Dr. Matthew J. Ellis Named Director of Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center

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Matthew J. Ellis, MD, PhD

Matthew J. Ellis, MD, PhD, a renowned clinician scientist in the area of genomics and molecular profiling of breast cancer, was named the new Director of the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Ellis assumed his new role in September 2014, succeeding C. Kent Osborne, MD, Director of the National Cancer Institute–designated Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center at Baylor.

“Dr. Ellis has an excellent track record in leadership, and his research in genomics is outstanding,” said Paul E. Klotman, MD, President, CEO, and Executive Dean of Baylor College of Medicine. “He is the perfect fit for our organization and its goal of bringing new treatments to patients on an accelerated timeline.”

Dr. Ellis was recruited from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, where he was Professor of Medicine and Head of the Section of Breast Oncology, a position he had held since 2010. He also had served as Head of Medical Oncology at Washington University School of Medicine and had been a faculty member there since 2003.

Groundbreaking Work

Dr. Ellis’ work has unveiled groundbreaking new information about mutations in breast cancer and their clinical relevance. He has been instrumental in developing a genome atlas and therapeutic road map for estrogen receptor–positive breast cancer. More recently, he has found that metastatic breast tumors initially positive for the estrogen receptor frequently harbor mutations and translocations in the receptor, which render the tumor resistant to endocrine therapies used to block estrogen. Several laboratories are now trying to develop new drugs that will block these mutant receptors.

His genomic and proteomic studies have been funded by the National Human Genome Institute, the National Cancer Institute, the AVON Foundation, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and Susan G. Komen for the Cure. 

“Dr. Ellis will be an outstanding addition to the Smith Breast Center team and our mission to improve diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of breast cancer,” said Dr. Osborne. “He will serve as an important link with the Baylor Human Genome Sequencing Center. In addition, he brings with him a large resource of patient-derived xenografts, which are excellent for testing new therapies and understanding treatment resistance.”

Dr. Ellis is a native of the United Kingdom. He completed his medical degree from Queens’ College & School of Clinical Medicine at the University of Cambridge in England, postgraduate clinical training at the Royal College of Physicians in London, and doctoral training at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School at the University of London. ■