Cancer Commons Community Member Spotlight: Sheri Sobrato Brisson


Since the beginning of high school, Cancer Commons supporter Sheri Sobrato Brisson has been working with families facing pediatric illness. “As soon as I was 16, I started volunteering in hospitals with kids with cancer, not knowing that I would grow up one day to be one of those patients myself,” she says.

At the age of 24, Sheri faced her own diagnosis: a brain tumor. Now a long-term survivor—Sheri celebrates 30 years of survivorship on May 7—she continues to dedicate her time, energy, and resources to helping children with serious diseases and their families. Continue reading…


Cancer Commons Community Member Spotlight: Nancy Kanwisher


Ask MIT Neuroscientist Dr. Nancy Kanwisher what the most fascinating discovery about the human brain is in her eyes; she’ll tell you there’s a part of our brain that is selectively turned on only when we’re thinking about what other people are thinking about us. Though it was Dr. Kanwisher’s student and now colleague who made this discovery, she considers it the “coolest” of discoveries about how various areas or regions of our brains contribute to our perception of the world.

Dr. Kanwisher is a professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and an investigator at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in biology and PhD in brain and cognitive sciences. At MIT, Dr. Kanwisher uses brain imaging and behavioral testing to understand the mechanisms that underline the human experience. She says that in 1981, while working as a psychologist and studying for her PhD, she read an article about brain imaging, and was hooked on learning more and uncovering the magnificent mystery of the human brain. Continue reading…


Cancer Commons Community Member Spotlight: Brit d’Arbeloff


One of Cancer Commons’ earliest and most generous supporters, Brit d’Arbeloff, is a woman of many talents who is dedicated to excellence in education. She is the first woman to earn an undergraduate mechanical engineering degree at Stanford University. In addition, she was the owner of a fashion boutique in Boston for over a decade. She also earned a graduate degree at MIT, where Marty Tenenbaum, founder and CEO of Cancer Commons, is also an alum, and where the two first met.

“The work being done by Cancer Commons is extremely important,” says Brit, whose late husband Alex was diagnosed with glioblastoma. “Cancer is not one disease but a multitude of them, and the number of treatment options using various combinations of drugs and therapies is increasing rapidly. The result is a data problem that Cancer Commons is uniquely prepared to solve with its highly qualified and experienced team of computer scientists and cancer experts.” Continue reading…