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St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital names Dr. Aseem Ansari chair of Department of Chemical Biology and Therapeutics

Ansari brings reputation of pushing the boundaries of biology and chemistry to St. Jude.

Memphis, Tennessee, August 15, 2019

Aseem Ansari, PhD, standing in front of a concrete wall with greenery behind him

Dr. Aseem Ansari, Chemical Biology and Therapeutics Chair and Robert J. Urich Endowed Chair in Chemical Biology and Therapeutics

Aseem Ansari, Ph.D., will join St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as chair of the Department of Chemical Biology and Therapeutics, and will hold the Robert J. Urich Endowed Chair in Chemical Biology and Therapeutics. In his role as chair of the Department of Chemical Biology and Therapeutics, Ansari will be responsible for growing the department’s independent and collaborative research programs, as well as expanding their education activities.

Ansari is an internationally recognized scientist who has effectively blended rigorous training in chemistry with deep experience in experimental biology. He received his undergraduate education in India and his Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry and Chemistry from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He then pursued postdoctoral training at Harvard and has been a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin since 2002.

Ansari’s research program has produced important new insights into the cellular processes that govern gene expression and has developed novel small molecules that can influence these programs. At. St. Jude, he will pursue the possibility of developing these compounds into biological probes and therapeutic agents for a range of human diseases, including childhood cancer and other catastrophic diseases.

St. Jude has a long-standing reputation for scientific and clinical excellence,” Ansari said. “This combined with the bold vision of St. Jude’s leadership to understand and develop innovative cures for children’s diseases, makes it an extremely exciting place to explore new scientific and therapeutic leads. To enable this endeavor, St. Jude provides a remarkable ecosystem that is rarely found in a traditional academic setting.”

Ansari comes to St. Jude from the University of Wisconsin, where he served as a professor in the Department of Biochemistry, and as an executive member of the Genome Center of Wisconsin, also located at the University of Wisconsin.

“Dr. Ansari is renowned for his influential work at the boundary of biology and chemistry,” said James R. Downing, M.D., St. Jude president and CEO. “As chair of Chemical Biology and Therapeutics, he rounds out the leadership of the institution’s basic science enterprise as St. Jude seeks to advance research and treatment for childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.”

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. Treatments developed at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to 80% 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.