The University of Arizona Cancer Center has a new interim director.

Anne E. Cress, who is a professor of cellular and molecular medicine and radiation oncology at the UA College of Medicine, succeeds Dr. David S. Alberts, who served as cancer center director for more than eight years until his recent retirement. Alberts remains at the UA Cancer Center to conduct research.

Incoming UA Senior Vice President for Health Sciences Dr. Joe G.N. “Skip” Garcia, MD, and UA College of Medicine — Tucson Dean Dr. Steve Goldschmid made the appointment.

Cress does research on stopping tumor cells and preventing tumor matastisis and is working on providing new ways for physicians to determine if a patient’s cancer is likely to spread. She examines how cell surface molecules, called integrins, behave abnormally in tumor cells, enabling their transit along vessels and nerves to their final destination in bone.

She has been a UA Cancer Center member since 1987 and her research has continuously been supported since by research grants from the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Defense and the American Cancer Society.

“Anne Cress is one of the top cancer biology scientists in the world,” Garcia said in a news release. “Her breadth of knowledge about translational approaches to cancer will be crucial as she leads the UA’s comprehensive cancer center through this time of transition.”

Cress received her bachelor of science in microbiology and chemistry and a doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biology from the UA.

She completed postdoctoral work in cancer biology at the UA, served as a visiting professor in biochemistry at Stanford University, and completed visiting scholar sabbaticals at the Drug Development and Design Center in Brisbane, Australia, and with the Developmental Biology Group at Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam.