Dr. Jedd Wolchok Appointed Meyer Director of the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medicine

Dr. Taha Merghoub Appointed Deputy Director

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NEW YORK (July 28, 2022)Dr. Jedd Wolchok, an internationally acclaimed medical oncologist whose innovations in immunotherapy have revolutionized melanoma treatment, has been recruited as the Meyer Director of the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medicine, effective Sept. 12.

In his new role, Dr. Wolchok will lead an expansive, multidisciplinary research and clinical enterprise dedicated to translating groundbreaking discoveries on the underlying causes of cancer into cutting-edge treatment approaches and personalized therapies to improve patient outcomes. Dr. Wolchok will also expand the exemplary care delivered at the institution’s flagship Upper East Side Manhattan location and further enhance care for patients in Brooklyn and Queens.

Dr. Wolchok currently serves as chief of the Immuno-Oncology Service and the Lloyd J. Old /Virginia and Daniel K. Ludwig Chair in Clinical Investigation at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), and he is a professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine. He succeeds Dr. Massimo Loda, chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, who has served as interim director since last year’s departure of Dr. Lewis Cantley, the center’s founding Meyer Director.

“Dr. Wolchok is a distinguished physician-scientist and an esteemed leader in oncology, whose innovative research in immunotherapy has transformed the prognosis for countless melanoma patients and will undoubtedly have lasting implications for other types of cancer. We are thrilled he will be heading the Meyer Cancer Center,” said Dr. Augustine M.K. Choi, the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medicine. “His expertise and vision will be crucial as the institution enhances cancer research and treatment efforts throughout the city, providing critical care and hope to cancer patients, and building on the center’s outstanding reputation as a leader in this field.

“We would also like to thank Dr. Loda for his dedicated service as interim director of the Meyer Cancer Center over the past year,” Dr. Choi added. “His strong leadership and vast experience in this area of medicine have allowed the center to continue its vital, groundbreaking work in cancer research and care.”

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Dr. Taha Merghoub, deputy director of the Meyer Cancer Center

Created in 2014 with a $75 million gift from Sandra and Edward Meyer and the Sandra and Edward Meyer Foundation, the Weill Cornell Medicine Meyer Cancer Center, in partnership with NewYork-Presbyterian, unifies cancer research throughout Weill Cornell Medicine and has more than 140 core members, including basic scientists, surgeons, oncologists, radiologists, pathologists and other clinicians. The Meyer Cancer Center focuses on multidisciplinary, high-impact science, harnessing cutting-edge technology and new biomedical approaches to illuminate the biological conditions that allow cancer to develop and proliferate. Collaborations between basic scientists and physicians are accelerating the application of these findings into clinical care, while partnerships with community stakeholders help to rapidly translate cancer prevention and detection discoveries into new outreach programs for the communities that need it most.

“Dr. Wolchok is a renowned physician-scientist and exceptional leader whose pioneering research in immunotherapy has fundamentally changed the way we approach cancer care and improved the lives of countless patients. We are delighted to welcome him as the new director of the Meyer Cancer Center,” said Dr. Steven J. Corwin, president and CEO of NewYork-Presbyterian. “His leadership and experience will be instrumental in elevating the groundbreaking work of the Meyer Cancer Center and further enhancing the innovative, personalized and compassionate cancer care we provide to patients in all the communities we serve. We would like to express our gratitude to Dr. Loda for his dedication and leadership in helming the center as interim director for the past year.”

Dr. Wolchok is a pioneer in a cancer treatment approach that harnesses immune cells to fight the disease, with a specific focus on melanoma. A clinician-scientist, he investigates innovative immunotherapy strategies in laboratory models of melanoma and has served as principal investigator of multiple clinical trials. Immunotherapy has now emerged as a fourth pillar of standard cancer therapy, alongside surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Dr. Wolchok played a pivotal role in the clinical development of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved immunotherapy ipilimumab for advanced melanoma and more recently designed and led a global phase 3 trial of the first combination of immunotherapies, known as immune checkpoint blocking antibodies, aimed at reactivating the immune response to melanoma. These approaches have resulted in therapeutic success in multiple cancer types after initial studies in melanoma.

The institution has also appointed Dr. Taha Merghoub, a highly accomplished and innovative research scientist who has been Dr. Wolchok’s scientific partner at Memorial Sloan Kettering for over 15 years as well as a professor of immunology research in medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, as deputy director of the Meyer Cancer Center. Dr. Merghoub, who was also recruited as the Margaret and Herman Sokol Professor of Oncology Research as well as a professor of pharmacology, will lead a laboratory at Weill Cornell Medicine, which investigates the development of immune-based therapies to treat cancer. Dr. Merghoub strives to understand why immunotherapy is effective in some patients but not others and aims to develop new mechanism-based combination therapies that can overcome treatment resistance.

Two men in suits and a woman in white coat talking in a labDr. Jedd Wolchok (center) and Dr. Taha Merghoub (left) speak with Dr. Elena Piskounova at Weill Cornell Medicine.

“Through the generosity and vision of Sandra and Edward Meyer, the Meyer Cancer Center serves as the backbone of Weill Cornell Medicine’s cancer ecosystem, as we advance our mission to provide the best care for our patients and find cures for these devastating diseases,” said Jessica M. Bibliowicz, chairman of the Weill Cornell Medicine Board of Fellows. “Dr. Wolchok is a proven leader and innovator in this field and the ideal choice for this position, harnessing the incredible, collaborative achievements in cancer research and treatment and elevating it to the next level of excellence.”

“Bringing the standard of care and the research portfolio that exists at the Meyer Cancer Center to patients in Brooklyn and Queens is a key priority for me to ensure that all New Yorkers receive ‘A-team’ cancer treatment that is based upon the latest research,” Dr. Wolchok said. “I’m honored to lead our physicians and scientists across all of oncology to continue driving discoveries that change medicine.”

“This is an opportunity for me to enhance the impact of my efforts so far in my career,” he said. “I’ve been proud to be a Weill Cornell Medicine faculty member throughout my time at Memorial Sloan Kettering, and this new role will allow me to learn more about the institution from the inside, build a bigger cancer team and share what I’ve learned.”

“Jedd Wolchok’s contributions to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center have  benefitted the MSK community, patients and trainees worldwide,” said Dr. Craig B. Thompson, president and chief executive officer of MSK. “We are grateful to Dr. Wolchok for his dedication and compassionate care and know that he will continue to accelerate progress and make a difference in the lives of people with cancer in his new endeavor.”

In his new role, Dr. Wolchok will elevate the Meyer Cancer Center’s activities, recruiting leading cancer researchers and clinicians, with a focus on enhancing both faculty diversity and broadening the reach of health care to diverse patient populations. He will strive to bolster the center’s educational programs to train generations of physicians and scientists. He will also prioritize expanding the center’s clinical trial enterprise, seeking to create a balanced portfolio “that has high impact across the populations that we serve,” he said, including investigator-initiated trials, National Cancer Institute cooperative group trials, as well as trials sponsored by industry. These trials will extend to NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian Queens, to better reach patients who live in traditionally underserved communities and increase access to the most advanced treatments where it’s convenient for them.

“I am a proud physician-scientist, and neither one of those descriptors is more important than the other,” said Dr. Wolchok, who noted that he will continue to see patients. “At the Meyer Cancer Center, I hope to achieve a true balance, and with real-time communication between our clinicians and researchers, we will be able to achieve the highest degree of success.”

About Dr. Jedd Wolchok

Dr. Wolchok is a board-certified oncologist and investigator who specializes in exploring innovative immunotherapeutic strategies, with a focus on melanoma research and clinical expertise in the care of people with advanced stages of the disease. He has published more than 275 scholarly papers in leading peer-reviewed journals including The New England Journal of Medicine, Nature, Cell, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Cancer Discovery and The Journal of Experimental Medicine, where he serves as an academic editor. His work has been consistently funded by the National Cancer Institute, the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, Swim Across America, Stand Up to Cancer, the Mark Foundation, and the Melanoma Research Alliance, among other organizations.

He is a member of American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the American Association of Physicians and the American Society for Clinical Investigation. Dr. Wolchok has received numerous awards and honors including the Damon Runyon-Lilly Clinical Investigator Award, the Melanoma Research Foundation Humanitarian Award, the AACR’s Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Memorial Award and Joseph H. Burchenal Award, and, most recently, ASCO’s David Karnofsky Award.

Dr. Wolchok received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University, his doctorate in microbiology from NYU Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and medical degree from NYU Grossman School of Medicine, where he also completed his residency program in internal medicine. After completing a fellowship in medical oncology-hematology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, he joined its faculty—as well as Weill Cornell Medicine’s—and has served there for more than 25 years, ultimately rising to the position of chief of the Immuno-Oncology Service.

Weill Cornell Medicine

Weill Cornell Medicine is committed to excellence in patient care, scientific discovery and the education of future physicians in New York City and around the world. The doctors and scientists of Weill Cornell Medicine — faculty from Weill Cornell Medical College, Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences, and Weill Cornell Physician Organization — are engaged in world-class clinical care and cutting-edge research that connect patients to the latest treatment innovations and prevention strategies. Located in the heart of the Upper East Side’s scientific corridor, Weill Cornell Medicine’s powerful network of collaborators extends to its parent university Cornell University; to Qatar, where Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar offers a Cornell University medical degree; and to programs in Tanzania, Haiti, Brazil, Austria and Turkey. Weill Cornell Medicine faculty provide exemplary patient care at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Westchester Behavioral Health Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian Queens and NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital. Weill Cornell Medicine is also affiliated with Houston Methodist. For more information, visit weill.cornell.edu.

NewYork-Presbyterian

NewYork-Presbyterian is one of the nation’s most comprehensive, integrated academic healthcare systems, encompassing 10 hospitals across the Greater New York area, nearly 200 primary and specialty care clinics and medical groups, and an array of telemedicine services. 

A leader in medical education, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital is the only academic medical center in the nation affiliated with two world-class medical schools, Weill Cornell Medicine and Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. This collaboration means patients have access to the country’s leading physicians, the full range of medical specialties, latest innovations in care, and research that is developing cures and saving lives.

Founded 250 years ago, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital has a long legacy of medical breakthroughs and innovation, from the invention of the Pap test to pioneering the groundbreaking heart valve replacement procedure called TAVR.

NewYork-Presbyterian’s 48,000 employees and affiliated physicians are dedicated to providing the highest quality, most compassionate care to New Yorkers and patients from across the country and around the world.

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