The director of the University of North Carolina’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center could be headed to Washington, D.C., to lead the National Cancer Institute.
President Donald Trump announced Friday that he intends to appoint Dr. Norman “Ned” Sharpless, 50, to head the federal agency in charge of cancer research.
Sharpless, a Greensboro native, has been the director of the Lineberger Center since 2014 and on the faculty since 2002, according to the university. He received his medical degree from UNC in 1993.
“Dr. Sharpless is a visionary leader and a truly gifted scientist and clinician, and we strongly agree he would be an excellent choice to lead the National Cancer Institute into the future,” UNC Chancellor Carol Folt said in a press release.
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Announcing the choice, a White House statement noted, “A practicing oncologist caring for patients with leukemia, Dr. Sharpless also leads a research group studying the cell cycle and its role in cancer and aging. He has authored more than 150 original scientific papers, reviews and book chapters.”
Sharpless, who will not need U.S. Senate confirmation for the appointment, will succeed Dr. Douglas Lowy, who has been acting director of the National Cancer Institute since March 2015.
A press release from UNC said the university knew Sharpless was being considered for the job and has been working on a transition plan for the Lineberger Center. Lineberger Center spokesman Bill Schaller said the medical school will appoint Dr. Shelton Earp as interim director.
Earp was the cancer center director from 1997 to 2014, when Sharpless took over. Earp is currently the director of UNC Cancer Care, coordinating care for cancer patients and research across the UNC Health Care System and the medical school.
Duncan: 919-829-4880, @duncanreporting