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University of Arizona Cancer Center promotes Joann Sweasy to director


Headshot of Joann Sweasy, courtesy UA Cancer Center (Photo by Kris Hanning)

Joann Sweasy, Ph.D., the previous interim director of the University of Arizona Cancer Center, was recently named the director of the center, making her the first woman to hold that position, according to a press release and Megan Guthrie, the assistant director of communications and public affairs for the center.

“Dr. Sweasy has demonstrated exceptional leadership as the interim director for the center,” said Dr. Michael Dake, the senior vice president of UA Health Sciences, to the UA. “I look forward to Dr. Sweasy’s continued leadership in training the next generation of researchers and clinicians, collaborating across disciplines, departments, colleges and clinical partners, and reducing health disparities across the state. I am confident the UArizona Cancer Center will continue to expand its impact throughout Arizona and beyond.”

Sweasy joined the Cancer Center in June 2019 as associate director for basic sciences and was appointed to faculty positions at the UA College of Medicine — Tucson in the departments of cellular and molecular medicine and radiation oncology, according to the press release.

As associate director for basic sciences, Sweasy developed and promoted research for the growth in cancer basic sciences. She also has worked closely with the Cancer Center research programs, ensuring basic science is well-integrated across the four established programs: cancer biology, therapeutic development, cancer imaging and cancer prevention and control.

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“I am incredibly honored to be named director of the Cancer Center and to become the inaugural holder of the Nancy C. and Craig M. Berge Endowed Chair for the Director of the Cancer Center,” Sweasy said to the UA.

Prior to joining UA Health Sciences, Sweasy was associate director for basic sciences and co-leader of the Radiobiology and Radiotherapy Program at the Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center, where she oversaw pilot funding for the Yale Cancer Center and cancer-focused internal grant competitions at Yale University. She also is an adjunct professor of microbiology and molecular genetics at the University of Vermont, according to the press release.

“I look forward to a bright future at the Cancer Center as we continue to advance first-class cancer research and clinical care,” Sweasy said to the UA. “We will continue to build upon the strong basic, translational and clinical sciences with community engagement, and I am committed as well to increasing the diversity of the next generation of cancer researchers.”

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