Kenna Mills Shaw | Executive Director and Institute For Personalized Cancer Therapy
M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

Kenna Mills Shaw, Executive Director and Institute For Personalized Cancer Therapy, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

Kenna R. Mills Shaw graduated Magna Cum Laude from the College of William and Mary with bachelor’s degrees in Spanish and Biology. Before completing her PhD in Cell and Developmental Biology at Harvard University with Joan Brugge, Kenna spent a year in Chile as a Fulbright Scholar investigating the role of scientists in K-12 education. While in Chile, Kenna played a key role in the revision of the national biology curriculum and directed a professional development program for high school teachers on molecular biology. This program has now been extensively used throughout Latin America and is still in use today in Chile. Her interest in science education piqued, Kenna continued to volunteer and perform outreach in K-12 education while in graduate school. As an American Cancer Society-supported post-doctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health, Kenna also served as a fellow at the National Science Resources Center where she worked on professional and curriculum development for K-8 science education. After her postdoctoral fellowship, Kenna served as Director of Education for the American Society of Human Genetics where she coordinated all educational outreach and training programs for the society. Dr. Shaw served the lead-Principal Investigator of the Geneticist-Educator Network of Alliances (GENA) Project, a project funded by the National Science Foundation and has done work on misconceptions about biology and genetics in students and the public. She previously served as the Executive Editor for a new science education venture at Nature Publishing Group called Nature Education (, where she lead the development of the content and pedagogical tools for the community. Previously, Kenna served as the Director for the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) program where she managed the team responsible for ‘front-end operations’ of the TCGA program including the collection and processing of tumor samples, development of disease-specific working groups, clinical data collection and auditing, sample processing and distribution and all strategic decisions related to program direction and policy development. Under her leadership the program grew more than 10 fold and generated comprehensive cancer genomic characterization on more than 10,000 cases of human cancer. Today, Kenna is at MD Anderson Cancer Center as the Executive Director of the Institute of Personalized Cancer Therapy. In this role she is working to improve how molecular testing is informing patient care and outcomes in hopes of driving forward innovative trials where MD Anderson has unique capacity.

back to speakers