On May 15, President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate Monica Bertagnolli, MD, as Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Bertagnolli is a surgical oncologist, cancer researcher, educator, and current director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). She previously served as the Richard E. Wilson Professor of Surgery in the field of surgical oncology at Harvard Medical School, a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and a member of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Treatment and Sarcoma Centers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
“Dr. Bertagnolli has spent her career pioneering scientific discovery and pushing the boundaries of what is possible to improve cancer prevention and treatment for patients, and ensuring that patients in every community have access to quality care,” said President Biden. “As Director of the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Bertagnolli has advanced my Cancer Moonshot to end cancer as we know it. She has brought together partners and resources from different sectors to launch groundbreaking efforts in cancer prevention and early detection, a national navigation program for childhood cancers, and additional programs to bring clinical trials to more Americans. Dr. Bertagnolli is a world-class physician-scientist whose vision and leadership will ensure NIH continues to be an engine of innovation to improve the health of the American people.”
In its announcement, the White House highlighted Dr. Bertagnolli’s career in clinical and research oncology and commitment to collaborative initiatives to transform the data infrastructure for clinical cancer research. She served as group chair of the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, a National Clinical Trials Network member organization, and was the Chief Executive Officer of Alliance Foundation Trials, LLC, a not-for-profit corporation that conducts international cancer clinical trials and focuses on the inclusion of rural communities in clinical studies.
Dr. Bertagnolli is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, a past president and chair of the board of directors of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and has served on the board of directors of the American Cancer Society and the Prevent Cancer Foundation.
The daughter of first-generation Italian and French Basque immigrants, Dr. Bertagnolli grew up on a ranch in southwestern Wyoming. She graduated from Princeton University with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree and attended medical school at the University of Utah. She trained in surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and was a research fellow in tumor immunology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.