Irwin Gelman, PhD, Named as Chair, Department of Genetics, RPCI

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

BUFFALO, NY - Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center announced the appointment of Irwin Gelman, PhD, as Chair, Department of Genetics. Dr. Gelman has been with Roswell Park since 2003. His research focuses on therapies to target prostate cancer, and his work has appeared in more than 50 journals and periodicals.

Donald L. Trump, MD, FACP, President and CEO of Roswell Park, said, “It gives me great pleasure to announce that, after a nationwide search, we have successfully completed the recruitment of Dr. Irwin Gelman to the position of Chair, Department of Genetics. Dr. Gelman is well-qualified to lead the Department of Genetics. I thank the members of the search committee, led by Dr. Andrei Gudkov, for defining a panel of outstanding candidates.”

Dr. Gelman attended Wesleyan and Columbia Universities, and was a postdoctoral associate for the American Cancer Society at The Rockefeller University. Before coming to Roswell Park, Dr. Gelman was on the faculty at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine from 1990-2003, where he was honored with an Excellence in Teaching award, and at the City University of New York Medical School, where he was Course Director, Microbiology from 1992 to 2002. He has mentored scores of students while with Roswell Park as well.

One of Dr. Gelman's most notable accomplishments was the discovery of a gene that shows promise in halting the spread of cancer cells. Labeled SSeCKS/Gravin/AKAP12, the identification of the gene was significant because most cancer deaths are caused by the spread, or metastasis, of malignant cells to secondary sites. Dr. Gelman's team found the gene suppressed the formation of structures called “podosomes,” which malignant cancer cells use to spread into nearby organs. An article about the discovery is featured on the cover of the March 2006 issue of Molecular Cancer Research. They also showed that SSeCKS/Gravin/AKAP12 can inhibit the formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis) at metastatic sites, making it one of a handful of genes known to suppress the growth of metastatic tumors. Dr. Gelman's research continues to identify metastasis-controlling genes and pathways, as well as to help develop novel drugs that target metastatic processes.

Dr. Gelman is a member of several professional societies and serves on a variety of editorial and advisory boards, including as an associate editor for Virology and Frontiers in Bioscience and as a peer reviewer for over a dozen journals.

The mission of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center is to understand, prevent and cure cancer. Roswell Park, founded in 1898, was one of the first cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and remains the only facility with this designation in Upstate New York. The Institute is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation's leading cancer centers; maintains affiliate sites; and is a partner in national and international collaborative programs. For more information, visit Roswell Park's website at, call 1-800-ROSWELL (1-800-767-9355) or email


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Annie Deck-Miller, Senior Media Relations Manager