BIG Breast International Group
We will find a cure for breast cancer through global research and collaboration.

Executive Board

The Executive Board is BIG's main scientific and decision-making authority.

The Board meets several times a year to see that decisions taken by the General Assembly are carried out and to ensure the smooth running of the association. Board members are elected every four years at the General Assembly, which comprises all member groups and serves as highest authority with respect to overall direction of the association.

The 2014-2018 BIG Executive Board consists of:

Martine Piccart-Gebhart, MD, PhD, Chair
Aron Goldhirsch, MD, PhD, Vice-chair
Michael Gnant, MD, Treasurer
Fabrice André, MD, PhD
José Baselga, MD, PhD
David Cameron, MD

Angelo Di Leo, MD, PhD
Karen Gelmon, MD
Sibylle Loibl, MD, PhD



Martine Piccart-Gebhart, MD, PhD, Chair

Martine J. Piccart-Gebhart is Professor of Oncology at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and Director of the Medicine Department at the Institut Jules Bordet, Belgium.

She received her medical degree in 1978 and her internal medicine certification in 1983 at the ULB. She earned her oncology qualification (1983-1985) from the Division of Oncology at the New York University Medical Center, became certified in European Medical Oncology in London in 1989, and earned her PhD from the ULB in 1993.

Dr Piccart-Gebhart is a member of numerous professional organisations, currently serving as President of the European CanCer Organisation (ECCO).

She is immediate Past-President of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO). From 2006 to 2009 she served as President of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) and member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) board.


She has served as first author or co-author of more than 390 scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals. She has received numerous awards in recognition of her achievements in the clinical research field, including the Jill Rose Award (New York), the William L. McGuire Award (San Antonio), the Umberto Veronesi Award for the Future Fight against Cancer (Cancun), and the ASCO's David A. Karnofsky Memorial Award (Chicago).

She plays an active role in new drug development and has been particularly involved in the development of paclitaxel, docetaxel, capecitabine, trastuzumab, pertuzumab, TDM1, letrozole, exemestane, and pegfilgrastim.



Aron Goldhirsch, MD, PhD (h.c.), Vice-chair

Aron Goldhirsch is a medical oncologist and clinical trials research scientist.

Dr Goldhirsch is currently Director of the Breast Health Program at the European Institute of Oncology (IEO), Milan, Italy, and Consultant for Senology at the Regional Hospital of Lugano, Switzerland. He is Co-Chairman of the Scientific Committee of the International Breast Cancer Study Group (IBCSG, formerly Ludwig Group) and Professor (by title) for Medical Oncology at the University of Bern, Switzerland.

Dr Goldhirsch’s areas of research include new treatments for breast cancer, definition of biological features that predict responsiveness or resistance to anti-cancer treatments, and quality-of-life-oriented approaches.

Dr Goldhirsch has received several international prizes and recognitions among which a PhD Honoris Causa (University of Gothenburg), and, more recently, the Gianni Bonadonna Breast Cancer Award (San Francisco). He is author of nearly 700 peer-reviewed articles in reference books and editor or co-editor of 10 books. He is also on the editorial board of several oncology and breast cancer research journals.                          



Michael Gnant, MD, Treasurer

Michael Gnant is Full Professor of Surgery at the Medical University of Vienna, Austria, where he also serves as President of the Austrian Breast and Colorectal Cancer Study Group (ABCSG) since 2005.

His medical career began in 1988 when he graduated in medicine in Vienna. He then specialised in surgery (1994) and surgical oncology. In 1997 and 1998 he worked as a Visiting Scientist at the National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, USA, and in 2004 he became Full Professor at the Medical University of Vienna, where he also heads the Breast Health Center. In 2009, Prof Gnant was appointed as future Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the Medical University of Vienna.

Prof Gnant has published more than 350 original papers in peer-reviewed journals, including 77 as first author. He has given more than 1000 lectures at national and international meetings, and has been the recipient of multiple awards.

Prof. Gnant co-leads the Comprehensive Cancer Center Vienna and serves on the prestigious St Gallen Consensus Panel for Early Breast Cancer since 2007 (moving to Vienna in 2015). He was elected to the European Academy of Science and Arts in 2009. Among other honors, he is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.


Prof Gnant’s research interests include several fields of surgical oncology, in particular breast and pancreatic cancer, immunotherapy using antibodies, vaccination with dendritic cells, endocrine intervention, dormant tumour cells,  the use of bone targeted treatments in order to silence tumor micrometastases, and pathway directed therapies such as mTOR inhibition. He has been the Principal Investigator of more than 30 clinical trials.

He is involved in many scientific societies, including the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) and the European Society of Surgical Oncology (ESSO). Among his numerous activities, he also serves as Reviewer for the European Union, the EORTC and other international bodies.

In addition, Prof. Gnant serves as Editor-in-chief as well as on editorial boards and as reviewer for many peer-reviewed journals such as The Lancet, The New England Journal of Medicine and Annals of Oncology.



Fabrice André, MD, PhD

Fabrice André, MD, PhD, did his medical school in Grenoble and received a PhD in 2005. He is a past recipient of Career Development award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). He is currently Professor of Medical Oncology, Institut Gustave Roussy, Villejuif, France.

Prof. André is conducting research in the field of biomarkers and personalised therapies. His research work focuses on biomarker discovery, development of targeted agents and implementation of personalised medicine. His team includes 50 people working on basic sciences, bioinformatics, biotechnologies and clinical research. He is also leading phase I-III trials testing targeted agents in the field of breast cancer and large national trials testing implementation of high throughput technologies in the health care system.


He has published more than 100 peer reviewed papers, including papers in the New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, Nature Medicine, Journal of Clinical Oncology and Lancet Oncology, either as main or co-author. He is chairman of the personalised medicine group at UNICANCER (French cooperative group).



José Baselga, MD, PhD

José Baselga is Physician-in-Chief and Chief Medical Officer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) and Professor of Medicine at Weil Cornell College in New York City.

He received his M.D. and Ph.D. degree from the Universidad Autonoma of Barcelona in 1982. He completed a fellowship in Medical Oncology at MSKCC in New York. From 1996 to 2010 he was the Chairman of the Medical Oncology Service and Founding Director of the Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO) at the Vall d'Hebron University Hospital in Barcelona, Spain. From 2010 to 2012 he was the Chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology, Associate Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center in Boston and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

His long standing research interests are in the development of targeted agents for the therapy of breast cancer and in studying strategies to overcome mechanisms of resistance. He conducted the initial clinical trials with the monoclonal antibodies cetuximab and trastuzumab and is leading the clinical development of several new agents including pertuzumab, everolimus and PI3K inhibitors.

His main focus in the laboratory and in the clinic is in the area of novel anti-HER2 agents, in the identification of mechanisms of resistance to anti-HER2 agents and therapeutic approaches to target the PI3K pathway.

He is also leading a number of neo-adjuvant trials in breast cancer and has been at the forefront of developing biomarker-based early and translational clinical trials.

Dr Baselga is past President of ESMO and President of AACR, a past member of the Board of Directors of AACR and ASCO. Dr Baselga has received a number of awards including a Young Investigator Award (1992) and a Career Development Award from ASCO (1994), a Brystol-Myers Squibb Unrestricted Cancer Grant Award (2002-2006), Elected Member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation (2004); AACR-Rosenthal Family Foundation Award (2008); and King James I Award (2008), Joseph Martine Award (2012), the EACR Mike Price Gold Metal (2012), Elected Member of the Association of American Physicians (2014), Elected Member of the AACR Academy (2014) and Elected Member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (2014).

He is a past member of the Editorial Boards of Cancer Cell, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Clinical Cancer Research, and he is the founding editor-in-chief on the new AACR flagship journal Cancer Discovery. Dr Baselga has published over 350 peer-reviewed articles.



David Cameron, MD

David Cameron received his medical degree in 1986 from St. George’s Hospital Medical School, London. After completing a fellowship and MSc in Clinical Oncology at the University of Edinburgh, he received a MD with distinction in 1997.

Prof Cameron is a member of several professional societies including the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the European Society for Medical Oncology and is Secretary of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Breast Cancer Group. He has also been a member of the EORTC task force on the use of growth factors in chemotherapy for solid tumours and lymphoma and Chairman of the EORTC New Agent Committee. He is active in a number of clinical trials in breast cancer. He is a member of the executive committee of the HERA adjuvant herceptin trial, and is a member of the steering group for several UK adjuvant breast cancer trials (AZURE, OPTION, TACT, TANGO and TEAM).

He is chief investigator on the recent UK adjuvant breast cancer trial, TACT2, exploring the benefit of accelerated Epirubicin chemotherapy in the treatment of breast cancer, and chief investigator of BEATRICE, a global trial testing the possible benefit of adjuvant bevacizumab in triple negative breast cancer.

Between November 2006 and June 2010 he was Director of the English NIHR-funded National Cancer Research Networks, and continues as an Associate Director. He recently took up a new post as Professor of Oncology at Edinburgh University and Director of Cancer Services in NHS Lothian. He continues his major clinical interest in breast cancer with an on-going clinical and translational research programme.



Angelo Di Leo, MD, PhD

Angelo Di Leo is currently Head of the Sandro Pitigliani Medical Oncology Unit, and Chair of the Oncology Department, at the Hospital of Prato, Istituto Toscano Tumori, Italy, a position which he took up in September 2003. The center is affiliated to the International Breast Cancer Study Group (IBCSG).

Dr Di Leo graduated in Medicine and Surgery at the University of Palermo (Italy) in 1988, received his postgraduate diploma in Medical Oncology from the University of Pavia (Italy) in 1992 and in 1996, received his European certification in Medical Oncology, which was issued by the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO). Dr. Di Leo received his training at the National Cancer Institute in Milan, where he worked for seven years until 1996. From 1996 to 2003 he worked at the Chemotherapy Unit of the Jules Bordet Institute in Brussels, where in 1997 he was appointed Senior staff member and Medical Director of the Breast European Adjuvant Studies Team.

Dr. Di Leo’s main field of research is breast cancer and he has been involved in the coordination of a number of international, pivotal Phase III trials designed to evaluate the efficacy of new adjuvant therapies for breast cancer. Dr. Di Leo is also largely involved in the evaluation of molecular markers with potential predictive value in the treatment of breast cancer patients.

Dr. Di Leo is a member of the Early Breast Cancer Trialists’ Cooperative Group (EBCTCG) steering committee, a member of the Scientific Advisory Council of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Cancer Education Committee and he has been a member of the ASCO Grants Selection Committee (2006-2009).

Dr. Di Leo is the author of several articles that have been published in peer-reviewed international journals and has lectured extensively at national and international meetings. 



Karen Gelmon, MD

Karen Gelmon is a Professor of Medicine at the UBC and a Medical Oncologist at the BCCA, combining clinical and translational research. She is currently Head of the Division of Medical Oncology at UBC.

Dr Gelmon is Co-chair of the Breast Site Committee for the NCIC Clinical Trials Group and a member of the NCI Breast Steering Committee. She sits on the NCIC-CTG IND executive and is a past Chair of this committee. She is also a Komen scholar and member of the Scientific Advisory Council for Komen and Co-chair of the Scientific Advisory Council of the Ontario Institute of Cancer Research.

Dr Gelmon is Clinical leader of Advanced Therapeutics department at the BCCA. She sits on the International Advisory Board of The Lancet, The Oncologist and Clinical Breast Cancer. She is a reviewer for journals and grant review panels. She has been track chair for Breast at ASCO and is Chair of the Breast Education Committee currently. 

She is an active teacher interested in education of health care professionals and the public and has published extensively. She has been a member of the Board of the BC Cancer Foundation, on the Medical Advisory Board of the BC/Yukon Chapter of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and sits on the board of Rethink Breast Cancer. She was the recipient of a YWCA Woman of Distinction award in 2003 and an award from the Canadian Friends of Hebrew University in 2011.



Sibylle Loibl, MD, PhD

Prof Sibylle Loibl is Co-Chair of the German Breast Group (GBG). She devotes the majority of her time to clinical trial research at GBG and Sana Klinikum Offenbach, Germany, where she serves in the multidisciplinary tumour conference.

Prof Loibl is an Associate Professor at the University of Frankfurt. She is internationally renowned in the field of neoadjuvant breast cancer, breast cancer
during pregnancy and breast cancer in young women. She has developed the translational research within the GBG and is currently leading an EU FP7 project (“RESPONSIFY”).

Prof Loibl graduated from the University of Heidelberg and completed her fellowship and residency as a gynaecologist and obstetrician at the Women’s Hospital, University of Heidelberg, and the Women’s Hospital, University of Frankfurt, Germany.

She has participated and led a large number of national and international clinical trials. In cooperation with Prof Gunter von Minckwitz (Past BIG Executive Board Member) she has contributed to the improvement of the infrastructure for breast cancer trials all over Germany. She serves on several international
Steering Committees, Translational Research Committees, and IDMCs.

Prof. Loibl was awarded the John-Mendelsohn Prize for the best clinical trial by the German Cancer Society 2012 for the “ZORO” study.
Prof. Loibl has co-authored more than 150 medline listed scientific papers, in addition to more than 175 original and peer-reviewed articles as well as 29 books or book chapters and she has actively contributed to more than 170 national and international congresses. Prof. Loibl is an active member of numerous national and international organisations such as ASCO, ESMO, EORTC-TRAFO, ESGO.

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