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 Brigham and Women’s surgeon named director of the National Cancer Institute

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Monica Bertagnolli, MD, FACS, FASCO, a surgeon in the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a founding member of Mass General Brigham, and the Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center, has been named the next director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) by President Joe Biden.  

Dr. Bertagnolli, a surgical oncologist, researcher and the Richard E. Wilson Professor of Surgery in the Field of Surgical Oncology at Harvard Medical School, has dedicated her career to improving the lives of patients with cancer. A member of the Gastrointestinal Cancer and Sarcoma Treatment Centers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, she 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. She has long advocated for increasing diversity in cancer research.  

“I am incredibly grateful and humbled to have the opportunity to serve as the next director of the National Cancer Institute,” said Dr. 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.”  

“We all know someone whose life has been profoundly changed by a cancer diagnosis,” said Anne Klibanski, MD, president and CEO of Mass General Brigham. “Eradicating cancer is a priority for President Biden and we are very pleased that he has chosen Dr. Bertagnolli to lead this work. She is an incredibly talented surgeon, researcher, and leader.” 

Dr. 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.  

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

President Biden announced Dr. Bertagnolli’s appointment this morning at the White House.