Daniela Gerhard, PhD

Director, Office of Cancer Genomics

Daniela Gerhard

Dr. Gerhard is a human genetics and molecular cancer biologist.  She is a co-author of ~100 publications. Dr. Gerhard was on the faculty of the Washington University School of Medicine (Department of Genetics) and was a postdoctoral fellow at MIT. Since 2004, Dr. Gerhard has served as Director of the NCI Office of Cancer Genomics (OCG), which is now part of the NCI Center for Cancer Genomics (CCG). Her research interests include: identification of cancer-relevant somatic mutations, concentrating on pediatric cancers and other rare cancers; the influence of germline risk factors on cancer initiation and progression; and translating the findings within these research fields into improved patient outcomes.

Dr. Gerhard is the program co-leader of the Therapeutically Applicable Research to Generate Effective Treatment (TARGET) initiative in which the goals are to obtain quality, detailed molecular characterization of the genomes, transcriptomes and epigenomes of large number of tumors from pediatric cases. She is also the program Director of the Cancer Genomic Characterization Initiative (CGCI), in which the goals are to characterize tumors from HIV+ patients. TARGET and CGCI are just two examples of large scale characterization projects generating a “tsunami” of data, which led Dr. Gerhard to start and serve as Program Director of  the Cancer Target Discovery and Development Network in which the goals are to accelerate the "translation" of the molecular genotype to the identification of therapeutic targets, perturbagens (small molecules, sh/siRNAs, CRISPRs) and markers (diagnostic, prognostic, stratifying, etc.). To improve the predictability of results of high-content screening, Dr. Gerhard is also Program Director of an NCI pilot program to develop the next generation of in vitro cancer models that represent the heterogeneity of cancer subtypes. These resources will be available to the research community in the near future.