St. Jude Children's Research Hospital has appointed James R. Downing, M.D., as its new CEO, effective July 15. Downing most recently was the deputy director, executive vice president and scientific director of the hospital. Downing's primary focus immediately upon assuming the CEO office will be to oversee a new era of clinical, research and infrastructure expansion throughout the St. Jude global network. He succeeds Dr. William E. Evans, who is retiring from the position after 10 years and returning full time to his long-standing pharmacogenomics research program at St. Jude.
Downing's work as a genome sequencing pioneer, overseeing the Pediatric Cancer Genome Project, was recognized in 2012 by TIME magazine as one of the Top 100 new scientific discoveries.
Taking the reins of the institution that is home to the only NIH/NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children, Downing outlined his vision for St. Jude's next generation of clinical and research expansion, inspired by the responsibility of leading a global enterprise that is nearly 75% funded by the general public. This will include: