Dr. Wolff trained at the Boston Children’s Hospital under the tutelage of Drs. Sidney Farber and Louis Diamond who are considered the “fathers of pediatric hematology-oncology.” Dr. Wolff’s interests and contributions to the field are many and include the recognition and management of Rh disease in the newborn, thalassemia major, Wilms’ tumor, and acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Through his efforts, the then Babies Hospital at Columbia Presbyterian became a charter member of the Children’s Cancer Group, which became today’s Children’s Oncology Group, the largest cooperative research consortium in the world dedicated to advancing our understanding of childhood cancer through research and the conduct of clinical trials.
Dr. Wolff was succeeded by Dr. Sergio Piomelli, the first James Wolff Professor of Pediatrics, in 1979. He was an internationally regarded physician scientist whose work involved red blood cell enzymes, lead poisoning, thalassemia and sickle cell anemia.
In 1996, Dr. Michael Weiner became the director of pediatric oncology. Dr. Gary Brittenham became the second James Wolff Professor, when he succeeded Dr. Piomelli in 2002 as the director of pediatric hematology. Dr. Brittenham’s research encompassed iron metabolism and iron overload, as well as malaria. Dr. Weiner’s interests included Hodgkin lymphoma, and he laid the foundation for the current enterprise.
In 2012 the divisions were re-united as the Divisions of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology, and Stem Cell Transplant under the direction of Andrew Kung, MD, PhD.