Andrew L. Kung, MD, PhD, Named Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center


Andrew L. Kung, MD, PhD, has been named the new Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK). An accomplished physician, researcher, leader, and mentor, Dr. Kung most recently served as the Chief of the Division of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology, and Stem Cell Transplantation at New York-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). Dr. Kung formally assumes his new role as Richard J. O’Reilly, MD, steps down as Chairman after more than 30 years.

Dr. Kung is an internationally recognized physician-scientist with a special interest in identifying new targets and developing new treatments for childhood cancer. His translational oncology research has been powered by diverse experimental approaches including genomics, molecular biology, cell biology, drug development, and experimental therapeutics. As Chairman, Dr. Kung will maintain a clinical practice within the Stem Cell Transplantation Program in addition to leading expansion of the clinical program and heading a program of laboratory-based research. His laboratories will use whole-genome sequencing and integrative analysis to identify genetically encoded and non-oncogene vulnerabilities in pediatric cancers. He will also continue to search for epigenetic vulnerabilities in a variety of cancer types.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have Dr. Kung lead MSK’s already superb Department of Pediatrics,” said José Baselga, MD, PhD, MSK’s Physician-in-Chief. “He provides an exciting vision for the future of pediatric oncology, one that combines a total commitment to patient care with an exquisite understanding of genomics, epigenetics, and cancer biology. He is both a lab-based investigator and a talented and compassionate physician, bringing exceptional research skills together with a doctor’s passion for finding better treatments for his patients. Under his leadership, MSK will direct a laser-sharp focus on the development of new therapies to benefit children with cancer.”

MSK’s Department of Pediatrics is a multidisciplinary center of excellence for the treatment of children, teenagers, and young adults with cancer and blood disorders. Comprising leading experts in pediatric malignancies, immune deficiencies, and stem cell transplantation biology, our staff is dedicated to seeking novel approaches to achieving more effective outcomes while reducing or minimizing the short- and long-term effects of treatment.  

Dr. Kung received his medical degree and PhD in cancer biology from Stanford University School of Medicine in 1994. He completed an internship and a residency at Boston Children’s Hospital and a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute before joining the faculty at Dana-Farber and Harvard Medical School. In July 2012, he assumed leadership of the Division of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology, and Stem Cell Transplantation at CUMC. Among his significant accomplishments, Dr. Kung was honored with the Robert and Ellen Kapito Professorship of Pediatrics, was awarded the Eugene D. O’Kelly Award by the American Cancer Society, and was elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation and Society for Pediatric Research.  

Dr. Kung succeeds Dr. O’Reilly, who in September 2015 announced his intention to step down after serving as Chairman for more than three decades and creating one of the world’s largest programs in pediatric oncology. A world-renowned immunologist and physician, Dr. O’Reilly pioneered the development and clinical application of bone marrow transplants for patients with cancers of the blood and marrow and both genetic and acquired disorders of the immune system. His visionary leadership and scientific achievements led to vast improvements in outcomes for these patients. 

“I am honored to be taking the reins from Dr. O’Reilly,” said Dr. Kung. “MSK has some of the most gifted physicians and scientists and one of the best translational research programs in the world. The overarching goal of my leadership will be to instill a culture of collaboration and discovery into the clinical, research, and training programs, leading pediatric oncology into the future. I am eager to work with my colleagues to advance the frontiers of pediatric cancer, always with the care and outcome of patients in the clinic as our primary focus and motivation.”

“Dr. O’Reilly’s unwavering commitment to excellence has led to countless advances in cancer treatments and improved outcomes for children and young adults, focusing on curative approaches as well as minimizing long-term effects,” said Dr. Baselga. “He has built a cadre of outstanding, recognized physicians and scientists in these fields and fostered a new generation of leaders worldwide. His dedication to improving both the lives and experiences of our youngest patients is unwavering. MSK is absolutely indebted to Dr. O’Reilly for his years of dedication and service. We are very fortunate that he will remain a vital member of the MSK faculty and our scientific community.”