The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute (KCI) is a unique, urban-based integrated center of research, patient care, and education located in mid-town Detroit dedicated to the prevention, early detection, treatment, and eventual eradication of cancer.  KCI is affiliated with Wayne State University (WSU). KCI has been a National Cancer Institute (NCI) - designated Comprehensive Cancer Center since 1978 and operates the only hospital in Michigan dedicated exclusively to fighting cancer. The main campus of KCI and its cancer hospital are located near major hospital networks and the WSU School of Medicine, and near major art, cultural and sports venues in the vibrant midtown area of Detroit.  Since January 2014, KCI expanded its delivery of cancer care through the partnership with McLaren Health Care.  

The KCI has one of the largest and best clinical trial programs in the United States. Through the commitment of 1,800 staff, including over 300 physicians and researchers and supported by thousands of volunteer and financial donors, KCI cares for approximately 12,000 new patients annually and conducts more than 400 cancer-specific clinical trials. KCI strives to prevent, detect and eradicate cancer.  The long-term partnership of KCI and the WSU of Medicine enhances the collaboration between critical research and academics related to cancer care.

 The Opportunity – Program Leader Tumor Biology and Microenvironment (TBM)

KCI has positioned itself with the TBM Program to identify mechanisms and therapeutic approaches to block tumor progression and metastasis, the predominant cause of cancer mortality. The TBM program members conduct multidisciplinary pre- and clinical studies to address an overarching hypothesis that tumor metastasis is a continuum of interactions between tumor cells and their host environments. Results from KCI TBM members demonstrate that malignant tumors need to be targeted as organoids with approaches that also block pro-tumor stromal or systemic host mechanisms.

The Tumor Biology and Microenvironment (TBM) Program specifically aims to eradicate cancer by identifying the cellular and molecular mechanisms that drive interactions between tumors and their microenvironment, and develop and test innovative diagnostic and treatment strategies. The Program goals are addressed with three themes that encompass basic, preclinical, and clinical research. The first theme identifies and exploits the mechanisms that confer phenotypical plasticity and survival of tumor cells in tumor progression. Translational research is conducted to evaluate the potential clinical application of these molecular determinants as tumor markers and/or therapeutic targets. The second theme identifies and exploits the mechanisms that confer the “unhealable wounding” of tumor stroma. Investigators identify and characterize factors in an extracellular proteolysis and signaling network that enable tumor cells to adapt to and subvert the microenvironment in the development of bone metastases. Key molecules in this network are evaluated to determine if they can be used to predict cancer progression and treatment outcomes. The third theme identifies and exploits the host immune response to tumor progression. Bispecific antibody-armed activated T-cells are tested in solid tumors and hematologic malignancies in the context of chemotherapy or high dose chemotherapy and stem cell transplantation. Anti-tumor DNA vaccines are developed and tested using mouse and domesticated cat models. Investigators study immune modulators and inhibitors of adverse pro-inflammatory responses. Members also develop novel vehicles to deliver immunotherapeutic agents.

The TBM Program is dynamic and comprehensive, including ~ 40 Scientific Members, representing 17 departments and institutes from Wayne State University.  Total annual direct grant funding in January, 2016 was $14,616,230, of which $6,489,760 was peer reviewed and $2,965,518 was from NCI. From January, 2012 to December, 2015, TBM members published 626 papers, many in high impact journals. Importantly, 43% and 45% of abovementioned publications stemmed from intra- and inter-programmatic collaborations, respectively, and 39% were multi-institutional collaborations. 

KCI seeks to attract a dynamic leader to build upon the historical success of the TBM program, partner with leadership of the cancer institute and to drive continued outstanding research exploration, discovery, trials and delivery of care.   KCI offers an outstanding research environment, and will commit to significant startup funding and recurring support, along with a competitive salary and fringe benefit package to attract the strongest candidate.

The Program Leader is expected to provide overall direction for the TBM Program in partnership with the Program Co-Leader, the Program Advisory Committee, and the Cancer Center Executive Committee, all with the goal of fostering programmatic interactions. As a member of the Cancer Center Executive Committee, the Program Leader has the responsibility for faculty recruitment and retention, space assignments, cancer center membership, funding priorities, and faculty development, and monitors progress related to the Institute’s strategic plan. The Program Leader organizes regular program meetings, mini-retreats, the annual Program symposium, and leverages resources to stimulate multi-disciplinary research opportunities. The Program Leader is expected to empower faculty to focus on cancer problems applicable to the catchment area served by the Institute, and provide creative and inspirational leadership to ensure conduct of high impact and state-of-the-art basic cancer research. 

Preferred Qualifications

• PhD, MD, or MD/PhD degree or equivalent; academic accomplishments commensurate with appointment at the rank of Associate or Full Professor;

• Strong evidence of research productivity relevant to the major themes of Tumor Biology and Microenvironment Program reflected in peer-reviewed grant and contract funding;

• Substantial publications in high impact professional journals;

• Demonstrated track record of proven leadership in relation to program development;

• Ability to create and promote program projects, and other collaborations among program members and research KCI programs;

• A strategic national academic and research leader, grounded in personal integrity with the ability to energize, inspire, and encourage faculty innovation, as well as interdisciplinary collaboration; 

• Demonstrated ability to manage a complex academic organization and work effectively with colleagues across divisions;

• Demonstrated success as an administrator and fiscal manager;

• Demonstrated ability to motivate key constituencies, lead the development of mutually beneficial relationships with partners, and recruit, retain, mentor, and develop superb academic faculty and co-leaders; Ability to foster and promote gender equity and ethnic diversity among faculty and staff to enrich the university, further its research mission, and preserve the uniqueness of KCI.


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