Physicians Hall Front

Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Center Expands Leadership Team to Advance Cancer Discovery

Milwaukee, April 12, 2022 – The Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) Cancer Center announced the appointment of several key leadership positions, reflecting a commitment to accelerate cancer research and address disparities in cancer incidence and outcomes in Wisconsin.

Charles R. Rogers, PhD, MPH, MS, MCHES®, joins MCW in June 2022 as the inaugural associate director of community outreach and engagement. In his new role, Dr. Rogers will lead the MCW Cancer Center’s efforts to increase health equity and foster deeper relationships and engagement with underrepresented and vulnerable populations, in a community that’s home to more than 74% of Wisconsin’s total minority population1. Dr. Rogers will also serve as a MCW Cancer Center Research Scholar Endowed Chair and an associate professor in the Institute for Health & Equity. His transdisciplinary training in applied mathematics and statistics, health education, community-based participatory research, public health administration and policy, and cancer-related health disparities provides a unique perspective for translating research findings into prevention methods. For more than 10 years, Dr. Rogers’ research agenda has contributed to translational solutions that address the complex underpinnings of inequities in men’s health, with a primary focus on colorectal cancer awareness and prevention among African American men. Moreover, he has received several honors acknowledging his servant leadership (e.g., 40 Under 40 Leader in Minority Health for 2021 by the National Minority Quality Forum).

Razelle Kurzrock, MD, FACP, a world-renowned leader in precision oncology and rare cancers research, joined the MCW Cancer Center in November 2021. Dr. Kurzrock assumed the leadership roles of associate director of clinical research for the MCW Cancer Center, associate director of precision oncology at the MCW Genomic Sciences and Precision Medicine Center and founding director of the newly established Michels Rare Cancers Research Laboratories at the Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin. Dr. Kurzrock was recently appointed The Linda T. and John A. Mellowes Endowed Chair in Precision Oncology and is recognized as one of the world’s 25 most important voices in precision medicine2 and one of the most highly cited scientists globally. She has authored over 850 scientific and medical publications, serves as the Chair for the Early Therapeutics and Rare Cancers Committee (SWOG NCI) —one of the largest clinical trials cooperative groups in the country -- and has been the principal investigator on over 100 early-phase clinical trials, leading eight life-changing drugs to FDA approval. In March 2022, Dr. Kurzrock and the DART rare cancer study team received the National Cancer Institute Director’s Award of Merit for outstanding work.

Xue-Zhong Yu, MD, MS, MBA, also joined the MCW Cancer Center in November 2021. He holds the Cancer Center Endowed Chair in Hematology/Oncology and assumes the leadership role of associate director of basic research for the Cancer Center and professor in the department of microbiology & immunology. Dr. Yu brings more than 25 years of cancer research experience, having been trained as a medical doctor and then as an immunologist. His research focuses on cancer immunotherapy, specifically hematopoietic cell transplantation for hematologic malignance and adaptive T-cell therapy for solid tumors.

These additions expand upon the recent leadership appointments of renowned scientists Gustavo W. Leone, PhD, MCW Cancer Center director, and Mary Horowitz, MD, MS, MCW Cancer Center deputy director.

Dr. Leone joined MCW in January 2020 and was appointed senior associate dean of cancer research and professor with tenure in the department of biochemistry. He holds the Dr. Glenn R. and Nancy A. Linnerson Endowed Chair For Cancer Research and oversees clinical operations at the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Network.

Dr. Horowitz joined the MCW Cancer Center in February 2021. Dr. Horowitz holds the Robert A. Uihlein Professorship for Hematologic Research at MCW and serves as chief scientific director emeritus of the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research, of which she is a founding member.

“We’re bringing together brilliant minds to accelerate life-saving discoveries that will eradicate the cancer burden in our region,” says Dr. Leone. “The remarkable strengths of each individual will deepen our expertise and fulfill our goal of advancing cancer research and care for a diversity of people across the state.”

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