UAB has hired a DNA researcher, Dr. Barry Paul Sleckman, to lead its O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center as its new director.
Sleckman will take over from interim director Ravi Bhatia, who temporarily was filling the role after the departure of former director Michael Birrer in April. He will begin the new job Jan. 6.
Sleckman is a world-renowned researcher who focuses on understanding how DNA double strand breaks are generated and repaired, a topic important for cancer and immune system development and function.
He now is an associate director of the Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medicine.
“UAB is a phenomenal institution and a rapidly growing research powerhouse, fueled in part by the more than 400 talented physician-scientists and researchers,” Sleckman said in a statement released by the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He said he intends to continue the work of the center to eliminate cancer as a major public health problem.
“To do this, the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center must catalyze important cancer discoveries across diverse centers, departments and schools on the UAB campus and then translate these discoveries into innovative cancer therapies in close partnership with the UAB Health System,” he said.
Sleckman completed his M.D. and Ph.D. in immunology at Harvard Medical School and has worked with the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Weill Cornell Medicine and the Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University.
“Directing the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center is one of the most vital roles in advancing UAB’s multifaceted mission,” said UAB President Ray L. Watts, M.D. “With Dr. Sleckman’s outstanding leadership, we look forward to building upon the center’s longtime impact and reputation as a global leader in translational research and patient care. As the center pushes the frontiers of precision medicine, we will continue translating our discoveries into more effective prevention, detection, treatment and survivorship, and bringing better health and hope to patients throughout Alabama, the nation and the world.”