Elaine Mardis

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Elaine Mardis
Born (1962-09-28) September 28, 1962 (age 56)[citation needed]
Scientific career
InstitutionsMcDonnell Genome Institute
Washington University School of Medicine
University of Oklahoma
Bio-Rad Laboratories

Elaine R. Mardis (born September 28, 1962) is the Co-Executive Director of the Institute for Genomic Medicine at Nationwide Children's Hospital, where she also serves as the Nationwide Foundation Endowed Chair in Genomic Medicine.[1] She also is Professor of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.[2] Dr. Mardis’s research focuses on the genomic characterization of cancer and its implications for cancer medicine.[3] She was part of the team that reported the first next-generation-based sequencing of a whole cancer genome,[4][5] and participated extensively in The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and the Pediatric Cancer Genome Project (PCGP).[3][6][7][8]


Dr. Mardis was born in North Platte, Nebraska. She gained a passion for science at an early age, and credits her father, a chemistry professor for more than 30 years, for nurturing this passion.[9][10]

She received her undergraduate degree in Zoology from the University of Oklahoma in 1984.[1] During her senior year she took a course in biochemistry that was taught by Bruce Roe, PhD, which says opened her eyes to the world of molecular biology.[9] She stayed at the University of Oklahoma for her doctoral studies under the supervision of Dr. Roe, who was one of the first academic scientists to have a fluorescent DNA sequencer in the laboratory.[10] As a result, during her doctoral work Dr. Mardis learned the art of DNA sequencing, at a time when few others were doing this.[9][10]

After obtaining her PhD in chemistry and biochemistry in 1989, Dr. Mardis did postgraduate work in industry at Bio-Rad Laboratories in Hercules, California.[1]

In 1993, Dr. Mardis joined the faculty of Washington University School of Medicine.[1] Over the next 23 years, she held several and academic and leadership roles at the University, including serving as Co-Director of the McDonnell Genome Institute.[3] In that position, she contributed substantially to the sequencing and analysis of the human genome,[11] and was instrumental in establishing the utility of massively parallel sequencing technologies for understanding cancer biology.[3] Her work in cancer genetics and genomics has provided insights into the genetic drivers of many types of cancer, including acute myeloid leukemia,[7][12][13] breast cancer,[14][15] glioblastoma,[16] and lung adenocarcinoma.[17][18] By better defining the landscape of germline and somatic alterations, this research helps drive new strategies for treating cancer, and is central to the concept of precision medicine.

Since joining Nationwide Children's Hospital in 2016, Dr. Mardis has turned the focus of her research to the incorporation of next-generation sequencing assays and established knowledge about cancer genomics into clinical and therapeutic decision-making, and into the design of new approaches to cancer immunotherapy.[3][19][20]

In 2015, Dr. Mardis helped launch an open access, precision medicine journal, Molecular Case Studies, in conjunction with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.[21] She currently serves as Editor-in-Chief.[22]

Dr. Mardis was elected as President of the American Association for Cancer Research for 2019–2020.[23]

Awards and honors[edit]

  • 2019: Elected to the 2019 class of Fellows of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Academy[24]
  • 2017: Precision Medicine World Congress 2017 Luminary Award[25]
  • 2016: Morton K. Schwartz Award for Significant Contributions in Cancer Research Diagnostics from the American Association for Clinical Chemistry[26]
  • 2011: Distinguished Alumna Award from the College of Arts and Sciences, Oklahoma University[27]
  • 2010: Scripps Translational Research Award[3]


  1. ^ a b c d "Nationwide Children's Hospital: Find a Doctor".
  2. ^ "The Lantern".
  3. ^ a b c d e f "PMWC Speaker Biography".
  4. ^ "Nature volume 456, pages 66–72 (06 November 2008)".
  5. ^ ""Scientists Decode Set of Cancer Genes." New York Times, November 5, 2008".
  6. ^ ""The Cancer Genome Atlas Timeline & Milestones." National Cancer Institute".
  7. ^ a b "Nature volume 455, pages 1061–1068 (23 October 2008)".
  8. ^ "Nat Genet. 2013 Jun; 45(6): 602–612".
  9. ^ a b c "Disease Models & Mechanisms 2014(7): 313-317".
  10. ^ a b c "The Source, Washington University in Saint Louis. September 10, 2008".
  11. ^ "The Source. Washington University in St. Louis. October 21, 2004".
  12. ^ "N Engl J Med. 2009 Sep 10; 361(11): 1058–1066".
  13. ^ "Nature. 2012 Jan 11;481(7382):506-10".
  14. ^ "Nature. 2012 Jun 10;486(7403):353-60".
  15. ^ "Nat Commun. 2018 Sep 4;9(1):3476".
  16. ^ "Nature. 2008 Oct 23;455(7216):1061-8".
  17. ^ "Nature. 2008 Oct 23;455(7216):1069-75".
  18. ^ "Nat Commun. 2018 Sep 17;9(1):3787".
  19. ^ "Oncoimmunology. 2019; 8(4): e1561106".
  20. ^ "The Ohio State University. Find a Researcher".
  21. ^ "Press release. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press" (PDF).
  22. ^ "Molecular Case Studies. About the Journal".
  23. ^ "Nationwide Children's Hospital. Press release".
  24. ^ "AACR. Press release".
  25. ^ "PMWC Speaker biography: Awards".
  26. ^ "AACC".
  27. ^ "Oklahoma University".

External links[edit]