Francisca Vazquez, Ph.D.

Director of Cancer Dependency Map The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Scientific Co-founder of Riva

Dr. Vazquez is the director of the Cancer Dependency Map Project (DepMap) at the Broad Institute, a programmatic effort that she co-leads to systematically identify all cancer dependencies in human cancer.

The DepMap project is an effort to comprehensively identify genetic dependencies and small molecules sensitivities and the molecular markers that predict their response across thousands of cancer cell line models to accelerate precision cancer medicine. To accomplish this goal, Dr. Vazquez works with a large interdisciplinary team of project managers, basic scientists, and computational biologists that uses state-of-the-art genome-scale functional genomics, including CRISPR and high-throughput small molecule screening technologies, to systematically profile hundreds of cellular models of cancers.

Dr. Vazquez also leads DepMap’s target discovery and advancement team, which focuses on developing methods to systematically identify the most promising therapeutic targets and translate the findings to therapeutics. Dr. Vazquez launched the Pediatric and Brain Tumor dependency maps, which she co-leads to more rapidly advance therapeutic discoveries in those tumor types. Her main goal is to help accelerate precision cancer medicine by both creating resources for the scientific community, such as DepMap, and identifying and validating the most promising targets and biomarkers.

Prior to joining the Broad Institute in 2011, Dr. Vazquez worked as a research scientist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in the center for chronic disease, studying cancer metabolism; her postdoctoral work, which focused on tumor suppressor genes, was also undertaken at DFCI. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Illes Balears in Spain, while performing most of her work as a visiting student at Beth-Israel Deaconess Medical Center.