New director, new directions

Jesse D. Martinez, PhD
Jesse D. Martinez, PhD

The Cancer Biology Graduate Interdisciplinary Program is under new management.

G. Timothy Bowden, PhD, the graduate program director since 1992, retired in June, and Jesse D. Martinez, PhD, UA professor of cell biology and anatomy and radiation oncology, took over the position.

Dr. Martinez has been involved in the CBIO program since he came to the Arizona Cancer Center in 1991 and is excited about his new post.

“The field of cancer biology changes by leaps and bounds all the time,” he said. “Because the field of cancer prevention and treatment changes so quickly, we have to be certain that we’re up-to-date. This will give me an opportunity to make sure that those new things get incorporated into the curriculum of the cancer biology program.”

Dr. Martinez also took over as the Arizona Cancer Center’s chief scientific officer and, in addition to his new roles, is also the director of education, an investigator in the Cancer Prevention and Control and Gastrointestinal Cancer programs and the research principal investigator for the Partnership for Native American Cancer Prevention, a joint program of the Arizona Cancer Center and Northern Arizona University.

“Jesse Martinez has not only excelled as a National Cancer Institute-funded cancer researcher at the Arizona Cancer Center, but as an outstanding teacher and mentor,” said David S. Alberts, MD, director of the Arizona Cancer Center.

Dr. Martinez recently received nearly $1 million from the National Cancer Institute for a four-year colon cancer chemoprevention study.

“One of the motivations for me doing cancer research was that my mom died of colon cancer,” Dr. Martinez said. “You can find those types of stories with just about everybody associated with the cancer biology program – students, faculty, staff. Everyone has a story of being touched by cancer in some way. I hope we can do something about it. If I don’t do the research that cures cancer, maybe I will produce a student who will.”