Peggy Farnham, PhD, named interim director of USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center

Peggy Farnham

Peggy Farnham (Photo by Richard Carrasco III)

The University of Southern California (USC) Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center has named Peggy Farnham, PhD, interim director of the cancer center, effective June 1, 2018. Farnham is currently the co-leader of the epigenetics and regulation program and interim associate director for basic science at USC Norris cancer center. She is also the William M. Keck Professor of Biochemistry, and chair and a professor of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

“I am honored to step in at the helm of such a renowned institution as USC Norris,” Farnham said. “I look forward to supporting my colleagues in our mission to provide both top-notch clinical care and transformative research, upholding our status as a center of excellence focused on the causes, prevention and treatment of cancer.”

Farnham is an international leader in the study of chromatin regulation and its control of transcription factor binding and function. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and was awarded the prestigious Herbert A. Sober Lectureship from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology for her work developing innovative research methods.

Her current research uses genomic sequencing to analyze epigenetic changes that occur within cells during neoplastic transformation and as cancer cells develop therapeutic resistance. She is also characterizing prostate cancer risk–associated regulatory elements using CRISPR nucleases and targeted epigenetic regulators. In addition to bench work, her laboratory has developed programs to assist in the analysis of genome-scale sequencing.

Farnham was recruited to the Keck School in 2011 from the University of California, Davis, where she was professor of pharmacology and associate director of the UC Davis Genome Center. She received her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Rice University and doctorate in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale University. She performed her postdoctoral training at Stanford University.

Farnham will replace Alan Wayne, MD, professor of pediatrics at the Keck School, who has been serving as interim director for the last year. Wayne will renew his full-time commitment as the director of the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases and chief of the division of hematology, oncology, and blood and marrow transplantation at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the associate director for pediatric oncology at USC Norris. He has also agreed to chair the nationwide search for a permanent director of USC Norris cancer center.

“Peggy is a highly valued member of the Keck School’s faculty who has demonstrated steadfast dedication and effective leadership at USC Norris cancer center, and I am delighted that she is taking on this role,” said Laura Mosqueda, MD, interim dean of the Keck School. “I would also like to thank Alan Wayne for his stewardship as interim director of the cancer center over the past year.”