Skip to Main Content
Together logo

James R. Downing, M.D.

President and CEO

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

James R. Downing, M.D., is president and chief executive officer of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. He is leading a $11.5 billion commitment to accelerate progress in the research and treatment of pediatric cancer and other catastrophic diseases by expanding St. Jude clinical care and scientific programs in Memphis and around the globe.

A renowned leader in pediatric cancer research, Dr. Downing focuses his work on understanding the genetic basis of cancer and using that information to improve treatments. He was instrumental in launching the Pediatric Cancer Genome Project, an ambitious sequencing effort to discover why childhood cancer arises, spreads and resists treatment.

Beyond research, Dr. Downing has been a driving force to take St. Jude to the world. He has championed a new program to raise pediatric cancer survival rates internationally. This will be accomplished in part through a global alliance of health care providers who work to ensure that children everywhere have access to quality care.

Dr. Downing earned his undergraduate and medical degrees at the University of Michigan. He joined St. Jude in 1986 after training in anatomic pathology at Washington University in St. Louis and completing a fellowship in hematopathology at the University of Florida in Gainesville. For his work, Dr. Downing has received numerous honors, including election to the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Most recently, he received the Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering Prize, the E. Donnall Thomas Lecture and Prize from the American Society of Hematology and the Pediatric Oncology Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Dr. Downing is a proud father of three children and a doting grandfather of five.

Posts by James R. Downing, M.D.

St. Jude President and CEO Dr. James Downing's Message to Families on Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

by James R Downing MD September 7, 2021

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital President and CEO Dr. James Downing instills hope in families on Childhood Cancer Awareness Month; talks Together, the Pediatric Cancer Genome project and solving the global pediatric cancer problem.

Read this blog post