Dr. Andrew J. Kurtz is Program Director in the Center for Strategic Scientific Initiatives where he co-leads Cancer Grand Challenges, a partnership established in 2020 between NCI and Cancer Research UK to address major unresolved questions in cancer by funding international, multidisciplinary research teams. Dr. Kurtz also provides strategic leadership in developing other trans-NCI programs that represent new and emerging opportunities for the Institute.
Prior to joining CSSI, Dr. Kurtz served for 12 years in the NCI Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Development Center as Program Director and Team Leader. He provided strategic leadership in the establishment of this Center in 2007 and played a key role in developing several new initiatives to assist SBIR awardees in commercializing NCI-funded innovations. In 2009, Dr. Kurtz developed and subsequently managed NCI’s Phase IIB Bridge program designed to incentivize partnerships between SBIR awardees and third-party investors. In 2014, Dr. Kurtz played a lead role in establishing Innovation Corps at NIH, an intensive entrepreneurship training program that teaches NIH-funded small businesses how to develop sustainable business models. Dr. Kurtz joined the NCI in 2005 as a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow to provide scientific and communications support as part of The Cancer Genome Atlas management team. Before coming to the NCI, he worked in industry developing high-throughput bioanalytical assays to support pharmacokinetic studies for the biopharmaceutical sector. Dr. Kurtz received a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, where his dissertation work focused on elucidating the cellular pathways that repair DNA-protein crosslinks. He also holds an Executive Certificate in Strategy and Innovation from the MIT Sloan School of Management.