William Sellers, M.D.

Core Institute Member, Broad Institute, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School

Dr. William Sellers is a core institute member and director of the cancer program at the Broad Institute and a professor of medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School. At the Broad Institute, Dr. Sellers directs a research group focused on translating genomic discoveries into new therapeutics. His lab is focused on both functional genomic approaches to understanding routes for therapeutic development including digenic paralog CRISPR screens, and systematic gain-of-function lethality screens, and on creating new routes for developing therapeutics and understanding therapeutic action. 

Previously, Dr. Sellers directed cancer drug discovery and early cancer clinical development at the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, where he oversaw all cancer research and clinical sites from 2005 to 2016. During this time, more than 30 small molecule, biologic and cell-based cancer therapeutics entered first-in-human trials. Ten therapeutics have reached market approval, including encorafinib, alpelisib, ribociclib, asciminib and tisagenlecleucel. During this tenure, he also conceptualized and directed the development of Cancer Cell Line Encyclopedia, the Novartis Primary Derived Xenograft Encyclopedia and of large-scale efforts to functionally characterize the cancer genome (Project DRIVE). 

Earlier, Dr. Sellers was an associate professor of medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School and an associate member of the Broad Institute. Together with Matthew Meyerson, he initiated and developed large-scale efforts to resequence genes in diverse cancer types. In addition, they pioneered the use of high-density SNP arrays for defining LOH and copy number alterations across cancer including the development of the widely used GISTIC algorithm. These projects led to discovery of EGFR mutations in lung adenocarcinoma and the discovery of the oncogenic role of the MITF gene in melanoma. In addition, his work advanced the understanding of the molecular mechanisms of growth regulation of the PTEN tumor suppressor gene. 

Dr. Sellers was a previous member of the National Cancer Advisory Board.  

Dr. Sellers holds a B.S. from Georgetown University and M.D. from the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He completed residency training in internal medicine at the University of California San Francisco and trained in medical oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.