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Cancer research is changing, for the better. Nevertheless, much of cancer research is focused on later stage disease, helping patients survive a cancer that may have already fully developed. What if we could detect those cancers earlier? What if we could discover what makes the body create cancer, so that we could eliminate it before it ever begins? That would truly end cancer as we know it!
Dr. Sadik Esener is the Director of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute’s Cancer Early Detection Advanced Research Center (CEDAR). A nano-engineer by training, Dr. Esener is assembling a diverse team comprised of the best and brightest minds in the world. His team includes people who specialize in technology, basic biology, population science, and researchers who bring a unique perspective to the problems of early detection.
His operating model looks a little more like Google than a traditional academic medical institution’s research lab – and there are reasons for that. The Knight is reinventing the model for its focus on early detection – because the earlier you can spot and treat cancers, the more lives are saved.
Dr. Esener was recruited to the Knight’s CEDAR Center because of his strengths as a scientific innovator and a catalyst for discovery. He has a strong record of bringing together scientists and technology from different disciplines to focus on a specific challenge. Dr. Esener came to OHSU from UCSD, where he was a professor at the Jacobs School of Engineering; he also led the Cancer Nanotechnology Center of Excellence, funded by the National Cancer Institute at USCD’s Moores Cancer Center. The Cancer Nanotechnology Center explores ways to use nanoscale devices to detect and target cancerous tumors. Dr. Esener’s technologies have launched many start-up companies, including five of his own.
Of Turkish origin, Dr. Esener grew up in France, earned his B.S. from the Instanbul Technical University, an M.S. from the University of Michigan in Electrical Engineering, and a Ph.D. in Applied Physics and Electrical Engineering from UCSD, specializing in photonic devices.