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The Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) Academic Office focuses on the success, wellness, and development of HCI-affiliated faculty. We facilitate academic partnerships (internal and external) and opportunities that positively impact faculty as well as associated trainees and staff. We support all phases of the faculty life cycle—from the hiring and onboarding process through career progression—in support of the HCI mission and vision statement: passionate individuals and teams delivering a cancer-free frontier through scientific discovery and human touch.

We facilitate faculty success and academic excellence in many areas, including hiring, retention, advancement, mentoring, and leadership development, with the intent to elevate the standard of academic excellence at HCI. We partner with the leadership of University of Utah departments and with other HCI executive offices in our efforts. Our vision is to enhance and expand our community of exceptional, innovative, and engaged faculty who make important and impactful contributions through individual and collaborative efforts to advance science-powered medicine. We aim to help develop the next generation of science leaders who value a culture of excellence, wellness, and collaboration within and beyond the institution to enhance HCI's reputation as a premier cancer center within a premier academic medical center.

Tools & Policies

Faculty Development

HCI LEAD Program


About the Office

Mentorship Guidelines

Tools & Policies

The HCI Academic Office works closely with faculty members, administrative staff, and leadership across the University of Utah campus to provide resources for our faculty to thrive in their roles and clinicians, researchers, educators, mentors, leaders, and members of the university community.

Faculty Development

Effective mentoring relationships are critical to developing the next generation of researchers and clinicians. Our goal is to increase faculty integration, engagement, and retention; further professional development; and assist in creating successful mentor/mentee partnerships.

A signature initiative of the Academic Office is the HCI LEAD Program, which advances the leadership culture at HCI. Faculty development and mentoring resources for early-, mid-, and late-career faculty are below.

About the Office

Bradley Cairns, PhD

Chief Academic Officer

Appointed as Huntsman Cancer Institute’s inaugural chief academic officer in 2020, Dr. Bradley Cairns received a Bachelor of Science (with Honors) in chemistry from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon in 1987. He conducted his graduate work at Stanford with Nobel Laureate Roger Kornberg, PhD, on both signal transduction and chromatin remodeling, where he was the first to purify a chromatin remodeling complex (SWI/SNF complex). He received his PhD in cell biology from Stanford in 1996 and also conducted an early phase of postdoctoral training (funding from the American Cancer Society). Dr. Cairns received formal postdoctoral training with Fred Winston, PhD, in the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School (funding from the Leukemia Society of America), where he continued to study chromatin remodeling complexes including RSC and SWI/SNF.

In 1998, he joined the faculty of the Department of Oncological Sciences and Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah. He continues studies on chromatin remodeling mechanisms and initiated new work on germline and early embryo chromatin and transcription mechanisms. In 2000, he was appointed as an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He is now professor and chair of the Department of Oncological Sciences and is the Jon M. Huntsman Presidential Endowed Chair in Cancer Research, awarded by the 2018 Utah State Legislature and the chief academic officer at Huntsman Cancer Institute, both within the University of Utah, School of Medicine. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2017 and inducted into the Royal Society in 2023

Chelsea Lesuma

Administration Manager

Chelsea manages faculty awards, coordinates Chair appointments, organizes faculty mentorship and development opportunities, runs the 5 For The Fight Fellowship, and serves as an HCI LEAD Program coordinator.

Shayna Godfrey

Executive Assistant

Shayna manages scheduling and travel, oversees HCI faculty annual reviews, and supports Dori Knight, senior academic manager, with faculty recruitment.

Dori Knight

Senior Academic Manager

Dori oversees strategic faculty recruitment with HCI’s partnering departments and divisions, serves as an HCI LEAD Program coordinator, and advises on faculty and academic affairs matters.

Natalie Angle

Special Project Officer

Natalie advises on faculty and academic affairs matters and strategically leads numerous enterprise-wide initiatives, including the HCI Space Committee and the academic initiatives linked to HCI’s recently announced plans to build a second comprehensive cancer center in Utah County.