Zachary Morris ’02 co-leads UW team earning $12.5 million grant to combat metastatic cancer

Zachary Morris '02

Today is World Cancer Day, observed each Feb. 4. It is organized by the Union for International Cancer Control to rally the international community “to reduce the global cancer burden, to promote greater equity, and to ensure that cancer control continues to be a priority in the world health and development agenda.”

Zachary Morris ’02 of Madison, Wisconsin, vice chairman in the Department of Human Oncology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, co-leads a team of researchers who have earned a five-year, $12.5 million National Institutes of Health Research Program (P01) Grant, plus $2 million in institutional matching funds.

The funding will support the study of the combined use of immunotherapy and targeted radionuclide therapy to treat metastatic cancer.

This preclinical research program “will give us a very good understanding of the principles of how these therapies can work together and what might be the best approach to use them in combination clinically,” Morris says. “We hope that combining these therapies will increase the response and cure rates for potentially any cancer.”

At Ripon College, Morris majored in chemistry and biology with a minor in Latin. He earned a 2001 Goldwater scholarship and was one of the 32 select Rhodes scholars in 2002.

He completed two master’s degrees at Oxford University and a M.D./Ph.D. at Harvard University Medical School.

“I decided to go into medicine at an early age after losing family members to cancer, and I came to Ripon with the goal of getting into medical school,” Morris says. “It was at Ripon where I first gained exposure to laboratory research and found a passion for exploring the unknown through science. Ultimately, this led me to pursue a career as a physician-scientist, both treating cancer patients and conducting translational research with the goal of identifying new treatments and cures for cancer.”