January 8, 2021:

Monika Joshi, MD, MRCP, associate professor of medicine at Penn State College of Medicine and a medical oncologist at Penn State Cancer Institute, has been appointed as the chief scientific officer of the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium. She succeeds Ruth O’Regan, MD, who now serves as chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of Rochester.

The Big Ten CRC announced Dr. Joshi’s appointment during the consortium’s Virtual Summit on January 8. She will serve a three-year, renewable term in her new role.

“I’m excited and very honored to be appointed as the CSO for the prestigious Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium,” Dr. Joshi said. “I want to thank my predecessor, Dr. O’Regan, who has done a wonderful job for the Big Ten CRC. Our hope is that we will continue to build upon the growth of the consortium. I also want to thank the Big Ten CRC administrative team and the cancer center directors for placing their trust in me. Additionally, I am grateful to my mentors and my family, who continue to support my career growth.”

Dr. Joshi is an associate professor in the Division of Hematology-Oncology in Department of Medicine at Penn State College of Medicine. She serves as disease team co-leader for the genitourinary diseases group at Penn State Cancer Institute and as medical director for the Cancer Institute’s Clinical Trials Office. Her clinical and research interests lie primarily in the field of genitourinary tumors, particularly in the field of immunotherapy and targeted therapy. She has an interest in developing clinical trials with novel immunotherapeutic combinations and identifying predictive and prognostic biomarkers. Dr. Joshi is currently the lead PI for multiple investigator-initiated trials including a multi-institutional Big Ten CRC clinical study called DUART (BTCRC-GUI15-023) in bladder cancer that involves treating locally advanced bladder cancer with PD-L1 inhibitor and radiation therapy. She is the chair for the EA8185, ECOG-ACRIN/NRG study, which is evaluating the efficacy of chemoRT+PD-L1 in node positive bladder cancer. She holds peer-reviewed grants to support her research work.

“Dr. Joshi has been an incredibly valued member of Penn State Cancer Institute and her energy is contagious, which makes me certain that she will serve the Consortium and its patients well,” said Raymond Hohl, MD, PhD, director of the Cancer Institute.

Dr. Joshi has been active in the Big Ten CRC since the consortium’s founding. In addition to leading multiple Big Ten CRC studies, she served on the Big Ten CRC Steering Committee and as a co-chair of the Genitourinary Clinical Trial Working Group.

A graduate of Kasturba Medical College in India, Dr. Joshi completed her residency in internal medicine at UPMC Pinnacle Harrisburg and her fellowship in hematology/oncology at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

Mitchell Machtay, MD, associate director of clinical research at Penn State Cancer Institute and associate dean for clinical cancer research at the Penn State College of Medicine, said he is thrilled for both Dr. Joshi and for the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium.

“She is an exceptionally skilled clinical investigator, a thought leader in treatment of genitourinary cancers, and she is also someone with broad expertise and passion for caring about people with all types of cancer,” Dr. Machtay said. “In addition to her independent research accomplishments, Dr. Joshi has been an exceptional medical director for our Clinical Trials Office at Penn State Cancer Institute. I know she brings the same level of excellence, creativity, and integrity to the Consortium. Not all Big Ten heroes wear a football jersey – Dr. Joshi is a rising star!”

Dr. Joshi hopes to continue the consortium’s momentum in her role as CSO, and she is motivated to serve as a guiding resource for the consortium’s disease-specific Clinical Trial Working Groups.

“To the young members who have joined or are in mid-career, this gives us an opportunity to bring together the extraordinary talent that lies among the members of the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium,” she said. “One of the advantages of running this consortium is that it welcomes the expertise of different disease groups and areas of cancer research – not just clinicians, but basic scientists and epidemiological colleagues from public health sciences.”

Dr. Joshi said the priorities that Big Ten cancer center directors have outlined for the next few years are to explore philanthropic support, provide opportunities for young investigator development, increase participation from cancer experts from all institutions, and enhance study development and activation through streamlining processes.

“We’ve made great progress,” Dr. Joshi said. “My hope is I can play a role in making sure it continues in a positive direction.”

Howard Bailey, MD, director of the UW Carbone Cancer Center and chair of the Big Ten CRC cancer center directors, is looking forward to her leadership.

“Dr. Joshi has brought her clinical cancer research skills, talent, and expertise to the Big Ten CRC for numerous years,” Dr. Bailey said. “As a result, she has been a forward-thinking leader on the Big Ten CRC GU working group and Steering Committee. This coupled with her experience leading cancer clinical trials at Penn State Cancer Institute and multi-site national trials make her a great choice to be our next chief scientific officer.”

Under Dr. O’Regan’s leadership, the Big Ten CRC grew to 15 member institutions and significantly expanded the number of researchers active within the consortium, and currently has about 25 active clinic trials. Dr. O’Regan expressed her confidence in Dr. Joshi as her successor.

“Monika is an outstanding choice for the CSO role,” she said. “I have worked with her as part of the Steering Committee, both as chair of the Steering Committee and then as CSO, and she’s been very involved. She’s led a number of large trials for the consortium and her investment and engagement in the consortium is quite notable. The upward trajectory of the consortium will continue very fruitfully under Monika’s leadership.”

Big Ten Cancer Center directors select the chief scientific officer based on the candidate’s scientific and leadership skills, with a focus on ability to lead the scientific efforts of the Big Ten CRC.

Some of the responsibilities of the CSO include guiding the research and scientific mission of the Big Ten CRC, working closely with the Steering Committee and Clinical Trial Working Groups to identify and support the most promising cancer clinical trials to be conducted by the Big Ten CRC, and serving as the primary spokesperson for the research and scientific activities of the Big Ten CRC.


About the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium: The Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium was created in 2013 to transform the conduct of cancer research through collaborative, hypothesis-driven, highly translational oncology trials that leverage the scientific and clinical expertise of Big Ten universities. The goal of the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium is to create a unique team-research culture to drive science rapidly from ideas to new approaches to cancer treatment. Within this innovative environment, today’s research leaders collaborate with and mentor the research leaders of tomorrow with the unified goal of improving the lives of all patients with cancer.

About the Big Ten Conference: The Big Ten Conference is an association of world-class universities whose member institutions share a common mission of research, graduate, professional and undergraduate teaching and public service. Founded in 1896, the Big Ten has sustained a comprehensive set of shared practices and policies that enforce the priority of academics in the lives of students competing in intercollegiate athletics and emphasize the values of integrity, fairness and competitiveness. The broad-based programs of the 14 Big Ten institutions will provide over $200 million in direct financial support to more than 9,800 students for more than 11,000 participation opportunities on 350 teams in 42 different sports. The Big Ten sponsors 28 official conference sports, 14 for men and 14 for women, including the addition of men’s ice hockey and men’s and women’s lacrosse since 2013. For more information, visit www.bigten.org.