Cancer center director candidate forum on July 16

July 11, 2019

Image with caption: The Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center

The Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center

The campus community is invited to the fifth candidate forum for the director of the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center and the Eppley Institute for Research in Cancer on Tuesday, July 16.

The forum, which will run from noon to 1 p.m., in the Yanney Conference Room of the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, will feature Kunle Odunsi, M.D., Ph.D., deputy director, professor and chair of the department of gynecologic oncology, the M. Steven Piver Endowed Professor of Gynecologic Oncology, executive director of the Center for Immunotherapy at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Cancer; and professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Buffalo.

Following a brief presentation, titled "The Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center: A Leader in Innovative Cancer Care," Dr. Odunsi will take part in a question-and-answer session.

Dr. Odunsi maintains an active independent laboratory research program that focuses on understanding the mechanisms of immune recognition and tolerance in human ovarian cancer, and translation of the findings to clinical immunotherapy trials. He has pioneered the development of antigen specific vaccine therapy for prolonging remission rates in patients with ovarian cancer. He currently is pioneering studies to "re-engineer" mature T cells and hematopoietic stem cells for generating sustained attack against ovarian cancer in patients. He has developed and implemented protocols for multi-institutional immunotherapy clinical trials under the umbrella of the NCI Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network (CITN); the NCTN (NRG); ETCTN; and the Cancer Vaccine Collaborative (CVC) program of the Cancer Research Institute/Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research. In 2018, he was elected to the United States National Academy of Medicine.

Dr. Odunsi has authored or co-authored more than 340 journal publications or book chapters including papers in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Nature Genetics, Immunity and New England Journal of Medicine. He holds active NIH R01 funding, and is the principal investigator of an NCI-funded multi-million dollar Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in ovarian cancer. He also is principal investigator of a multi-million dollar grant from NYSTEM to pioneer a novel strategy of re-programing human hematopoietic stem cells to become a lifelong supply of antitumor immune cells in patients. He was recently awarded a Department of Defense (DOD) grant to establish an Ovarian Cancer Omics Consortium (DSOCOC), consisting of three ovarian cancer SPOREs and the DOD Center of Excellence in GYN Cancers. He is co-chair of the NCI Ovarian Cancer Task Force of the Gynecological Cancer Steering Committee, co-chair of the NCI Cancer Moonshot Immuno-Oncology Translational Network (IOTN), and served as a member of the National Academy of Medicine's Committee on "The State of the Science in Ovarian Cancer Research."

After earning his medical degree from the University of Ife, Ile-Ife, Nigeria, Dr. Odunsi completed postgraduate training in obstetrics and gynecology at the Rosie Maternity and Addenbrookes Hospitals, University of Cambridge, UK. He was admitted to the membership of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in 1991. He subsequently completed a research fellowship in immunogenetics and earned his Ph.D. at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK. Subsequently, he completed residency training in obstetrics & gynecology at the Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn., and clinical fellowship in gynecologic oncology at Roswell Park. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in the United Kingdom. He also is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Dr. Odunsi has served on several Scientific Review Study Sections of the National Institutes of Health. He is a standing member of the Transplantation, Tolerance, and Tumor Immunology study section, and of Subcommittee A for CCSG reviews. He is a reviewer for the French National Cancer Institute, Swiss Cancer League, Italian Association for Cancer Research, Hong Kong Cancer Institute, and the Ontario Regional Cancer Institute. He is on the editorial boards of "BMC Cancer," "Journal for the Immunotherapy of Cancer," Gynecologic Oncology" and "Cancer Immunology Research."

Dr. Odunsi is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the Anna-Marie Kellen Clinical Investigator Award from the Cancer Research Institute; the Thomas B. Tomasi Hope Award for the Roswell Park Cancer Institute faculty member whose work has made significant advances in the fight against cancer and brought hope to cancer patients; the Achievement in Health Care Award from D'Youville College, Buffalo; and the 2019 Rosalind Franklin Prize for Excellence in Ovarian Cancer Research from the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance.

Campus forum attendees may provide their feedback on the candidate at CCDirector@wittkieffer.com.

Additional candidate forums will be announced as campus visits are finalized.

Information also will be available on the UNMC Leadership Searches page.

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