The Florida Academic Cancer Center Alliance co-directors provide executive-level coordination for the alliance, fostering research collaborations across the state and promoting excellence in cancer research for Florida’s residents.

University of florida HEALTH CANCER CENTER

Jonathan D. Licht, M.D

Director, The University Of Florida Health Cancer Center; The Marshall E. Rinker, Sr. Foundation And David B. And Leighan R. Rinker Chair

Jonathan D. Licht, MD, is the Director of the University of Florida Health Cancer Center, holding the Marshall E. Rinker, Sr. Foundation and David B. and Leighan R. Rinker Chair. Previously Dr. Licht was Chief of Hematology/Oncology at Northwestern University and an Associate Director of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Dr. Licht’s laboratory studies aberrant gene regulation, specifically the role of abnormal function of histone methyl transferases and histone demethylases in diseases such as multiple myeloma and is developing small molecule strategies to normalize gene regulation and treat disease.

NCI funded for nearly 25 years, Dr. Licht is also Principal Investigator of a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Specialized Center and a Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation program grant, both in epigenetics. He is an investigator in the Dana-Farber SPORE in myeloma and co-leader in a NCI-funded Chicago Region Physical Sciences Oncology Center. Dr. Licht just completed a 10 year term as Senior Editor of Clinical Cancer Research and is currently an Associate Editor of Oncogene and serves on the editorial board of Cancer Cell and Cancer Research. Dr. Licht is a member of the executive committee of the American Society of Hematology, and will be co-director of the 2017 ASH/EHA Translational Research Training program. Additionally he sits on the Medical/Scientific Board of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and is a member of the NIH Basic Mechanisms of Cancer Therapeutics Study Section.

Dr. Licht has published nearly 170 original articles, reviews and book chapters. Dr. Licht has mentored over 40 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and 20 faculty members.


John Cleveland, Ph.D.

Executive Vice President, Center Director

John Cleveland, Ph.D., is the executive vice president and center director at Moffitt Cancer Center, one of 53 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the country and the only one based in Florida. 

Dr. Cleveland is responsible for elevating Moffitt’s research enterprise and reputation for world-class bench-to-bedside science. He will set the strategy and vision for research, overseeing 100 research labs and approximately 175 renowned faculty at Moffitt. He is the principal investigator of Moffitt’s Cancer Center Support Grant, which brings in approximately $3 million in NCI funding by delivering transdisciplinary science and driving impact locally, regionally and beyond. 

His research interests include cancer cell checkpoints, cancer cell metabolism, cancer prevention and therapeutics, and the regulation and role of apoptosis and autophagy in the development and maintenance of cancer.

Cleveland is an exceptional scientist and leader, bringing 40 years of experience to this role. He joined Moffitt in 2014 as associate center director of Basic Science. Prior to Moffitt, Cleveland was professor and chair of the Department of Cancer Biology at The Scripps Research Institute. He also held various leadership roles with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. He began his career working with the NCI, the federal agency charged with leading the National Cancer Program.

Cleveland is a member of the American Association for Cancer Research and the American Society of Hematology. He is a Moffitt Distinguished Scholar and holds the Cortner-Couch Endowed Chair for Cancer Research from the University of South Florida School of Medicine. He earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Maine and his doctorate in immunology and microbiology from Wayne State University School of Medicine.


Stephen D. Nimer, M.D.

Director, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center Oscar de la Renta Endowed Chair in Cancer Research Executive Dean for Research, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Professor of Medicine, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Professor of Chemical, Environmental & Materials Engineering

Dr. Nimer has been studying the transcriptional regulation of normal and malignant hematopoiesis for decades, with the aim of understanding how the normal processes of stem cell self-renewal and differentiation are regulated and how these processes are aberrant in the myeloid malignancies. Overall, his lab has focused on defining genes that contribute to the development and progression of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) and on identifying novel ways to target hematologic cancers and make them more responsive to treatment.

As a physician-scientist, Dr. Nimer has cared for patients with MDS, AML, multiple myeloma, and lymphoma for over three decades. This melding of clinical studies and care, with both basic laboratory and translational studies, reflects the fundamental focus of his career.

Since coming to the University of Miami-Miller School of Medicine in 2012 and assuming the Directorship of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, the center received the prestigious National Cancer Institute designation in July 2019. Sylvester is the only cancer center in South Florida to achieve this designation and the second in the state of Florida. Dr. Nimer is currently supported by two NCI R01 grants and a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) multi-project Specialized Center of Research (SCOR) award. In November 2019, Dr. Nimer was named the inaugural Oscar de la Renta Endowed Chair in Cancer Research. In November 2021, Dr. Nimer assumed the role of Executive Dean for Research for the Miller School of Medicine, and in May 2022, he assumed a secondary appointment as Professor of Chemical, Environmental & Materials Engineering.

Prior to his arrival at the University of Miami-Miller School of Medicine, Dr. Nimer was at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York for nearly 20 years, where he held the Alfred P. Sloan Chair and served as Head of the Division of Hematologic Oncology, Vice Chairman for Faculty Development, and Chief of the Hematology Service. He was also a Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University.

Dr. Nimer has been elected to the American Society of Clinical Investigators and the Association of American Physicians. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and serves on the editorial board of several medical journals. In April 2021, Dr. Nimer was inducted into the Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine of Florida. Dr. Nimer is also the Chairman of the Myelodysplastic Syndrome Foundation, and the Chairman of the Medical Advisory Board of Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation for Cancer Research.

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