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ABOUT7800CHILDRENPASSthroughthehallsofSt.JudeChildrensResearchHospitaleveryyear.Andtheyallhavedreams.Somewanttobeastronautsandythroughspace.Otherswanttobeprofessionalathletesandscoreagame-winneratthebuzzer.SomewanttobeactorsandstarinHollywoodmovies.eharshrealityisthatmanyofthosechildrenwonthaveanopportunitytochasetheirdreamsbecauseofcancerandotherdevastatingdiseases.Dr.JamesDowning77B.S.hopestochangethat.WereallyareinawaragainstpediatriccatastrophicdiseasesDowningsaid.Childrenaredying.isissomethingthatweneedtokeepclosetoourheartsanditneedstomotivateusbecausetherereallyisnoreasonforchildrentobedyinginthedawnoftheirlife.eUniversityofMichigan-DearbornalumnusrecentlywasnamedpresidentandCEOofSt.JudeChildrensResearchHospitaloneoftheworldspremierpediatriccancerresearchcenters.HispassionforscienticresearchstemsfromhisexperienceatUM-Dearborn.ALincolnParknativeDowningarrivedontheDearborncampusplanningtostudyengineering.Abiologycoursehetookduringhissecondsemesterchangedallthatandtheideaofmedicalschooltookshape.DowningenrolledattheUniversityofMichiganMedicalSchoolandquicklylearnedhowwellhisUM-Dearbornbackgroundhadpreparedhimfortherigorsofmedicalschool.Heandhismedicalcohortwererequiredtotakeabiochemistryplacementtest.osewhoscoredlowerhadtotakebiochemistrywhilethosewithhigherscorescouldtakeanadvancedclass.AerthetestDowningwasaskedtostepoutsidetheclassroom.Hedscoredsohighontheplacementtestthathewasallowedtoskipbiochemistryaltogetherandstartconductingresearch.IhadclasseswithstudentsfromIvyleagueschoolssothisshowedmethatUM-Dearbornisasgoodasanyplaceinthecountryhesaid.IworkedmuchharderasanundergradthanIhadtoformedicalschoolbecauseitwasasrigorousaneducationasyoucouldget.DowningeventuallylandedatSt.JudeChildrensResearchHospitalandearnedUM-DearbornsDistinguishedAlumnusoftheYearAwardin1999.In2013hewasnamedanalistinTIMEmagazineslistofthe100mostinuentialpeopleintheworld.IneverhadintentionsofdoinggreatthingsDowningsaid.Ihadntsetagoalofchangingmedicinesotohavemycareergoinadirectionthathasallowedmetohaveanimpactonsomanypeopleisprettyexciting.Childrenaredying.Thisissomethingthatneedstomotivateusbecausetherereallyisnoreasonforchildrentobedyinginthedawnoftheirlife.Dr.JamesDowningpresidentandCEOofSt.JudeChildrensResearchHospitalAtwarwithchildhoodcancerDR.JAMESDOWNINGPHOTOSCOURTESYOFST.JUDECHILDRENSRESEARCHHOSPITAL25SCHOOLties