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Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah (the U) rang in the new year with new leadership appointments through new roles for Theresa Werner, MD, and Neeraj Agarwal, MD, FASCO. Renowned for their international reputation and exceptional leadership abilities, these two physician leaders propel innovation and advance the institute's mission and initiatives.
"I am thrilled about the elevation of Dr. Theresa Werner and Dr. Neeraj Agarwal to their new, highly impactful leadership positions,” says Neli Ulrich, PhD, executive director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Huntsman Cancer Institute and a Jon M. and Karen Huntsman Presidential Professor in Cancer Research at the U. “Werner's unwavering dedication to clinical research and compassionate patient care, along with Agarwal's exceptional leadership in translating laboratory findings to clinical success, are truly invaluable assets. I eagerly anticipate the positive impact their appointments will undoubtedly bring to our progress toward a cancer-free frontier."
Theresa Werner, MD
Werner is the new deputy director of Huntsman Cancer Institute after serving as the senior director of clinical research for the past two years. A tenured professor of medicine in the division of oncology at the U, Werner is also an adjunct professor of obstetrics and gynecology.
An expert in gynecologic malignancies, she has garnered national recognition for her contributions to clinical and translational research, and leadership within the American Association of Cancer Institutes (AACI). Werner is the Karen H. Huntsman Endowed Chair in Breast and Gynecologic Cancers, and is a member of The Society of Huntsman Translational Scholars. A recipient of a National Cancer Institute (NCI) Cancer Clinical Investigator Team Leadership Award and former Association of American Cancer Institute’s Clinical Research Innovation Steering Committee Chair, Werner is actively involved with the AACI’s Physician Clinical Leadership Initiative and Associate Directors of Clinical Research and Clinical Trials Office Medical Directors Leadership forums.
In this new role, she will collaborate with senior directors and leadership to oversee the NCI Cancer Center Support Grant and Shared Resources, among other central roles, especially in bringing clinical trials to Huntsman Cancer Institute’s five-state area we serve.
“I am truly excited and honored to become the deputy director of Huntsman Cancer Institute,” says Werner. “The chance to be part of a community that is making a meaningful impact on the lives of individuals and families facing the challenges of cancer is both humbling and motivating. I am honored to work alongside Dr. Ulrich and our team of dedicated leaders to continue our commitment to innovation and cutting-edge research for Utah and the Mountain West. I am eager to contribute even further in our efforts to advance research and clinical trials, provide expert multi-disciplinary patient care, and improve access for our patients.”
Neeraj Agarwal, MD, FASCO
Agarwal is the new senior director for clinical research at Huntsman Cancer Institute. He is the former senior director for clinical research translation, director of genitourinary oncology, and director of the Center for Investigational Therapeutics. He is also a professor of medicine in the division of oncology at the U.
He is a world-wide leader in cancer drug development and clinical trials. Most recently he was recognized as a Fellow of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and earned U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for two new drugs that treat metastatic prostate cancer. Agarwal is also an author of over 400 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and has been serving as editor-in-chief for ASCO Daily News since 2021.
In his new position, Agarwal will continue his Center for Investigational Therapeutics leadership, oversee Clinical Trials Office policies, and remain a part of the Protocol Review and Monitoring Committee and the Therapeutic Accelerator Hub Committee.
“Clinical trials and research are pivotal in enhancing survival and preserving the quality of life for advanced cancer patients,” Agarwal says. “I am committed to sustaining the momentum of expanding our patients' opportunities to participate in cutting-edge clinical trials.”