Cancer claims the lives of more than a half million Americans each year. The lengthy battle against cancer has been one of human ingenuity, dramatic technologic advancement, and tireless commitment, but also of misperception, endless complexity, and frustration. Leading cancer researchers discuss the discoveries, and their collective hope for the future.
Dr. Mitchel S. Berger MD
Dr. Mitchel S. Berger, chair of Neurological Surgery, is a nationally recognized expert in treating brain and spinal cord tumors and tumor-related epilepsy in adults and children. He also is a specialist in brain mapping techniques, used to identify areas of motor, sensory and language function during surgery, and an expert in the use of the Gamma Knife for tumor treatment. He is co-director of the Adult Brain Tumor Surgery Program, director of the Brain Tumor Research Center and director of the Center for Neurological Injury and Repair.
Berger, a professor of neurosurgery at UCSF, earned a bachelor's degree from Harvard College in 1975 and a medical degree from the University of Miami School of Medicine in 1979.
He completed an internship and residency at UCSF and was awarded a clinical fellowship in neuro-oncology by the American Cancer Society and a research fellowship with the Brain Tumor Research Center. He completed further fellowship training in neuro-oncology at UCSF and in pediatric neurosurgery at the Hospital for Sick Children of the University of Toronto, Canada. His professional activities include his election to the board of directors of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and his appointment to the American Board of Neurological Surgeons. Berger is board certified in neurosurgery.
Walter Bray is a research specialist in the UCSC Chemical Screening Center.
Dr. Laura Esserman, a nationally known breast surgeon, is the director of the UCSF Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center at the Mount Zion campus. Her work is devoted to developing new, more effective ways to care for and empower breast cancer patients during treatment and to tailor treatments using biology, personal preference and constant feedback regarding outcomes of care.
Esserman earned an undergraduate degree at Harvard University and completed medical and surgical training at Stanford University. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in breast oncology at Stanford in 1988 and earned a master's degree at the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1993. She joined UCSF Medical Center in 1993. Esserman is a profesor of surgery and radiology in the UCSF School of Medicine.
Greg Farrington is executive director and William R. and Gretchen B. Kimball Chair of the California Academy of Sciences. Since beginning his post in 2007, Farrington has focused efforts on addressing what CAS considers to be two of the most important scientific questions of our time: How did life happen? And how can we sustain it? CAS is the only institution in the world to combine a museum, aquarium, and planetarium, as well as vigorous programs of research and education. Farrington came to CAS after eight years as president of Lehigh University. Prior to that, he spent 19 years at the University of Pennsylvania. A widely published chemist, Farrington holds more than two dozen patents and has written more than 100 articles in the fields of solid-state chemistry, electrochemistry, and education.
Regis B. Kelly is executive director of California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3) at the University of California, San Francisco.
Ira Mellman is Vice President of Research Oncology at Genentech where he directs all aspects of cancer research in what is Genentech's single largest therapeutic area. Ira is a cell biologist-immunologist with a long standing interest in membrane traffic and signal transduction. His lab is responsible for key observations resulting in the initial discovery of endosomes, the mechanisms of epithelial cell polarity, and the cellular basis of dendritic cell function in the immune system.
Until 2007, Ira was Chair of the Department of Cell Biology and Scientific Director of the Cancer Center at Yale University School of Medicine. At Yale, Ira also served as Sterling Professor of Cell Biology and Immunobiology and was a member of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research.
Ira has been Editor in Chief of the Journal of Cell Biology and a member of the editorial boards of Cell, the Journal of Experimental Medicine, EMBO Journal, and the Annual Reviews.
Ira is an elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organization, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, a Senior Fellow of Lincoln College (Oxford), and the recipient of numerous named lectureships and awards. Ira received his AB from Oberlin College, his PhD from Yale in Genetics, and performed postdoctoral work at Rockefeller University.
Kelly Peach is a graduate student in chemistry and biochemistry, UCSC.
Sabin Russell is former science reporter living in San Francisco. He is currently employed as an in-house wordsmith at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. This is his personal blog and in no way represents the views of Berkeley Lab. Prior to joining the Lab, he wrote freelance articles for the New York Times, Nature.com, California Magazine and Technology Review. He was a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT from 2008-2009. For 22 years, he covered medical science and health policy for the San Francisco Chronicle.
Nicholas Shikuma is a graduate student in microbiology and environmental toxicology, UCSC.
Dr. Laura Esserman, surgeon and director of the Breast Care Center, discusses the I-SPY 2 trial, a program designed to individualize cancer treatment and quickly identify which treatments are working for the patient.