Brigham and Women’s Surgeon Bertagnolli Appointed Director of National Cancer Institute

Monica Bertagnolli, MD, FACS, FASCO, a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the Department of Surgery and the Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center, has been appointed by President Biden as the next director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). A surgical oncologist, clinical researcher, and the Richard E. Wilson Professor of Surgery in the Field of Surgical Oncology at Harvard Medical School, Bertagnolli has dedicated her career to improving the lives of patients with cancer.

“I am incredibly grateful and humbled to have the opportunity to serve as the next director of the National Cancer Institute,” said Bertagnolli. “I’ve had the good fortune of working with so many brilliant colleagues who care deeply about eradicating this disease and alleviating the suffering of those who face it. I’m looking forward to supporting them and bringing hope to the entire cancer community through the work of the NCI.”

Bertagnolli, who is also a member of the Gastrointestinal Cancer and Sarcoma Treatment Centers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, specializes in the surgical care of patients with gastrointestinal cancer and sarcoma, collaborating closely with colleagues in Medical Oncology, Radiation Oncology and Pathology to deliver comprehensive, patient-centered care at the Brigham. She is a clinical researcher who has long advocated for increasing diversity in cancer research. Additionally, she has a history of basic science work in the laboratory, where she has focused on understanding the role of the inflammatory response in epithelial tumor formation.

“We can think of no one better to lead the NCI and shepherd our nation’s collective efforts to eradicate cancer and alleviate the suffering of patients and loved ones affected by this disease,” said Robert S.D. Higgins, MD, MSHA, president of Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “Dr. Bertagnolli’s credentials and tremendous accomplishments throughout her career have prepared her for this key role in our nation. We are thrilled that President Biden recognized this and has appointed Dr. Bertagnolli to serve our nation in this important role.”

“Dr. Bertagnolli’s experience in delivering superb clinical care, fostering multidisciplinary collaboration and advancing scientific discovery make her an outstanding choice for this important leadership role,” said Gerard Doherty, MD, chair, Department of Surgery at the Brigham.

Bertagnolli has led several initiatives within NCI-funded Cancer Cooperative Groups, where she facilitated integration of tumor-specific molecular markers into nationwide cancer treatment protocols, improving the care and outcomes of patients across the country. She has also held numerous leadership roles in multi-institutional cancer clinical research groups, currently serving as the group chair of the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, a nationwide NCI-funded clinical trials group. Additionally, she is the CEO of Alliance Foundation Trials, LLC, a not-for-profit corporation that conducts international cancer clinical trials.

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