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Olivera J. Finn, PhD

Olivera J. Finn, PhD
Chair & Distinguished Professor
University of Pittsburgh​
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Dr. Finn is University of Pittsburgh Distinguished Professor of Immunology and Surgery and Founding Chair of the Department of Immunology, the position she held from 2001 to 2013. She has been a Leader of the Cancer Immunology Program at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute since 1991. After receiving her PhD in Immunology at Stanford University in 1980 and completing her postdoctoral training there in 1982, Dr. Finn moved to Duke University and in 1991 to the University of Pittsburgh.  She gained prominence through her original focus on transplantation biology and later through her basic and applied research focused on the development of cancer vaccines.  She has an extensive track record of research accomplishments reported in over 160 peer-reviewed papers and numerous reviews and book chapters.  She was the discoverer of the MUC1 tumor antigen and has published actively and continuously for the last twenty years on her basic and preclinical work on the development and evaluation of MUC1 cancer vaccines.  She has been a co-investigator on a dozen clinical trials of various MUC1 vaccines in pancreatic, colon, breast, prostate and lung cancer. Dr. Finn and her team also discovered cyclin B1 tumor antigen and published several papers on its excellent potential as a cancer vaccine. She has trained over 50 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows many of whom hold important positions in academic institutions or biomedical companies.


She is on editorial boards of many cancer journals and advisory boards of many cancer centers and several companies.  She is an active member of the American Association of Immunologists where she served seven years as Council member and one year as President.  She is also a member of the American Association for Cancer Research and Past Chair of the Steering Committee of the Cancer Immunology (CIMM) Working Group. Among her many honors are the University of Pittsburgh Chancellor's Distinguished Research Award, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute Scientific Leadership Award and the city of Pittsburgh Proclamation of March 8, 2013, as "Olivera Finn Day."