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Anne E. Cress, PhD, professor of cellular and molecular medicine and radiation oncology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, has been named interim director of the University of Arizona Cancer Center. The appointment was made by incoming UA Senior Vice President for Health Sciences Joe G.N. "Skip" Garcia, MD, and UA College of Medicine – Tucson Dean Steve Goldschmid, MD.
Dr. Cress, who also is deputy dean for research affairs at the College of Medicine – Tucson, succeeds David S. Alberts, MD, who served as cancer center director for more than eight years until his recent retirement. Dr. Alberts remains at the UA Cancer Center to conduct research.
Dr. Cress was named a research associate in 1980 and became a research assistant professor in 1981, both in the UA's Division of Radiation Oncology. She was named an associate professor in 1990 and attained full professorship with tenure in 1996. She was appointed professor of cell biology and anatomy (now cellular and molecular medicine) in 1999. She has been a UACC member since 1987. She also served as the College of Medicine's associate dean for research and academic affairs for six years. Her research has continuously been supported since 1981 by extramural research grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense and the American Cancer Society.
"Anne Cress is one of the top cancer biology scientists in the world," said Dr. Garcia. "Her breadth of knowledge about translational approaches to cancer will be crucial as she leads the UA’s comprehensive cancer center through this time of transition."
Dr. Goldschmid added: "Anne Cress' service to the University of Arizona, especially within the College of Medicine, is unparalled. Between her extensive research credentials and her administrative leadership, she is unquestionably the right person to take the reins of our cancer center at this critical time."
Her research is focused on stopping tumor cells "in their tracks" and preventing tumor metastasis. She is examining how cell surface molecules, called integrins, behave abnormally in tumor cells, enabling their transit along vessels and nerves to their final destination in bone.
Through her collaborative research, Dr. Cress is helping to design strategies that will prevent these harmful and painful processes from occurring and at the same time providing new ways for physicians to determine if a patient’s cancer is likely to spread.
Dr. Cress has a 30-year history of contributions to interdisciplinary science through more than 100 original research publications, several major federal and foundation grant and patent awards and national study section service chairmanships, including those organized by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense and the American Cancer Society.
She received her bachelor of science in microbiology/chemistry and a doctorate in biochemistry/molecular biology from the UA. She completed postdoctoral work in cancer biology at the UA and served as a visiting professor in biochemistry at Stanford University, and completed visiting scholar sabbaticals at the Drug Development and Design Center in Brisbane, Australia, and with the Developmental Biology Group at Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam.
Among Dr. Cress' awards and honors are Outstanding Research Investigator Award, Moffitt Cancer Center, 1999; Arizona Health Sciences Center Founder’s Day Award, 2005; Elkin Award for Cancer Biology Research, Emory University, 2005; UA Cancer Center’s Sydney E. Salmon, MD, Senior Investigator Award, 2008.
-July 19, 2013