Jill M. Siegfried, Ph.D., named head of the Department of Pharmacology and associate director for Experimental Therapeutics at the Masonic Cancer Center

Photo courtesy Jill M. Siegfried

Jill M. Siegfried, Ph.D., has been named the next head of the Department of Pharmacology and Frederick and Alice Stark Endowed Chair. She will assume this role and also serve as associate director for Experimental Therapeutics at the Masonic Cancer Center starting in September 2013.

Siegfried is a current professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology at the University of Pittsburgh. She holds the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Endowed Chair for Lung Cancer Research and co-leads the lung cancer program at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI). She has also directed the Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in Lung Cancer, a grant supported by the National Cancer Institute, for the past 12 years at UPCI.

Her primary research focus is the biology of lung cancer, including analyzing new therapeutic targets, the causal effects of tobacco exposure, and possible biomarkers associated with the disease. She examines the relatively unexplored area of hormones in lung cancer, and has researched estrogen-receptor-positive lung cancers – similar to breast cancers –in which estrogen promotes cell growth, tumor formation, and malignant cell survival. Recently, her research group completed a first-of-its-kind clinical trial using the combination of an anti-estrogen medication with one that targets the epidermal growth factor receptor to treat lung cancer. This work shows great promise and she looks forward to continuing her research at the University of Minnesota.

Siegfried looks forward to working with the Masonic Cancer Center’s Tobacco Research Programs and collaborating with future colleagues at the Medical School on multi-investigator grants that involve inter-disciplinary team science.

As associate director for Experimental Therapeutics she hopes to be able to suggest new ways to jumpstart promising agents for drug development and bring those drugs to clinic faster.

As head of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Minnesota Medical School, she looks forward to rebuilding the department with an eye toward bringing new investigators to Minnesota, contributing to departmental research, expanding the department’s teaching role, and expanding the current undergraduate minor in Pharmacology to a major. She hopes to build an attractive program for students who want to learn more about the process of drug discovery, drug approval, clinical trials to test pharmaceuticals, and how biology, physiology, and biochemistry lead us to understand how drugs work and how to improve them.

Siegfried holds the distinction of being the second female head of a basic science department at the University of Minnesota Medical School and the first to lead a basic science department on the Twin Cities campus.

“We are proud and excited to have Jill joining our team," says Dean Aaron Friedman, M.D. "Her vision and experience are ideally suited to lead the Department of Pharmacology at this time, advancing it to future excellence in research and education.”

Siegfried says she is eager to return to the Midwest – she was raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin – and to take this next step forward in her career here at the University of Minnesota Medical School.