SALT LAKE CITY – Today Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah (U of U) announced Jay Gertz, PhD, and Trudy G. Oliver, PhD, have accepted invitations to serve as co-leaders of HCI Comprehensive Cancer Center research programs. Gertz will serve alongside Jared Rutter, PhD, as co-leader of the Nuclear Control of Cell Growth and Differentiation Program. He succeeds Brad Cairns, PhD. Oliver will serve alongside Sheri Holmen, PhD, as co-leader of the Cell Response and Regulation Program, succeeding Alana Welm, PhD. Their appointments are effective January 1, 2021.

Gertz joined HCI in 2013. He is an associate professor of oncological sciences. His lab uses genomics approaches to study the roles of transcription factors in cancer, with a particular interest in how hormone receptors lead to uterine cancer and breast cancer. Gertz earned a BA in mathematics from Cornell University and a PhD in computational biology from Washington University in St. Louis. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. His research is supported by the National Institutes of Health, including the National Cancer Institute and the National Human Genome Research Institute; the Department of Defense; and Huntsman Cancer Foundation.

Oliver joined HCI in 2011 and is an associate professor of oncological sciences at the University of Utah and an HCI Endowed Chair in Cancer Research. Her lab focuses on understanding how lung cancers develop and acquire resistance to therapy with the goal of improving treatments. Oliver earned her PhD from Duke University in pharmacology and cancer biology and completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is co-leader of the HCI Lung Cancer Disease Center. Oliver received the William C. Rippe Award for Distinguished Research in Lung Cancer from the Lung Cancer Research Foundation (LCRF) and now serves on LCRF’s Scientific Advisory Board. Oliver’s research program has been supported by the National Cancer Institute, Lung Cancer Research Foundation, Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, Jimmy V Foundation, Closer to Cure, and Huntsman Cancer Foundation.

“I have no doubt Drs. Gertz and Oliver are poised for incredible success,” said Neli Ulrich, PhD, executive director of the comprehensive cancer center at HCI. “They have been leaders at our center in developing research collaborations with our clinic teams, where they have each worked to advance research studies directly informed by clinical challenges experienced by HCI patients.”



Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah is the official cancer center of Utah. The cancer campus includes a state-of-the-art cancer specialty hospital as well as two buildings dedicated to cancer research. HCI treats patients with all forms of cancer and is recognized among the best cancer hospitals in the country by U.S. News and World Report. As the only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in the Mountain West, HCI serves the largest geographic region in the country, drawing patients from Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana. More genes for inherited cancers have been discovered at HCI than at any other cancer center in the world, including genes responsible for hereditary breast, ovarian, colon, head, and neck cancers, along with melanoma. HCI manages the Utah Population Database, the largest genetic database in the world, with information on more than 11 million people linked to genealogies, health records, and vital statistics. HCI was founded by Jon M. and Karen Huntsman

Register for reporter access to contact details