Cancer geneticist Ronald A. DePinho, MD, assumed his role as president of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center on September 1. He formerly served as professor of medicine (genetics) at Harvard Medical School and as director of the Belfer Institute for Applied Cancer Science at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

DePinho's research focuses on the biological and molecular processes behind aging and the development of cancer and degenerative diseases. For example, he has shown that telomere dysfunction activates p53, leading to age-related disorders, and that dysfunctional telomere-related phenotypes, such as brain atrophy, can be reversed in mice. DePinho has also studied the c-myc and FOXO transcription factors.

DePinho succeeds John Mendelsohn, MD, who stepped down as president of M.D. Anderson after 15 years. [Photo courtesy of the University of Texas System.]

Michael B. Kastan, MD, PhD, former director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, started his position as the first executive director of the newly launched Duke Cancer Institute on August 1. He had directed St. Jude's cancer center since 2004.

In the 1990s, Kastan published a series of papers describing p53 and its role in cellular repair and responses to damage. The findings launched discoveries that have provided a greater understanding of cancer's causes and new approaches to its treatment. His other research interests include radiation biology and the determinants of chemosensitivity and radiosensitivity.

Kastan was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies in 2009. [Photo courtesy of Duke University Medical Center.]