James Economou, M.D., Ph.D., received his doctorate in Immunology at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He is the chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology at UCLA.
As deputy director of UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC), Economou ensures collaborations between departments, oversees two Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) in prostate and lung cancers, supervises seed grants, and helps coordinate National Institutes of Health training programs. A coordinator (with Dr. William McBride) of the Human Gene Medicine Program, he works with the cancer center senior leadership to identify program goals, provide funding and space support and give academic oversight.
Economou performs about 400 surgeries a year, specializing in melanoma, primary and metastatic liver cancer and sarcomas. Along with Drs. John Glaspy and Antoni Ribas, he leads a laboratory that is developing gene therapy treatments for melanoma and liver cancer.
In addition to his administrative duties in the cancer center, surgical oncology and the Human Gene Medicine Program, Economou also sits on two National Cancer Institute (NCI) study sections boards composed of senior investigators who review grant applications. His NCI responsibilities give him valuable insight into the peer review process, information he passes along to young cancer center scientists who must rely on grant funding to support their research.