they develop. We are looking at ways to educate the immune system to recognize cancer as abnormal and to destroy it, much as it does viral or bacterial infections.
Dr. Thompson joins an institute established last December under a $100 million pledge of the Abramson Family Foundation with a strong emphasis on combining advanced research with compassionate care and support of patients and their families during treatment.
One of his first priorities here, he said, is to begin recruiting senior investigators experienced in translational research--the process of applying laboratory discoveries to clinical usefulness.
"Craig will bring experienced, creative leadership to the Abramson Institute's research programs, stimulating even greater scientific progress that ultimately means safer, more effective new treatments for cancer," said Dr. John H. Glick, director of the Institute and of the Cancer Center, as well as the Leonard and Madlyn Abramson Professor of Clinical Oncology.
Added Dean William N. Kelley, "The aim at the Abramson Institute is to bring together the resources necessary to translate today's laboratory advances into tomorrow's cancer-fighting tools in the most efficient way possible.
Dr. Thompson took his A.B. summa cum laude from Dartmouth College in 1974 and his M.D. from Penn in 1977. After his internship and residency at Peter Bent Brigham in Boston, he spent eight years as a research medical officer in the U.S. Navy, holding research posts in the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and the Naval Medical Research Institute, and also at Boston University and at the University of Washington's Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, where he was senior fellow in hematology and oncology in 1983-85.
In 1987 he joined the University of Michigan as assistant professor of medicine and of microbiology and immunology, and member of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Ann Arbor. He was promoted to associate professor in 1992. The following year he moved to his present post at Chicago.
Dr. Richard J. Herring, Professor of Finance and Vice Dean and Director of the Wharton Undergraduate Division, will chair the search committee for a dean of the Law School, where Dean Colin Diver will remain in office throughout the rest of the academic year. Members are:
Dr. Morris Cohen, Professor of Operations and Information Management and Co-Director of the Fishman-Davidson Center for Service and Operations Management in the Wharton School, will chair the search committee in Engineering and Applied Science, where Dr. Eduardo Glandt is now Interim Dean. On the committee are:
Gary Hack, Dean of the Graduate School of Fine Arts, will chair the search committee for a dean of the Wharton School, whose Dean Thomas Gerrity also continues in office until the end of the spring term. Members are:
Almanac, Vol. 45, No. 11, November 10, 1998