The Cancer Grand Challenges Scientific Committee is pleased to welcome two new members: Professor Jill P Mesirov (University of California San Diego School of Medicine) and Professor Barbara K Rimer (University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health).
The Scientific Committee comprises eminent scientists from a diverse range of fields who provide input at each step of the research funding process – from working with scientists and advocates from around the world to identify the challenges, to assessing applications from the global teams who propose bold new approaches to tackle them. As members, Jill and Barbara will greatly enrich Cancer Grand Challenges' scientific leadership with their extensive experience and expertise in their respective fields.
Jill, Associate Vice Chancellor for Computational Health Sciences and Professor of Medical Genetics at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, brings a wealth of mathematics and computer science expertise to the Committee, having spent many years applying her skills to solve challenges in the fields of science, engineering and business. Her current research focusses on using machine learning to better understand cancer biology and improve treatment. She is committed to bringing these techniques to the wider research community through the development of practical, accessible and open-source software tools – almost 500,000 researchers around the world are currently using these tools to facilitate their work.
Barbara is a behavioural scientist with expertise in cancer prevention and motivating the public to make informed decisions around their own risk of cancer – such as attending cancer screening, quitting smoking or understanding more about their genetic risk. Barbara’s work has demonstrated that psychological and accessibility barriers to screening remain, even after economic barriers are removed, and she was the first researcher to develop smoking cessation interventions aimed specifically at older smokers. Her research has guided cancer practice and policy in the US for more than 30 years.