Greetings! Since my last note, there have been some big changes. First, our Cancer Community at Illinois officially became the Cancer Center of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign! Kudos to all our faculty, staff and students who have worked so hard to realize what was merely a concept just a few years ago.

In this issue, we highlight many of the scientific leaders of our Cancer Center. I would especially like to recognize the service of our Steering Committee (below) and especially our Chair, Prof. Gaskins, in guiding and forming this center. A big thank you to our former steering committee members Profs. Milan Bagchi, Benita Katzenellenbogen, William O’Brien and Edward Roy.

We also gratefully acknowledge the support provided by the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute at Illinois and Director Neal Cohen, the Beckman Institute and Director Jeff Moore, the College of Engineering and Dean Andreas Cangellaris, and the Department of Bioengineering, with heads Profs. Michael Insana and Rashid Bashir. And we applaud our Deputy Director, Dean King Li of the College of Medicine, for his visionary leadership of the college, as well as contributions to establishing the Cancer Center. The Cancer Center is truly a result of the entire campus contributing its efforts.

We are truly meeting a goal of navigating new waters. Building on Illinois’ strengths in cancer research, we seek to become a unique NCI-designated “basic science” cancer center focusing on technology and translation of scientific innovations. Toward this goal, our campus solicited the assistance of a panel of national leaders in cancer research. They visited in October as our inaugural External Advisory Committee. I am grateful to Chancellor Robert Jones, Vice Chancellor Susan Martinis, and over 100 of our faculty, staff and students who worked to make this visit a success. We are also delighted to have such a distinguished committee and look forward to building our center with their advice.

I would also like to highlight the successes of our faculty and students within the past few months. Several distinguished faculty have joined the University and Cancer Center; and new students have brought new energy to our campus. The University continues to power ahead with its contributions towards eliminating the burden of cancer with impactful research and innovative educational programs. The past few months have seen progress not only in our center but also in our shared vision of Illinois’ strides in nutrition, behavioral sciences, basic sciences and engineering being used to serve local, national, and global audiences.