Charles S. Fuchs, M.D., M.P.H., an internationally renowned expert in gastrointestinal cancers and cancer epidemiology, has been named director of Yale Cancer Center (YCC), one of just 47 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the nation and the only one in Connecticut, and physician-in-chief of Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven.

Known for his research that spans the prevention, biology, and treatment of gastrointestinal cancers, Fuchs has spearheaded clinical trials that have resulted in FDA approval of new drugs for patients. He established one of the first large-scale molecular epidemiology laboratories, characterizing an array of molecular events in thousands of tumors. This ongoing project, which has yielded valuable information about patients both before and after cancer diagnosis, led to the finding that healthy individuals who took aspirin had a significantly lower risk of developing colorectal cancer. It also led to the identification of a molecular tumor profile that is connected to better patient outcomes with aspirin use after diagnosis, uncovered energy balance pathways that contribute to the development and progression of cancer, and identified new potential targets for cancer therapy.

“Charlie’s scientific renown and contributions, which include discoveries about the underpinnings of cancer, insights into prevention, and developing new therapies, speak for themselves,” says Robert J. Alpern, M.D., dean and Ensign Professor of Medicine. “His considerable experience will be an asset to the cancer center as we build upon the solid foundation that already is in place.”

Fuchs received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1986. He completed his medical residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he also served as chief medical resident, and completed his medical oncology fellowship at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. In 1994, he received his M.P.H. from Harvard School of Public Health. He has been professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and chief of the gastrointestinal oncology division and the Robert T. and Judith B. Hale Chair in Pancreatic Cancer at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

After spending his entire career in Boston, where he has led a clinical enterprise as well as research programs, Fuchs says he is now ready to bring his work to an even higher level in his new role at Yale. “The opportunity to lead such an extraordinary center as Yale Cancer Center and Smilow will allow me to do that,” he says. Fuchs plans to continue to expand clinical trials and science at the cancer center and will coordinate these efforts with discoveries that emerge across Yale’s research enterprise. His vision is to advance Yale’s capacity to do innovative clinical, translational, population, and basic science research to further enhance the cancer center’s position as a leader in cancer prevention, biology, and treatment.

“The cancer center and Smilow have had impressive growth over the past five years,” he says. “I am excited about the opportunity to continue to expand the breadth and depth of the clinical practice as well as the extraordinary cancer research ongoing at Yale to meaningfully improve the outcome of patients.”

With the start of the new year, Fuchs succeeds Peter G. Schulam, M.D., who served as interim director of the cancer center for the past year. Schulam remains chair of the Department of Urology and chief of urology at Yale New Haven Hospital.