William Sellers, M.D.
Core Institute Member, Director of the Cancer Program
William Sellers is a core institute member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and serves as director of the institute's Cancer Program. He is also a faculty member at Harvard Medical School (HMS), and faculty member and senior advisor to the president for experimental therapeutics at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI). He is a distinguished cancer scientist, with deep experience in cancer biology and cancer therapeutics.
Sellers has spent his academic career at the intersection of cancer biology and cancer genomics, investigating the basic mechanisms of tumor development. He collaborated with his DFCI and Broad colleague Matthew Meyerson to lead the Broad’s first major foray into cancer genome sequencing. Their work, as well as work by other groups including investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital, led to the identification of EGFR mutations in lung cancer – work that paved the way for EGFR-inhibiting drugs becoming standard-of-care for patients. In addition, Sellers’s efforts to understand the genetic alterations in prostate and other cancers contributed to the discovery of MITF as an important gene in the development of melanoma.
Previously, Sellers served as vice president and global head of oncology at Novartis Institutes of BioMedical Research, where he oversaw small molecule and antibody-based drug discovery efforts in oncology. He pioneered the use of cutting edge genetic and functional genomic approaches to therapeutic discovery, creating an oncology drug discovery unit that became world-renowned. Prior to joining Novartis, Sellers was a principal investigator at DFCI, an associate professor of medicine at HMS, and an associate member of the Broad.
Sellers has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Novartis Excellence Award for Innovation, the Abbott Bioresearch Award, the Tisch Family Outstanding Investigator Award, and the National Institutes of Health Physician-Scientist Award. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of bluebird bio and Civetta Therapeutics, on the scientific advisory boards of Ideaya Bioscience and Epidarex Capital and previously was appointed by President Barack Obama as a member of the National Cancer Advisory Board.
He earned his B.S. in biology from Georgetown University and his M.D. from University of Massachusetts Medical School. He completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at University of California San Francisco before completing a clinical oncology fellowship at DFCI.