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.

After positions at the National Center for Toxicological Research in Arkansas and Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, Dr. Christine Ambrosone joined the faculty of Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) in 2002, where she now serves as Chair of the...

Dr. Fergus J. Couch is Professor and Chair of the Division of Experimental Pathology in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at the Mayo Clinic. He obtained his undergraduate and doctoral degrees from University College Cork, Ireland and received post-...

Dr. Charis Eng is the Chair and founding Director of the Genomic Medicine Institute of the Cleveland Clinic, as well as the founding Director and attending clinical cancer geneticist of the institute’s clinical component, the Center for Personalized Genetic Healthcare...

Dr. Jim Ford is a medical oncologist and geneticist at Stanford, devoted to studying the genetic basis of breast cancer development, treatment and prevention. Dr. Ford graduated in 1984 Magna Cum Laude (Biology) from Yale University where he later received his M.D....

Dr. Garber is the Director of the new Cancer Genetics and Prevention Disease Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She founded the Friends of Dana-Farber Cancer Risk and Prevention Clinic, one of the first devoted...

Dr. Chi-Chen Hong received her doctorate in Epidemiology from the University of Toronto in 2004, and completed postdoctoral training with Dr. Christine Ambrosone at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI). She joined the staff of RPCI in 2008 as an Assistant Member in the...

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

Dr. James Ingle 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 responsibility for...

Dr. Moien Kanaan is a leading Palestinian geneticist. Over the last 15 years Dr. Kanaan has been investigating the genetically isolated Palestinian population and its high consanguinity rate in identifying genetically based disease gene. This includes hearing loss,...

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 Center....

Mary-Claire King is American Cancer Society Research Professor of Genetics and Medicine at the University of Washington. Work in her lab focuses on genetic analysis of breast and ovarian cancer. Dr. King was the first to prove that breast cancer is inherited in some...

Dr. Lee received her master's of science training in Developmental Biology at National Taiwan Normal University and PhD training in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. She was an assistant professor at the University of...

Ephrat Levy-Lahad, MD, is Professor of Internal Medicine at Hebrew University and, since 1996, Director of the Medical Genetics Institute at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. Dr. Levy-Lahad is one of the world's foremost authorities on inherited breast cancer...

Dr. Livingston received his A.B. from Harvard in 1961 and his M.D. from Tufts Medical School in 1965. He undertook his clinical training in internal medicine at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and his scientific training at the NCI and at Harvard Medical School. He joined...

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...

Dr. Nathanson is an Associate Professor in the Division of Translational Medicine and Human Genetics in the Department of Medicine and Co-Leader of the Cancer Control Program in the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania. She received her medical...

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

Bruce Ponder obtained his BA degree with First Class Honours in 1965 at the University of Cambridge, and qualified in medicine (MB, BChir) in 1968 from Cambridge and St Thomas' Hospital, London. He trained in internal medicine in various NHS posts in London, and...

Dr. Rennert is the Director of the CHS National Cancer Control Center in Israel and of the National Breast and Colorectal Cancer Detection Programs of Israel. He is also the Chairman of the Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine at Carmel Medical Center and...

Andrea Richardson is an Associate Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School. She received her MD and PhD degrees in 1991 from University of Texas Southwestern Medical and Graduate Schools. Her graduate work in Dallas involved the molecular analysis of...

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

Dr. Stuart Schnitt is an internationally recognized expert in breast pathology. He did his internship and residency in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston followed by a fellowship in surgical pathology, also at Beth Israel Hospital. He...

Dr. George W. Sledge, Jr. was appointed Chief of Oncology in the Department of Medicine at Stanford University Medical Center in January 2013. Prior to joining Stanford, Dr. Sledge was co-Director of the breast cancer program at the Indiana University Cancer Center,...

Dr. Stearns completed a BS equivalent at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, in Israel in 1989. After relocating to the United States, she completed her medical school training at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Robert Wood...

Dr. Tung is the Director of the Cancer Risk Evaluation Program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. She earned her undergraduate degree at Princeton University and attended Harvard Medical School. She completed her internship, residency and fellowship in hematology...

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-...

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