Dr. Thomas J. Lynch Jr. named new president and director of Fred Hutch

Oncologist, scientist and cancer center leader brings 30 years of experience in academic medicine
Dr. Thomas J. Lynch Jr. is the new president and director of Fred Hutch
Dr. Thomas J. Lynch Jr. is the new president and director of Fred Hutch Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service

Dr. Thomas J. Lynch Jr. will become Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s new president and director, the organization announced today. Lynch, a well-known cancer leader with expertise in solid tumor research, precision medicine and immuno-oncology, starts at Fred Hutch in February 2020.

Lynch has been a nationally recognized leader in academic medicine for more than three decades. He has served as chairman and CEO of Massachusetts General Physicians Organization, director of Yale Cancer Center, physician-in-chief of Yale’s Smilow Cancer Hospital, professor of medicine at Yale School of Medicine, chief of Hematology-Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

He was most recently chief scientific officer at Bristol-Myers Squibb, where he led the company’s research and development efforts in cancer, cardiovascular disease, fibrosis and immunoscience. Lynch focused on translational immuno-oncology research that resulted in new therapies and treatments for patients with both solid tumors and hematologic malignancies. 

While at Massachusetts General Hospital, he was part of the research team that discovered how targeted therapies could dramatically change outcomes for lung cancer patients with mutations in the EGFR, or epidermal growth factor receptor, gene. This discovery helped to ignite deeper understanding of how molecular profiling can be a key tool in the development of new medicines to treat patients with lung cancer. Lynch has been at the forefront of precision medicine — identifying the best treatments for patients based on the genetic makeup of their specific tumors.

Lynch’s career at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Yale and Mass General has been focused on building collaborative interdisciplinary teams. His work has received team science awards from both the American Association for Cancer Research and the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer.

“When I learned Fred Hutch was searching for a new leader, I immediately knew where I wanted to be … Based on the Hutch’s pedigree, the extraordinary researchers here who are committed to saving lives, and the proximity to Seattle’s thriving technology and life sciences community, I can’t imagine a more exciting place to be right now.”

- Dr. Thomas J. Lynch Jr.

Matt McIlwain, managing director at Madrona Venture Group and chair of the Fred Hutch board of trustees.
Matt McIlwain, managing director at Madrona Venture Group and chair of the Fred Hutch board of trustees Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service

Matt McIlwain, managing director at Madrona Venture Group and chair of the Fred Hutch board of trustees, said the executive search committee met with many highly qualified and diverse candidates, and it was immediately impressed by Lynch’s depth and breadth of leadership and expertise.

“We were reminded throughout our search process how highly respected Fred Hutch is in the cancer research and scientific communities. Our ability to recruit Tom Lynch to lead the Hutch reinforces that stature,” McIlwain said. “Tom is a highly respected scientist, physician and cancer center leader who will continue guiding the Hutch to even greater impact in the future.”

“Tom will be a remarkable leader for Fred Hutch,” said Dr. Gary Gilliland, who since January 2015 has been at the helm of Fred Hutch. “Tom’s depth of experience in academic research, clinical care, cancer center leadership and his pharmaceutical industry experience provide an unprecedented perspective that will strengthen the link between Fred Hutch’s commitment to scientific excellence and our pursuit of delivering cures.”

“The Hutch has a history of leaders who bring diverse backgrounds and experiences to the role,” said Sue Biggins, senior vice president and director of the Hutch’s Basic Sciences Division and member of the executive search committee. “In addition to his reputation as an international leader in oncology, Tom’s known for encouraging investments in basic research that help improve our understanding of the molecular mechanisms that lead to cancer and other diseases.”

In 1995, he was a founding board member of the Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare, which developed Schwartz Rounds, now adopted by more than 500 hospitals around the world. That experience remains one of the most important milestones of his career, he said. “Promoting the compassionate connection between patients and caregivers continues to be a focal point for my work.”

Lynch received his B.S. in biology from Yale College and his M.D. from Yale School of Medicine, both in New Haven, Connecticut. He completed his clinical training in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and his medical oncology training at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, both in Boston.

Lynch is a member of the American Association for Cancer Research, the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer. He has published more than 100 original scientific papers and authored or co-authored more than 90 review articles and book chapters.

Lynch will become the sixth president and director in Fred Hutch’s 45-year history. He is preceded by Drs. Gary Gilliland, Lawrence Corey, Nobel laureate Lee Hartwell, Dr. Robert Day, and Fred Hutch founder Dr. William Hutchinson. 

Are you interested in reprinting or republishing this story? Be our guest! We want to help connect people with the information they need. We just ask that you link back to the original article, preserve the author’s byline and refrain from making edits that alter the original context. Questions? Email us at communications@fredhutch.org

Related Articles

All news
Science on the horizon Fred Hutch experts make predictions for science trends, advances in 2020 December 27, 2019
Philanthropic support catalyzes audacious ideas, bold research Support from thousands of donors gives researchers the time and resources they need to advance high-risk projects with immense potential December 18, 2019
Fred Hutch President and Director Dr. Gary Gilliland announces plan to step down 5 years of leadership reinforced Fred Hutch scientific excellence, collaborative research, partnerships and financial strength September 17, 2019

Help Us Eliminate Cancer

Every dollar counts. Please support lifesaving research today.