Luis Carvajal-Carmona has been named associate director for basic science at the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, reflecting the cancer center’s growing emphasis on improving cancer health equity and overcoming disparities in its 19-county catchment area.
An associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine and Dean’s Fellow in Precision Health Equity, Carvajal-Carmona researches genetic and genomic approaches to identify novel cancer-causing gene mutations in human populations. He also directs the Latino Cancer Health Equity Initiative for the Cancer Center and co-leads the Population Sciences and Health Disparities Program.
In his new role Carvajal-Carmona will lead the cancer center’s human genomics research efforts to improve access for cancer patients to therapies that precisely target gene mutations that drive tumor growth.
“Dr. Carvajal-Carmona has a demonstrated commitment to reducing health disparities and expertise in the genetic mutations that can lead to cancers, including in multi-generations of families,” said Primo “Lucky” Lara, Jr., director of the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Our cancer center serves a region with a significant Latino population. Having Dr. Carvajal-Carmona at the helm of our basic science program will bring an important new perspective to our mission.”
Carvajal-Carmona replaces John McPherson, who will continue as deputy director of the cancer center and take on a larger role in the center’s efforts to build its human genomics program.
“It is a great honor to serve in this position,” said Carvajal-Carmona. “We want our research to move from bench to the community and back. We will make sure that all our basic science research program participants understand the cancer health disparities in our catchment area and how important and relevant their activities are for these communities.
“We also want our community to be more aware of the great cancer research being done at UC Davis,” he continued. “Our cancer center has been leading efforts in developing a research portfolio that helps bring the benefits of precision medicine to our surrounding community.”