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Vital Signs

Pharm-Tox chair says his "role . . . is service"

By Amos Esty

Dmitrovsky has been at DMS since '98.

Ethan Dmitrovsky, M.D., has been named chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology by DMS Dean Wiley Souba, M.D., Sc.D. Dmitrovsky served as chair of the department previously, from 1998 to 2008, when he stepped down upon being named an American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professor—an honor that carries extensive time and travel commitments. In resuming the post, he succeeds Joyce DeLeo, Ph.D., who is now vice president for academic affairs at Emmanuel College in Boston.

Easy: Dmitrovsky, who served as acting dean of DMS in 2002-03, says his appreciation for the School made the decision to resume the chair easy. "Dartmouth has been good to me," he says. "I would like to give back in any small way that I can."

Widely recognized as an expert in translational research, he has worked on basic science—including a study of retinoids as a potential treatment for lung cancer—and on moving discoveries into clinical trials.

He is active in the policy sphere, too, including as associate scientific director of the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation; chair of the National Cancer Institute Board of Scientific Counselors for Clinical Sciences and Epidemiology; and a Lance Armstrong Foundation advisory board member.

Since his previous term as chair, Dmitrovsky has worked closely on research with a number of colleagues, which has increased his admiration for DMS. Dartmouth's collegiality, he says, is "distinct, if not unique."

From '98 to '08, Dmitrovsky oversaw a doubling of Pharm-Tox's research funding. His current goals include recruiting new researchers, to advance "basic scientific discoveries with a . . . decisive impact, hopefully, on our understanding of the biology of a disease or even into new ways of treating it."

Dartmouth's collegiality, Dmitrovsky says, is "distinct, if not unique."

He admits that this is a challenging time to be involved in biomedical research, but he sees opportunities ahead. His job, he says, is to make sure everyone in the department—faculty, students, and staff—has every opportunity for success. "The role of a chair is service," he says. "It's not more complicated than that. Your goal is to help others."

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