Dr. Douglas Yee

Dr. Douglas Yee to step down as Masonic Cancer Center director leaving lasting legacy

Earlier this week, Masonic Cancer Center Director, Douglas Yee, MD, announced his intent to step down as director. Please see the announcement below from Vice President for Clinical Affairs, Jakub Tolar, MD, PhD.


With a deep sense of gratitude for his service to the University of Minnesota, I am writing with the news that Douglas Yee, MD, will step down from his role as Director of the Masonic Cancer Center (MCC) effective this summer.  

Since 2007, Dr. Yee has led the MCC and built on its 30+ years of advancing translational approaches to cancer. He oversaw four successful National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center Support Grant renewals, including the most recent in 2023. He has also supported the creation and development of the Minnesota Cancer Clinical Trials Network, recognizing the importance of collaboration in research across health systems and across the state to develop new treatments for cancer. 

In 2008, he played a key role in the Minnesota Masonic Charities historic gift commitment of $65 million to the University of Minnesota for cancer research. That pledge—the largest ever made to the U of M—has provided a steady stream of annual funding to the MCC, allowing its 500-plus member scientists to keep their leading-edge research on track.

In addition to his role as MCC director, Dr. Yee has been a member of the Medical School faculty since 1999 and held the Tickle Family Land Grant Chair in Breast Cancer Research. His personal research record is exemplary. His lab looks for new therapeutic options to treat breast cancer and was one of the first to demonstrate the regulation of cancer cells by insulin and insulin-like growth factors in Ewing's sarcoma and breast cancer. He has had leadership roles in several national and international clinical trials designed to test the translation of his laboratory findings into the clinic.

In 2008, Dr. Yee was named the John H. Kersey Chair in Cancer Research, and this year he was inducted into the UMN Academies for Excellence in Health Science Research—the highest recognition of excellence in health science research by a full-time faculty member at the University of Minnesota.

After stepping down as MCC Director, Dr. Yee will continue in his joint appointment as Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology at the University of Minnesota and will also continue his laboratory work and treating patients as a breast medical oncologist. 

I will soon appoint a search committee for the next Masonic Cancer Center Director. 

Please join me in thanking Dr. Yee for his dedicated service to the U of M and the Masonic Cancer Center. He has been an invaluable leader, mentor and colleague to many across our University and beyond. 

Jakub Tolar, MD, PhD
Vice President for Clinical Affairs