Dr. Byrd is an internationally known researcher and clinical specialist in leukemia and other hematologic malignancies at Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James), where he also is the head of the Division of Hematology. He is a professor of Medicine and Medicinal Chemistry and holds the D. Warren Brown Chair in Leukemia Research.
Dr. Byrd’s research accomplishments relate best to work done between the laboratory and clinic (translational studies) with several therapeutic agents that are active against chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and related leukemias and lymphomas. As a consequence of his detailed laboratory and clinical work, therapeutic agents such as rituximab, alemtuzumab, flavopiridol, dinaciclib, GS1101and recently ibrutinib have been identified as effective agents against CLL. Dr. Byrd strives to develop therapeutic antibodies and other targeted agents against hematologic malignancies because of his desire to offer patients non-toxic therapies with fewer side effects. His laboratory receives funding from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The impact of Dr. Byrd’s work has been recognized by receipt of several awards including the William Dameshek Prize (2015), Moertel Award (2015), Odysey Research Medal Award, Hendrix College (2015); Distinguished Alumni Award (2014) University of Arkansas, Top 10 Clinical Research Achievements award (2014) Clinical Research Forum, Emil J Freireich Award (2013),R.Schilsky CALGB Lifetime Achievement Award (2010), OSU Distinguished University Scholar Award (2008), Fellow, American Association for Advancement of Science (2007), Member, American Society of Clinical Investigation (2005), Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Stohlman Scholar (2006).
Dr. Byrd attended Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas, where he received a bachelor’s degree with distinction in chemistry. He went on to receive his medical degree from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. After medical school, he completed a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in hematology and oncology at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. While there, he was mentored by Dr. Raymond Weiss in clinical research and assessment/reporting of toxicity observed with novel therapeutic agents. Dr. Byrd subsequently did a postdoctoral translational laboratory fellowship at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, under the direction of Michael Grever, MD, who now is a professor and chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at Ohio State. After completing his fellowship in 1997, Dr. Byrd stayed on as a laboratory faculty member at Johns Hopkins while continuing his clinical work at Walter Reed. In 2001, he left the military service and moved to Columbus to join the faculty in Ohio State’s College of Medicine and the OSUCCC – James. He initially directed the hematologic malignancy program in the Division of Hematology-Oncology until 2006 when he became the interim Co-Director of this Division. In 2008 he was appointed Director of Division of Hematology. He continues in this clinical leadership role directing more than 50 faculty and also is the program leader of the Leukemia Research Program within the OSUCCC—James. In addition, Dr. Byrd has provided career support and mentorship to several junior faculty members with interest in clinical and laboratory research related to leukemia and lymphoma. He is a faculty member on several of the institutional T32 grants and also is principal investigator on a K12 grant focused on faculty mentorship.
Outside of OSU, Dr. Byrd has been Chair/Co-Chair of the American Society of Clinical Oncology Grant Committee; Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology Leukemia Correlative Sciences Committee, American Society of Hematology (ASH) Clinical Research Training Institute and Leukemia Committee. He has been a member of the FDA Minimal Residual Disease Panel; NCI Study Section Committees G, H, and J, NCI Leukemia Steering Committee, National Cancer Center Network Lymphoma Guidelines Committee, National Heart and Lung Institute data safety and monitoring board, ASH Task Force on Personalized Medicine Medicine. He has been or is on the editorial board of several leading medical journals and is currently an Associate Editor for the leading Hematology peer review journal Blood. He also has authored or co-authored more than 400 peer-reviewed, cancer-related articles in prestigious medical journals related to work in leukemia and drug development.
Despite his passion for clinical and translational research, Dr. Byrd’s favorite day of the week is Tuesday, when he spends eight to 12 hours in the clinic providing care for patients with CLL and other types of leukemia. He receives continuous support from his wife Laura and two sons, Edward and William. He is a passionate Ohio State University and University of Arkansas football and basketball fan, and in his spare time he enjoys freshwater fishing.