Huntsman Cancer Institute Leadership Announcement: Cairns Named Chief Academic Officer, Welm Named Senior Director of Basic Science

Today, Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah (U of U) announced new leadership appointments for two long-standing cancer center members.

Brad Cairns, PhD, has accepted an appointment as chief academic officer at HCI. In this new role, Cairns will lead initiatives designed to support professional development and increase faculty’s career satisfaction. Working with HCI leadership, he will support and coordinate hiring and retention across the HCI mission areas, including research, clinical care, education, and outreach. This new position is designed to cultivate the outstanding cadre of cancer research and clinical faculty. HCI currently houses more than 200 cancer-focused faculty members from 30 different academic departments or schools at the University of Utah.

In addition to this new appointment, Cairns will continue his service as professor and chair of the Department of Oncological Sciences at the U of U; he will also continue to lead his cancer research laboratory as an HCI and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. Cairns previously served as senior director of basic science at HCI.

“I am thrilled that as HCI’s inaugural chief academic officer, Dr. Cairns will provide leadership centered on faculty advancement. I know he will continue to make major contributions and foster an environment that helps our talented faculty flourish, with individuals and teams making a major impact toward our vision of a cancer-free frontier,” said Mary Beckerle, PhD, HCI CEO.

Alana Welm, PhD, has accepted an appointment as senior director of basic science, a role previously held by Cairns. In this capacity, Welm will provide senior leadership oversight of two basic science cancer center programs under the umbrella of HCI’s Cancer Center Support Grant (CCSG), as well as research resources utilized by many faculty members. She will represent basic science at HCI in a variety of leadership forums at the cancer center and the larger U of U. Welm will continue to lead her cancer research laboratory focused on breast cancer metastasis.

“We all appreciate Dr. Welm as a highly regarded member of the HCI community who played an instrumental role in our successful CCSG renewal last year,” said Neli Ulrich, PhD, executive director of the comprehensive cancer center at HCI. “Without doubt, she will be a true asset and highly valued contributor to our leadership team as we strive to achieve a cancer-free frontier in numerous dimensions.”

The new leadership appointments of Cairns and Welm are effective immediately.