Olufunmilayo I. Olopade, MD: Cutting Into Breast Cancer Disparities With Genetic Testing

Where some people see race, gender, and ZIP code as drivers of cancer risk, Olufunmilayo (Funmi) I. Olopade, MD, also sees DNA, RNA, and alleles — the stuff of genes and genetic ancestry.

dr Olopade’s work revolves around the intersection of genetics, breast cancer, and racial health disparities. Her research on aggressive breast cancers in young Black African and Black American women has revealed variants of genetic mutations that raise risk for breast cancer and link these two communities.

The Walter L. Palmer Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine and Human Genetics and director of the Center for Clinical Cancer Genetics and Global Health at the University of Chicago Medicine, Olopade earner her MD from the University of Ibadan in Nigeria in 1980. She joined the University of Chicago Faculty in 1986.

Her work on cancer risk assessment, prevention, and treatment garnered the Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation in 2000, a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship in 2005, and the 2017 Mendel Medal Lecture at Villanova University.

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