Benita S. Katzenellenbogen, Professor of Molecular and Integrative Physiology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been appointed Senior Advisor to the Director of the Cancer Center at Illinois (CCIL), Rohit Bhargava.

“Benita’s extensive knowledge and international acclaim will give critical guidance for the Cancer Center at Illinois to accelerate cancer research by driving scientific collaborations, establishing shared resources, and translation. She has been engaged with the CCIL since its early concept 10 years ago. I look forward to continuing to work with her in this formalized role to ensure that the CCIL continues to propel the entire campus forward in fighting cancer,” Bhargava said.

As Senior Advisor, Katzenellenbogen will provide advice and guidance regarding the Center’s positioning and relationship in the national cancer research landscape. She will counsel strategic, cancer-focused directions of CCIL research programs and educational activities, in addition to aiding in the growth of cancer researchers at the University of Illinois.

“Not only will Benita act as Senior Advisor to the Director, but she help guide specific efforts and many of our emerging investigators,” Bhargava said. “We are fortunate to have such an award-winning scientist and educator, who has mentored many prolific oncology professionals, helping with the CCIL’s strategic priorities.”

With a career spanning over four decades, Katzenellenbogen has trained approximately 100 graduate students and postdoctoral and visiting scientists, and has been an outstanding and tireless leader in cancer research. She is a world-renowned expert on nuclear hormone receptors, especially estrogen receptors and their actions in breast cancer and reproductive tissues. Her research work constitutes many of the pioneering findings in the molecular and cellular biology of steroid receptor action – making her a leading figure in endocrinology and women’s health.

“Professor Katzenellenbogen is a natural choice for this position,” said Milan Bagchi, Director of the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology and Deborah Paul Endowed Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Illinois. “An insightful and world-class researcher, Benita has dedicated her career to investigating the causes of and treatments for cancer and mentoring young scientists. She and other MCB faculty have long been at the forefront of cancer research and cultivating the cancer community at Illinois. I look forward to seeing that this culture of collaboration continues. With Benita’s appointment as senior advisor, Cancer Center at Illinois is well-positioned to uncover new insights in cancer biology and drive advances in new treatments for cancer.”

Katzenellenbogen has published over 300 research articles, contributed 30 book chapters, and co-edited a book on hormone-dependent cancers. She is the recipient of numerous awards, honors, and special fellowships from governmental, private, and academic institutions, including the MERIT Award from the National Cancer Institute, the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction from the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the Jill Rose Award from The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the Ernst Oppenheimer Award and the Roy O. Greep Lecture Award from The Endocrine Society, and the Fred Conrad Koch Lifetime Achievement Award from The Endocrine Society in 2016. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and served previously as President of The Endocrine Society.

— Written by Jordan Goebig, Communications Coordinator