Today, President Joe Biden announced his intent to appoint Dr. W. Kimryn Rathmell as the 17th Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the federal government’s principal agency for cancer research and training and the largest funder of cancer research in the world. Dr. W. Kimryn Rathmell is an accomplished physician-scientist and internationally recognized cancer expert who is well suited to lead the NCI during this critical time to achieve the goals the President set for the Biden Cancer Moonshot as part of his Unity Agenda.
Statement from President Biden: “Dr. Rathmell is the talented and visionary leader the National Cancer Institute needs to drive us toward ending cancer as we know it. Throughout her career, she has been committed to advancing discovery through scientific research, maintaining a steadfast commitment to caring for her patients, and demonstrating leadership in preparing the next generation of researchers. She embodies the promise of the Biden Cancer Moonshot and has spent her career driving toward the goals Jill and I set for the initiative, to improve outcomes and boost support for those facing a cancer diagnosis. The National Cancer Institute is central to the success of the Cancer Moonshot and Dr. Rathmell will lead the agency towards new ways to prevent, detect, and treat cancer and to ensure we reach more Americans with the tools we have to save and extend lives.”
Dr. W. Kimryn Rathmell, Director of the National Cancer Institute
W. Kimryn Rathmell, M.D., Ph.D., is a physician-scientist, oncologist, and educator who currently leads the Vanderbilt University Medical Center as Physician-in-Chief and Chair of the Department of Medicine. An accomplished physician-scientist and internationally recognized expert in kidney cancer, Dr. Rathmell’s research focuses on the underlying drivers of kidney cancers by using genetic, molecular, and cell biology to develop robust approaches to improve patient outcomes.
Dr. Rathmell has held several national leadership roles as part of the National Institute of Health (NIH) Cancer Genome Atlas, a landmark program to catalogue the genetic mutations of cancers, serves on the National Cancer Institute’s Board of Scientific Advisors, as well as part of the Department of Defense Kidney Cancer Research Program. Dr. Rathmell’s dedication to her patients and to scientific discovery is held in high regard by her peers and she has received national recognition for her work – for example, she was elected President of the American Society of Clinical Investigation, Secretary-Treasury of the American Society for Clinical Oncology, was inducted into the Association of American Physicians, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Medicine, and won the 2021 American Association for Cancer Research Team Science Award. She founded a non-profit organization in support of patients with a rare cancer seen primarily in African-American patients with sickle cell trait.
A Nebraska native, Dr. Rathmell graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with degrees in biology and chemistry. She received her Ph.D. in Biophysics and her M.D. from Stanford University, after which she served as an internal medicine resident, Fellow in Medical Oncology, and postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania. She completed her post-doctoral training at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and later earned her Masters of Management in Healthcare at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management.