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John Byrd, MD

D. Warren Brown Chair of Leukemia Research
Professor of Medicine, Medicinal Chemistry and Veterinary Biosciences
Director, Division of Hematology, Department of Internal Medicine

Dr. John C. Byrd attended Hendrix College in Conway, AR where he received a bachelor’s degree with distinction in chemistry. He went onto receive his medical degree from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, AR. Following medical school, he completed a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in hematology-oncology at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC. During residency and fellowship Dr. Byrd was mentored by Dr. Raymond Weiss who provided guidance in clinical research and assessment/reporting of toxicity observed with novel therapeutic agents.

He subsequently did a post-doctoral translational laboratory fellowship at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD under the direction of Dr. Michael Grever. Following completion of his fellowship in 1997, Dr. Byrd stayed on as a laboratory faculty member at Johns Hopkins while continuing his clinical work at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

In 2001, Dr. Byrd left the military service and moved to Columbus, OH where he was appointed Director of Hematologic Malignancies at The Ohio State University (OSU). He maintains this position currently, where he holds the D. Warren Brown Professorship in Leukemia Research and academic rank of Professor of Medicine and Medicinal Chemistry. He also was appointed to Interim Co-Director of the Division of Hematology and Oncology in July 2007 and became Director of the Division of Hematology in 2010. In 2008 he was appointed Associate Director of Translational Research for the OSU Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC). Dr. Byrd has worked to build a comprehensive research program in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) at OSU. His laboratory research is funded by such organization like the National Cancer Institute and Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. He has also directed growth of other components of the Hematologic Malignancies program and provided career support and mentorship to several junior faculty members with interest in clinical and laboratory research related to leukemia and lymphoma. Currently, Dr. Byrd actively mentors nine junior faculty, post-doctoral fellows and students.

Dr. Byrd’s research accomplishments over the past 10 years relate best to work done between the laboratory and clinic (translational work) with several different therapeutic agents active in CLL and related leukemia and lymphoma. As a consequence of Dr. Byrd’s detailed laboratory and clinical work, therapeutic agents such as rituximab, alemtuzumab, and recently flavopiridol have been identified as effective agents for CLL. In particular, Dr. Byrd has and continues to be very active in development of therapeutic antibodies and other targeted agents because of his desire to work on non-toxic therapies for the treatment of leukemia.

Dr. Byrd has been active in American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) as a member of the Scientific Program Committee and currently the Grant Selection Committee. He also participated in a special ASCO meeting focused on enhancing hematologic oncology research participation at the annual ASCO meeting. He is very active in Cooperative Group Research as a member of the CLL Research Consortium and Vice Chair of the Leukemia Correlative Science Committee and a Cadre member of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Committees within the Cancer and Leukemia Group B. He is on the board of the local Central Ohio Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and also participates as a member of the Translational Grant Review Committee of this organization. Dr. Byrd has been a faculty member of the Clinical Research Training Institute of the American Society of Hematology. He is a founding member of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Data Safety and Monitoring Committee. He has recently elected to the American Society of Clinical Investigation and Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for his research accomplishments. He was chosen as a University Distinguished Scholar at The Ohio State University in 2008. He is on the editorial board of several journals including Blood and Journal of Clinical Oncology. Dr. Byrd has authored or been a co-author on 200 peer-reviewed publications.

Despite Dr. Byrd’s passion for clinical and translational research, his favorite day of the week remains Monday when he spends 8-12 hours in clinic providing active care for patients with CLL and other types of leukemia. He receives continuous support from his wife Laura and two sons Edward and William. He is a passionate Ohio State University Buckeye and University of Arkansas Razorback college football fan and enjoys fresh water fishing.