University of Chicago's Susan Cohn, MD, elected treasurer of ASCO

December 7, 2011

Susan Lerner Cohn, MD, with patientSusan Lerner Cohn, MD, with patient

Pediatric cancer specialist Susan Lerner Cohn, MD, professor of pediatrics and director of clinical sciences at Comer Children's Hospital at the University of Chicago, has been elected treasurer of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

With more than 30,000 members, ASCO is the world's leading professional organization representing physicians who care for people with cancer. Cohn will take office during ASCO's 47th annual meeting in Chicago in June 2012 and serve till 2015.

"I was honored to be nominated as a candidate for treasurer and thrilled that I won," said Cohn, who is also chair of the clinical trials research committee at the University of Chicago.

An active physician, teacher and clinical researcher, Cohn works with other investigators locally and worldwide studying the biologic underpinnings of clinically aggressive, high-risk neuroblastoma in order to develop more effective, targeted treatments. In 2008, she led an international coalition of pediatric cancer physicians and researchers who developed new systems to standardize studies of neuroblastoma worldwide.

Her recent research focuses on genetic factors that contribute to racial and ethnic disparities in neuroblastoma survival rates. Understanding the roles of certain genes may ultimately improve how drugs are delivered based on each patient's genetic profile, maximizing response and minimizing adverse drug reactions.

Cohn received her MD in 1980 from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She completed her residency in pediatrics at Michael Reese Hospital in 1984, followed by a fellowship from 1984 to 1987 in pediatric hematology/oncology at Children's Memorial Hospital and Northwestern University. She joined the faculty at Northwestern University in 1987 and remained there, rising to the rank of professor. In 2007, she moved to the University of Chicago as a professor of pediatrics.

A prolific author, Cohn has published more than 140 peer-reviewed journal articles and several book chapters, and has co-edited two books. She also is a reviewer for many prominent journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine and Cancer Research, and is a member of the Journal of Clinical Oncology editorial board.

She has received many honors and awards. She is a leader in the Children's Oncology Group, co-chair of the International Neuroblastoma Risk Group task force and a current member of the ASCO Board of Directors. She received the International Pediatric Oncology Society Award in the Discipline of Basic Science and has served as president of the Advances in Neuroblastoma Research Association. She has trained many pediatric fellows who now have academic careers, in both clinical and translational research.

ASCO was founded in Chicago in 1964. Four members of the University of Chicago faculty -- John Ultmann (1981-82), Samuel Hellman (1986-87), Harvey Golomb (1990-91) and Richard Schilsky (2007-08) -- have served as presidents of the organization. ASCO is committed to improving cancer care through scientific meetings, educational programs and peer-reviewed journals. ASCO is supported by its affiliate organization, the Conquer Cancer Foundation, which funds groundbreaking research and programs that make a tangible difference in the lives of people with cancer.

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