Wafik S. El-Deiry, MD

Wafik El-Deiry to lead new Lifespan-Brown cancer program

Lifespan and The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University have announced the recruitment of Wafik El-Deiry, MD, PhD, FACP, an internationally recognized physician-scientist, academic leader, and medical oncologist. 

El-Deiry, who will arrive in January from the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, will lead the Brown-Lifespan Joint Program in Cancer Biology and serve as the inaugural associate dean for Oncologic Sciences at Brown University. He will have appointments in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and the Department of Medicine. 

In his role as the director of the unified cancer biology program, El-Deiry will design, recruit, and lead the cancer biology programs at Brown and Lifespan affiliates Rhode Island Hospital, Hasbro Children’s Hospital and The Miriam Hospital. He will also serve as the inaugural director of the Joint Program in Cancer Biology in the Departments of Pathology and Medicine.

In these roles he will work to develop a basic and translational cancer research program of national and international stature with the goal of advancing cancer diagnosis, treatment and prevention. The program will simultaneously contribute to the training of graduate students and postgraduate fellows, including those from hematology/oncology, pathology, and pediatrics.

“Dr. El-Deiry brings a wealth of knowledge and leadership experience gained over two decades at leading National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers," said John Murphy, MD, executive vice president of physician affairs at Lifespan. "The model of collaborative research programs, discovery, and clinical trials will mean more options for our patients with cancer or those who are at risk for cancer in Rhode Island.”

In his role in the dean’s office, he will work with the dean and stakeholders at Lifespan hospitals to catalyze and facilitate collaborative, innovative, patient-centered oncologic research across Brown and Lifespan. 

Jack A. Elias, MD, senior vice president for health affairs and dean of medicine and biological sciences at Brown, said, “We are absolutely delighted to welcome Dr. Wafik El-Deiry to this strategically important leadership role at Brown University, the Warren Alpert Medical School, and the affiliated hospitals. Developing a transdisciplinary, translational cancer biology program with innovative science, and collaboration across institutions can be transformative for our institutions. As a former Howard Hughes Investigator and American Cancer Society Research Professor, Dr. El-Deiry is a person of immense stature in oncology and oncologic sciences. I look forward to watching our programs grow and our oncologic services to the people of Rhode Island expand under his leadership.” 

“I am honored and excited to be joining Brown’s Alpert Medical School, and Lifespan,” said El-Deiry. “I look forward to working with outstanding colleagues throughout the university and hospitals to shape an exciting future of collaboration and discoveries that help patients. In the end, patients are our primary focus and always need to be. I look forward to engaging with Brown alumni to share the excitement of the cancer program at Brown.”

Since 2014, El-Deiry has served as deputy director for translational research and co-leader of the Molecular Therapeutics Program at Fox Chase Cancer Center. Prior to that, he served as the chief of hematology/oncology and associate director of the Cancer Institute at Penn State University, and as a tenured professor of medicine, genetics, and pharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, and co-program leader at the Abramson Comprehensive Cancer Center. 

El-Deiry received his MD and PhD from the University of Miami School of Medicine and completed internal medicine residency and medical oncology fellowship training at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Johns Hopkins Oncology Center. 

El-Deiry has published over 280 papers and is the principal investigator on two National Institutes of Health (NIH) research grants and several industry grants supporting clinical trials. He has been continuously funded by the National Cancer Institute for two decades and currently serves as the chair of an NIH Study Section. 

“We recruited Dr. El-Deiry after a competitive national search and believe we have found the ideal physician-scientist leader and role model for our students and fellows,” said Howard Safran, MD, chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology at Lifespan Cancer Institute. “Dr. El-Deiry embodies the 21st century ‘quadruple threat’ of physician, scientist, teacher, and academic leader.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Wafik El-Deiry to Brown where there is a need to pull together and integrate the cancer biology and clinical research efforts across disciplines and institutions,” said Dr. Jonathan Kurtis, Stanley M. Aronson Professor of Pathology and chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of the Warren Alpert Physician-Scientist M.D./Ph.D. and Advanced Training Program at Brown University. “He will also be a major force in teaching and mentoring students, fellows, and faculty in the area of cancer at Brown.”



Richard Salit

Senior Public Relations Officer
The Miriam Hospital, Newport Hospital, Gateway Healthcare