May 11, 2020
After 14 years at the Broad Institute, Aviv Regev will be taking up an extraordinary opportunity to influence biomedicine in August 2020. She has accepted the position of Executive Vice President of Genentech Research and Early Development, one of the most influential roles in the pharmaceutical industry, with the opportunity to make transformative change in therapeutic development. Below, find a note to the Broad community from Eric.
ERIC LANDER’S NOTE:
I’m writing today to share the bittersweet news that, after 14 years at the Broad Institute, Aviv Regev will be taking up an extraordinary opportunity to influence biomedicine. She has accepted the position of Executive Vice President of Genentech Research and Early Development, and a member of the Roche Extended Corporate Executive Committee reporting to the CEO of Roche.
This is one of the most influential roles in the pharmaceutical industry, with the opportunity to make transformative change in therapeutic development.
Aviv will continue at the Broad until August 1, when she will officially assume the role at Genentech. She will continue to travel back and forth to maintain her lab activities at the Broad for another year, until summer 2021. She also plans to have a lab at Genentech.
Aviv was not looking for a new position. She had been clear that there was simply no place in academic science that she would want to be other than the Broad Institute.
The offer to be one of the senior leaders of Roche and Genentech came as a surprise, but it offered the opportunity to do something extraordinary — shape the entire therapeutic portfolio of one of the world’s best biopharma firms.
Aviv’s departure is a great loss for the Broad community, but I am thrilled for her to have this amazing opportunity.
Aviv is a force of nature.
She was the first faculty member recruited after the formation of the Broad Institute, which she joined in 2006 after running a computational biology lab as Fellow at the Bauer Center at Harvard.
Over the next fourteen years, Aviv has had an extraordinary impact on the science in the Broad community — propelling advances in both experimental and computational biology:
- She pioneered the creation of methods for single-cell biology, making it possible to read out and interpret gene expression in individual cells.
- Starting with an initial paper reporting single-cell RNA sequencing of 18 cells, she has led a revolution that has touched every area of biology at Broad and around the world.
- At the Broad, she founded the Klarman Cell Observatory, which has become the leading nexus for creativity advances in the methodology and application of cell circuits, single-cell biology, and tissue biology.
- In parallel, she has taken on the analytical challenge of extracting deep biological insights from the massive amounts of data generated by single-cell biology — drawing on the frontiers of data science and machine learning.
- She amplified the impact through her work to form the Human Cell Atlas, an international collaboration to understand all cell types in the human body that now involves more than 1,100 institutions in 71 countries.
- She has also built strong ties between Broad and Israel, including with the Broad-ISF Partnership.
Aviv has also played a central role in the Broad’s culture of mentorship. She has led a thriving lab, training dozens of postdocs and graduate students who now pursue independent academic careers as leaders in their own areas. As Chair of the Faculty, Aviv has helped to support the extended Broad faculty. In less formal but numerous ways, she has served as a mentor and sounding board for so many people at all levels.
She has also been a member of the Executive Leadership Team, guiding our most important institutional decisions.
Finally, she has been such a tremendous friend and colleague to me.
As hard as it is to contemplate the Broad without her, both Aviv and I know that the Broad community will use the transition as an opportunity to further strengthen our community — with Broadies stepping up to contribute scientific vision and institutional leadership.
Aviv and I are committed to ensuring the long-term success of the activities she has led. In particular, the Klarman Cell Observatory and its remarkable capabilities and community around single-cell and tissue biology will continue as an essential part of the Broad, led by deeply engaged champions. With their leadership, KCO will remain a vibrant and thriving community for many years to come. Aviv will also continue to co-chair the Human Cell Atlas Initiative, and Broad will remain as dedicated as ever to the ambitious international effort.
I am grateful to Aviv for her commitment to ensuring that the Broad only grows stronger and for her eagerness to remain engaged with the Broad community in the months and years ahead.
It’s hard to convey news about transitions in the midst of the pandemic, with many Broadies working round the clock on the scientific response and without the ability to get together.
We will, however, have a chance to celebrate Aviv — either in person or virtually — before August.
For now, I hope you will join me in congratulating Aviv on this new challenge and in thanking her for all that she has done.