Physician-scientist heads Cancer Center

Howard Ozer

Researcher, clinician Howard Ozer “uniquely qualified to become the driving force behind the Cancer Center.” Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin/UIC Photo Services

Cancer researcher and clinician Howard Ozer, former interim director of the University of Illinois Cancer Center, has been named the center’s director.

Ozer joined the UIC faculty in 2010 as the Eileen Lindsay Heidrick professor in oncology and chief of hematology/oncology. He has served as interim director since the death of former director Gary Kruhin January 2011.

Ozer is internationally known for his research in the development of blood cell growth factors and cytokines, and for conducting clinical trials in leukemia and lymphoma.

“Dr. Ozer’s record of achievements makes him uniquely qualified to become the driving force behind the Cancer Center as it moves forward and grows,” said Lon Kaufman, vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost.

As director of the Cancer Center, Ozer will oversee the grant application for formal Cancer Center designation by the National Cancer Institute.

“Achieving Cancer Center designation is a critical goal of the university that will further advance the scientific excellence and prestige of our institution as a whole,” said Dimitri Azar, dean of the College of Medicine.

Ozer came to UIC from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, where he was the Eason chair and section chief of hematology/oncology. He was director of Oklahoma’s cancer center, which received a planning grant from the National Cancer Institute in 2001 and a competitive renewal in 2004.

He was associate professor of medicine at Roswell Park Cancer Institute before moving to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as division chief of oncology and associate director for clinical affairs at the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

He was director of Emory University’s Winship Cancer Center and director of the Cancer Center at Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia.

Ozer is a graduate of the M.D./Ph.D. training program in microbiology/immunology at Yale Medical School. He completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and received fellowship training in hematology/oncology at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

The Cancer Center has 180 members from 11 colleges at Chicago and the Rockford, Peoria and Urbana medical campuses.

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Faculty, Patient Care, UI Hospital