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Dr. Jim Willson

Chief Scientific Officer
Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas

Dr. Willson leads the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) academic research program in supporting innovation in cancer research and recruiting world-class cancer researchers to Texas institutions. He is nationally renowned for his work in the genetics of colorectal cancer, having spent more than three decades in the field. Dr. Willson’s research led to the development of cell and animal models for human colon cancer that have been key to identifying genetic factors in disease progression.

Dr. Willson joined CPRIT in March 2016 following a distinguished career as director of Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center and associate dean of oncology programs at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Under his leadership, Simmons Cancer Center achieved designation as a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center. He helped bring the same prestigious designation to Case Comprehensive Cancer Center in Cleveland, where he served as its director from 1994-2004.

A graduate of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Dr. Willson earned his MD from the University of Alabama in 1976. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1981 and received additional training at the National Cancer Institute.