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...

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...

Judy E. Garber, MD, MPH is the Director of the Center for Cancer Genetics and Prevention at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Attending physician at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.Her interests focus on breast cancer...

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...

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...

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 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...

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, M.D. is the Chief of Breast Oncologic Pathology for the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, Associate Director of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham and Women’s Hospital Breast Oncology Program, co-leader of the Dana Farber Harvard...

Dr. Dennis C. Sgroi is a Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School, and Co-Director of Breast Pathology and Member of the Center for Cancer Research at Massachusetts General Hospital.  He maintains an active clinical practice on the breast pathology...

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 a...

Nikhil Wagle is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, a medical oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and an associate member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. He is the Deputy Director of the Center for Cancer Precision...

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...