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Odunsi elected to National Academy of Medicine


Published October 18, 2018

headshot of Kunle Odunsi.

Kunle Odunsi

UB faculty member Kunle Odunsi, deputy director of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine, one of the highest honors in health and medicine.

Odunsi is a professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB.

“We are honored to have Dr. Odunsi as a colleague and friend,” says Vanessa Barnabei, professor and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. “His humility in light of his tremendous accomplishments in the fight against cancer in women serves as a continuing role model to us all.”

Odunsi was among 85 new members whose election to the academy was announced at NAM’s annual meeting Oct. 14-15 in Washington, D.C.

Candace S. Johnson, president and CEO of Roswell Park, notes Odunsi earned this distinction “through his unwavering dedication to cancer patients and his many achievements in moving cancer research forward.”

The National Academy of Medicine (NAM), formerly the Institute of Medicine, is an independent body that aims to improve health for all by advancing science, accelerating health equity and providing independent, authoritative and trusted advice nationally and globally.

It is one of the branches of the National Academies, along with Sciences and Engineering.

Members are elected by their peers based on their contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care and public health. Odunsi is the first Roswell Park physician and the third UB faculty member — after Robert Genco, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the School of Dental Medicine, and Nancy Nielsen, senior associate dean of health policy in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences — to be elected to NAM.

In announcing his appointment, NAM recognized Odunsi “for identifying key mechanisms of immune suppression within the ovarian tumor microenvironment, pioneering studies to re-engineer mature T cells and hematopoietic stem cells for adoptive T-cell therapy, and implementing multi-institutional immunotherapy trials using novel strategies that he developed to impact outcome and quality of life of ovarian cancer patients.”

“This wouldn’t have been possible without the supportive, transdisciplinary and collaborative environment at Roswell Park,” says Odunsi. “I am humbled by this honor and so grateful to my extraordinary teams from the gynecologic oncology clinical program and the Center for Immunotherapy, with whom I work every day. And I owe an enormous debt to the patients I have been privileged to work with, and from whom I have learned so much.”

A UB faculty member since 2006, Odunsi serves as Roswell’s chair of Gynecologic Oncology, the M. Steven Piver Professor of Gynecologic Oncology, and executive director of the Center for Immunotherapy. He has been on staff at Roswell since 2001.

He is a fellow of both the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in the UK, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.