Interim Director - Leonidas Platanias, MD, PhD
Leonidas C. Platanias, MD, PhD, is the Jesse, Sara, Andrew, Abigail, Benjamin and Elizabeth Lurie Professor of Oncology, and Interim Director of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. Dr. Platanias joined the Lurie Cancer Center as its first Deputy Director in 2002. His leadership over the past decade has advanced the growth and expansion of the Lurie Cancer Center’s clinical and research operations, and the recruitment of numerous faculty members that helped to strengthen the Lurie Cancer Center’s standing of international prominence.
Following his graduation from the University of Patras Medical School in Greece, Dr. Platanias moved to Bethesda, MD, in 1984 as a Fogarty Fellow at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where his research focused on the immune mechanisms of regulation of normal and abnormal hematopoiesis. He subsequently completed his residency in Internal Medicine at the State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, and a fellowship in Hematology-Oncology at the University of Chicago Hospitals, where he initiated his work on cytokine signaling in malignant cells.
Prior to joining Northwestern, Dr. Platanias was Professor and Chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In November 2002, Dr. Platanias was named the Jesse, Sara, Andrew, Abigail, Benjamin and Elizabeth Lurie Professor of Oncology honoring the children of Northwestern University Trustee Ann Lurie and her late husband, Robert.
In addition to providing leadership as the Interim Director of the Lurie Cancer Center, Dr. Platanias continues his molecular biology and biochemistry research; concentrating on signaling pathways in cancer cells and developing novel treatments for malignancies by targeting such pathways. Dr. Platanias received numerous awards, grants and contracts for his research work and has published over 250 scientific papers. Among his many career honors, Dr. Platanias received the 2013 Seymour & Vivian Milstein Award for Excellence in Cytokine Research. The Milstein Award represents the pinnacle of scientific achievement in cytokine and interferon research. A member of various scientific societies, Dr. Platanias served as President of the International Cytokine and Interferon Society (ICIS) in 2010-2011.
Dr. Platanias sits on the editorial boards and/or is the associate editor of several prestigious scientific and medical oncology journals. His research is funded by four R01 grants from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and a Merit Review grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs. He is also the principal investigator of the NCI T32 training grant in signal transduction and cancer, and the American Cancer Society mdash; Institutional Review Grant (IRG) that provides funding for junior investigators at Northwestern. In addition, he leads the efforts for the development of a Leukemia SPORE (Specialized Program of Research Excellence) grant at Northwestern. Dr. Platanias has served as a member or chair of several review committees at the NIH, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. He is currently a member of the Cancer Immunopathobiology and Immunotherapy study (CII) section at NIH. He has also completed terms in the Cancer Molecular Pathobiology (CAMP) study section and the Molecular Oncogenesis (MONC) study section, where he was one of the founding members.