We are delighted to announce that Caryn Lerman, PhD will join us as the new Director of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center (USC NCCC), effective March 15, 2019. Her academic appointment will be as Professor of Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences.

Dr. Lerman is currently the John H. Glick Professor for Cancer Research and Vice Dean for Strategic Initiatives in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to her Vice Dean appointment, she served as senior deputy director and interim director of the Abramson Cancer Center and co-director of the Penn Medicine Translational Neuroscience Center.

Dr. Lerman has an exciting vision for the future of the USC NCCC. In collaboration with the faculty, staff, trainees and leadership at the University, Keck School of Medicine, and Keck Medicine of USC, she will help us blaze a new trail in the provision of high-value, person-centered precision oncology care, to advance an innovative and entrepreneurial research culture, to strengthen the translational research infrastructure and environment, and to foster collaborative research across the Keck School, USC, and beyond.

Dr. Lerman will have a major focus on ensuring the renewal of the NCI Cancer Center Grant (with Comprehensive status), accelerating USC NCCC’s scientific and educational impact across the cancer continuum, and elevating its regional and national reputation as a major academic cancer center. Building upon the strong talent at USC NCCC, she will foster this growth through initiatives that enhance interdisciplinary team science, support infrastructure to accelerate cancer discovery science and development of innovative therapies, and to develop innovative models for cancer risk assessment, prevention and outreach.

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Dr. Lerman is nationally recognized for her own cancer prevention research that bridges the fields of neuroscience, pharmacology, genetics and behavioral science. She produced the first empirical data on decision-making and outcomes of genetic testing for cancer susceptibility, and was among the first to publish evidence for the genetic basis of cancer risk behaviors. Her pioneering work identifying genetic influences on tobacco use culminated in the first prospective stratified pharmacogenetic trial in the field of tobacco dependence, which has had a considerable impact on the application of precision medicine for tobacco dependence treatment. Supported by her National Cancer Institute Outstanding Investigator Award (R35), Dr. Lerman also leads a highly novel research program that harnesses advances in cognitive neuroscience to promote cancer risk behavior change.

Dr. Lerman received her master’s degree in psychology and a doctorate in clinical psychology here at USC, and we are thrilled that she is returning to the Trojan Family. Prior to her time in Pennsylvania, she worked at Georgetown University Medical Center from 1993 to 2001, rising to the level of professor of medicine and psychiatry with tenure, and serving as director of the Division of Behavioral and Health Outcomes Research.

Dr. Lerman’s leadership training and experience is extensive. Having completed an academic medicine leadership program at the Wharton School, she co-created and co-led the Wharton-Penn Medicine Executive Education program for Leadership in a New Era of Health Care. Prior to serving as senior deputy director of the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania from 2006 to 2016, she served as associate director for Cancer Control and Population Sciences at the Abramson Cancer Center from 2001 to 2006. At the Lombardi Cancer Center at Georgetown between 1995 and 2001, she served as director of Cancer Genetics and the Cancer Control Program, research director of the Cancer Assessment and Risk Evaluation Program, and as associate director for Cancer Control and Population Sciences.

Dr. Lerman has published more than 375 peer-reviewed publications, and her research has been cited more than 20,000 times. She has maintained continuous NIH funding since 1989. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and elected fellow of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. Other awards include the Matilda White Riley Award from the NIH in 2016, the National Cancer Institute Outstanding Investigator Award in 2015, and the Alton Ochsner Award Relating Smoking and Disease in 2007. She is past president of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, and has served on the National Institute on Drug Abuse Advisory Council, the National Cancer Institute Board of Scientific Advisors, and the National Advisory Council for Human Genome Research.

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Caryn Lerman to the Keck School of Medicine and Keck Medicine of USC, and wishing her much success in her new position as director of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.