June 18, 2021
Message from the Dean
Anne E. Cress, PhD, has been named Vice Dean, Operations and Strategy, and chief of staff at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson (COM-T) effective July 1, 2021.
Dr. Cress, professor of cellular and molecular medicine and radiation oncology, currently serves as senior associate dean for academic faculty and basic science research. Formerly, Dr. Cress served as deputy dean for research affairs at COM-T and as interim director of the UArizona Cancer Center.
Dr. Cress received her bachelor of science degree in microbiology/chemistry and her doctorate in biochemistry/molecular biology from UArizona. She completed postdoctoral work in cancer biology at UArizona and served as a visiting professor in biochemistry at Stanford University. She also completed visiting scholar sabbaticals at the Drug Development and Design Center in Brisbane, Australia, and with the Developmental Biology Group at Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam.
Dr. Cress was named a research associate in 1980 and became a research assistant professor in 1981, both in the COM-T's division of radiation oncology, and was one of 11 founding faculty members of the UArizona Cancer Center and the Cancer Biology Graduate Program. She was named an associate professor in 1990 and attained full professorship with tenure in 1996. She was appointed professor of cell biology and anatomy (now cellular and molecular medicine) in 1999. Her research has continuously been supported since 1981 by competitively awarded extramural research grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense and the American Cancer Society. She has authored approximately 130 peer reviewed publications, with a current H-index of 39.
Dr. Cress' research is focused on stopping tumor cells "in their tracks" and preventing tumor metastasis. She is examining how cell surface molecules, called integrins, behave abnormally in tumor cells, enabling their transit along vessels and nerves to their final destination in bone. Through her collaborative research, Cress is helping to design strategies that will prevent these harmful and painful processes from occurring, and at the same time providing new ways for physicians to determine if a patient's cancer is likely to spread. Three patent awards have been issued from her work.
In her role as Vice Dean, Operations and Strategy, Dr. Cress will lead or oversee a variety of strategic, executive, administrative, and operational initiatives across functional areas of COM-T, including implementation of the College’s strategic plan. She will continue to work closely with Vice Deans Jason Wertheim, MD, PhD, and Bruce Coull, MD, to foster development and success of academic faculty and graduate students.
Dr. Cress has assumed some of the responsibilities previously fulfilled by Dr. Judy DiMarco, who is retiring. Please join me in welcoming Dr. Cress to her new role.
Michael M. I. Abecassis, MD, MBA
Dean, College of Medicine – Tucson
Professor, Department of Surgery
Professor, Department of Immunobiology