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Ronald Gartenhaus joins Massey as associate director for veteran’s health

May 14, 2019


Lymphoma expert Ronald B. Gartenhaus, M.D., has been jointly appointed as associate director for veteran’s health at VCU Massey Cancer Center and inaugural director of a new cancer center at the Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He will also join the VCU School of Medicine’s Department of Internal Medicine as a professor.

Gartenhaus comes to VCU from the University of Maryland and the Baltimore VA Medical Center, where he most recently served as co-leader of the Molecular and Structural Biology Program at the UM Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center and supervisor of Hematologic Malignancy Clinics at the Baltimore VA Medical Center. He was also a tenured professor of medicine in the UM School of Medicine and member of the Joint Program in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the UM Graduate School.

“The appointment of Dr. Gartenhaus is a tremendous opportunity to build upon the longstanding collaborations between VCU Massey Cancer Center and the McGuire VA Medical Center and the work of many of our jointly appointed researchers,” said Gordon D. Ginder, M.D., director of VCU Massey Cancer Center. “We look forward to Dr. Gartenhaus’ leadership in delivering advanced cancer care for veterans at the McGuire VAMC, at Massey and throughout Virginia.”

As associate director for veteran’s health at Massey, Gartenhaus will facilitate the close collaboration of the McGuire VAMC cancer program and Massey Cancer Center in both clinical and basic research. He will serve on Massey’s Executive Committee and will help to coordinate and enhance cancer research and care for veterans across state sites.

In his role as inaugural director of the cancer center at the McGuire VAMC, Gartenhaus will recruit and lead an interdisciplinary team of oncology specialists, care providers and cancer researchers. He will help design the structure and function of a new outpatient cancer center to be built on the McGuire VAMC campus, while also integrating all inpatient, outpatient and home-based cancer services for veterans across the Veteran Integrated Service Network.

“We are extremely pleased that this national search has brought Dr. Gartenhaus to this innovative and much needed major leadership role at the McGuire VAMC,” said Julie Beales, M.D., Ph.D., chief of staff of the McGuire VAMC. “He is a remarkably accomplished researcher and team player, who has successfully bridged the academic and veteran health worlds.”

A physician-scientist, Gartenhaus is an internationally recognized expert in hematologic cancers, and his research has been focused on the biology of lymphoma. His laboratory was the first to identify and describe the MCT-1 (Multiple copies in T-cell malignancy) oncogene initially found in T-cell lymphoma. He is currently studying post-transcriptional/translational gene deregulation (the mechanisms used by cells to control gene expression at the RNA level between the transcription and translation of the gene) as well as oncogenic signaling cascades associated with lymphoma (the process by which a chemical or physical signal is transmitted through a cell as a series of molecular events, ultimately resulting in a cellular response) and how they can be exploited for the development of targeted therapies.

Gartenhaus has two U.S. patents for his discoveries, and his research has been continually funded over the past 15 years through multiple grants from the National Institutes of Health, VA Merit Review Awards and other national research foundations. He has published more than 80 original research articles in high-impact, peer-reviewed journals as well as numerous abstracts and book chapters in leading textbooks. He has served as a permanent and an ad hoc member of several research study sections and advisory panels for the NIH and the VA, and he serves on several journal editorial boards and as an associate editor for PLOS Genetics.

Gartenhaus also brings extensive skills and experience in research mentorship. He was the director of UM’s Center for Biomolecular Therapeutics post-doctoral program and has been a member of the Medical Scientist Training Program advisory committee at UM. And as part of both the School of Medicine and Graduate Studies at UM, he has mentored a dozen trainees in research.

After completing his medical residency at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, Gartenhaus pursued his medical oncology training at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Subsequently, he was awarded a prestigious IRTA Research Post-doctoral Fellowship at the National Cancer Institute in the laboratory of Dr. Robert Gallo where he trained in retrovirology. In 1993, he was recruited to the faculty of the Long Island Jewish Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine as a physician, educator and researcher. He then spent time at MCP Hahnemann School of Medicine and Northwestern University Medical School before joining the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center in 2004.

“Our veterans deserve the best in cancer care, and I am committed to ensuring that they get it,” said Gartenhaus. “And that means providing an excellent patient experience with successful outcomes, but also collaborating with VCU Massey Cancer Center to conduct research that will lead to treatment advancements that extend and improve life for all cancer patients, at the VA and beyond.”

Gartenhaus will join VCU and the McGuire VA Medical Center on July 1, 2019. He and his wife, Marlene, have three children who enjoy family vacations and competitive sports. They look forward to exploring Richmond’s rich history. 

Written by: Jenny Owen

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