The USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, the highest-ranked cancer care provider in Southern California, announces the appointment of Caryn Lerman, PhD, as the center’s new director, effective March 15.  She also will hold the position of professor of psychiatry and the behavioral sciences at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Lerman comes from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, where she currently serves as the John H. Glick Professor for Cancer Research and vice dean for strategic initiatives.

“I’m honored to return to USC and the Trojan family to lead such an outstanding cancer center with the mission of reducing the burden of cancer in Los Angeles and beyond,” said Lerman, who received a master’s degree in psychology and a doctoral degree in clinical psychology, both from USC. “We are at a pivotal moment in cancer research where remarkable scientific and clinical breakthroughs are changing the course of how we prevent, detect and treat this disease. With the exceptional talent, dedicated clinicians, entrepreneurial mindset and culture of inclusion throughout USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, there is no limit to what we can accomplish together.”

In announcing the appointment, Laura Mosqueda, MD, dean of the Keck School, noted Lerman’s extensive experience leading cancer centers and programs, as well as her nationally recognized cancer prevention research that has spanned the fields of neuroscience, pharmacology, genetics and behavioral science.

Lerman was among the first to publish evidence for the genetic basis of cancer risk behaviors, including pioneering work on the genetic influences on tobacco use that helped shape tobacco dependence treatment.

“Building upon the strong talent from USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Dr. Lerman will work to accelerate the center’s impact on cancer research and care,” Mosqueda said. “She will work to enhance interdisciplinary team science, enable infrastructure to support the discovery and development of innovative therapies, and develop new models for cancer risk assessment, prevention and community outreach.”

Reflecting on her new responsibilities, Lerman added, “I am passionate about serving our patients through the delivery of innovative, high-quality, evidence-based cancer care, from prevention to treatment to survivorship. Training and mentoring the next generation of cancer scientists and practitioners has always been a calling for me, and will remain so at USC.”