Robert L. Ferris, MD, PhD, Named Director of UPMC Hillman Cancer Center


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Robert L. Ferris, MD, PhD

Robert L. Ferris, MD, PhD

Robert L. Ferris, MD, PhD, an expert in immunotherapy and a specialist in head and neck cancer, has been named Director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Hillman Cancer Center. His appointment was effective July 1.

Dr. Ferris, a 15-year veteran of the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, has overall responsibility for all aspects of cancer research and education at the Center. His appointment follows a nationwide search after the departure of Nancy Davidson, MD.

Dr. Ferris serves as Chief of the Division of Head and Neck Oncologic Surgery in the Departments of Otolaryngology and 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.

The development and implementation of immunotherapy to treat head and neck tumors has been the primary research focus of the Ferris laboratory. More recently, Dr. Ferris’ work has focused on how immune cells in the tumor microenvironment influence cancer progression and can be harnessed to advance treatment.

Other Roles

Nationally, Dr. Ferris is 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. He has edited three books, with Head and Neck Cancer currently in press. 

Dr. Ferris was trained at Johns Hopkins Medical School, where he received his medical degree and PhD in immunology and 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 Dr. Ferris. ■



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