Noted Leukemia Clinician, Researcher Named UI Cancer Center Director

Dr. Howard Ozer, a renowned cancer clinician and researcher, has been named director of the University of Illinois Cancer Center.

Ozer joined the UIC faculty in 2010 as the Eileen Lindsay Heidrick Professor in Oncology and chief of hematology/oncology. He has served as interim director of the cancer center since January 2011, following the death of Dr. Gary Kruh.

Ozer is internationally known for research in the development of hematopoietic growth factors and cytokines and for clinical trials in leukemia and lymphoma. He has more than 300 publications in the biology of the leukemias and lymphomas and in therapeutics, with a particular emphasis on biologic therapies. He serves on a number of editorial boards and is on the scientific advisory boards for several pharmaceutical companies. He also co-chairs the American Society of Clinical Oncology Growth Factor Guidelines Committee.

“Dr. Ozer’s record of achievements makes him uniquely qualified to become the driving force behind the Cancer Center as it moves forward and grows,” said Lon Kaufman, UIC vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost.

Ozer came to UIC from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, where he was the Eason Chair and section chief of hematology/oncology. From 2000 to 2005 he served as director of Oklahoma’s cancer center, which received a planning grant from the National Cancer Institute in 2001 and a competitive renewal in 2004.

As director of the UI Cancer Center, Ozer will oversee the submission of a grant application for formal Cancer Center designation by the National Cancer Institute.

“Achieving Cancer Center designation is a critical goal of the university that will further advance the scientific excellence and prestige of our institution as a whole,” said Dr. Dimitri Azar, dean of the UIC College of Medicine. “We are fortunate to have such a talented physician-scientist and effective leader spearheading the UI Cancer Center during this vital period.”

Ozer received his undergraduate degree in biology from Yale College and then entered the M.D./Ph.D. training program in microbiology/immunology at Yale Medical School. He completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and received fellowship training in hematology/oncology at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

He was associate professor of medicine at Roswell Park Cancer Institute before moving to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as division chief of oncology and associate director for clinical affairs of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. He was director of Emory University’s Winship Cancer Center as well as director of the Cancer Center at Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia before moving to the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

The UI Cancer Center is comprised of 180 members, representing 11 University of Illinois colleges on four campuses. With links to regional medical campuses at Rockford, Peoria and Urbana, the UI Cancer Center has developed a statewide network of excellence in cancer research and care and is committed to serving the underserved populations of Illinois, including both urban-minority and rural populations.

[Editor’s note: Photos available at http://newsphoto.lib.uic.edu/v/ozer/.]