Judith C. Gasson, a professor of biological chemistry and medicine, became director of UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center on Sept. 15, 1995. A molecular biologist, Gasson is responsible for one of only 39 institutions nationwide designated as comprehensive cancer centers by the National Cancer Institute.

In addition to her administrative duties, Gasson also is a gifted scientist. She was instrumental in purifying for the first time a hormone-like substance that increases the speed of bone marrow cell reproduction. That substance, called GM-CSF, is used to help prevent infections in cancer patients, and to allow patients to tolerate more chemotherapy and radiation than had previously been possible.

In 2005, Gasson was named a co-director of the UCLA Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Medicine and she recently testified before a key Senate subcommittee on the promise of stem cell research in cancer. Gasson also serves as a board member for the American Association for Cancer Research.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from Colorado State University and a doctorate in physiology at the University of Colorado. Gasson did post doctoral work at the Salk Institute in La Jolla. In 1983, she left the Salk Institute to join UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center, which comprises more than 240 researchers and clinicians engaged in research, prevention, detection, control, treatment and education.

One of the nation's largest comprehensive cancer centers, the Jonsson center is dedicated to promoting research and translating the results into leading-edge clinical studies. In July 2005, the Jonsson Cancer Center was named the best cancer center in the western United States by U.S. News & World Report, a ranking it has held for six consecutive years.