The BRIGHT Institute


Addressing cancer

The BRIGHT Institute provides researchers with powerful, advanced imaging technologies for studying cancer from the level of molecules to the entire body. Bright's mission is to foster the fast and efficient identification of cancer genes and development of better ways to diagnose and treat the disease.


Develop tests to detect cancer very early and to assess risk

Find ways to stop cancer growth or preventing it altogether

Devise effective ways to predict and evaluate each patient’s response to treatment so therapy can be individualized

Prepare the next generation of leaders

Alison M. Goate, PhD, and David M. Holtzman, MD

Directors: Helen Piwnica-Worms, PhD, and David Piwnica-Worms, MD, PhD

We are dedicated to providing the powerful imaging technologies and specialized expertise that scientists need to answer the great questions in medicine. Working together, we will make enormous strides in finding real solutions for cancer and other devastating diseases.

— Helen Piwnica-Worms, PhD


The mission of the BRIGHT Institute (Bridging Research with Imaging, Genomics and High Throughput) is to provide researchers with the very latest advanced imaging technologies for studying cancer from the level of molecules to the entire body. Its ultimate goal is to foster discoveries to explain the roots of cancer and to promote translation of those insights into better ways to diagnose, treat and prevent cancer.

BRIGHT's capabilities open up entirely new avenues of investigation to help scientists more quickly and effectively understand the physiologic changes that lead to cancer, assess and analyze the effects of those changes, and accelerate these studies to develop treatments much more quickly.

BRIGHT's arsenal includes:

  • Imaging techniques and agents that allow scientists to watch cancers develop at the molecular and cellular level and to watch treatments at work in live test subjects

  • High-throughput screening to simultaneously probe the effects of compounds or proteins of interest, greatly accelerating the pace of research

  • Advanced approaches for modeling diseases and testing therapies in animals

  • Functional genomics capabilities to study how gene mutations associated with cancer affect other genes, proteins and processes throughout the cell

To encourage cross-disciplinary collaborations, BRIGHT includes faculty from multiple departments in both basic and applied sciences. The Institute interacts closely with The Genome Institute, a leader in the sequencing of the first cancer patient genome.


Director: David Piwnica-Worms, MD, PhD, professor of radiology, of cell biology and physiology, and of developmental biology

Co-Director: Helen Piwnica-Worms, PhD, Gerty T. Cori Professor and professor of medicine and of cell biology and physiology