Louis J. DeGennaro, Ph.D., is president and chief executive officer of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), the world's largest voluntary health agency dedicated to fighting blood cancers. DeGennaro leads the operations of this $300 million cancer patient advocacy agency with headquarters in Rye Brook, New York.
DeGennaro has been a member of the LLS executive leadership team since he joined LLS as chief scientific officer in 2005. He was named LLS chief mission officer in 2009, with responsibility for leadership of all of LLS's mission functions, including research, patient education and support, public policy and advocacy. He was named president and CEO in September 2014.
As the key architect of LLS's cures and access agenda, DeGennaro conceived and pioneered LLS’s Therapy Acceleration Program® - a venture philanthropy approach to accelerating new treatments to patients through drug discovery and development partnerships with the biotechnology industry. LLS’s foray into venture philanthropy helped redefine the activist role of non-profits to meet urgent unmet medical needs. Under DeGennaro’s leadership LLS launched its groundbreaking precision medicine Beat AML® Master Trial in October 2016, leading the offensive against acute myeloid leukemia, one of the most deadly blood cancers that has seen few improvements in treatment in more than 40 years.
DeGennaro has devoted his career to saving lives through drug discovery – first in academic research, later directing drug development at several pharmaceutical companies. At LLS he has found the perfect intersection of science and patient care, overseeing the funding of cutting-edge research, supporting patients and engaging in patient advocacy work. In addition to providing leadership and vision for his staff, he is committed to keeping a significant constituency of volunteers motivated and dedicated to the organization, which includes oversight over a breadth of national fundraising campaigns including the iconic Team In Training and Light The Night.
After receiving his doctorate in biochemistry from the University of California at San Francisco, DeGennaro did his post-doctoral research at the Yale University School of Medicine. His previous academic appointments include research group leader, Max Planck Institute in Munich, Germany, where his laboratory was among the first to clone genes expressed exclusively in the nervous system; and associate professor of neurology and cell biology, University of Massachusetts Medical School.