Sadik Esener, PhD, Selected to Lead OHSU’s Large-Scale Early Cancer Detection Initiative


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Sadik Esener, PhD

Sadik Esener, PhD

Sadik Esener, PhD, has been recruited to the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) Knight Cancer Institute to lead the first large-scale early cancer detection program of its kind.

Dr. Esener will be the Director of the Institute’s Center for Early Detection Research and has been awarded the Wendt Family Endowed Chair in Early Cancer Detection. He has an extensive background in bringing together scientists and technology across disciplines to provide compelling solutions to previously unsolved challenges in biomedicine. A Professor of Nanoengineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Jacobs School of Engineering at the University of California San Diego (UCSD), Dr. Esener served as Director and Principal Investigator of several centers of excellence in the areas of photonics and cancer nanotechnologies. Most recently, he led the Cancer Nanotechnology Center of Excellence, funded by the National Cancer Institute, at UCSD’s Moores Cancer Center to explore ways to use nanoscale devices to detect and target cancerous tumors.

Dr. Esener has a breadth of experience in multiple scientific fields relevant to early cancer detection research, including micro- and nanofabrication, as well as optical, electrical, and computer engineering. As a nanotechnology expert, engineer, and computer scientist, he will bring an engineering systems-based approach to the role by integrating state-of-the-art technologies.

Among his first responsibilities as Director will be the recruitment of 20 to 30 world-class scientists and their staffs to the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute’s Center for Early Detection. Dr. Esener will hire scientists from varied backgrounds, including the fields of cancer biology, oncology, and medical engineering, to collaborate on improving early detection of cancer.

Leveraging science already underway at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, one of the first projects the program will undertake will be to develop liquid biopsy biochips that can serve as “early warning” tools to gauge disease risk. Early detection of lethal forms of the disease is crucial to realize the full promise of precision cancer medicine. ■



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