Slim Initiative for Genomic Medicine

Teachers Curriculum Summary

Jesse Boehm

Jesse_BoehmJesse Boehm is the assistant director of the Cancer Program at the Broad Institute. In this role, he works closely with Cancer Program director Todd Golub in the scientific planning and organisation of program projects, collaborations, and activities. His research efforts focus on developing systematic approaches to map the function of genes that are mutated in tumours.

Previously, Boehm worked for three and a half years as a research scientist in the Broad Cancer Program. In this role he managed several large, collaborative research efforts that spanned multiple platforms, programs and initiatives at the Broad Institute and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. These included the generation of functional genomics tools for the community as well as the deployment of these tools in systematic, high-throughput experiments to determine the function of elements in the cancer genome.

Boehm received his B.S. in biology from MIT and his Ph.D. from Harvard University, Division of Medical Sciences. For his graduate studies, he worked in the laboratory of William Hahn at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, where he developed and utilized new experimental models of cellular transformation, the process by which cells become cancerous.


Jose C. Florez

Jose_FlorezJose C. Florez, M.D., Ph.D. is an Assistant in Medicine (Endocrine Division) at the Massachusetts General Hospital, an Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School, and an Associate Member at the Broad Institute, where he is active in the Program in Medical and Population Genetics and the Broad Metabolism Initiative.

He and his group have contributed to the performance and analysis of genome-wide association studies in type 2 diabetes and related traits, in the Diabetes Genetics Initiative (formed by the Broad Institute, Lund University and Novartis), the Framingham Heart Study, and other international consortia such as MAGIC, GENIE and DIAGRAM. He leads the genetic research efforts of the Diabetes Prevention Program, where the effects of genetic variants on the development of diabetes can be examined prospectively, and their impact on specific behavioural and pharmacological preventive interventions can be assessed. He is the Principal Investigator of the Study to Understand the Genetics of the Acute Response to Metformin and Glipizide in Humans (SUGAR MGH), and also conducts other pharmacogenetic studies at MGH. He is an author on 100+ original publications and 30+ reviews/book chapters.

In addition to his research and teaching duties, he is clinically active in the MGH Diabetes Center, the Endocrine inpatient consult service, and the Down Syndrome Program. He serves on the Editorial Boards for Diabetes and for Human Genetics, as well as the Advisory Board for Diabetologia; he is also the Editor-in-Chief for Current Diabetes Reports. He is the recipient of the MGH Physician Scientist Development Award, a Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Clinical Scientist Development Award, the MGH Department of Medicine Stephen Krane Award, the MGH Research Scholars Award, and the 2010 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.


Brian Hubbard

Brian_HubbardBrian Hubbard is director of the Therapeutics Projects Group (TPG) at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

Under his leadership, and drawing on the Broad’s multiple programs and platforms, his group aspires to transform the process of drug discovery and the treatment of human disease by developing and applying novel drug discovery technologies; targeting novel classes of protein targets, generally viewed as “undruggable”; targeting novel mechanisms emerging from studies of human biology; and working in an open, collaborative environment to establish proofs of concept.

Hubbard brings extensive knowledge of drug discovery and development. Before coming to the Broad, he was Senior Director of Cardiovascular Diseases at Merck, where he was responsible for strategy and execution of research. His focus was primarily atherosclerosis research. While at Merck, Hubbard was also part of a core team that developed a strategic plan for restructuring basic research in the pharmaceutical industry.

Prior to his work at Merck, Hubbard was Director of Cardiovascular and Metabolism Research at Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research and did research into metabolic diseases and obesity at Millennium Pharmaceuticals.

Hubbard received his B.S. in chemistry from The College of William and Mary and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana. He did postdoctoral research in biochemistry and antibiotics at Harvard Medical School.


Nikhil Wagle

Nikhil_WagleNikhil Wagle is a medical oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, an instructor at Harvard Medical School, and an associate member of the Broad Institute. As a member of the Broad’s Cancer Program, Wagle studies cancer genomics and precision (or “personalized”) cancer medicine. Using genomic profiling, Wagle comprehensively characterizes patient tumor samples in order to better understand the molecular roots of cancer, characterize mechanisms of therapeutic resistance, and identify actionable genomic alterations to aid with clinical decision making.

In 2011, he published a novel approach for precision cancer medicine using targeted sequencing to profile more than 150 clinically-relevant cancer genes from archival tumor samples. Wagle is currently helping to lead the effort to implement a prospective sequencing program to guide clinical management of cancer patients, known as CanSeq, at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Broad Institute.

Wagle’s research also focuses on characterization of patients with cancer who develop resistance to targeted therapies. He previously identified a novel mechanism of resistance to the targeted therapy vemurafenib in metastatic melanoma. He continues to study mechanisms of resistance in metastatic melanoma, as well as resistance to targeted therapies in breast cancer, lung cancer, and other solid tumors to identify novel ways to treat refractory advanced cancer. Wagle has recently focused his efforts on understanding the genomic mechanisms of extraordinary responses to cancer therapies by studying so-called exceptional responders – patients with exquisite sensitivity and/or unexpected durable responses to targeted agents.

Wagle has presented his work at the annual meetings of the American Association of Cancer Research and the American Society of Clinical Oncology. He is a recipient of the prestigious Young Investigator Award from the Conquer Cancer Foundation of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the 2013 Landon Foundation-AACR INNOVATOR Award for Research in Personalized Cancer Medicine. His work has been published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Nature Medicine, and Cancer Discovery.

Wagle received his undergraduate degree in Biochemical Sciences from Harvard College and his M.D. from Harvard Medical School in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. He completed his residency training in Internal Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he also served as Chief Medical Resident, and completed his fellowship training in Hematology/Oncology in the Dana-Farber/Partners Cancer Care program.

Dr. Geoffrey Walford

Geoffrey_WalfordDr. Geoffrey Walford is an endocrinologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School (both in Boston, Massachusetts, USA). He graduated from Dartmouth Medical School and completed his internal medicine training at Brigham and Women’s
Hospital and fellowship in Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism at Massachusetts General Hospital.Dr. Walford joined the laboratory of Dr. Jose C. Florez in 2009. His primary research interest is in the application of genetic and metabolomic technologies in humans to improve the prediction, prevention, and treatment of type 2 diabetes and other metabolic diseases.


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