Renowned Cancer and Nutrition Expert Joins Faculty

Published August 7, 2020

Roberto Pili, MD

story based on news release by david j. hill

An internationally renowned cancer and nutrition expert has joined the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, UBMD Physicians’ Group and Great Lakes Cancer Care Collaborative, and will serve as director of a new center focusing on nutrition and cancer.


Roberto Pili, MD, began his appointment as professor of medicine, chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology and associate dean for cancer research and integrative oncology in the Jacobs School on May 4.

He also holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences in UB’s School of Public Health and Health Professions.

Leadership Role to Develop, Expand Oncology Programs

Pili will also assume a leadership role as vice president for oncology services within Great Lakes Cancer Care Collaborative, a consortium of eight organizations including UBMD, Erie County Medical Center and Kaleida Health.

In this role, Pili will be responsible for clinical quality, the clinical trials program and program accreditation, as well as assisting with the strategic direction and management of the program.

Pili, who specializes in genitourinary cancer and nutritional treatment of cancer patients, is familiar with Buffalo. After serving nine years on the faculty at Johns Hopkins University, he joined Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center as professor of oncology and leader of the genitourinary program before moving to Indiana University.

“With Dr. Pili’s recruitment, the University at Buffalo and Great Lakes Cancer Care Collaborative have brought in a leader to develop and expand the oncology programs to offer new treatment options for patients in Western New York and beyond,” says Michael E. Cain, MD, UB’s vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School. “We are excited to welcome him back to Buffalo to assume these critical leadership roles.”

Building Academic Infrastructure for Research

During his tenure at Indiana University from 2015 to 2020, Pili served as the Robert Wallace Miller Professor of Oncology. He was also co-leader of the Experimental and Developmental Therapeutics Program and the Indiana Genitourinary Cancers Research Consortium at the Indiana University-Simon Cancer Center.

As associate dean for cancer research and integrative oncology, Pili will be tasked with building the academic infrastructure for innovative and collaborative cancer research at UB and on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, particularly in the areas of immunotherapies, drug development and delivery, epigenetics and lifestyle-dietary interventions.

Pili will also be the inaugural director of the new Sciences, Nutrition and Cancer Center that will constitute the building block to establish a Program for Integrative Oncology, where dietary interventions, exercise and mind-body medicine will be integrated into cancer patient care.

Completed Fellowships at NIH, Johns Hopkins

Pili is a graduate of the Catholic University School of Medicine in Rome, Italy.

He completed training in internal medicine there, followed by an internal medicine residency at Montefiore Medical Center at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

Pili did a postdoctoral fellowship in biological chemistry at the National Institutes of Health and a clinical-research fellowship in medical oncology at Johns Hopkins.