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Howard A. "Skip" Burris, III, MD

President, Sarah Cannon Research Institute

Howard A "Skip" Burris, III, MD, serves as president of Sarah Cannon Research Institute (SCRI), one of the world’s leading oncology research organizations conducting community-based clinical trials. In his role, he leads clinical strategy and drug development for SCRI’s clinical research network that includes 250 locations in 26 states across the U.S. Additionally, Dr. Burris is an associate with Tennessee Oncology, PLLC.

In 1997, Dr. Burris established the first community-based phase 1 drug development program in Nashville, which became SCRI. Among his many notable accomplishments, he led the first-in-human studies for many now-approved drugs that have changed the standard of care for several types of cancers, including docetaxel and ado-trastuzumab emtansine in breast cancer and everolimus in kidney cancer. More recently, Dr. Burris has been instrumental in initiating research with novel therapies including mRNA personalized vaccines for the treatment of a variety of cancers. Dr. Burris has authored more than 420 publications and more than 640 abstracts. Under his leadership, SCRI has initiated more than 650 first-in-human trials to date.

As a well-respected key opinion leader globally, Dr. Burris was elected by his peers to serve as the president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO®) 2019-2020 term and has continued to hold several leadership positions on behalf of the ASCO® community. Prior to his term as president, Dr. Burris had served in a variety of leadership roles over many years, including the ASCO® Board of Governors, ASCO® Audit Committee, and as chair of the ASCO® Nominating Committee. Currently, he is chair of the Board for the ASCO® Conquer Cancer Foundation.

In addition to his clinical expertise, Dr. Burris is known for his leadership in business strategy. Most recently, Dr. Burris helped to lead the formation of SCRI’s joint venture with US Oncology Research in 2022 to expand access to clinical trials for patients seeking the latest treatment options close to home.

Dr. Burris received his undergraduate degree at West Point, his medical degree from the University of South Alabama in 1985, and performed his residency and fellowship in hematology/oncology at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. While there, he served as director of clinical research at the Institute for Drug Development of The Cancer Therapy and Research Center, and was an associate professor at The University of Texas Health Science Center.