Bertagnolli To Take Helm as New NCI Director
On Aug. 10, President Joe Biden announced his intention to appoint Dr. Monica Bertagnolli as the 16th director—and first female director—of the National Cancer Institute. She brings decades of clinical and leadership experience to the post, including spearheading Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative.
Currently, Bertagnolli is the Richard E. Wilson professor of surgery in the field of surgical oncology at Harvard Medical School, as well as a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a member of the Gastrointestinal Cancer and Sarcoma Disease Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Bertagnolli served as an associate surgeon at the Strang Cancer Prevention Institute in New York City and as an attending surgeon at New York-Presbyterian Hospital– Weill Cornell Medical Center before joining the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
A surgeon-oncologist, she specializes in treating gastrointestinal cancers and advocates for increasing the diversity of patients enrolled in clinical trials. She currently serves as vice president of the Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups, chair of Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, president of the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology Foundation and CEO of Alliance Foundation Trials, LLC. She formerly served as president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and was recently elected as a fellow of the National Academy of Medicine.
Bertagnolli earned her bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and her Ph.D. from the University of Utah School of Medicine. She completed her residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Longtime NCI deputy director Dr. Douglas Lowy has served as acting NCI director since Dr. Ned Sharpless stepped down in April 2022.
“Dr. Lowy’s willingness to serve in this role on three separate occasions is testament to his unwavering commitment to furthering the mission of NCI,” said Dr. Lawrence Tabak, performing the duties of the NIH director. “Please join me in congratulating Dr. Bertagnolli on her historic appointment and in thanking Dr. Lowy for his remarkable service as he resumes his position as NCI deputy director.”