St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital appoints scientific director

Memphis, Tennessee, November 3, 2014

Richard Gilbertson, MD, PhD

Richard Gilbertson, M.D., Ph.D., to direct scientific enterprise for the institution

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has named Richard Gilbertson, M.D., Ph.D., scientific director for the institution. The position is in addition to his current leadership responsibilities as St. Jude Comprehensive Cancer Center director and executive vice president. Gilbertson takes over the scientific director position from James R. Downing, M.D., who was appointed St. Jude president and chief executive officer earlier this year.

In the newly combined role, Gilbertson will oversee strategy for research efforts across the institution; develop and support new programs and shared resources; plan and manage research space and systems; as well as direct the cancer center’s programs.

“As scientific and cancer center director, Dr. Gilbertson will help define our path to discovery and innovation,” Downing said. “I am confident that Dr. Gilbertson, an accomplished scientist and proven leader, will enhance research efforts across the institution and help St. Jude lead the charge against childhood cancer and other catastrophic diseases.”

Gilbertson earned his medical degree and trained as a pediatric oncologist at the Newcastle University—formally University of Newcastle upon Tyne—in England. After becoming a member of the Royal College of Physicians and completing his Ph.D., Gilbertson left England to join St. Jude, holding positions in the Developmental Neurobiology and Oncology departments.

Prior to his appointment as cancer center director, Gilbertson served as the founding director of the hospital’s Molecular Clinical Trials Core and co-leader of the Neurobiology and Brain Tumor Program. He also chairs the Cancer Center Advisory Committee, serves as principal investigator of St. Jude’s Cancer Center Support Grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), is co-principal investigator of the Collaborative Ependymoma Research Network, and holds the Lillian R. Cannon endowed chair. Under Gilbertson’s leadership, the St. Jude Comprehensive Cancer Center achieved a score of exceptional in 2013, the highest the NCI awards to cancer centers. St. Jude is home to the only NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center devoted solely to children.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and cures childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. St. Jude is ranked the No. 1 pediatric cancer hospital by U.S. News & World Report. Treatments developed at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to 80 percent since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude freely shares the breakthroughs it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing and food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. To learn more, visit or follow St. Jude on social media at @stjuderesearch.