World-class blood cancer expert to lead cancer center

 0CancerCenterJonathan D. Licht, M.D., an internationally known expert in blood cancers, has been appointed director of the UF Health Cancer Center. He begins his new role on Oct.1.

“We are very fortunate to have Dr. Licht join us as director of the UF Health Cancer Center. He is a world-class clinician-scientist and has vast experience in administering the clinical, research and educational missions of an academic cancer center,” said David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., UF senior vice president for health affairs and UF Health president.

Licht comes from Northwestern University and brings a $2 million research portfolio that includes funding from the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. He currently serves as the associate director for clinical sciences at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

“Being director of the UF Health Cancer Center is an extraordinary opportunity,” Licht said. “The center has an outstanding reputation and already possesses the foundational strengths necessary to support the two benchmarks of excellence I believe are crucial to the center’s role as a cancer leader in the state and nation.”

Licht outlined these benchmarks as expanding the NCI-funded research portfolio of both basic and translational cancer research, which state support through the Florida Consortium of National Cancer Institute Centers Program will help facilitate, and extending investigator-initiated clinical trials to as many people as possible to improve treatment outcomes for patients.

Licht succeeds Paul Okunieff, M.D., who, after five years of service, will focus his energy on the UF department of radiation oncology, which he chairs, and on his robust research program.