Kunle Odunsi, MD, Ph.D., FRCOG, FACOG is the Cancer Center Deputy Director at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Cancer. He is also Professor and Chair of the Department of Gynecologic Oncology, the M. Steven Piver Endowed Professor of Gynecologic Oncology, Executive Director of the Center for Immunotherapy at Roswell Park; and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Buffalo. He maintains an active independent laboratory research program that focuses on understanding the mechanisms of immune recognition and tolerance in human ovarian cancer, and translation of the findings to clinical immunotherapy trials. He has pioneered the development of antigen specific vaccine therapy for prolonging remission rates in patients with ovarian cancer. His laboratory has identified important mechanisms of immune suppression within the ovarian tumor microenvironment; and he has developed strategies to counteract such. He is currently pioneering studies to “re-engineer” mature T cells and hematopoietic stem cells for generating sustained attack against ovarian cancer in patients. He has developed and implemented protocols for multi-institutional immunotherapy clinical trials under the umbrella of the NCI Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network (CITN); the NCTN (NRG); ETCTN; and the Cancer Vaccine Collaborative (CVC) program of the Cancer Research Institute/Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research. He is a Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Science. In 2018, he was elected to the United States National Academy of Medicine.
Dr. Odunsi has authored or co-authored more than 340 journal publications or book chapters including papers in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, Nature Genetics, Immunity and New England Journal of Medicine. He holds active NIH R01 funding, and is the Principal Investigator of an NCI-funded multi-million dollar Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in ovarian cancer. He is also Principal Investigator of a multi-million dollar grant from NYSTEM to pioneer a novel strategy of re-programing human hematopoietic stem cells to become a life-long supply of anti-tumor immune cells in patients. He was recently awarded a DOD grant to establish an Ovarian Cancer Omics Consortium (DSOCOC), consisting of three ovarian canmcer SPOREs and the DOD Center of Excellence in GYN Cancres. He is Co-Chair of the NCI Ovarian Cancer Task Force of the Gynecological Cancer Steering Committee, co-Chair of the NCI Cancer Moonshot Immuno-oncology Translational Network (IOTN), and served as member of the National Academy of Medicine Committee on “The State of the Science in Ovarian Cancer Research”.
After earning his medical degree from the University of Ife, Ile-Ife, Nigeria, Dr. Odunsi completed postgraduate training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Rosie Maternity and Addenbrookes Hospitals, University of Cambridge, UK. He was admitted to the Membership of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in 1991. He subsequently completed a research fellowship in Immunogenetics and earned his Ph.D. at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund Laboratories, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK. Subsequently, he completed residency training in Obstetrics & Gynecology at the Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, and clinical fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology at RPCI. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in the United Kingdom. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Dr. Odunsi has served on several Scientific Review Study Sections of the National Institutes of Health. He is a reviewer for the French National Cancer Institute, Swiss Cancer League, Italian Association for Cancer Research, Hong Kong Cancer Institute, and the Ontario Regional Cancer Institute. He is on the Editorial Boards of “BMC Cancer”, “Journal for the Immunotherapy of Cancer”, Gynecologic Oncology” and “Cancer Immunology Research”.
Dr. Odunsi is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the Best Teaching Faculty Award from the University at Buffalo; the Anna-Marie Kellen Clinical Investigator Award from the Cancer Research Institute; the Thomas B. Tomasi Hope award for the Roswell Park Cancer Institute faculty member whose work has made significant advances in the fight against cancer and brought hope to cancer patients; the Achievement in Health Care Award from D’Youville College, Buffalo; Distinguished Alumnus Award of the Obafemi Awolowo University; and the 2019 Rosalind Franklin Prize for Excellence in Ovarian Cancer Research from the Ovarian Cancer Ressearch Fund Alliance.