Frank Slack
Tumor biology


I am Director of the Institute for RNA Medicine and a Professor of Pathology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC). I received my B.Sc. from the University of Cape Town in South Africa, before completing a Ph.D. in molecular biology at Tufts University School of Medicine. I began work on microRNAs as a postdoctoral fellow in Gary Ruvkun’s laboratory at Harvard Medical School, where I co-discovered the second known microRNA, let-7I, and the first human microRNA.

Subsequently, while Director of the Yale Center for RNA Science and Medicine, I discovered that microRNAs regulate key human oncogenes and have the potential to act as therapeutics, and also demonstrated the first role for a microRNA in the aging process. My lab at BIDMC continues to explore microRNAs and has been involved in developing let-7 and a second microRNA, miR-34, as novel cancer therapeutics (with miR-34 now independently in Phase I clinical trials). My group is also working on identifying novel single-base sequence variations (SNPs) in the non-coding portions of the genome, with an eye to identifying the next generation of actionable targets in cancer.

I was an Ellison Medical Foundation Senior Scholar, and received the Heath Award from the MD Anderson Cancer Center in 2014.


Ludwig Center at Harvard
450 Brookline Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. 02215

T 617 632 3985
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