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Dr. Azra Raza

Dr. Azra Raza is the Chan Soon-Shiong Professor of Medicine and Director of the MDS Center at Columbia University in New York. Previously, she was the Chief of Hematology Oncology and the Gladys Smith Martin Professor of Oncology at the University of Massachusetts. She is considered an international authority on pre-leukemia (MDS) and acute leukemia and is one of those rare physician-scientists who divide their time equally between caring for patients and supervising a state-of- the-art basic research lab which is well-funded by multiple large grants. Dr. Raza started collecting blood and marrow samples on her patients in 1984 and now her Tissue Bank, the largest and oldest in the country with >60,000 samples, is considered a unique national treasure.

Dr. Raza has published her original clinical and basic research comprising over 300 peer reviewed manuscripts in high profile journals like Nature, NEJM, Cell, Molecular Cell, Cancer Research, Blood, Leukemia. She has published >1000 abstracts, dozens of book chapters and edited a book devoted to MDS.

She is a sought after speaker in scientific circles and the recipient of numerous awards including The Hope Award in Cancer Research 2012 (shared with the Nobel Laureate Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn). She was named as one of the 100 Women Who Matter by Newsweek Pakistan. Dr. Raza is a member of the Founder Group designing Breakthrough Developments in Science and Technology with President Bill Clinton and met with Vice President Joe Biden to discuss the Cancer Moonshot initiative at his residence at the Naval Observatory in 2015.

In addition to her scientific accomplishments, Dr. Raza is a dedicated reader of Urdu literature, the co-author of GHALIB: Epistemologies of Elegance. Dr. Raza believes that the best way to “tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world” is by promoting and publicizing the achievements of humanity in science, art, and literature. She was married to the late Harvey D. Preisler, Director, Rush University Cancer Center in Chicago and has a daughter Sheherzad Raza Preisler who also lives in Manhattan.