Dr. Coussens appointed Chair of CDB and Director of Basic Research

October 4, 2011

Dr. CoussensDean Mark Richardson announced today that Lisa M. Coussens, PhD, has accepted the School of Medicine’s offer to serve as the new Chair of the Department of Cell & Developmental Biology. Dr. Coussens will also serve as the Director of Basic Research in the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, holding the Hildegard Lamfrom Chair in Basic Science. This chair was created as a result of a generous contribution from Gert Boyle and Tim and Mary Boyle to honor Gert Boyle’s sister, a renowned researcher who furthered cancer research. This recruitment includes significant new investments in faculty and technology in support of research across OHSU, and is effective Oct. 1, 2011.

Dr. Coussens joins OHSU from the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) where she is a Professor in the Department of Pathology. She is a member of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, the UCSF Biomedical Sciences Program, and the Herbert W. Boyer Program in Biological Sciences. At UCSF, Dr. Coussens is the Co-Leader for the Program in Cancer, Immunity and Microenvironment, and is Co-Director of the Mouse Pathology Core.

At UCSF, Dr. Coussens has demonstrated a deep commitment to educating and mentoring the next generation of scientists. She is widely published, a sought-after public speaker, has received numerous awards, and is a Deputy Editor for the journal Cancer Research. Dr. Coussens has an international reputation for exceptional high-impact research; her pioneering studies have fueled a paradigm shift in understanding the role of the tumor microenvironment in regulating breast cancer development, and its response to therapy.

Dr. Coussens was recently awarded two sequential Era of Hope Scholar Awards from the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program. She also recently received a Susan G. Komen Promise Grant to conduct, in conjunction with Drs. Shelley Hwang and Hope Rugo of UCSF, a multi-center clinical trial to evaluate novel therapeutic approaches emerging from her research on the tumor microenvironment. Awards made through the Promise grant mechanism are for research programs identified as having significant potential to reduce breast cancer incidence and/or mortality within a decade.

At OHSU, Dr. Coussens will expand this research program in ways that focus both on improving outcomes for cancer patients and on supporting a highly collaborative, multi-disciplinary scientific culture at OHSU. Her recruitment is a key element in meeting the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute’s strategic plan and supports the vision of the School of Medicine Research Roadmap – both of which are, in part, designed to enhance scientific creativity, translational success and collaboration across our missions and units.

As Chair of the Department of Cell & Developmental Biology, Dr. Coussens will work closely with current faculty to lead, promote and support research and academic programs in the department. Dr. Coussens will also oversee the recruitment of eight new faculty members to the department. These new recruits will be a mix of junior, mid-career and senior faculty members.

Dr. Coussens’ recruitment helps meet the School of Medicine’s goal of ensuring that the Department of Cell & Developmental Biology continues to be a leader in the basic sciences – influential within the school, university and nationally – and plays a dynamic and collaborative role in the Knight Cancer Institute’s basic science research program.

You can read in more detail about Dr. Coussens’ role as Director of Basic Research in a message to all Knight members from Brian Druker, MD, Director of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, posted on Knight News. (login required).

Dr. Coussens’ recruitment, along with many other School of Medicine and Knight strategic initiatives, are made possible by generous and visionary donors, including from Phil and Penny Knight, the Boyle family, and others.

“Please join me in welcoming Dr. Coussens to OHSU. In due course, we will arrange a welcome event and public lecture for faculty to meet Dr. Coussens and learn more about her research and plans,” said Dean Richardson. “Please also join me in thanking Richard Maurer, PhD, for his service to the School of Medicine as interim Chair of the Department of Cell & Developmental Biology since July 1, 2010.”