Dr. Daniel Haber is Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Cancer Center and the Kurt Isselbacher Professor of Oncology at Harvard Medical School (HMS). Born in Paris, he graduated from MIT (1977), received his MD/PhD from Stanford (1983), completed medicine residency at MGH, clinical oncology fellowship at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and postdoctoral research at MIT, before joining the HMS faculty in 1991. Dr. Haber?s awards include a MERIT Award from the National Cancer Institute, a Dream Team Award from Stand-Up-To-Cancer, and the Rosenthal Award from the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). He was appointed to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (2008), the National Academy of Medicine (2009), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2011), the National Academy of Sciences (2018), and Fellow of the AACR Academy (2019). Dr. Haber?s research is in cancer genetics, including discoveries relating to pediatric Wilms tumor, familial predisposition to breast cancer, and mutations in the EGFR gene that define lung cancers with exceptional sensitivity to targeted therapies. His current research is focused on circulating tumor cells, rare cancer cells present in the blood of individuals with cancer that are responsible for its metastatic spread. Dr. Haber has three children and lives in Newton, MA with his wife, Ellen Cohen.

Research Interests

The Haber laboratory has a longstanding interest in the genetics of human cancer, with a focus on understanding mutations that are acquired by tumors and render them susceptible to specific targeted drug therapies. In 2004, we identified mutations in the EGFR gene in lung cancers which confer dramatic sensitivity to drugs that specifically inhibit that pathway. This finding triggered the application of targeted therapies in lung cancer, and more generally pointed to the critical importance of mutational analysis for treatment selection in common epithelial cancers. Since then, we have collaborated with the bioengineering team led by Dr. Mehmet Toner, the molecular biology group of Dr. Shyamala Maheswaran, and MGH Cancer Center clinicians to develop, characterize and apply microfluidic devices to isolate rare circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in the blood of patients with cancer. Using mutational analyses, single cell RNA-sequencing, and functional studies of cultured CTCs, we have applied these tools to explore blood-based early detection of cancer, noninvasive monitoring of cancer for the emergence of drug resistance, and understanding mechanisms of blood-borne tumor cell dissemination, with the ultimate goal of suppressing the metastatic spread of cancer.

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Section 41: Medical Genetics, Hematology, and Oncology