Pinku Mukherjee, who currently is the Irwin Belk Distinguished Professor for Cancer Research and associate dean for research and graduate education in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, will serve as the interim associate provost and dean of the Graduate School effective Jan. 3, 2023, succeeding Tom Reynolds, who will retire after 40 years of service to the institution.
Mukherjee is a leader in transforming how cancer is diagnosed and treated. She has designed innovative approaches that more accurately detect breast cancer early and is developing targeted therapy and imaging for pancreatic, ovarian and colon cancers. Mukherjee’s groundbreaking cancer research has produced 12 U.S. and international patents and has resulted in grants from the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Defense and the Susan G. Komen Foundation totaling more than $15 million as principal investigator and co-investigator.
In addition, Mukherjee co-founded OncoTab Inc., a UNC Charlotte biotechnology spinoff company that launched its first product (a simple blood test) that aids in the diagnosis of breast cancer for women in which a mammogram fails. The novel antibody has applications in molecular diagnostics and anti-cancer therapeutics and the research is funded by NIH STTR and SBIR grants. OncoTab Inc. has won several awards including one from NCBiotech as well as the grand prize at the Charlotte Venture Challenge.
Prior to serving as associate dean, Mukherjee was chair of the Department of Biological Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. Before coming to Charlotte in 2008 as the Irwin Belk Distinguished Professor for Cancer Research, she held faculty appointments at Indiana University Medical Center and the Mayo Clinic.
“We are fortunate to have someone with Dr. Mukherjee’s stature and research experience to step in, lead and advance our University’s high quality graduate research and scholarship,” said Joan Lorden, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “As an effective and supportive mentor, she will continue to encourage our graduate and postdoc students to advance their careers.”
Mukherjee earned a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from Bombay University, India, and master’s and doctoral degrees in applied immunology from the University of London. She completed postdoctoral training at Pennsylvania State University. Mukherjee was the 2018 recipient of the First Citizens Bank Scholars Medal and the 2015 recipient of the O. Max Gardner Award, the highest faculty accolade given by the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina.