Dec 18, 2020 10:00 AM

Author: Ashlee Harrison

Photo of Jay Gertz, PhD and Trudy G. Oliver, PhD
Jay Gertz, PhD and Trudy G. Oliver, PhD

Today Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah (U of U) announced Jay Gertz, PhD, and Trudy G. Oliver, PhD, have accepted invitations to serve as co-leaders of HCI Comprehensive Cancer Center research programs. Gertz will serve alongside Jared Rutter, PhD, as co-leader of the Nuclear Control of Cell Growth and Differentiation Program. He succeeds Brad Cairns, PhD. Oliver will serve alongside Sheri Holmen, PhD, as co-leader of the Cell Response and Regulation Program, succeeding Alana Welm, PhD. Their appointments are effective January 1, 2021.

Gertz joined HCI in 2013. He is an associate professor of oncological sciences. His lab uses genomics approaches to study the roles of transcription factors in cancer, with a particular interest in how hormone receptors lead to uterine cancer and breast cancer. Gertz earned a BA in mathematics from Cornell University and a PhD in computational biology from Washington University in St. Louis. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. His research is supported by the National Institutes of Health, including the National Cancer Institute and the National Human Genome Research Institute; the Department of Defense; and Huntsman Cancer Foundation.

Oliver joined HCI in 2011 and is an associate professor of oncological sciences at the University of Utah and an HCI Endowed Chair in Cancer Research. Her lab focuses on understanding how lung cancers develop and acquire resistance to therapy with the goal of improving treatments. Oliver earned her PhD from Duke University in pharmacology and cancer biology and completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is co-leader of the HCI Lung Cancer Disease Center. Oliver received the William C. Rippe Award for Distinguished Research in Lung Cancer from the Lung Cancer Research Foundation (LCRF) and now serves on LCRF’s Scientific Advisory Board. Oliver’s research program has been supported by the National Cancer Institute, Lung Cancer Research Foundation, Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, Jimmy V Foundation, Closer to Cure, and Huntsman Cancer Foundation.

“I have no doubt Drs. Gertz and Oliver are poised for incredible success,” said Neli Ulrich, PhD, executive director of the comprehensive cancer center at HCI. “They have been leaders at our center in developing research collaborations with our clinic teams, where they have each worked to advance research studies directly informed by clinical challenges experienced by HCI patients.”

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About Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah

Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah is the official cancer center of Utah and the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in the Mountain West. The campus includes a state-of-the-art cancer specialty hospital and two buildings dedicated to cancer research. Huntsman Cancer Institute provides patient care, cancer screening, and education at community clinics and affiliate hospitals throughout the Mountain West. It is consistently recognized among the best cancer hospitals in the country by U.S. News and World Report. The region’s first proton therapy center opened in 2021 and a major hospital expansion is underway. Huntsman Cancer Institute is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment for staff, students, patients, and communities. Advancing cancer research discoveries and treatments to meet the needs of patients who live far away from a major medical center is a unique focus. More genes for inherited cancers have been discovered at Huntsman Cancer Institute than at any other cancer center, including genes responsible for breast, ovarian, colon, head and neck cancers, and melanoma. Huntsman Cancer Institute was founded by Jon M. and Karen Huntsman.

Cancer touches all of us.

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