Masonic Cancer Center announces the appointment of Drs. Poynter and Harki to leadership roles

April 13, 2020

Jenny Poynter, MPH, PhD, and Daniel Harki, PhD, have been appointed to the leadership team of the Twin Cities’ only National Cancer Institute (NCI) designated comprehensive cancer center. 

Dr. Poynter is tabbed to serve as the Masonic Cancer Center’s first Associate Director for Community Outreach and Engagement. Poynter is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Research of the Medical School at the University of Minnesota. She also serves as the Vice Chair of the Children’s Oncology Group Epidemiology Committee, and is a research member of the Masonic Cancer Center’s Screening, Prevention, Etiology, and Cancer Survivorship Program. 

She will be joining Chris Pennell, PhD, the center’s current Associate Director for Community Outreach and Education. That role will be divided into two Associate Director roles to best utilize and execute each position. With Poynter taking over as the Associate Director of Community Outreach, Pennell will assume the position of Associate Director for Education. 

Poynter’s research is focused on genetic susceptibility and epigenetic alterations in pediatric germ cell tumors (GCT) and myeloid malignancy. She is a molecular epidemiologist with training in population studies, bench science, and statistical methods.

Dr. Harki, an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry within the College of Pharmacy at University of Minnesota, will become a co-leader of the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota’s Cellular Mechanisms Program. He will join Carol Lange, PhD, Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology-Oncology and Transplantation within the Medical School. 

Harki is succeeding long time co-leader James McCarthy, PhD, Professor, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology in the Medical School, who is stepping aside to focus his full efforts on his research. The Masonic Cancer Center would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to Dr. McCarthy for his more than 20 years of cancer center leadership and outstanding research contributions.

Harki is a nationally-recognized expert in medicinal chemistry and chemical biology. He has published widely on the development of novel small molecules, nucleosides and nucleic acids, and in particular, his program focuses significant efforts developing chemical probes for the APOBEC family of DNA cytosine deaminases.

Both Harki and Poytner’s appointments will become effective on April 15, 2020.

Please join us in congratulating Drs. Harki and Poynter in their new positions.