Kornelia Polyak, MD, PhD, is a professor of medicine at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School and is an internationally recognized leader of the breast cancer field. Dr. Polyak received her doctor of medicine degree from Albert Szent-Gyorgyi Medical University, Szeged, Hungary and her doctorate from Cornell University/Sloan-Kettering Cancer Institute. She completed her postdoctoral training in cancer genetics in the laboratories of Drs. Bert Vogelstein and Kenneth Kinzler at the Johns Hopkins Oncology Center, Baltimore, Maryland. She joined the faculty of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School in 1998 as assistant professor and was promoted to professor in 2011.
Research in Dr. Polyak's laboratory is dedicated to the molecular analysis of human breast cancer with the goal of identifying differences between normal and cancerous breast tissue, determine their consequences, and use this information to improve the clinical management of breast cancer patients. Her lab has devoted much effort to develop new ways to study tumors as a whole and to apply interdisciplinary approaches. Using these methods, Dr. Polyak's lab has been at the forefront of studies analyzing purified cell populations from normal and neoplastic human breast tissue at genomic scale and in situ at single cell level and applying mathematical and ecological models for the better understanding of breast tumor evolution. She has also been successful with the clinical translation in her findings, including the testing of efficacy of JAK and BET bromodomain inhibitors for the treatment of triple negative breast cancer in clinical trials.
Dr. Polyak has received numerous awards including the Paul Marks Prize for Cancer Research in 2011 and the 2012 AACR Outstanding Investigator Award for Breast Cancer Research. She has served on numerous AACR committees including the AACR Board of Directors 2010-2013.