Newswise — Steven D. Leach, MD; Kunle Odunsi, MD, PhD; and Sarah Thayer, MD, PhD, have been elected as new board members of the Association of American Cancer Institutes. They will replace outgoing board members Carlos Arteaga, MD; S. Gail Eckhardt, MD, FASCO; and Anil K. Rustgi, MD, during the AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting, October 2-4.

Dr. Leach has served, since 2017, as Director of the Dartmouth Cancer Center, one of the nation's premier facilities for cancer treatment and research. A surgical oncologist and pancreatic cancer researcher, he is also professor of molecular and systems biology, surgery, and medicine at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine, where he also holds the Preston T. and Virginia R. Kelsey Distinguished Chair in Cancer and serves as Associate Dean for Cancer Programs.  Within AACI, Dr. Leach has been a member of the program committee and served as AACI program committee chair in 2020.

Dr. Odunsi is a gynecologic oncologist who specializes in the treatment of ovarian cancer. As the director of the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center, Dr. Odunsi oversees all programmatic aspects of cancer at the University of Chicago including the three primary missions of research, patient care, and education. Dr. Odunsi’s research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of immune recognition and tolerance in ovarian cancer. He has served on AACI’s CAR T and Leadership Diversity and Development Initiative steering committees.

Dr. Thayer is an active surgeon-scientist and the director of Feist-Weiller Cancer Center in Shreveport, Louisiana. Her role as director includes both a research leadership role with LSU Health Shreveport and a clinical leadership role with Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport. She also oversees the Partners in Wellness program which provides mobile outreach, education, and cancer screenings throughout rural north Louisiana. Dr. Thayer is an NCI funded investigator focused on breast and pancreatic cancers and holds the Carroll Feist Endowed Chair for the Study of Cancer at LSU Health Shreveport.


AACI’s mission is to accelerate progress against cancer by enhancing the impact of North America’s leading academic cancer centers. For more information, please visit