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James Downing, MD, has been named St. Jude Scientific Director. The position was created in 2002 and was held by William Evans, PharmD, until he assumed the hospital directorship earlier this month.
Downing, who will continue serving as Pathology chair, is looking forward to working more closely with researchers and hospital leaders throughout the institution.
“As scientific director, Dr. Evans was able to recruit excellent individuals into key leadership positions,” Downing said. “They bring a wealth of experience, and I look forward to learning from them and supporting them in their efforts. I am convinced that their talent and dedication coupled with the exceptional resources provided by ALSAC will allow us to create an infrastructure that will help make laboratory and clinical research at St. Jude second-to-none.”
The St. Jude scientific director is the academic leader for all clinical and laboratory research at the hospital. In his new role, Downing will oversee matters pertaining to faculty recruitment, program development, budget planning and space allocation.
Downing’s goals are to ensure the institution’s support services continue to effectively and efficiently meet the needs of St. Jude investigators and to work closely on strategic planning issues, including the development of cross-departmental initiatives.
Several strategic areas Downing will work on include refining the hospital’s affiliate model and exploring approaches to expand clinical collaborative relationships; facilitating the development of one or more large science initiatives that can take advantage of the Hartwell Center’s computing capabilities; developing a stem cell biology program; establishing a small animal imaging core service within the ARC; and finding ways to expand and strengthen graduate student training at St. Jude.
As scientific director, Downing will work with Chief Medical Officer Joseph Mirro, MD, and Chief Operating Officer John Nash to further integrate research, patient care and daily operations of St. Jude.