publication date: Jun. 16, 2017

Ned Sharpless, Trump’s choice for NCI director, described as erudite scientist whose expertise spans basic, clinical research

By Paul Goldberg

President Donald Trump announced his intention to name Norman “Ned” Sharpless to serve as the next NCI director. The appointment was announced late on June 9.

Sharpless, director of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Wellcome Distinguished Professor in Cancer Research, will replace Douglas Lowy, who has served as acting director at the institute since Harold Varmus stepped down as director in March 2015.

The position doesn’t require confirmation by the U.S. Senate. It’s not publicly known when Sharpless would be moving to Washington.

The decision to appoint Sharpless, a scientist and cancer center director, came three days after Trump appointed Francis Collins to head NIH.

Sharpless, 50, is described by colleagues as a solid, mainstream choice, which—in an optimistic interpretation—suggests continuity for the institute.

His experience includes laboratory science, a clinical practice, running a major cancer center, and starting two biotechnology companies, one of which recently went public. His interests also include Big Data projects. He is involved in developing cancer applications for IBM Watson.

“He was in my lab, at which time I predicted he would ascend to impactful positions based on a diverse array of his attributes of caring, integrity, entrepreneurial nature, drive, inquisitiveness, smarts, interpersonal skills and communication abilities,” said Ronald DePinho, a professor of cancer biology at MD Anderson Cancer Center and that institution’s former president.

Sharpless, who graduated from UNC and its medical school, did his internship and fellowship and later practiced at Harvard-affiliated institutions and worked at DePinho’s lab.

“Ned is a top-tier scientist contributing to our fundamental work in stem cells and cancer,” DePinho said to The Cancer Letter. “He is a skilled heme-onc physician who … Continue reading Ned Sharpless, Trump’s choice for NCI director, described as erudite scientist whose expertise spans basic, clinical research

To access this members-only content, please log in.
Institutional subscribers, please log in with your IP.
If you're not a subscriber why not join today?
To gain access to the members only content click here to subscribe.
You will be given immediate access to premium content on the site.
Click here to join.

Copyright (c) 2019 The Cancer Letter Inc.