Internationally Acclaimed Scientist Named Co-Leader of UPCI Lung Cancer Program

University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences Media Relations

09/09/2014

An international leader in the field of epigenetics whose work has led to important discoveries into how cancer develops and progresses has been named the co-leader of the Lung Cancer Program at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI), partner with UPMC CancerCenter. James Herman, M.D., comes to Pittsburgh from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where he joined the faculty in 1996.

At Pitt’s School of Medicine, Dr. Herman will be a visiting professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology. His appointment is effective Nov. 1.

“Jim is a senior scientist who brings extensive experience to UPCI. He will assume leadership of the UPCI Lung Cancer SPORE grant and work closely with Dr. Mark Socinski in our Lung Cancer Program, strengthening an already impressive team,” said Nancy E. Davidson, M.D., director of UPCI and the UPMC CancerCenter. The National Cancer Institute’s prestigious SPORE, or Specialized Program of Research Excellence, is one of four such specialized research grants held at UPCI.

In addition to his work as a researcher, Dr. Herman is expected to have an appointment at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Pittsburgh, where he will work to promote clinical care, education and clinical trials in thoracic malignancies. He will also serve as a co-director of the medical oncology fellowship program to promote training in basic and translational research.

“Our fellows are very lucky to have the opportunity to work with and learn from Dr. Herman. He has a vast knowledge of cancer research, and we can all benefit from having someone of his caliber on our team,” said Edward Chu, M.D., deputy director of UPCI and chief of the Division of Hematology-Oncology.

The author of more than 250 papers, chapters and editorials, Dr. Herman and his team are especially well-known for their development of the methylation-specific PCR assay (MSP), which is widely used to characterize DNA methylation patterns. His work has been supported by a variety of sources, including a V Scholar Award, multiple grants from the National Institutes of Health (including service as a project co-leader on the Hopkins Lung Cancer SPORE), and most recently a Department of Defense grant, all in the general area of epigenetics of cancer. He has served as a member of the editorial board for a number of journals, including Clinical Cancer Research and Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Dr. Herman received his medical degree from Johns Hopkins in 1989, where he was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha. After completing a residency in internal medicine at Duke, he returned to Hopkins to undertake a fellowship in medical oncology. He joined the Hopkins faculty in 1996, and rose through the ranks to serve as professor of oncology starting in 2009.