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Robert M. Sutherland ’66M (PhD), P’85

Robert SutherlandDr. Robert Sutherland is a former University of Rochester faculty member and retired researcher who focused on the development of cancer therapies and the mechanisms of resistance of cancer to therapy. His early advocacy and vision for support of technology transfer led to the founding of the University of Rochester’s Technology Development Fund. His leadership and support have played a significant role in creating an environment that will accelerate emerging discoveries and technologies to the marketplace.

Dr. Sutherland’s distinguished international career includes the management and direction of biomedical research in academia and business. He received his bachelor’s degree in biology in 1961 from Acadia University in Nova Scotia, and his doctorate in biophysics in 1966 from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. Dr. Sutherland served as a faculty member in biophysics and radiation oncology at the University of Western Ontario from 1967 to 1976, at the University of Rochester from 1976 to 1988, and at Stanford University from 1998 to 2006. At Rochester, he was a founding faculty member and associate director for experimental therapeutics in the Cancer Center. He was appointed vice president and executive director of life sciences at SRI International in California in 1988. Dr. Sutherland also served as president of Varian Biosynergy and as a vice president of Varian Medical Systems from 1995 until 2006. In 2007, he was named vice president, commercialization, at the Ontario Institute of Cancer Research and today serves as senior investment officer for the Institute and as a consultant.

A dedicated advocate and volunteer, Dr. Sutherland is a member of the School of Medicine and Dentistry National Council and the University’s San Francisco Bay Area Regional Cabinet. He is a past member of the School of Medicine and Dentistry Alumni Council and member of its Executive Committee. In recognition of his contributions, he received the Alumni Service Award in 2005.  He and his wife, Karen ’61N, are charter members of the George Eastman Circle, the University’s leadership annual giving society. They have also served on several committees at the School of Nursing. Loyal supporters, the Sutherlands established the Karen Webb Sutherland and Robert M. Sutherland Endowed Nursing Scholarship Fund and the Robert M. Sutherland ’66M (PhD), P’85 and Karen Webb Sutherland ’61N, P’85 Endowed Medical Technology Development Fund, which provides gap funding for research and technology commercialization.

Dr. Sutherland’s research has been conducted and presented worldwide. He has served as an advisor and reviewer for the National Institutes of Health and is a founding board member of the Canadian Cancer Stem Cell Consortium. He is also Chair of the Centre for Imaging Probe Development and Commercialization, a Canadian Centre of Excellence. Dr. Sutherland has received numerous professional accolades, including the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s Senior U.S. Scientist Award, the Research Award and Distinguished Service Award from the Radiation Research Society, and the National Cancer Institute MERIT Award. He received an honorary degree from Acadia in 1985.

The Sutherlands live in Menlo Park, California. They have three children, Kathleen ’85, William, and Jeffrey.