September 8, 2016

Winship Cancer Institute at Emory selects alumnus Dr. Bassel El-Rayes for endowed professorship

Wayne State University School of Medicine residency and fellowship alumnus Bassel El-Rayes, M.D., was selected to hold the John Kauffman Family Professorship for Pancreatic Cancer Research at the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University in Atlanta.

The newly endowed position was created to support an outstanding leader in the field of pancreatic cancer research and assist with the further development of Winship's gastrointestinal cancer efforts.

Dr. El-Rayes completed his Internal Medicine residency training with the School of Medicine at the Detroit Medical Center's Grace Hospital, serving as chief medical resident from 1999 to 2000, and was named Resident of the Year in 1999. He also completed his Hematology Oncology fellowship with the WSU School of Medicine at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, serving as chief fellow from 2002 to 2003.

He was a WSU assistant professor of Internal Medicine from 2003 to 2009 and medical director of the Wertz Outpatient Clinic from 2006 to 2009, before joining Emory University School of Medicine.

He holds undergraduate and medical degrees from the American University of Beirut in Lebanon.

Dr. El-Rayes is now associate director of clinical research at Winship and a professor and vice chair for clinical research in the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Emory. He is the chief clinical research scientist responsible for coordinating and providing high-level direction to the clinical cancer research programs and clinical cancer trials across the Emory campuses. He has also served as director of the GI Program since joining Winship in 2009.

"Dr. El-Rayes has transformed Winship's approach to patients with pancreatic cancer," said Winship Executive Director Walter Curran Jr., M.D. "With this amazing support from the Kauffman family, Dr. El-Rayes and his Winship team are truly positioned to help redefine the natural history of this very difficult cancer."

Board certified in Hematology and Medical Oncology, Dr. El-Rayes is involved in translational research in pancreatic and colorectal cancer. His clinical research focuses on drug development and multidisciplinary approaches to patients with early stage or advanced GI cancer.

He is a reviewer for the Journal of the American Medical Association and Clinical Cancer Research, and serves on the editorial board of the journal Cancer.

John Kauffman died of pancreatic cancer in 2013. The longtime president of Atlanta-based Kauffman Tire, he was a strong community advocate for Winship, serving as the inaugural chair of the Winship Advisory Board.