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Who we are

About Break Through Cancer

Break Through Cancer is dedicated to demonstrating proof-of-concept of a new, collaborative approach to cancer research—helping accelerate research, clinical trials, new treatments, and ideally, cures for the most lethal cancers.

Our Team

Tyler Jacks, PhD

Tyler Jacks, PhD

President
Tyler Jacks, PhD, President

Dr. Tyler Jacks, the President of Break Through Cancer, has dedicated his life to cancer research. He is the Founding Director of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the David H. Koch Professor of Biology and Co-director of the Ludwig Center for Molecular Oncology. From 2001 – 2007, he served as director of the Koch Institute’s predecessor, the MIT Center for Cancer Research, and was a long-standing Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (1994-2021). Dr. Jacks received his bachelor’s degree in Biology from Harvard College, and his doctorate from the University of California, San Francisco, where he trained with Nobel Laureate Harold Varmus. He was a postdoctoral fellow with Robert Weinberg at the Whitehead Institute before joining the MIT faculty in 1992.

The Jacks laboratory at MIT’s Koch Institute studies the genetic events underlying the development of cancer. Dr. Jacks has pioneered the use of gene targeting technology in mice to study cancer-associated genes and to construct mouse models of many human cancer types, including cancers of the lung, pancreas, colon, thyroid, and soft tissue. These powerful, sophisticated models closely recapitulate human disease, and have led to novel insights into tumor development, as well as new strategies for cancer detection and treatment.

In recognition of his contributions to the study of cancer genetics, Dr. Jacks has received numerous awards, including the AACR Outstanding Achievement Award, the Amgen Award from the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the Paul Marks Prize for Cancer Research, the Sergio Lombroso Award in Cancer Research, and the AACR Princess Takamatsu Memorial Lectureship. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), and served as the organization’s President in 2009.

Dr. Jacks is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was a member of the inaugural class of Fellows of the AACR Academy. In 2015, Dr. Jacks received the Killian Faculty Achievement Award, the highest honor the MIT faculty can bestow upon one of its members. In 2016, Dr. Jacks co-chaired the Blue-Ribbon Panel for (then) Vice President Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative. He was also chair of the National Cancer Advisory Board of the National Cancer Institute during the Obama administration.

Dr. Jacks serves on the Board of Directors of Amgen and Thermo Fisher Scientific. He co-founded T2 Biosystems and Dragonfly Therapeutics, where he also serves as chair of the Scientific Advisory Board. He also is a member of the scientific advisory boards of Skyhawk Therapeutics, SQZ Biotech, the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, and the Francis Crick Institute. Dr. Jacks is a member of the Harvard University Board of Overseers.

Jesse Boehm, PhD

Jesse Boehm, PhD

Chief Science Officer
Jesse Boehm, PhD, Chief Science Officer

Jesse Boehm is the Chief Science Officer of Break Through Cancer and maintains a research lab focused on bringing the power of functional genomics to bear on living samples from cancer patients with particular emphasis on rare and underrepresented tumors.

Before joining Break Through Cancer, Jesse spent 14 years in the Broad Institute’s Cancer Program, most recently as an Institute Scientist and Scientific Director of the Cancer Dependency Map project. As the Director of the Broad’s Cancer Model Development Center (part of the National Cancer Institute’s Human Cancer Models Initiative), he led his laboratory in developing a scalable capacity to convert patient tumors into organoids and other cell models. Prior, he was the recipient of a Broad Institute Merkin Fellowship and the Associate Director of the Broad’s Cancer Program. In these leadership roles, he drove the scientific planning and strategic execution of a diverse set of program projects, collaborations, and activities for over a decade.

Propelling the “cancer research ecosystem of the future” to benefit patients as rapidly as possible is his ultimate professional passion and ambition.

Jesse received his BS in biology from MIT and his PhD from Harvard University, Division of Medical Sciences at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Bill Hulme, Chief Financial Officer

Bill Hulme

Chief Financial Officer
Bill Hulme, Chief Financial Officer

Bill Hulme has extensive finance and accounting experience having worked for 25 years for Procter and Gamble in a multitude of roles in both the US and Costa Rica. Most recently he served as a consultant for Deloitte and as a controller for Winter Wyman. Bill has a BS Degree in Accounting from Southern New Hampshire University.

Meredith Sandiford

Meredith Sandiford

Administrative Coordinator
Meredith Sandiford, Administrative Coordinator

Meredith Sandiford has spent much of her career in operations and event planning for various organizations including Golden Seeds, The Capital Network, and MassChallenge. She holds a BS in Animal Science from Texas A&M University and a Master’s of International Business from Northeastern University.

Lisa Schwarz, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Philanthropy Officer

Lisa Schwarz

Chief Operating Officer and Chief Philanthropy Officer
Lisa Schwarz, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Philanthropy Officer

Over the last thirty years, Lisa Schwarz has raised philanthropic support for numerous institutions including MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Harvard University, Massachusetts General Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Johns Hopkins University. She holds a BA in art history and communications from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and an MPA from New York University.

Board of Directors

Dr Bill Nelson Johns Hopkins

William G. (Bill) Nelson, V, MD, PhD
Chairman of the Board, Break Through Cancer;
Marion I. Knott Director, the Sidney Kimmel
Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins

Lisa M. DeAngelis, MD

Lisa M. DeAngelis, MD
Physician-in-Chief and Chief Medical Officer,
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Giulio F. Draetta, MD, PhD

Giulio F. Draetta, MD, PhD
Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer,
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Laurie Glimcher, MD

Laurie Glimcher, MD
President and Chief Executive Officer,
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute;
Director, Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center

Alice Goodwin

Alice Goodwin
Trustee, Commonwealth Foundation for Cancer Research
(Photo courtesy of Richmond Times-Dispatch)

William H. Goodwin, Jr

William H. Goodwin, Jr
Trustee, Commonwealth Foundation for Cancer Research
(Photo courtesy of Richmond Times-Dispatch)

William C. Hahn, MD, PhD

William C. Hahn, MD, PhD
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Institute Member, Broad Institute

Susan Hockfield, PhD

Susan Hockfield, PhD
President Emerita, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tyler Jacks, PhD

Tyler Jacks, PhD
President, Break Through Cancer; Founding Director, Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Elizabeth M. Jaffee, MD, FAACR, FACP

Elizabeth M. Jaffee, MD, FAACR, FACP
Cancer Center Deputy Director and Co-Director,
Gastrointestinal Cancers Program, The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins

David Jaffray, PhD

David Jaffray, PhD
Senior Vice President, Chief Technology and Digital Officer, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

David A. Scheinberg, MD, PhD

David A. Scheinberg, MD, PhD
Chair, Molecular Pharmacology Program and Director, Experimental Therapeutics Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

John Sherman

John Sherman
Trustee, Commonwealth Foundation for Cancer Research

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Matt Vander Heiden, MD, PhD
Trustee, Director, Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Lester Wolfe (1919), Professor of Molecular Biology Professor of Biology

David M. Livingston, MD

David M. Livingston, MD
Special Advisor to the President, Break Through Cancer; Charles A. Dana Chair of Human Cancer Genetics, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Emil Frei III Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Scientific Advisory Board

Cory Abate-Shen, PhD

Cory Abate-Shen, PhD
Chair, Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University

John D. Carpten, PhD

John D. Carpten, PhD
Chair, Translational Genomics; Director, Institute of Translational Genomics, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California

Timothy Cloughesy, MD

Timothy Cloughesy, MD
Director, Neuro-Oncology Program; Director, Henry Singleton Brain Cancer Research Program, University of California, Los Angeles

Benjamin Haibe-Kains, PhD

Benjamin Haibe-Kains, PhD
Senior Scientist, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network; Associate Professor, Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto

Patricia LoRusso, DO

Patricia LoRusso, DO
Associate Cancer Center Director, Experimental Therapeutics, Yale Cancer Center

Frank McCormick, PhD, FRS, DSc (Hon)

Frank McCormick, PhD, FRS, DSc (Hon)
Professor, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center; Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, University of California, San Francisco

Miriam Merad, MD, PhD

Miriam Merad, MD, PhD
Director, Precision Immunology Institute; Director, Mount Sinai Human Immune Monitoring Center, Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai

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Dinah Singer, PhD
Bethesda, MD

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Louis M. Staudt, MD, PhD
Bethesda, MD

Alejandro Sweet-Cordero, MD

Alejandro Sweet-Cordero, MD
Director, Molecular Oncology Initiative, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, San Francisco

E. John Wherry, PhD

E. John Wherry, PhD
Chair, Department of Systems Pharmacology and Translational Therapeutics; Director, Institute for Immunology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

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 please email LMS@BreakThroughCancer.org