About the Cancer Genetics Program

Kevin Haigis, PhD

The field of cancer genetics is experiencing a renaissance as a result of the development of technologies that allow us to characterize the genetic changes that occur in cancers across the entire genome. Now that we are approaching saturation in our search for "cancer genes," the focus of cancer biology shifts to understanding their functions and to identifying ways to target genetically defined cancers therapeutically. This concept lies at the heart of the precision medicine movement introduced in early 2015 by President Obama and the directors of the NIH and NCI.

With the concept of precision medicine as a foundation, the primary goal of the Cancer Genetics Program is to promote the use of clinical genetic information as a hypothesis-generating tool for basic science researchers in the field of cancer biology. Working together with clinical investigators within Beth Israel Deaconess Cancer Center and throughout the Harvard Cancer Consortium, we strive to translate the insights from our experimental studies into clinical applicable assays and therapeutic strategies. This goal is closely aligned with that of the Preclinical Murine Pharmacogenetics Core, which works with BIDMC investigators to preform pre-clinical and co-clinical therapeutic trials in mouse models of cancer.

  • Foci of investigation within the Cancer Genetics Program include:
  • Characterizing the phenotypic manifestations of cancer-associated genetic and epigenetic changes
  • Generation and analysis of genetically engineered mouse models of cancer
  • Computational/bioinformatic analysis of cancer genomes
  • Understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying inherited cancer syndromes
  • Studying the pathways that are responsible for DNA repair and maintaining genomic stability

Thank you for your interest in the Cancer Genetics Program.


Kevin M. Haigis, PhD 
Director, Cancer Genetics Program 
Cancer Research Institute at BIDMC