IU School of Medicine names new cancer center director, announces $15 million gift from Walther Cancer Foundation

October 8, 2020

Indiana University School of Medicine has announced the hiring of a world-recognized medical oncologist and multiple myeloma researcher to lead the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center, bolstered by a $15 million fund established by the Walther Cancer Foundation to support him in this role.   

Kelvin Lee, MD, has been named the new IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center director. In addition, Lee will hold the titles of senior associate dean of cancer research at IU School of Medicine and the H.H. Gregg Professor of Oncology. He will also direct the Cancer Institute, an umbrella entity designed to facilitate collaboration among cancer disciplines at IU School of Medicine and IU Health, enhancing clinical research opportunities for patients here in Indiana and beyond. He will have appointments with both the Department of Medicine and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology.  

“Dr. Lee is the ideal leader to build on the IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center’s tremendous momentum. The center’s researchers are making great strides in improving health in current and future patients alike through their world-class care and groundbreaking research,” said Jay L. Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA, dean of IU School of Medicine and IU’s executive vice president for clinical affairs. “As an institutional leader, Dr. Lee will play a pivotal role in advancing these goals, and I’m excited for him to join our team at IU School of Medicine.” 

Since 2006, Lee has served as the Jacobs Family Chair of Immunology at the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, New York. As the co-leader of the Cancer Center Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy Program from 2006 to 2018, Lee led the group through three successful National Cancer Institute Cancer Center Support Grant renewals before stepping down to take on the position of Senior Vice President for the Basic Sciences.

Lee officially assumes his new role in January 2021. He succeeds Patrick J. Loehrer, MD, who served as cancer center director since 2009. Loehrer led the center through two National Cancer Institute competing renewals, which culminated with the center earning the prestigious Comprehensive Cancer Center designation. He will continue to see patients with gastrointestinal and thymic malignancies and carry on his work focused on global oncology and health equities.

For more on Lee’s appointment and the Walther Cancer Foundation gift, visit the Newsroom.