Team • Wisdom

Sparking the flame for change.

Meet the team helping to end breast cancer

Principal Investigators

UCSF - Laura J Esserman
Laura J. Esserman, MD, MBA
Dr. Esserman is the Director of the UCSF Carol Frank Buck Breast Care Center at UC San Francisco, a professor of Surgery & Radiology at UCSF, and a practicing surgeon and breast cancer oncology specialist. She is the founder of the University of California wide Athena Breast Health Network, a model learning system to integrate clinical care and research.
She also leads the innovative ISPY clinical TRIALs, which are designed to accelerate the identification and approval of novel agents for women with high risk cancers (find the right drug for the right person at the right time). She is an international breast cancer specialist, policy expert, innovator, and leader in building learning systems to improve patient care.

Why is Wisdom important?

"The Wisdom trial is an exciting opportunity for all of us to participate in a program that will help us learn who's really at risk for what kind of breast cancer. Together we can create a better future and enable significant improvements in the approach, outcomes of and experience of breast cancer screening for generations to come."


  • UC Davis - Alexander Sandy D Borowsky
    UC Davis
    Alexander "Sandy" D. Borowsky, M.D.
    Sandy Borowsky is a Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Center for Comparative Medicine and the Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of California Davis. He learned diagnostic breast pathology at Vanderbilt where innovations in the 1980s led to the advance of breast conserving therapy and then trained at Brigham/Harvard Medical School in molecular oncology. He is an expert in experimental models of DCIS and breast cancer, and the development of innovative technologies for improved evidence based diagnostics.

    Why is Wisdom Important?

    As a physician scientist, Dr. Borowsky hopes that an evidence based risk assessment encompassing the leading edge of scientific understanding of breast biology will improve patients’ lives by personalizing risk reduction, improving therapy, and reducing overtreatment.
  • UC Irvine - Hoda Anton-Culver
    UC Irvine
    Hoda Anton-Culver, Ph.D.
    Dr. Anton-Culver is a Professor and Chair of Epidemiology and the Founding Director of the Genetic Epidemiology Research Institute at UCI. During the past thirty-three years at UC Irvine, she has established major research programs in cancer epidemiology and cancer genetics. Under her leadership, the Department of Epidemiology and the Genetic Epidemiology Research Institute are currently engaged in conducting several research studies in cancer epidemiology funded by the National Cancer Institute and other agencies.

    Why is Wisdom Important?

    The WISDOM Trial will evaluate the value of the most common screening program, mammography, using an individualized approach with high level of precision for each woman participant. It is expected to change the health care paradigm for cancer control and prevention.
  • UCLA - Arash Naeim
    Arash Naeim, M.D., Ph.D.
    Dr. Naeim is the Chief Medical Officer for Clinical Research, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research, and Associate Director of the Clinical Translational Science Institute. He is Director of Informatics for the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, Director of Geriatric-Oncology for the Division(s) of Geriatric Medicine and Hematology-Oncology. He has clinical training in both Geriatrics and Hematology-Oncology, as well as being boarded in Clinical Informatics and a certified Epic Physician Builder. His primary research focus is on older cancer patients, the role of mobile technology, outcomes research, cost-effectiveness analysis, modeling of health and frailty, and clinical trial design. Dr. Naeim is the site PI for the Athena Breast Network, and is leading the Wisdom Trial in its approach to breast cancer screening for older patients who may be frail or pre-frail, as well leading the patient-centered outcomes analysis for the trial.

    Why is Wisdom Important?

    The Wisdom Trial serves as one of the first use cases for big data, precision medicine, and personalized care.
  • UCSD Andrea Z LaCroix
    Andrea Z. LaCroix, PhD
    Dr. LaCroix is a Professor and the Chief of Epidemiology for the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at UC San Diego. Dr. LaCroix is an epidemiologist and clinical trialist focused on improving the health and healthcare of aging women throughout the lifespan. She has been a leader within the Women’s Health Initiative Program and the MsFLASH network. Her work focuses on identifying effective interventions for reducing risk of breast cancer, heart disease and disability in postmenopausal women.

    Why is Wisdom Important?

    The Wisdom Trial is important because women need breast cancer screening programs that truly reduce their risk of dying from breast cancer and do not result in unnecessary procedures, stress, surgeries and other harms.
  • UCSF-Laura van ‘t Veer
    Laura van ‘t Veer, PhD
    Dr. van 't Veer is a Professor of Laboratory Medicine, the Director of Applied Genomics, and the Program Leader for the Breast Oncology Program at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. She is the UCSF-Site Principal Investigator of the Athena Breast Health Network. Dr. van ‘t Veer is a world renowned Molecular Biologist and inventor of MammaPrint®. Her research focuses on personalized medicine, to advance patient management based on knowledge of the genetic make-up of the tumor and the genetic make-up of the patient. She received the second prize 2014 EU Women Innovator award and the 2015 European Inventor Award.

    Why is Wisdom Important?

    The Wisdom trial, for the first time in the world, informs every woman about her personal risk to develop breast cancer. It allows to differentiate the need for frequency of mammographic screening tailored to a women’s risk factors as well as genetic susceptibility. Women will be empowered to make their own personal decisions for their breast health.
  • Sanford - Andrea Kaster
    Dr. Andrea Kaster, MD
    Dr. Kaster is the co-principal investigator of the WISDOM study at Sanford Health. She is board-certified in family medicine and focuses on preventive medicine and breast health at Edith Sanford Breast Center. “With so many recommendations for breast cancer screening out there, it can be hard for patients and providers to know what is the right approach for them. Clinical studies like WISDOM help us use the latest in imaging and genetics along with a patients personal history to determine how best to screen women for breast cancer. Through this study, I hope that we will be able to contribute to developing a more personalized approach to breast cancer screening.”

    Why is WISDOM Important?

    The Wisdom trial is important to me to study recent advances in molecular biology and risk assessment and use them to find the most efficient way to screen our patients for breast cancer.
  • Sanford - Talley Melinda
    Dr. Melinda Talley, MD
    Dr. Talley is the co-principal investigator of the Sanford Health WISDOM study. She is a board-certified, fellowship-trained breast imaging radiologist and the Lead Breast Imager at Edith Sanford Breast Center. “The WISDOM study can be a valuable source of information for our patients. As physicians we assist our patients in making optimal health care decisions. This task is best accomplished with the most accurate information available and trials like this make it possible.”

    Why is WISDOM Important?

    The Wisdom trial is important to me to study recent advances in molecular biology and risk assessment and use them to find the most efficient way to screen our patients for breast cancer.

Made possible through partnerships with these amazing organizations.