John M. Cunningham, MD, the Donald N. Pritzker Professor and Interim Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Chicago, has been formally appointed Chair of the department.
An authority on the study and treatment of childhood cancers, as well as the biology and therapy of hemoglobinopathies, Dr. Cunningham is known for his work on understanding the molecular mechanism underpinning red blood cell production. He has developed stem cell transplant techniques for the 70% of children who do not have a sibling match. These approaches have made transplant an option for any child requiring this therapy.
A native of Ireland, Dr. Cunningham earned his medical degree from University College Dublin, followed by a master of science degree in biochemistry from King’s College London. He completed his residency at St. Laurence’s Hospital and a hematology fellowship at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, both in Dublin.
In addition, he was a Wellcome Research Fellow in clinical science at the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine in London, where he also completed his clinical training in bone marrow transplantation.
In 1993, he joined the Divisions of Experimental Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplantation at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, where he was appointed Director of the Cell and Gene Therapy Laboratories, as well as Chair of the Institutional Review Board.
In December 2006, Cunningham moved to the University of Chicago to become Professor of Pediatrics and Section Chief of Hematology/Oncology and Stem-Cell Transplantation. He was named Vice Chairman for Research in Pediatrics in 2008.
He has served on the editorial board of the Journal of Biological Chemistry and is a reviewer for several journals. He is a member of the American Cancer Society’s Council for Extramural Grants, and Pediatric Series Editor for The Oncologist. ■