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BCRF Grantee Since


Donor Recognition

The Play for P.I.N.K. Award

Area(s) of Focus

James Hicks, PhD

Research Professor of Cancer Genomics
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Cold Spring Harbor, New York

Current Research

The goal of precision, or personalized, medicine is to deliver the right drug to the right person at the right time. This requires a deep understanding of the changes in breast cancer that occur throughout the course of treatment. Advances in technology have made it possible to study breast cancers at the cellular level with a simple blood draw, or fluid biopsy. Fluid biopsy is a non-invasive way to identify rare circulating tumor cells and circulating tumor DNA fragments that together provide the opportunity for a complete description of the disease each time a blood sample is drawn. Using state-of-the-art technology developed in their laboratories, Drs. Hicks and Kuhn will compare information from DNA in the blood with information obtained from circulating tumors cells to identify clinically useful biomarkers and advance the technology and utility of the fluid biopsy to aid in treatment decisions.


Dr. Hicks is a molecular geneticist using genomics to study the initiation and progression of cancer in human patients with the goal of developing clinical assays for improving the treatment of the disease.  His current studies expand on his previous work on the development of single cell genomic analysis in two important areas: first, to define the degree and mechanisms of cancer heterogeneity and response to therapy in breast and other solid tumors; and second, to apply single cell sequencing technology to ‘fluid biopsies’, procedures that can identify cancer cells in blood, bone marrow or even urine. These minimally invasive procedures provide the means to monitor cancer treatment sequentially during treatment is underway, to understand what changes take place in response to treatment and to alter treatment when necessary, a crucial component of the next generation of precision oncology.

Dr. Hicks is currently Research Professor of Cancer Genomics at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and will join the newly formed Institute for Convergent Science at the University of Southern California in 2015.  He career has been split between academics and the biotechnology industry, co-founding several successful companies, and co-authoring over 100 research publications and 8 patent applications.

Dr. Hicks serves on the Board of Directors of one public company (NASDAQ: BBSI) and is a Co-founder and Director of two privately held companies. He is also a scientific advisor to several early stage biotechnology companies.