Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service
SEATTLE — Oct. 19, 2015 — Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center President and Director Gary Gilliland, M.D., Ph.D., has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine (formerly known as the Institute of Medicine). Election to NAM is considered to be one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine, and it recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service.
Gilliland, an expert in cancer genetics and precision medicine, was among 70 new members and 10 international members announced today during the 45th annual meeting of the NAM in Washington, D.C.
“I am deeply honored to have been elected to the National Academy of Medicine,” said Gilliland, who took the helm as Fred Hutch’s leader on Jan. 2, 2015. “We are at a critical inflection point in science and medicine, where we have the capability to develop curative therapies for so many diseases, including cancer, which afflict humankind. And yet we are at a juncture where there are significant resource constraints at the NIH [National Institutes of Health] and other funding agencies in supporting this transformational work. I look forward to serving the National Academy of Medicine to address these critical issues and opportunities in health care and medicine.”
Gilliland, who holds doctorates in microbiology and medicine, spent 20 years on the faculty at Harvard University, where he was professor of medicine and professor of stem cell and regenerative biology. He was also an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the director of the leukemia program at the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center and has earned numerous honors for his work. The bulk of his initial work at Harvard focused on the genetic basis of blood cancers.
In 2009, Gilliland left Harvard to go to serve as senior vice president and head of global oncology at Merck Research Laboratories. In 2013, he returned to academia when he became the vice dean and vice president of precision medicine at Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. There, he worked to bring together research and clinical care initiatives across disciplines to create a model for delivering personalized medicine to patients with a range of diseases.
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.
The NAM, established in 1970, works together with the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The Academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering and medicine.
Election to the National Academy of Medicine comes with a commitment to volunteer a significant amount of time to NAM committees, which engage in a broad range of studies on health policy issues.
Other current Fred Hutch-based faculty members who have been elected to the NAM include, in alphabetical order: Frederick Appelbaum, M.D., executive vice president, deputy director and member/former director of the Clinical Research Division; Nobel laureate Linda Buck, Ph.D., a member of the Basic Sciences Division; Lawrence Corey, M.D., president and director emeritus and member of the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division; Mark T. Groudine, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice president, deputy director, member and former director of the Basic Sciences Division; Thomas Fleming, Ph.D., a principal investigator in the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division; Eric Holland, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president and director of the Human Biology Division; and Ross Prentice, Ph.D., member/former director of the Public Health Sciences Division.
At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, home to three Nobel laureates, interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists seek new and innovative ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases. Fred Hutch’s pioneering work in bone marrow transplantation led to the development of immunotherapy, which harnesses the power of the immune system to treat cancer. An independent, nonprofit research institute based in Seattle, Fred Hutch houses the nation’s first National Cancer Institute-funded cancer prevention research program, as well as the clinical coordinating center of the Women’s Health Initiative and the international headquarters of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network.