Robert Canter appointed as chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology


The UC Davis Department of Surgery has announced the appointment of Robert Canter as chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology, succeeding Richard Bold. Canter is a surgical oncologist who specializes in soft tissue sarcomas. He joined the department in 2007 and has recently served as professor of surgery for sarcoma services

In addition to seeing patients at UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, Canter has spent the past 14 years cultivating a clinical and translational research focus in soft tissue sarcoma. He now directs an independently funded cancer immunology and immunotherapy research lab at UC Davis. There, he studies mechanisms to apply natural killer (NK) cell immunotherapy to solid tumors, including sarcomas. 

Through his research, he has developed a strong collaboration with the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine to apply novel immunotherapy approaches to treat dogs with naturally occurring cancers. As part of the cancer center’s comparative oncology program, Canter’s research lab is one of a select group of labs internationally studying canine NK cells. It has completed a first clinical trial of its kind of palliative radiation with intra-tumoral NK cells for dogs with naturally occurring osteosarcoma.  

Robert Canter
Robert Canter is now chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology, UC Davis Department of Surgery.

Canter’s current research is focused on further characterization of the activating and inhibitory receptors of NK cells as part of a multi-species evaluation of optimizing NK cancer immunotherapy. He’s also broadening dog canine immunotherapy comparative oncology clinical trials with other novel immune agents. 

Canter is board certified in surgery by the American Board of Surgery and fellowship trained in surgical oncology. He is a member of a long list of professional organizations including: the American Association of Immunologists (AAI), American Society of Clinical Oncology, Connective Tissue Oncology Society, Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer, and the Society for Surgical Oncology.

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated center serving the Central Valley and inland Northern California, a region of more than 6 million people. Its specialists provide compassionate, comprehensive care for more than 100,000 adults and children every year and access to more than 200 active clinical trials at any given time. Its innovative research program engages more than 240 scientists at UC Davis who work collaboratively to advance discovery of new tools to diagnose and treat cancer. Patients have access to leading-edge care, including immunotherapy and other targeted treatments. Its Office of Community Outreach and Engagement addresses disparities in cancer outcomes across diverse populations, and the cancer center provides comprehensive education and workforce development programs for the next generation of clinicians and scientists. For more information, visit