BREAK THROUGH CANCER SCIENTISTS
Break Through Cancer’s strategy builds on TeamLabs comprising clinician and research faculty at our institutional partners. But our complex projects demand an additional professional resource: a cadre of scientists and engineers whose skills, knowledge, and insights enable them to serve as cross-institutional catalysts for scientific innovation and collaboration.
That’s why we’ve appointed our first cohort of Break Through Cancer Scientists: a carefully selected group of researchers who possess phenomenal expertise in early diagnostics, single cell genomics data and materials science, and specific types of cancer — and who are fully committed to advancing the Break Through Cancer research portfolio. Each of them possesses a stellar reputation, a robust track record of community building and collaboration, and a passion for advancing knowledge in our focal areas of cancer research.
Embedded at our partner institutions and working hand-in-hand with the faculty labs we fund, these Break Through Cancer Scientists are having real impact — maximizing the substantial capabilities our affiliated clinical and research faculty bring to bear.
Neelkanth (aka Neel) Bardhan, PhD
Based at MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Neel works with the Intercepting Ovarian Cancer TeamLab, helping design an optical imaging system for highly sensitive detection of early precursor lesions in ovarian cancer. A scientific innovator, his previous research has already led to three U.S. patents issued and numerous pending patent applications.
“This role enables me to use my engineering skills to help design real-world approaches for intercepting ovarian cancer early in its development. It also positions me to help forge cross-cutting collaborations that would have been very difficult to achieve in a traditional, siloed research structure. I am energized by my role in our TeamLab’s pursuit of our ambitious, life-saving objective.”
Sreyashi Basu, PhD
A Research Group Leader at MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Immunotherapy Platform, Sreyashi is a member of the Revolutionizing GBM Drug Development TeamLab. Currently focusing on immunogenomic profiling as a way to identify immune cell changes in response to therapy and predictive biomarkers of therapeutic benefit, Sreyashi’s group previously identified CD73+ immunosuppressive myeloid cells as a resistance mechanism to immune checkpoint therapy in GBM.
“This role provides an exciting opportunity to be part of collaborative science across highly acclaimed institutions. I believe that the scientific relationships I am building will help drive success in our TeamLab project and contribute meaningfully toward Break Through Science’s overall mission.”
Paola A. Guerrero, PhD
A Research Group Leader at MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Pancreatic Cancer Research Center, Paola leads innovative research on patient-derived models and biospecimens. Now working with the Conquering KRAS in Pancreatic Cancer and Demystifying Pancreatic Cancer Therapies TeamLabs, Paola previously showed that limited biopsies can capture a full range of key cell types; and she identified mechanisms that may enable immune evasion in the tumor microenvironment.
“This appointment as a Break Through Cancer Scientist presents a unique opportunity. It enables me able to play a leading role in advancing initiatives that can benefit multiple Break Through Cancer projects. At the same time, it offers an exceptional learning experience: facilitating and engaging with research by an interdisciplinary group of investigators who are working in multiple labs across several institutions.”
Thomas R. Pisanic II, PhD
An Associate Research Professor at The Institute for NanoBioTechnology and The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, Tom has two decades’ experience in developing new clinical diagnostic approaches, including molecular diagnostic assays for early, noninvasive detection of cancer. Now engaged with the Intercepting Ovarian Cancer TeamLab, Tom is applying his background in cancer epigenetics to explore how epigenetic alterations contribute to the progression of the precursor lesions of the fallopian tube that later lead to ovarian cancer.
“This role provides an unprecedented opportunity to work together with the top clinicians, scientists and engineers in the country, employing a true ‘team-based’ approach to developing solutions that could dramatically improve the lives of those affected by cancer. In addition, the uniquely open Break Through Cancer environment will enable me to apply my research tools and expertise to exciting new avenues in translational cancer research.”
MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Break Through Cancer was created in February 2021 with an extraordinary matching gift of $250,000,000. Every gift to the Foundation supports groundbreaking cancer research and helps us to meet our matching commitment.
For questions about giving or to see a copy of our latest 990 filing please email Lisa Schwarz, Chief Philanthropy Officer at LMS@BreakThroughCancer.org