Markey’s Kolesar to lead national cancer research consortium

Jill Kolesar
Jill Kolesar, Pharm.D., is co-director of Markey Cancer Center's Molecular Tumor Board. Photo by Shaun Ring.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 3, 2024) University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center researcher Jill Kolesar, Pharm.D., has been appointed as chair of the steering committee for the Oncology Research Information Exchange Network® (ORIEN).

ORIEN is an alliance of academic cancer centers supported by Aster Insights comprising 19 cancer centers across the U.S. that partner in harmonized data exchange and collaboration using a common protocol.  ORIEN's Total Cancer Care® (TCC) protocol is the largest lifetime-consented patient research program in oncology with over 400,000 patients enrolled.

Initially formed in 2014 by Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, and The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center in Columbus, Ohio, ORIEN is the largest and longest-running academic cancer research consortium of its kind in the United States. Fifteen of the constituents are NCI-designated cancer centers, 14 of which with comprehensive status including UK Markey Cancer Center.

Since joining ORIEN in 2017, Markey Cancer Center has enrolled nearly 10,000 patients to TCC and lead dozens of inter-member projects designed to identify causes and new treatments for cancer. 

As steering committee chair, Kolesar will help shape the strategic direction of ORIEN, guiding the consortium's initiatives, research priorities, and collaborative projects aimed at improving cancer outcomes. Kolesar’s 18-month term as chair begins June 1.

“By working together, ORIEN’s member institutions are transforming the way cancer is understood, diagnosed and treated,” said Kolesar, director of Markey Cancer Center’s Precision Medicine Clinic. “I'm honored to lead ORIEN's collaborative efforts in driving cancer research forward.”

Kolesar is a University Research Professor of Pharmacy in the UK College of Pharmacy and the Dr. Michael Karpf Endowed Chair in Precision Medicine. She is also co-director of Markey’s Molecular Tumor Board and co-leader of its Translational Oncology Program, as well as co-chair of ORIEN’s Health Equity Research Interest Group.


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