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Patrick Loehrer

Director, Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, Associate Dean for Cancer Research at Indiana University School of Medicine, and H.H. Gregg Professor of Oncology, Indiana University
BSME '75

For lifesaving cancer research and achievements demonstrating that Purdue Engineering alumni and alumnae can become world-renowned leaders in any field and make highly significant impacts on human lives

Patrick Loehrer says serendipity led him to study cancer.

"I wanted to go to IU for my residency and applied for a senior elective there," he says. "My top choices, cardiology and infectious disease, were filled. Hematology/Oncology was open, so I said, 'OK, I'll take it.'"

He would soon embrace it as his calling.

"A junior faculty, Dr. Larry Einhorn, had recently put together a novel treatment for testicular cancer — the most common cancer among young men. I saw patients whose cancers were melting away; it was extraordinary. After that, I told Larry, 'I know what I want to do with the rest of my life: I want to pursue oncology and I want to work with you.'"

That was a few years after Loehrer, whose ambition had long been to go to medical school, decided to pursue a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering at Purdue as either a means toward medical school or a strong fallback career option.

"I was good in math and physics, but I got a C in my first semester of biology, and I was really nervous," he says. "An upper classmate friend was in ME and he was applying to medical school, so I switched my major from biology to ME — one of the best decisions of my life. I figured if I didn't get into medical school, I would have a great job."

At that point, Professor A.R. Spalding, Loehrer's engineering counselor, stepped in.

"He was extraordinary," Loehrer says. "I applied to medical school my junior year and remarkably was accepted. Dr. Spalding crafted my coursework to allow my medical courses to count as electives."

Today, as director of the Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, associate dean for cancer research, and the H.H. Gregg Professor of Oncology at Indiana University, Loehrer is widely known for prolific research on cancers of the bladder, colon, pancreas and the thymus gland. In addition, his research, and that of his initial cancer-research mentor, Larry Einhorn, has contributed to a 95 percent survival rate for testicular cancer. Loehrer is also the director of the AMPATH-Oncology program which is a multi-institutional collaborative initiative serving western Kenya.

Loehrer credits much of his success to his parents: "My father was a chemical engineer with a strong work ethic, and my mother was a nurse who was pragmatic, compassionate and comedic."

Career Highlights

2010-present Director, Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center,
Associate Dean for Cancer Research at Indiana University School of Medicine, and H.H. Gregg Professor of Oncology, Indiana University
2009–2010 Interim Director, Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, Indiana University
2002–2010 Director, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Kenneth Wiseman Professor of Medicine, Indiana University
1983–2002 Assistant and Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Indiana University
1981–1983 Fellowship, Oncology, Indiana University Medical Center
1978–1981 Residency, Internal Medicine, Rush-Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center
1978 MD, Rush Medical College
1975 BSME, Purdue University