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 ACS’s...

Dr. Conley obtained her doctorate in clinical health psychology from the Ohio State University in 2018 and completed her clinical internship at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center. Dr. Conley’s program of research evolved from her clinical interest in...

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...

Susan M. Domchek, MD is the Basser Professor in Oncology at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania. She serves as Executive Director of the Basser Center for BRCA at the Abramson Cancer Center and Director of the Mariann and Robert MacDonald...

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...

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

Dezheng Huo is Associate Professor of Epidemiology in Department of Public Health Sciences with joint appointment in Department of Medicine at the University of Chicago. Dr. Huo's research spans across several areas of breast cancer research, including: 1) the genetic...

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 responsibility...

Maria Jasin is an investigator at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences, New York. She obtained her Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of...

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...

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...

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...

Dr. Marsha A. Moses is the Julia Dyckman Andrus Professor at Harvard Medical School and the Director of the Vascular Biology Program at Boston Children's Hospital. She has made significant contributions to our understanding of the biochemical and molecular...

Harikrishna Nakshatri, BVSc, PhD, is the Marian J. Morrison Chair of Breast Cancer Research and professor of surgery, biochemistry and molecular biology at the Indiana University School of Medicine. He is also the Associate Director for Education at the Indiana...

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 Professor at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and at the...

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...

Dr. Olopade's research interests are diverse and include: 1) treatment of breast cancer, especially in young or pregnant women; 2) familial cancers; 3) molecular genetics of cancer; 4) cancer risk assessment and chemoprevention; 5) breast cancer and minority...

Dr. Rae received a BS in biology from the University of Pittsburgh and PhD in pharmacology from Georgetown University. In graduate school he combined his interest in breast cancer research with cutting-edge aspects of pharmacology including personalized medicine which...

Padma Sheila Rajagopal, MD MPH is a third-year hematology/oncology fellow at the University of Chicago. Sheila previously completed an undergraduate honors thesis on translational cancer genetics in the lab of Dr. Funmi Olopade at the University of Chicago. She earned...

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

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...

Jeffrey N. Weitzel, MD is Chief of the Division of Clinical Cancer Genetics and the Cancer Screening & Prevention Program at the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in Duarte, California. Dr. Weitzel is Board Certified in clinical genetics and medical oncology...