Never forget that humility is the mark of greatness
Welcome to The Short Read, our weekly peek behind the curtain at the people who make this amazing community tick. Make sure to check back every Tuesday for the latest instalment.

Shawn Sweeney

Shawn Sweeney, PhD, Director of the American Association for Cancer Research

Shawn Sweeney, PhD, is a life scientist, educator, and life-long cyclist who’s working as Director of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Project GENIE Coordinating Center. Before joining the AACR, Sweeney was a research associate in the Institute for Medicine and Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. His more than 15-year career in research focused on the role of the microenvironment in cardiovascular development and disease, as well as in breast cancer metastasis. Sweeney is also an adjunct associate professor of medicine at the International University of the Health Sciences’ School of Medicine. He firmly believes in the power of bicycles to transform individuals, neighbourhoods, cities, countries, and ultimately the world.


Shawn will be participating in the panel debate ‘Advancing precision medicine through linked real-world clinico-genomic datasets’ on day one of the Festival of Genomics Boston.


 

What are you working on right now?

Using the AACR Project GENIE registry to answer clinical questions linking relatively rare genomic alterations to patient outcomes; pushing the next public releases of genomic data; onboarding new participating sites; and fundraising for the project.

What’s the biggest challenge you face in your work at the moment?

Streamlining clinical data abstraction; ensuring each participating site is appropriately compensated for their efforts.

Name one big development that you would like to see in your field the next 18 months.

Significant improvements in the reliably automated retrieval of unstructured data from EHRs.

What are you most proud of in your career?

Helping to bring AACR Project GENIE from concept to reality, and playing an integral part in the development of the AACR Cancer Progress Report.

Which scientists, living, dead, or fictional, would you invite to dinner, and why?

Stephen Jay Gould. I always found his insights on society drawn from evolution to be fascinating, and I bet it would be a very lively dinner conversation.

What advice do you wish someone had given you at the start of your career?

I’ve been very fortunate to always receive good advice and have good mentors. I wish my current self could go back and tell my younger self to trust my instincts, which is probably good advice for many.

 


Shawn will be participating in the panel debate ‘Advancing precision medicine through linked real-world clinico-genomic datasets’ on day one of the Festival of Genomics Boston.


 

Opinions and views expressed in The Short Read are the interviewee’s and not those of the home institution


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Who would you like to see interviewed for The Short Read? Let us know via contact@frontlinegenomics.com