November 12, 2004

Moses set to hand DuBois VICC reins

Featured Image

Raymond DuBois, M.D., Ph.D., right, will take the reins of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center from founding director Hal Moses, M.D., left, on Jan. 1. Moses will continue as senior scientist, advisor and fund-raiser for Vanderbilt-Ingram.
photo by Dana Johnson

Moses set to hand DuBois VICC reins

Raymond N. DuBois, M.D., Ph.D., an internationally recognized physician-scientist best known for his work to understand the potential role of aspirin-like drugs to treat and prevent cancers, will become director of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center on Jan. 1, 2005.

DuBois will succeed the center's founding director, Harold L. Moses, M.D., Benjamin F. Byrd Professor of Oncology, who will refocus his attention on his world-renowned research, his activities on the national cancer scene, and his continued service to Vanderbilt-Ingram as an advisor and fund-raiser.

“A remarkable quality about Hal Moses is that he is both a visionary and an implementer,” said Orrin Ingram, chairman of Vanderbilt-Ingram's Board of Overseers and son of the center's namesake, the late E. Bronson Ingram. “Many people have the skills of one or the other. There are few people who can do both, but Hal can and has.

“I have to admit it was a little frightening when Hal began to talk about stepping down as center director. I worried about who would keep the momentum going. Ray is the one person I can think of with that ability. He has a lot of the same characteristics as Hal, and I look forward to working with him to make Vanderbilt-Ingram the best cancer center in the country.”

Under Moses' leadership, the center earned the coveted status as a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center — the only one in Tennessee — saw its NCI research funding base grow six-fold to more than $50 million per year, and executed one of the most successful fund-raising campaigns in University history, bringing in more than $180 million in the Imagine A World Without Cancer campaign.

“Hal Moses is the architect of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center,” said Harry R. Jacobson, M.D., vice chancellor of Health Affairs. “When Ike Robinson asked him to become center director, it was with the explicit goal of building a world-class cancer center worthy of comprehensive designation from the National Cancer Institute. Hal has achieved that and so much more. The cancer center he has built is a model for conducting stellar team science that will make a huge difference to our patients and families. Chancellor Gordon Gee noted that he first met Moses in his capacity as faculty representative on the search committee that brought Gee to Vanderbilt. “One of the primary reasons I became so interested in Vanderbilt was because of the opportunities I had to visit with him and learn from him,” Gee said. “He truly embodies — personally and professionally — the values that represent this University so well. That he is an extraordinary leader is evidenced by the stellar reputation of our cancer center, and he continues to be the type of exemplary University citizen who makes all of us better."

The environment that Moses created as cancer center director has been a significant factor in recruitment and retention of dozens of talented faculty, including DuBois, said Steven G. Gabbe, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine. “We have been able to recruit and retain an amazing roster of scientists and clinicians during Hal's tenure as cancer center director,” Gabbe said.

University and Medical Center leaders expressed their confidence in DuBois as the director to steer the cancer center in the right direction going forward.

“A cancer center director must be a recognized researcher who is able to command respect from their peers, able to build consensus, and able and willing to work very hard to promote — and find money to support — the careers of others,” Moses said. “I have no doubt that Ray fits that bill.”

“We are incredibly fortunate to have someone of Ray's caliber on our faculty to step into the role of center director,” Jacobson said. “He has the credentials, the skills and the reputation throughout the scientific community to take the cancer center to its next level of greatness.”

Gee agreed, adding, “Simply put, our goal is to have the best cancer center in the world, which requires the best leader in the world. That person is Ray DuBois. I cannot imagine a more capable, more insightful physician and scholar to build the future of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.”

Having received his doctorate in biochemistry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, DuBois was awarded his medical degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and completed his post-graduate training at Johns Hopkins. In 1991 DuBois accepted a faculty position at Vanderbilt in the Division of Gastroenterology, with a joint appointment in Cell Biology, which Moses chaired at the time.

Five years later DuBois was named Chief of Gastroenterology and held the Mina Cobb Wallace Chair for Cancer Prevention. In his current role as an associate director for Cancer Prevention and Control he holds the Hortense B. Ingram Chair in Molecular Oncology.

DuBois is best known for his seminal work aimed at understanding the molecular causes of colon cancer and in devising better ways to prevent the disease. His work continues to build understanding of the role of inflammation in cancer development and progression.

Among his accomplishments and honors, DuBois has received the AACR-Rosenthal and the AACR-Landon awards, the American Gastroenterological Association's Distinguished Achievement Award and recent election by his peers as a fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He is a member of the Royal College of Physicians and the NCI's Board of Scientific Advisors. He is on the Board of Directors for the American Association for Cancer Research, having chaired its annual cancer prevention meeting. He also is one of seven scientific advisors to the National Colorectal Cancer Research Association, an initiative by NBC's Katie Couric and the Entertainment Industry Foundation.

DuBois's goals as director will include nurturing the translational team science that Moses has been so skillful at creating, to work with the Medical Center to solidify a clinical base that will support that translational research, and to continue the progress in building a world-class program in cancer research.

“Retaining the successful faculty that Hal has brought together will be a challenge because they are highly sought-after, but that is a must,” DuBois said. “We have a wonderful foundation to work from, and Hal has my greatest respect for what he has created here in Nashville.”