Areas of Focus

Breast cancer is a complex disease with no simple solution. That's why our researchers are tackling it from every angle. Learn more about our areas of focus and why each is critical to knowing how to fight cancer from the start, slow its progress and one day stop it from occurring altogether.

Heredity & Ethnicity

Most people who develop breast cancer have no family history of the disease, but we know that’s not always the case. A person’s family history, inheritance, race and ethnicity are all important risk factors that have long been part of our research agenda. Our scientists have been behind major breakthroughs in this area, including the role BRCA1 and BRCA2 play in breast cancer and the genetic link to more aggressive breast cancers in women of African descent.

Whether understanding the mutated genes passed down from one generation to the next or developing low-cost genetic testing for diverse populations of women around the world, the more progress our researchers make, the better doctors are able to predict who is at risk and what can be done to prevent cancer’s onset.

Dr. Ambrosone is a Professor of Oncology and Chair of the Department of Cancer Prevention and Control at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. She is also co-leader of the CCSG Population Sciences Program. She was formerly a member of NCI’s EPIC Study Section and the...

Fergus Couch is Professor and Chair of the Division of Experimental Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Mayo Clinic, with joint appointments in the Departments of Health Sciences Research and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Dr. Couch works on the genetics of...

Charis Eng, MD, PhD is the founding Chair of the Genomic Medicine Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, founding Director of the institute’s clinical component, the Center for Personalized Genetic Healthcare, and Professor and Vice Chairman of the Department of Genetics...

Dr. Ford is a medical oncologist and geneticist at Stanford, devoted to studying the genetic basis of breast cancer development, treatment and prevention. He graduated from Yale where he received his MD in 1989. He trained clinically in Medicine and Oncology at...

Judy Garber, MD, MPH is the Director of the Center for Cancer Genetics and Prevention at the Susan Smith Center for Women's Cancers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Director, of the Cancer Risk and Prevention Clinic at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and...

Dr. Chi-Chen Hong is an Assistant Member in the Department of Cancer Prevention and Control within the Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences. Dr. Hong's research is focused on breast cancer etiology, survivorship, and prognosis. Specifically, her...

Dirk Iglehart is Anne E. Dyson Professor of Women's Cancers and Surgery, at Brigham and Women's Hospital/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School. After graduation from Harvard Medical School, he went on to do his surgical residency at Duke University...

James N. Ingle, MD is Professor of Oncology and Foust Professor in Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. He is the leader of breast cancer research in the Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center serving as Program Co-Leader of the Women's Cancer Program with...

Dr. Kanaan is a Professor of Molecular Genetics in the Department of Life Sciences, Faculty of Science at Bethlehem University, Palestine and Director of the Bethlehem University Hereditary Research Laboratory (HRL), which he established in 1992. Over the last 18 years...

Dr. Seema A. Khan is Professor of Surgery in the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, and the Bluhm Family Professor of Cancer Research. She is the Co-leader of the Women’s Cancer Research Program at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer...

Mary-Claire King, PhD, is American Cancer Society Professor at the University of Washington, Seattle. She was the first to show that breast cancer is inherited in some families, as the result of mutations in the gene that she named BRCA1. In addition to inherited...

Eva YHP Lee is the Chancellor’s Professor in the Department of Biological Chemistry at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine.In the late 1980’s, Dr. Lee reported the inactivation of the prototypic tumor suppressor gene, the retinoblastoma...

Arnold Levine has been a molecular biologist for the past 40 years, concentrating on cancer research. His lab discovered the p53 tumor suppressor and found its negative regulator, MDM2. He has published more than 200 papers in this area of research, and his lab has...

Ephrat Levy-Lahad, MD, is Professor of Internal Medicine and Medical Genetics at Hebrew University and Director of the Medical Genetics Institute at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. She is one of the world's foremost authorities on inherited breast cancer...

Dr. Livingston is a scientist/oncologist whose research has long been focused in the area of molecular cancer science. He received his AB cum laude from Harvard in 1961 and his MD magna cum laude from Tufts Medical School in 1965. He undertook his clinical training in...

Joan H. Marks is Co-Director of The New York Breast Cancer Study, a research project examining the role of breast cancer genes in increasing the incidence of breast cancer in Ashkenazi Jewish women.From 1972 to 1998 Joan Marks directed two unique graduate programs in...

Dr. Nathanson is a cancer geneticist, boarded in Internal Medicine and Clinical Genetics; she runs a research laboratory and has a busy clinical practice. Currently she is an Associate Professor at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and...

Kenneth Offit is Chief of the Clinical Genetics Service in the Department of Medicine at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). He is also Professor of Medicine and Public Health at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, and Vice Chairman of the Program...

Bruce Ponder is Emeritus Professor of Oncology at Cambridge, Head of Oncology and Director of the Cancer Centre, and was the Founding Director of the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute. He established one of the first clinics for familial cancer and...

Prof. Gad Rennert is the chairman of the Carmel Medical Center Department of Community Medicine and Epidemiology since 1992. He is a professor and the head of public health and epidemiology teaching group at the Technion Faculty of Medicine.Prof. Rennert is also the...

Dr. Andrea L. Richardson is an Associate Professor of Pathology at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School in Boston, where she maintains an active clinical practice on the breast pathology consultation service. Her research focus is breast cancer genetics...

Mark Robson, MD, is an Associate Attending Physician of the Clinical Genetics and Breast Medicine Service in the Department of Medicine at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He received his B.Sc. from Washington and Lee University and his MD from the University of...

Stuart J. Schnitt, MD, is the Director of the Division of Anatomic Pathology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, co-leader of the Dana Farber Harvard Cancer Center Breast Program, a Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School and an internationally recognized...

George W. Sledge Jr., MD, is Professor and Chief of Medical Oncology at Stanford University Medical Center.  He specializes in the study and treatment of breast cancer and directed the first large, nationwide study on the use of paclitaxel to treat advanced breast...

Dr. Stearns joined the faculty at the Breast Cancer Program at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins in 2002. She was appointed as co-Director of the Breast Cancer Program in 2010, and to full Professor in 2013.Dr. Stearns’s long-term...

Nadine Tung, MD, is the Director of the Cancer Genetics and Prevention Program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) which she established in 1997 to evaluate patients and families with hereditary cancer syndromes. She is also a breast medical oncologist and...

Zhigang Charles Wang received his MD from Shanghai Second Medical University in Shanghai, China and his PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from New York Medical College. His resident training in pathology was completed at Rie-Jing Hospital in China and his post-...

Jeffrey N. Weitzel, MD is Chief of the Division of Clinical Cancer Genetics and the Cancer Screening...