Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

2018 Keynote Speaker

Mina BissellMina J. Bissell, PhD, FRSC, is a Distinguished Scientist, the highest rank bestowed at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and serves as Senior Advisor to the Laboratory Director on Biology. She is also Faculty of four Graduate Groups in University of California, Berkeley Graduate Group Faculty: Comparative Biochemistry, Endocrinology, Molecular Toxicology, Bioengineering (Joint with UC San Francisco)

Having challenged several established paradigms, Bissell is a pioneer in breast cancer research and her body of work has provided much impetus for the current recognition of the significant role that extracellular matrix (ECM) signaling and microenvironment play in gene expression regulation in both normal and malignant cells. Her laboratory developed novel 3D assays and techniques that demonstrate her signature phrase: after conception, “phenotype is dominant over genotype.”

Bissell earned her doctorate in microbiology and molecular genetics from Harvard Medical School, won an American Cancer Society fellowship for her postdoctoral studies, and soon after joined LBNL. She was the founding Director of the Cell and Molecular Biology Division and later the Associate Laboratory Director for all Life Sciences at Berkeley Lab where she recruited outstanding scientists and developed a strong program in cell and molecular biology and breast cancer.

Bissell has published more than 400 publications and is one of the most sought-after speakers in the field. She has received numerous honors and awards, which include: U.S. Department of Energy’s E.O. Lawrence Award, AACR’s G.H.A. Clowes Memorial Award, the Pezcoller Foundation-AACR International Award, Susan G. Komen Foundation’s Brinker Award, BCRF Foundation’s Jill Rose Award, Berkeley Lab’s inaugural Lifetime Achievement Prize, American Cancer Society’s Medal of Honor, MD Anderson Cancer Center’s highest honor – the Ernst W. Bertner Award, the Honorary Medal from the Signaling Societies in Germany, ASCB’s highest honor – the E.B. Wilson Medal, and the 2017 AACR Award for Lifetime Achievement in Cancer Research. Bissell is an inspiring mentor and in her honor, the University of Porto, Portugal established the Mina J. Bissell Award which is given every three years to a person who has dramatically changed a field. She is the recipient of Honorary Doctorates from both Pierre & Marie Curie University in Paris, France and University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

Bissell is not only an elected Fellow of most U.S. honorary scientific academies, including National Academy of Sciences (NAS), National Academy of Medicine (NAM), and American Philosophical Society (APS), but she also sits on many national and international scientific boards and continues to engage in full-time research, among other scientific activities. 

2018 Keynote Presentation

"From laminins to lamins and p53: How does a breast cell know to be a breast, and what happens when it forgets?"

Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Building
John Hughes Auditorium
303 E. Superior Street, Chicago 

See the entire Research Day schedule.