• Sujuan Ba, Ph.D.

  • About Dr. Ba

    One of the Top 300 Women Leaders in Global Health

    Dr. Sujuan Ba currently serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR) which is co-founded in 1973 by Nobel Prize Winner Dr. Albert Szent-Györgyi to advance cancer research to find cures for all types of cancer. She is also the founding President and CEO of the AIM-HI Translational Research Fund which is established to accelerate the development of innovative new cancer medicines for the public and to create a new self-sustaining model for cancer research. Ten oncology startup companies have been incubated and started under this initiative.


    At NFCR, Dr. Ba oversees the strategic directions and implementation of NFCR’s scientific funding, global strategic partnership & alliances, public fundraising, and financial planning. Under Dr. Ba’s leadership, NFCR has established a powerful network of research laboratories in the United States, Europe, and Asia allowing NFCR-funded scientists work collaboratively across disciplinary, institutional, and geographic boundaries, on a wide array of innovative basic and translational cancer research.


    One of the earlier highest-profile and significant research programs to emerge from this cross-institution collaborative approach was the ScreenSaver-LifeSaver Project. Dr. Ba established a partnership between NFCR, United Devices, Inc., Intel Corporation, and Oxford University in the United Kingdom to launch a distributed computing technology-based application, which sped up the drug screening process by linking together more than 3 million PC users around the world to create the world’s largest supercomputer. This program enabled scientists to perform virtual screenings of 3.5 billion small molecules against some twelve target proteins to identify new anti-cancer drug candidates. The project cut years off the lengthy drug discovery process for many potential cancer therapies. InhibOx, a spin-off company out of the University of Oxford (now the company name changed to Oxford Drug Design Ltd), was established in 2002 out of this initiative to commercialize the technology and drug screening platform. This program was written up as one of the innovations by Shira P. White in her book, New Ideas about New Ideas, Insights on Creativity from the World’s Leading Innovations in 2002. The program was also featured in the book Entrepreneurship: a case study from two viewpoints by Graham Richards and Tony Marchington.


    In 2003, Dr. Ba led the creation of the Tissue Bank Consortium in Asia (TBCA) and the Joint Tissue Bank Facility at Tianjin Cancer Hospital and Institute to promote best practices for biorepositories and biobanks, and for building international collaboration platforms for tissue-based cancer research. She served as the Co-Chair of TBCA’s Executive Steering Committee for more than ten years. Under her stewardship, the project had been proclaimed an exemplary international platform for private, public and government partnership for international collaboration in the fields of cancer biomarkers and therapeutic development. Several major global pharmaceutical companies had been the corporate members for this program. In 2011, NFCR and NCI/Office of Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research (OBBR) co-hosted the US-China Workshop on Developing Common Standards for Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research in Tianjin which more than 200 researchers from US, China and other countries in Asia attended the workshop. A white paper about the discussions and future improvements was issued by OBBR which are used to guide for the SOPs for many tissue banks in Asia.


    In 2005, Dr. Ba led the establishment of NFCR’s annual Szent-Györgyi Prize for Progress in Cancer Research, an international prize in recognition of outstanding scientific achievement in the war against cancer. She has served continuously as co-chair of the Prize Selection Committee which consists of leaders in academic and pharmaceutical sectors. The prize has now grown into one of the premier cancer research awards in the world.


    In addition to her work at NFCR and AIM-HI Translational Research Fund, Dr. Ba also founded the Asian Fund for Cancer Research (AFCR) in 2006. AFCR is a non-profit organization headquartered in Hong Kong that is committed to investigating the distinct causes of cancer in Asian populations and developing more effective therapies tailored to Asian cancer patients. As an non-paid CEO of AFCR, Dr. Ba provides strategic vision and guidance for AFCR’s collaborative research initiatives and public prevention programs in Hong Kong, Greater China, and throughout Asia.

    Between 2013-2017, Dr. Ba served on the executive committee and Co-Chair of the Patient-Focused Research and Advocacy Committee during the planning phase of the GBM-AGILE (Adaptive Global Innovative Learning Environment), a global trial to improve the survival of GBM patients with a global force of over 150 neurosurgeons, neuro-oncologists, pathologists, imagers, basic and clinical neuro scientists, from academic, industry, and government. GBM-AGILE is a paradigm changing global-scale cancer research platform that enables clinical testing and delivery of new drugs and treatments to GBM patients around the world at an unprecedented pace where every cancer patient counts in the trial design. The learning of AGILE platform could be expanded to other cancer types and ultimately improve outcome for all patients in the future.


    In 2017, Dr. Ba co-funded, together with several world renowned leaders in brain cancer research, the Global Coalition for Adaptive Research (GCAR) which leads the approval and global implementation of the master protocol trial of GBM AGILE with a goal of changing the face of future clinical trials to speed up the critical path for new curative therapies. She currently serves as the founding member of the Board of Directors of GCAR (www.GCARresearch.org).


    Dr. BA current serves on the Women in Science Committee of CRS (Control Release Society). Dr. Ba is a member of BayHelix, an invitation-only organization of leaders of Chinese origin in the global life sciences and healthcare community based in San Francisco with regional offices in Shanghai and Beijing. She also served as a Past President (2010-2011) Board of Directors (2006-2013) and is currently a member of the Board of Advisors of the Chinese Biopharmaceutical Association–USA (Rockville, MD). She had served on the Membership Committee of the International Union against Cancer (Geneva).


    With her leadership and expertise in cancer research communities, Dr. Ba is invited to serve as a member of the Medical Advisory Board of Medelis, Inc. (Fountain Hills, AZ) and a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Immunicom (San Diego, CA).


    Dr. Ba received NBC4 Working 4 The Community Award in May 2019 in recognition her outstanding achievement as a scientist, leader, and role model in the STEM universe. Dr. Ba also received the inaugural award from Society for Neuro-Oncology of the Chinese Medical Doctor Association for her outstanding contribution to international cooperation in March 2017. Dr. BA is recognized as one of the “Top 300 Women Leaders in Global Health” by the Global Health Programme at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in 2015. She was awarded the 2014 Public Service Award from the Chinese Biopharmaceutical Association–USA for her long term devotion and distinguished service to the global biopharmaceutical community. In 2011, She was also selected to receive the CRS WOMEN IN SCIENCES award. In 2005, she was also honored with an Outstanding Alumna Award by Peking University.


    Prior to joining NFCR, Dr. Ba was the Director of Chiral Chemistry and Fine Chemical Consulting Services at Technology Catalysts International (TCI) where she conducted market research, business evaluation, and competitive intelligence for an international clientele of major chemical and pharmaceutical companies. From 1991-1997, she was a Principal Research Chemist and then Project Manager of Technology Development and Research Planning at Arco Chemical Company (ARCO).


    Dr. Ba received her B.S. in radiochemistry from Peking University and her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania.

  • About NFCR

    The National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR) was founded in 1973 to support cancer research and public education relating to the prevention, early diagnosis, better treatments and ultimately, a cure for cancer.

    Research for a Cure

    We See a Future Without Cancer

    From day one, NFCR has stood apart from larger cancer charities and government science funding institutions because we support the cutting edge research that those other groups can't and won't fund. NFCR is dedicated to supporting "high risk/high reward" cancer research and public education relating to prevention, early diagnosis, better treatments and, ultimately, a cure for cancer.

    David Bjork, Sen. Ed Markey, Sujuan Ba, Frederick Alt, Ph.D.

    How We Do It

    Global Research Network—Laboratories without Walls

    • NFCR distinguishes itself from other charities and government science funding institutions by providing seed funding for “high risk/high reward” cancer research.
    • NFCR promotes and facilitates collaborations, domestically and internationally, to accelerate the translation of discovery from laboratory bench-side to patient bed-side.
    • NFCR-funded scientists have made more than 100 discoveries and breakthroughs that are saving and improving the lives of countless patients today.
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