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OHSU Knight Cancer Institute announces leadership transition

Amid continued growth, longtime director Brian Druker, M.D., will become CEO; Tom Sellers, Ph.D., M.P.H., will take on director role
OHSU Knight Cancer Institute Leadership Announcement, Brian Druker, M.D., and Tom Sellers, Ph.D., M.P.H. (OHSU)
Brian Druker, M.D., and Tom Sellers, Ph.D., M.P.H. (OHSU)

After serving as the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute’s director for more than 17 years, Brian Druker, M.D., will take on a new role as the institute’s chief executive officer. The newly created position will allow Druker to focus on long-term vision and strategic planning, fundraising and donor engagement, as well as research and clinical growth.

“Since I took on the role in 2007, the roles and responsibilities of the director position have expanded significantly in concert with the growth of the institute itself,” says Druker, a professor of medicine (hematology and medical oncology) in the Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine. “When reflecting on the continued growth and the expanded leadership needs, in consultation with OHSU President Dr. Danny Jacobs and senior leadership at the Knight Cancer Institute, we felt the decision to shift the day-to-day administrative responsibilities of running the cancer institute to Dr. Tom Sellers is the right strategic move, at the right time. I look forward to working closely with him and our leadership team to continue to further our mission.”

As the JELD-WEN Chair of Leukemia Research at OHSU, Druker had a pioneering role in shaping the fields of precision medicine and targeted cancer drugs. He was pivotal to the development of Gleevec, the first medication that specifically targeted cancer cells, proving it was possible to shut down cells that enable cancer to grow without harming healthy ones. This discovery gave patients with a once-fatal form of chronic myeloid leukemia, or CML, the expectation to live a normal life span.

Tom Sellers, Ph.D., M.P.H., the new director for the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, was recruited to OHSU in February 2023 as the institute’s chief research officer and professor of medicine (oncological sciences) in the OHSU School of Medicine. Sellers has extensive leadership experience, including serving as deputy director of the Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center, 13 years as director of the Moffitt Research Institute, and seven years as director of the Moffitt Cancer Center. He is an accomplished scientist who has authored more than 400 publications and garnered more than $100 million in grants as a principal investigator or co-principal investigator.

“Tom innately understands how to help nationally recognized cancer centers like ours to develop and grow,” Druker says. “We have the utmost confidence in his abilities and know that the institute will benefit from his leadership, research prowess and ability to motivate people and teams.”

Sellers will be backed by an experienced institute leadership team, including co-deputy directors Shivaani Kummar, M.D., and Lisa Coussens, Ph.D.; as well as Sadik Esener, Ph.D., Gordon Mills, M.D., Ph.D., and Irene Barhyte.

Sellers thanks the OHSU community and people throughout the state and beyond for their continued support.

“The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute is at an exciting inflection point of growth, and I am humbled to have the opportunity to partner with Brian and the leadership team to further our efforts,” he says. “I wake up every day looking forward to coming to work knowing we have a bright future ahead, as we work together to end cancer as we know it.”

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