Dr. Laura Esserman, M.D., M.B.A is a surgeon and breast cancer oncology specialist practicing at the UCSF Breast Care Center where she has also held the position of Director since 1996. She co-leads the Breast Oncology Program, the largest of the UCSF Helen Diller Comprehensive Cancer Center's multidisciplinary programs. The program is comprised of 69 faculty members who represent 16 academic specialties and is internationally recognized and well-established with major initiatives in epidemiology, genetics, biology, therapeutics, and clinical cancer care. She is a professor of Surgery & Radiology at UCSF and faculty at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center where she founded the program in Translational Informatics. As part of this program, her research has focused on bioinformatics, medical and clinical informatics, systems integration, and clinical care delivery.
She has worked at UCSF to develop interdisciplinary teams of clinicians and researchers to bring the best care to patients and find the best platform to integrate translational research and improve the delivery of breast cancer care. In 2005, she received the NCI SPORE Investigator of the Year Award, an internationally recognized honor and designation.
She is the Principal Investigator of the I-SPY TRIAL program, a multi-site neoadjuvant clinical trial that has evolved into a model for translational research and innovation in clinical trial design.
Dr. Esserman launched a University of California-wide breast cancer initiative called the Athena Breast Health Network, a project designed to follow 400,000 women from screening through treatment and outcomes, incorporating the latest in molecular testing and web-based tools into the course of care.
Dr. Esserman is nationally and internationally known as a leader in the field of breast cancer and has published over 200 articles in peer-reviewed journals covering all aspects of breast health including information systems, immunology, decision making, health policy and the use of imaging. She speaks extensively at public and private forums within the U.S. and internationally. Overall, Dr. Esserman's research and writing tends to focus on the goal of giving patients better access to accurate information so that they can become partners in their health care.
She was a member of President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) Working Group on Advancing Innovation in Drug Development and Evaluation, which studied how the federal government can best support science-based innovation in the process of drug development and regulatory evaluation. In addition, she was a contributing member of a “taskforce” for President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
Dr. Esserman received her Bachelor's degree in History of Science from Harvard University and completed her M.D. at Stanford University. She completed her surgery residency and oncology fellowship at Stanford University Medical Center. After her training, she joined the faculty at Stanford and received a Hartford fellowship to attend Stanford Business School where she received her M.B.A. in 1993. She then joined the faculty at the University of California, San Francisco.