Kimryn Rathmell Has Been Named Director of the National Cancer Institute

Kimryn Rathmell, the Hugh Jackson Professor of Medicine and chair of the department of medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, was appointed director of the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Rathmell will become the seventeenth director of the National Cancer Institute and only the second woman to hold this position leading the nation’s fight against cancer.

With a fiscal year budget of $7.3 billion and comprised of approximately 3,500 employees, the National Cancer Institute is the largest funder of cancer research in the world.

“As an oncologist and cancer researcher, the opportunities for cancer right now are incredible,” Dr. Rathmell said. “The technology is at a place where we can do more to understand cancer in a way we never, ever could before. The advances, while they may seem slow to some people, are happening at a break-neck pace and continue to go faster. We need more funding for cancer research, but I’m very enthusiastic about what we can do.”

A chemistry and biology graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, Dr. Rathmell earned a Ph.D. in biophysics and a medical doctorate from Stanford University. She completed an internal medicine internship at the University of Chicago before attending the University of Pennsylvania where she completed an internal medicine residency and medical oncology fellowship.

In 2020, Dr. Rathmell was elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2022, she was elected to the National Academy of Medicine and this year was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

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