Cancer researcher named interim director of U-M Life Sciences Institute

April 17, 2015  //  FOUND IN: Strategy & Leadership

Stephen J. Weiss, M.D., a medical researcher who has focused his efforts on understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying the ways in which cancer cells invade tissues and metastasize, will become interim director of the University of Michigan's Life Sciences Institute.

Weiss is currently the E. Gifford and Love Barnett Upjohn Professor of Internal Medicine and Oncology at the U-M Medical School and a research professor at the Life Sciences Institute.   

His appointment, effective Sept. 1, was approved Thursday by the Board of Regents. He will take over from long-serving LSI Director Alan Saltiel, who is stepping down Aug. 31.

In recommending Weiss for the interim role, U-M President Mark Schlissel said he appreciates Weiss' "willingness to step in during this critical time. I know his commitment to scientific excellence and to supporting his colleagues will serve LSI well during this interim period."

The president said he would soon launch a national search for the next LSI director and that the search advisory committee would be chaired by David Ginsburg, the James V. Neel Distinguished University Professor of Internal Medicine and Human Genetics.

"I am honored to take on this important leadership role at the Life Sciences Institute and look forward to continuing to work closely with my LSI colleagues," Weiss said.

His research efforts have long focused on the molecular mechanisms underlying cancer invasion, metastasis and angiogenesis. His oft-cited works on the regulation of these pathologic events have appeared consistently in top-rated journals such as Science, Nature, Cells, Genes & Development and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. He has won numerous awards for his research, holds multiple patents and has helped launch several companies based on technologies developed in his lab.

Weiss completed his B.S. and M.D. degrees and medical internship at Ohio State University and Washington University and was recruited to U-M in the Division of Hematology-Oncology. He was promoted to assistant professor of internal medicine in 1982 and to professor with tenure in 1988. In 1991, he was appointed as the first recipient of the Upjohn Professorship, a title he has had for the last 20 years.

The Life Sciences Institute is an interdisciplinary science unit dedicated to improving human health through collaborative scientific discovery. Its faculty span three colleges and 16 departments, and it houses centers for the campus in early-stage drug discovery, structural biology and stem cell science.