President Donald J. Trump selected Norman E. “Ned” Sharpless, MD, to serve as director of NCI.
Sharpless — recognized for his research into how normal cells age and undergo malignant conversion — is director of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. He also serves as Wellcome distinguished professor in cancer research, and as attending hematologist–oncologist at The N.C. Cancer Hospital.
Norman E. “Ned” Sharpless
“Dr. Sharpless is a visionary leader and a truly gifted scientist and clinician, and we strongly agree he would be an excellent choice to lead the National Cancer Institute into the future,” UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol L. Folt said in a university-issued press release.
Sharpless will succeed Douglas R. Lowy, MD, who served as NCI’s acting director since April 2015.
“We salute Dr. Lowy for his remarkable leadership and his ability as a basic scientist to gain the respect, trust, and adoration of the cancer control and treatment communities,” Gary M. Reedy, CEO of the American Cancer Society, said in a society-issued press release. “Lowy is one of the true gentlemen not just of oncology, but of American medicine.”
Sharpless earned his undergraduate degree in mathematics and his medical degree from UNC School of Medicine. He completed his residency at Massachusetts General Hospital, and he completed his clinical and research fellowship in hematology and oncology at Dana-Farber/Partners Cancer Care.
He has been on the UNC Lineberger faculty since 2002, and he has served as director of the comprehensive cancer center since January 2014.
“Dr. Sharpless brings impressive qualifications to this extremely important position” Michael A. Caligiuri, MD, president of American Association for Cancer Research, director of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, and CEO of the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, said in an association-issued press release. “His enthusiasm for innovative scientific methods and ideas, as well as his appreciation for the value and importance of basic research to advancing translational discoveries, will allow the NCI to continue leading the way in programs aimed at preventing disease, improving health, and reducing suffering from cancer, while also helping to maintain America’s edge in the life sciences.”
UNC’s leadership transition plan calls for H. Shelton “Shelley” Earp, MD, to serve as interim director of UNC Lineberger, according to the press release.
Earp served as director of the cancer center from 1997 to 2014 and now serves as director of UNC Cancer Care, which coordinates cancer care and clinical research between the university, its school of medicine and its health care system.
“Dr. Earp is a most capable leader who has played a foundational role in the cancer center’s development and we are quite fortunate that he agreed to serve as interim director in the likely event Dr. Sharpless is named director of the National Cancer Institute,” Roper said in a press release.