Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center announced that it has named D. Gary Gilliland, MD, PhD, an expert in cancer genetics and precision medicine as its new President and Director. He will take the helm as the Center’s new leader on January 2.
Dr. Gilliland comes to Fred Hutchinson from the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, where he was the Vice President of Precision Medicine. Prior to that he was an executive at Merck Research Laboratories and also spent more than 20 years at Harvard Medical School, where he was a Professor of Medicine and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.
Dr. Gilliland has made seminal discoveries that have shed light on the genetic basis of leukemias and other blood cancers. His work has led to the development of new investigational cancer treatments, including precise, molecularly targeted therapies tailored to the unique characteristics of each patient’s tumor.
He is deeply familiar with Fred Hutch’s innovative research in the areas of immunotherapy, personalized medicine, bone marrow transplantation and more, so when he was tapped for the position, he said he couldn’t resist.
“It feels like coming home,” he said. “It feels like I’ve been preparing my entire life for this job. This is the perfect time and perfect place and opportunity to truly target cures for cancer. Everything I’ve done in my career has pointed here.”
Fred Appelbaum, MD, Deputy Director of Fred Hutchinson, who has known Gilliland for more than 25 years, said he couldn’t be happier about the new President and Director. “Gary is a really wonderful scientist who thinks deeply about problems, comes up with ideas and a hypothesis before anyone else does, and has tech know-how,” he said.
Gilliland has received many honors and awards for his academic research, including the William Dameshek Prize from the American Society of Hematology, the Emil J. Freireich Award from the MD Anderson Cancer Center and the Stanley J. Korsmeyer Award from the American Society for Clinical Investigation, of which he is an elected member. He is also an elected member of the American Association of Physicians. ■