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Monica Bertagnolli

Director, National Cancer Institute

Monica Bertagnolli, the first woman to helm the National Cancer Institute since its founding more than 50 years ago, joined the National Institutes of Health’s largest department in early October with ambitions to speed up clinical research and shepherd in a new era for President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot. The job quickly hit close to home: Just over a month later, she was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer during a routine mammogram. Bertagnolli continues to work as NCI director while undergoing treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where she was also the first woman to lead the surgical oncology unit. And she hasn’t slowed down on her efforts to further research that will prevent cancer deaths and eventually end new cases entirely. “The complexity of bringing that about equals the complexity of cancer,” she said at a Milken Institute event in December.



  • North Bethesda, MD


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