As a professional, Dr. Sandra (Sandi) Dunn has dedicated her life and her career to breast cancer research, a subject that has impacted her life and the lives of millions of women around the world.
When she was younger, Dr. Sandra Dunn’s grandmother — with whom she was very close — was diagnosed with breast cancer. Throughout the treatment process, Dr. Sandra Dunn learned a lot about breast cancer, including the fact that not all breast cancers are the same. Her grandmother was, in a sense, lucky, because her cancer had developed in the estrogen receptor and was very treatable. However, Dr. Sandra Dunn soon came to learn that many kinds of breast cancer were not. It was then that Sandi began her work in molecular biology, concentrating on developing a solution for the treatment-resistant forms of breast cancer. It was soon after that her sister-in-law was also diagnosed with breast cancer; unfortunately, it was a more aggressive type and sadly she died in her mid 40s. Seeing cancer take the life of someone so young fueled Dr. Sandra Dunn’s professional fire even further and only heightened her focus on developing better treatments.
At the crux of her work is Sandi’s desire to make a difference in the lives of women with breast cancer. In 2012, she founded Phoenix Molecular Designs (PhoenixMD) to develop precise cancer therapeutics for the most deadly forms of breast cancer. As CEO of PhoenixMD, Dr. Sandra Dunn currently has more than 30 people on her team, including a mix of Ph.D., M.D., and M.B.A. professionals with specializations in their fields.
Since 2012, Dr. Sandra Dunn and the rest of the team have grown PhoenixMD into a thriving business, recently nominated the Best Small Business in British Columbia. Sandi has also distinguished herself as a leader in the field and a thought leader on breast cancer research during her postdoctoral fellowship at the NIH (National Institutes of Health) during the 1990s. At the time, she was the youngest scientist on a grant review panel for the Department of Defence Breast Cancer Research Program. That was the beginning of a three decade long voyage to change breast cancer survival for women.
On a higher level, Sandi is moved by the work she does because she wants to empower women around the world in their health and their lives, a philosophy she’s held most of her life. In the 1970s, her mother was involved in the NOW organization (National Organization for Women), and Dr. Sandra Dunn has maintained her mother’s example of advocacy for women in their health and also in the workforce. By developing research in the field, she’s able to help instill women with the freedom to get past breast cancer and the ability to get their lives back. Growing up in a big family, Sandi feels like the work she does in her field to develop and advance breast cancer research is the way that she can best give back and make an impact in the lives of others.
Looking to the future, Dr. Sandra Dunn believes we’re on our way to a place where a breast cancer diagnosis is no longer a death sentence as it was so many years ago, but rather a manageable disease. A hurdle that women can jump and keep running. The victory for women with breast cancer is through focus, dedication, and the willingness to never give up!
“I just feel really grateful for the opportunity to help people, and I feel that we do have something that’s special and unique here, and that we will make a difference for patients with cancer.”
Dr. Sandra Dunn on Medium
Dr. Sandra Dunn on Behance
Dr. Sandra Dunn on Thrive Global