April 16, 2021
PITTSBURGH – Taofeek K. Owonikoko, M.D., Ph.D., will join the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center and Department of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh as chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology. Owonikoko, a physician-scientist board-certified in medical oncology, hematology and internal medicine, also will serve as associate director for translational research and co-leader of the Cancer Therapeutics Program at Hillman. He will hold the Stanley M. Marks – OHA Endowed Chair in Hematology/Oncology Leadership and will begin his appointment on July 1, 2021.
“Taofeek has an extraordinary track record of clinical and academic success and a deep commitment to helping early career researchers and clinicians achieve their fullest potential,” said Robert Ferris, M.D., Ph.D., director of UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. “We are thrilled he is joining the senior leadership team at Hillman.”
Owonikoko will lead a division of more than 65 faculty members, who are recognized leaders in hematology and oncology clinical care and research. He will oversee translational research and efforts to expand clinical trial access across the Hillman network of more than 70 sites.
“I’m very excited to join such an exceptional team of physicians and scientists at Hillman,” said Owonikoko. “I look forward to being an active and engaged member of this community with a strong culture of improving patient’s lives through translation of cancer research from the bench to bedside.”
A native of Nigeria, Owonikoko received his M.B.Ch.B. (M.D. equivalent) from Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria and his Ph.D. from Heinrich Heine University in Germany. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University followed by residency in internal medicine at Drexel University and holds an M.S. in Clinical Research from Emory University. He completed his hematology/oncology fellowship training at Pitt and UPMC, conducting translational research in small cell lung cancer.
Owonikoko has co-authored numerous publications and serves on the editorial boards of several organizations. He has received numerous awards, including the Michaele C. Christian Oncology Development Lectureship and Award from the National Cancer Institute in 2020, the Heine Hansen Award for Small Cell Lung Cancer research from the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) and the Leadership Development Program award from the American Society of Clinical Oncologists (ASCO). He will begin a four-year term on the ASCO Board of Directors in June 2021.
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About UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
UPMC Hillman Cancer Center is the region’s only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center and is one of the largest integrated community cancer networks in the United States. Backed by the collective strength of UPMC—which is ranked No. 15 for cancer care nationally by U.S. News & World Report—and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center has nearly 70 locations throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, and Maryland, with cancer centers and partnerships internationally. The more than 2,000 physicians, researchers, and staff are leaders in molecular and cellular cancer biology, cancer immunology, cancer virology, biobehavioral cancer control, and cancer epidemiology, prevention, and therapeutics. UPMC Hillman Cancer Center is transforming cancer research, care, and prevention—one patient at a time.
About the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
As one of the nation’s leading academic centers for biomedical research, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine integrates advanced technology with basic science across a broad range of disciplines in a continuous quest to harness the power of new knowledge and improve the human condition. Driven mainly by the School of Medicine and its affiliates, Pitt has ranked among the top 10 recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health since 1998. In rankings recently released by the National Science Foundation, Pitt ranked fifth among all American universities in total federal science and engineering research and development support.
Likewise, the School of Medicine is equally committed to advancing the quality and strength of its medical and graduate education programs, for which it is recognized as an innovative leader, and to training highly skilled, compassionate clinicians and creative scientists well-equipped to engage in world-class research. The School of Medicine is the academic partner of UPMC, which has collaborated with the University to raise the standard of medical excellence in Pittsburgh and to position health care as a driving force behind the region’s economy. For more information about the School of Medicine, see www.medschool.pitt.edu.