UW News

April 5, 2013

World renowned brain cancer researcher to join UW Medicine


Center for Commercialization | Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Eric Holland

Brain surgeon and cancer researcher Eric Holland has been recruited to UW Medicine and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute. He will arrive this summer.Dean Forbes

UW Medicine and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have recruited world renowned neurosurgeon and brain cancer researcher Eric Holland to establish world-class research programs on brain and other solid-tumor cancers. He will leave Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and arrive in Seattle this summer.

At UW Medicine, Holland will be a professor of neurological surgery, hold the Chap and Eve Alvord and Elias Alvord Chair in Neuro-oncology, and direct the Nancy and Buster Alvord Brain Tumor Center, established in 2009 to promote, develop and coordinate interdisciplinary brain tumor care and research among physicians and scientists in a variety of fields.

One of Holland’s priorities will be to recruit a team of internationally recognized brain cancer investigators to implement the vision of the late Ellsworth “Buster” Alvord, former head of neuropathology in the UW Department of Pathology and a Seattle philanthropist. Alvord and his family funded five endowed chairs in five different UW Medicine departments to create a multidisciplinary brain cancer research center.

“Eric Holland is exceptionally well qualified to lead the Alvord Brain Tumor Center, and I am confident that he will recruit outstanding researchers and clinicians to establish the Alvord Center as the best in the world,” said Paul G. Ramsey, CEO of UW Medicine and dean of the UW School of Medicine. “Under Dr. Holland’s leadership, we will be able to fulfill the vision for brain cancer research and clinical care established by Buster Alvord when he and his family made their extraordinarily generous commitment to establish the Alvord Center. I am delighted to welcome Eric Holland to UW Medicine.”

At Fred Hutch, where Holland’s research laboratory will be based, he will be senior vice president and director of the Human Biology Division, an interdisciplinary program that encourages collaboration among faculty with a broad range of expertise – from molecular and cellular biology to genetics and clinical research. The division’s structure fosters laboratory, computational and clinical research that yields discoveries which can be rapidly translated into cancer treatments. Holland will oversee the recruitment of new scientists who are at the forefront of solid-tumor translational research in such areas as breast, prostate, gastrointestinal and other cancers.

With advances in genomics increasingly playing an important role in solid-tumor oncology, Holland’s expertise in this area will provide strong leadership to strengthen Seattle’s reputation in translational, solid-tumor research.

“I am thrilled at the prospect of working with the world’s leading experts in genome sciences, computational biology and those involved in the development of novel platforms for delivering innovative therapies to cancer patients,” Holland said. “The highly collaborative, multidisciplinary nature of cancer research at Fred Hutch and UW Medicine provides a solid foundation to build on.”