We are pleased to announce that Jan Kitajewski, PhD has agreed to serve as the Interim Director of the University of Illinois Cancer Center effective December 16, 2019, pending approval of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. Dr. Kitajewski’s experience as an academic leader, cancer researcher and esteemed member of the Cancer Center community makes him an outstanding individual to lead these efforts during this time of transition.
Dr. Kitajewski is currently the Sweeney Professor of Basic Sciences and Head of the Department of Physiology and Biophysics in the University of Illinois College of Medicine. He is also the Associate Director for Basic Research with the University of Illinois Cancer Center. As Department Head, Dr. Kitajewski has spearheaded the recruitment of eight new faculty members - expanding departmental focus in cardiovascular biology, obesity, cancer, and cell biology. He additionally oversaw the launch of a new Master of Science in Medical Physiology program and a new vascular biology, signaling, and therapeutics T32 funded training program. Dr. Kitajewski has also made significant contributions to the efforts of the UIC Center for Cardiovascular Research and the Medical Scientist Training Program. His laboratory is currently funded by grants from the NIH, DOD Breast Cancer Research Program, and through industry support from Eisai Ltd.
Before coming to UIC in 2016, Dr. Kitajewski was the Charles and Marie Robertson Chair at Columbia University and his leadership responsibilities included acting as Co-Director of the Cancer Signaling Networks program at Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC) and Director of the Division of Reproductive Sciences in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology. He served as a Charter Member for the Cardiovascular Differentiation and Development study section and served on ad-hoc review panels for NIH and DOD research grants, program projects and training grants, in addition to NCI intramural program research evaluations.
After earning his PhD in molecular biology from Princeton University, Dr. Kitajewski completed a postdoctoral fellowship in molecular oncology working with Nobel Laureate Harold Varmus at the University of California, San Francisco. As a scientist, Dr. Kitajewski has received continuous funding from the National Institutes for Health for 20 years, and he is the recipient of the Irma T. Hirschl-Monique Weill-Caulier Career Scientist Award, the DOD Breast Cancer Program Career Development Award, and American Cancer Society Junior Faculty Award.
His work has uncovered mechanisms of embryonic, ovarian, retinal and tumor angiogenesis and contributed to our understanding of fertility, preeclampsia, vascular malformations, retinopathies, tumor angiogenesis and metastasis. His lab works actively to develop therapeutics for oncology use by targeting tumor angiogenesis, and his group developed Notch inhibitors. He recently completed service as the President of the North American Vascular Biology Organization (NAVBO) and seeks to build strong networks of vascular biology researchers during his tenure.
We thank Dr. Kitajewski and all members of the University of Illinois Cancer Center for their continued commitment to the pursuit of National Cancer Institute designation. As UI Health and the University of Illinois Cancer Center continue to gain momentum, please know that our institutional commitment to achieving NCI designation remains strong.
Robert A. Barish, MD, MBA
Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs
Mark I. Rosenblatt, MD, PhD, MBA
Executive Dean, University of Illinois College of Medicine