Dr. Shelton Earp announced that he will step down as director of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, effective June 2024, according to a Sep. 5 press release in The Well. Earp has served as director of the center since 2018, and though he is stepping down, he will remain in his role as Distinguished Professor of Cancer Research, Medicine and Pharmacology in the School of Medicine.
This is the second time Earp has stepped down as director; he previously held the position from 1997 to 2014.
He said he initially stepped down in 2014 to let Dr. Ned Sharpless, professor of Cancer Policy and Innovation at the School of Medicine, lead the center. He and his colleagues thought Sharpless was a spectacular candidate, and "all wanted to have his leadership."
Sharpless left UNC Lineberger in 2017 to become the director of the National Cancer Institute.
Earp said he attended UNC as a medical student in 1966 and was involved in the founding of UNC Lineberger.
“I had an interest not only in research, but also in helping other people be successful in that," he said. "I started to do administration and combine my love of being a doctor and love of doing research."
Earp added that his work has involved recruiting faculty members who conduct cancer research across eight schools and 40 departments at UNC.
“The job has been to help bring people together, to help the schools and departments recruit people and then to build a research infrastructure,” he said.
Professor of Epidemiology Melissa Troester co-leads the CBCS3 program with Earp at UNC Lineberger — a study investigating breast cancer disparities faced by women.