Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center announced Thursday that it has named D. Gary Gilliland, M.D., Ph.D., an internationally renowned expert in cancer genetics and precision medicine, as its new president and director.
Dr. D. Gary Gilliland, a physician-scientist with a background in academic medicine and the pharmaceutical industry, will take the helm as Fred Hutchinson’s new leader on Jan. 2, the center said in a prepared statement.
Gilliland comes to Seattle’s world-renowned cancer center from the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, where he was the vice president of precision medicine.
Prior to that he was an executive at Merck Research Laboratories and also spent more than 20 years at Harvard Medical School, where he was a professor of medicine and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.
Gilliland’s research has led to important discoveries that have shed light on the genetic basis of leukemias and other blood cancers. His work has led to the development of new investigational cancer treatments, including precise, molecularly targeted therapies tailored to the unique characteristics of each patient’s tumor.
When asked to take the top position at Fred Hutchinson, Gilliland said he couldn’t resist.
“It feels like coming home,” he said. “It feels like I’ve been preparing my entire life for this job. This is the perfect time and perfect place and opportunity to truly target cures for cancer. Everything I’ve done in my career has pointed here.”
Paula Reynolds, chair of Fred Hutchinson’s board of trustees, said the search committee knew Gilliland was an ideal fit from the first meeting, noting his exceptional scientific discoveries, his diverse leadership experience and the patient-centered approach for which he is known.
“Scientific breakthroughs are born at Fred Hutch. Under Gary’s leadership, we have a unique opportunity; our research will translate to more cures for patients not just in the region but across the globe,” she said.