Theodora Ross

Theodora Ross, M.D., Ph.D. is a scientist, author, and medical oncologist with a passion for cancer genetics and cancer prevention. She is currently Vice President of Translational Medicine at Merck, Inc., where she helps lead the company’s worldwide efforts to bring life-preserving innovative medicines from laboratories to clinics.

Dr. Ross served for over eight years at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas as Professor of Internal Medicine and Director of the Cancer Genetics Program. She held the Jeanne Ann Plitt Professorship in Breast Cancer Research and the H. Ben and Isabelle T. Decherd Chair in Internal Medicine, in Honor of Henry M. Winans, Sr., M.D. In addition to her clinical role caring for patients at high risk for cancer, she led her laboratory that investigated the biology of the BRCA1 gene. Dr. Ross maintains her affiliation with UT Southwestern as Adjunct Professor of Internal Medicine.​

Prior to her work at UT Southwestern, Dr. Ross served as a clinician and researcher at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where she cared for patients with breast cancer and her laboratory investigated the basic biology of cancer cells, the role of endocytosis in cancer and how leukemias respond to or resist targeted therapies.

Dr. Ross earned her M.D. and Ph.D. in 1993 from the Washington University Medical Scientist Training Program in St. Louis. She completed her medical residency in Boston at Harvard University’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, followed by a fellowship in oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She has received numerous cancer research related honors including awards from the American Cancer Society, the American Society of Hematology, the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Throughout her professional career, Dr. Ross has been a strong advocate for Medical Scientist Training Programs that recruit, train and grow future physician-scientists. She has served on a number of executive, advisory and review boards that support cancer research. She currently serves as president and chief scientific officer of Cancer Prevention Initiative, Inc. (CPI), which supports research related to prevention of inherited cancers. ​