Judith Gasson, Ph.D., became the director of UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC) on Sept. 15, 1995. She is a molecular biologist and is responsible for one of only 41 institutions designated as comprehensive cancer centers by the National Cancer Institute.
Gasson earned her doctorate degree in physiology at the University of Colorado in 1979. She did her postdoctoral work at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, CA, studying glucocorticoid hormones, which are made by the adrenal gland in response to stress. In 1983, she left the Salk Institute to join UCLA. She is currently Professor of Medicine (Hematology-Oncology) and Biological Chemistry.
Gasson was instrumental in purifying for the first time a hormone-like substance that increases the speed of bone marrow cell reproduction. That substance, called GM-CSF, is used to help prevent infections in cancer patients and to allow those patients to tolerate more chemotherapy and radiation than had previously been possible.
From 1995 – 2015, Dr. Gasson was the director of UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC), among the nation’s top 10, according to U.S. News & World Report. Under her leadership, the JCCC became a recognized international pioneer in “translating” laboratory discoveries into more effective new therapies for cancer patients everywhere. From 2012 to 2015 she was the Senior Associate Dean for Research at the David Geffen School of Medicine.
She is currently the Professor (Medicine Hem -Onc) and Director (Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center) Emerita and Senior Advisor for Research and Innovation in the David Geffen School of Medicine.