William C. Phelps, PhD

Director of Preclinical and Translational Cancer Research, American Cancer Society

Dr. Phelps grew up in Memphis, TN, and attended Rhodes College, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. He went on to graduate school first at Virginia Tech, where he earned an Master of Science in Botany, and later, to the University of Minnesota, earning his PhD in Microbiology.

He was a postdoctoral fellow at the National Cancer Institute for 3 years until taking a position with Burroughs Wellcome Co. He remained in anti-viral and anti-cancer research with the pharmaceutical industry for 13 years, leaving as head of the department of Virology for GlaxoSmithKline.

Most recently, Dr. Phelps spent 2½ years with a small startup biotech company, Ribonomics, Inc. as vice president of research and development until joining the American Cancer Society in 2004. Additionally, he held an appointment as adjunct professor of Genetics and Microbiology at Duke University Medical Center from 1996-2004, and completed a certification program from American University in Change Leadership.

In his role with the American Cancer Society, he manages peer review research committees focused on cell biology, infectious disease, molecular genetics, and cancer drug discovery.