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Breast Cancer Research Chair in Oncology

School of Medicine

Established in 1992 by patients and friends of Johns Hopkins, led by Harriet Legum

LegumHarrietHARRIET LEGUM translated her personal experience with cancer into an opportunity to help others. After successful treatment, she took the helm of a campaign to raise significant funding for breast cancer research at Hopkins. Mrs. Legum, who herself provided generous support, was joined by other donors, including her mother-in-law, NAOMI HENDLER LEGUM, and her husband, JEFFREY LEGUM, to endow the Breast Cancer Research Chair, as well as having endowed a breast cancer research fellowship. Mrs. Legum also serves on the board of the Kennedy Krieger Institute, the Hopkins Medicine Board of Advisors, and the Wilmer and Kimmel advisory councils. Co-founder and co-chair of “A Woman’s Journey,” an educational program featuring Hopkins faculty, Mrs. Legum is the recipient of the American Cancer Society’s Award of Hope. She has held volunteer leadership positions at the Associated Jewish Charities, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the Park School, and the Baltimore Museum of Art. The Neurological Care Unit, for which the Legums have chosen to establish a professorship at Johns Hopkins, was one of the first in the world to apply contemporary approaches for maintaining and protecting the brain following acute severe injuries. To further this approach, the professorship supports research into the application of basic neurobiologic approaches and interventional treatments to acute brain illness.


LegumJeffreyMr. Legum is president and chief executive officer of the Park Circle Motor Company, a holding company. Previously he served as president and chief executive officer of Legum Chevrolet/Nissan and the Westminster Motor Company. He is a member of the board of the Baltimore Museum of Art, serves on the board of Johns Hopkins Medicine, and is a member of the Wilmer Advisory Council. Mr. Legum’s first association with Hopkins was as a lay member of the Institutional Review Board for Human Subjects Research at the Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. He has served as treasurer of the Park School, vice president of the Associated Placement Bureau, and a trustee of both the Associated Jewish Charities of Baltimore and the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation.


“I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I do know that I have done something very important for my daughter–and for all women–and this gives me the strength to cope with uncertainty.”

-Harriet Legum

Held by Vered Stearns

StearnsVeredVERED STEARNS, who holds the Breast Cancer Research Chair in Oncology, joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2002 and is best known for her ground-breaking work on the pharmacogenetics of tamoxifen and the use of biomarkers to implement new interventions for breast cancer treatment and prevention. Dr. Vered Stearns completed a BS equivalent at the Tel Aviv University, Sackler Faculty of Medicine in 1989. After relocating to the United States, Dr. Stearns transferred to and graduated from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in 1992. She completed a residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Medical Oncology at the Georgetown University where she developed an interest in translational breast cancer research and spent two additional years as a research fellow. Dr. Stearns was a faculty member at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Georgetown University from 1999 to 2001 and at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan from 2001 to 2002. Dr. Stearns joined the faculty at the Breast Cancer Program at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins in 2002, and was promoted to an Associate Professor of Oncology in 2005. She was appointed as co-Director of the Breast Cancer Program in 2010, and to full Professor in 2013. In 2014 she was appointed at the co-Director of the Breast and Ovarian Cancer Program at The Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins.

Dr. Stearns’s long-term research goal is to improve current therapies by individualizing strategies for the treatment and prevention of breast cancer. Her main research includes utilization of biomarkers to predict response to standard regimens used to treat and prevent breast cancer and to introduce new treatments. While administering standard chemotherapy in the preoperative setting, Dr. Stearns examines molecular markers and functional imaging to assist in the early determination of sensitivity or resistance to different treatments. Dr. Stearns and colleagues from the Consortium On Breast Cancer Pharamcogenomics (COBRA) Group were the first to evaluate the role of genetic variants in candidate genes such as CYP2D6 in tamoxifen metabolism, safety, and efficacy. The work has been extended to evaluate the role of genetic variants in aromatase inhibitor associated outcomes.

Dr. Stearns has received numerous grants and awards to fund her innovative research. She was a recipient of early career awards including a Clinical Research Training Grant from the American Cancer Society, and was one of the first five recipients of the prestigious Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator Award. Subsequently she was the inaugural recipient of the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Advanced Clinical Research Award. She is an Editorial Board Member Clinical Cancer Research, Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, and ONCOLOGY.

Dr. Stearns’s work has been presented in key national meetings such as the American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Association for Cancer Research, and the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Her work has been published in high-impact peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Journal of Clinical Oncology, JAMA, and Clinical Cancer Research. Her work has been cited extensively and has already had a positive impact on the lives of many women.