National Cancer Institute (NCI) Director, Monica M. Bertagnolli, M.D., Selected as Recipient of the 2023 AIM-HI Beacon Award for Women Leaders in Oncology - NFCR


National Cancer Institute (NCI) Director, Monica M. Bertagnolli, M.D., Selected as Recipient of the 2023 AIM-HI Beacon Award for Women Leaders in Oncology

2023 Beacon Award Feature Image

ROCKVILLE, Md.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The AIM-HI Accelerator Fund (AIM-HI) today announced the recipient of the 2023 AIM-HI Beacon Award for Women Leaders in Oncology as Monica M. Bertagnolli, M.D., Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

The Beacon Award for Women Leaders in Oncology was established in 2022 by the AIM-HI Accelerator Fund, a translational research and impact-investment affiliate of the National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR). The Beacon Award recognizes outstanding women leaders in the health and life sciences industry who have made a significant impact on advancing and advocating cancer treatment, detection, and diagnosis for patients around the world.

As the founding chair of the minimal Common Oncology Data Elements (mCODE) executive committee, Dr. Bertagnolli has championed collaborative initiatives to transform data infrastructure for clinical research. She has brought together partners and resources from different sectors to launch groundbreaking efforts in cancer prevention and early detection, a national navigation program for childhood cancers, and additional programs to bring clinical trials to more Americans. Her ability to foster partnerships and facilitate knowledge exchange has propelled progress in the field and united experts in a collective effort to treat cancer. Her dedication to advancing cancer research and improving patient outcomes serves as an inspiration to us all, and we look forward to witnessing her ongoing contributions to the fight against cancer.

Dr. Bertagnolli has played a pivotal role in spearheading clinical trials that have shaped cancer treatment protocols worldwide. Her dedication to patient-centric care exemplifies her profound empathy and understanding of the challenges faced by cancer patients. Her advocacy for personalized treatment approaches has improved the quality of life for countless survivors, underscoring the vital connection between scientific progress and compassionate healthcare.

Prior to NCI, she previously served as the Richard E. Wilson Professor of Surgery in the field of surgical oncology at Harvard Medical School and as a member of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Treatment and Sarcoma Disease Centers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

More recently, in recognition of her outstanding accomplishments and visionary leadership, Dr. Bertagnolli has also been nominated for the esteemed position of NIH Director. This nomination exemplifies the recognition of her expertise, dedication, and potential to shape the future of the broader range of biomedical research at the national level.

“Dr. Bertagnolli has been a courageous leader in advancing cancer research and patient care. As a world-class physician-scientist leading the charge in cancer prevention and treatment, she has been a fierce advocate in addressing healthcare disparities for underrepresented patients. Her unwavering dedication to science, patients, and collaboration sets a standard for excellence in cancer research, providing a shining beacon for future generations of researchers and clinicians,” said Sujuan Ba, Ph.D., President & CEO of NFCR, CEO & Co-Founder of the AIM-HI Accelerator Fund, and Co-Chair of the Beacon Award Selection Committee.

“Dr. Bertagnolli exemplifies the pioneering spirit and leadership values of the Beacon Award. She has been a champion for patients in transforming the clinical data ecosystem, enabling more inclusive clinical trials, and designing clinical trials to test new therapeutics that improve our understanding of cancer treatments. We celebrate not only her individual contributions but also the enduring impact of her work on the global battle against cancer,” said Webster K. Cavenee, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of California San Diego and Co-Chair of the Beacon Award Selection Committee.

“I am deeply honored to accept this Beacon Award, and I do so with profound gratitude for the recognition. Throughout my career, I have been guided by an unwavering commitment to advancing the fight against cancer, and this award serves as a testament to the collective efforts of countless individuals who have shared this mission. I would like to thank the AIM-HI Accelerator Fund and the selection committee for recognizing the importance of these initiatives in illuminating the path towards innovative treatments for cancer patients,” said Dr. Bertagnolli.

Dr. Bertagnolli will be honored as the 2023 AIM-HI Beacon Award recipient at a luncheon ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on October 21, 2023. The award ceremony is part of the 2023 Global Summit and Award Ceremonies for Cancer Research & Entrepreneurship, which brings together world-renowned leaders in cancer research and drug development as well as business leaders, government officials, and donors/investors.

Tickets to attend the 2023 Global Summit and Award Ceremonies for Cancer Research and Entrepreneurship are now open for purchase. Click here to purchase in-person tickets or to access the virtual livestream information. For sponsorship inquiries, email

2023 Beacon Award for Women Leaders in Oncology Selection Committee:

  • Sujuan Ba, Ph.D., Co-Chair, CEO & Co-Founder, AIM-HI Accelerator Fund; President & CEO, National Foundation for Cancer Research
  • Webster Cavenee, Ph.D., Co-Chair, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of California San Diego
  • Anna D. Barker, Ph.D., 2022 Recipient of AIM-HI Beacon Award for Women Leaders in Oncology; Chief Strategy Officer, Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine; Distinguished Visiting Fellow in Complex Adaptive Systems, Arizona State University
  • Deborah Dunsire, M.D., President & CEO, Lundbeck
  • Bahija Jallal, Ph.D., CEO & Director of the Board, Immunocore
  • Karen Knudsen, MBA, Ph.D., CEO, American Cancer Society
  • Andrew Plump, M.D., Ph.D., President, Research & Development, Takeda Pharmaceutical

About the AIM-HI Accelerator Fund

The AIM-HI Accelerator Fund (AIM-HI) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established in 2019 with the initial capacity building grant from the National Foundation for Cancer Research to accelerate the translation of cancer drug discoveries by investing in seed-stage oncology companies. AIM-HI Accelerator Fund is bridging the gap between innovative cancer discoveries and high-impact cancer treatments and technologies. To learn more about AIM-HI Accelerator Fund, visit

About the National Foundation for Cancer Research

The National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization co-founded by Nobel Laureate Dr. Albert Szent-Györgyi and lawyer-entrepreneur Franklin Salisbury, Sr. in 1973. NFCR provides scientists in the lab the funding they need to make and apply game-changing discoveries in cancer treatments, detection, prevention, and, ultimately, a cure. NFCR has distinguished itself by emphasizing long-term, transformative research often overlooked by other major funding sources and/or deemed too risky. Since its establishment, NFCR has provided more than $410 million for cancer research and prevention education. For more information, visit


Jonathan Larsen, National Foundation for Cancer Research, 1-800-321-CURE (2873),