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Dr. William E. Evans served as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s fifth director and CEO from 2004 to 2014. From 1986 to 2002, he chaired the St. Jude Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and from 2002 to 2004 served as the hospital’s scientific director and executive vice president.
Evans’ research is on the pharmacodynamics and pharmacogenomics of anticancer agents in children, exploring genetic and biochemical mechanisms underlying differences in drug effects among children. He has received three consecutive National Cancer Institute MERIT Awards from the National Institutes of Health for his research of antileukemic agents in children. He has received several national and international awards for his research, including the Leon Goldberg Award in 1991 and the Rawls Palmer Progress in Medicine Award in 2006 from the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, the Therapeutic Frontiers Lecture Award in 1989 and the Russell Miller Research Award in 1992 from the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP), the Volwiler Research Award in 1994 from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the Research Achievement Award in 1996 and the Tyler Prize in 2002 from the American Pharmacists Association (APhA).
He is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists and the ACCP. He has also held elected offices as president of the ACCP (1982), president of APhA’s Academy of Pharmaceutical Research and Science (1988) and chair of AAAS’s Pharmaceutical Sciences Section (2009-10). He was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2002. With citations of his publications ranking among the top one percentile of scientists worldwide in his field, Evans is recognized by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) as a “Highly Cited Scientist.” He has authored more than 300 scientific publications and book chapters.
Under his leadership, St. Jude expanded its research focus to include Chemical Biology and Therapeutics, Epidemiology and Cancer Control, and exploited new technologies to further elucidate the genomic basis of childhood cancers and to develop individualized approaches to cancer treatment through translation of pharmacogenomic discoveries into innovative treatment protocols of childhood cancers.
During Evans’ tenure as CEO, St. Jude was consistently ranked among the top 10 Best Places to Work in Academia by The Scientist magazine, including their No. 1 ranking in 2006; the No. 1 children’s cancer care hospital by Parents magazine in 2009; the No. 1 children’s cancer hospital by U.S. News & World Report in 2010; and appeared on FORTUNE magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list from 2011 to 2014.
In 2008, St. Jude was designated as the first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. In 2014, St. Jude was renewed as a Comprehensive Cancer Center and received an “exceptional” score—the highest rating awarded to cancer centers. And in 2010, the hospital launched the Pediatric Cancer Genome Project in collaboration with Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis—the largest investment to date aimed at understanding the genetic origins of childhood cancers.