Scott Bratman

Scott Bratman MD, PhD, Columbia University
Assistant Professor
Photo of Dr. Scott Bratman
Contact Info
T: (416) 581-7861
Princess Margaret Cancer Research Tower
Toronto Medical Discovery Tower
101 College Street, Room 13-305
Toronto, ON, M5G 1L7
Research Interests
Cancer Diagnosis and Therapy, Cancer Mechanisms and Models, Data Science and Computational Biology

Additional Contact Info

Julie Owen, Administrative Assistant
T: (416) 581-7861
Email Julie Owen


At A Glance

  • A strong focus of the lab is on circulating tumor-derived DNA (ctDNA) and its utility and applications as a cancer biomarker.
  • The lab also focuses on head and neck cancer genomics and translational research, stemming from Dr. Bratman’s clinical focus.
  • Methodologies frequently employed in the lab include in vitro and in vivo models of head and neck cancer, quantitative and digital PCR, next-generation sequencing technologies, and mining of publicly available genomics data.
  • The lab seeks to apply concepts of precision/personalized cancer medicine to the use of radiotherapy in curative treatment settings.

Short Bio

Dr. Scott V. Bratman is Scientist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology and Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto. Dr. Bratman also serves as Staff Radiation Oncologist and Clinician-Scientist in the Radiation Medicine Program, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network. Dr. Bratman received his MD and PhD degrees from Columbia University in 2009. He was trained in radiation oncology at the Stanford Cancer Institute, where he performed postdoctoral research studies with Drs. Max Diehn and Ash Alizadeh. Since his arrival in Toronto in September 2014, his primary research focus has been on improving outcomes for patients with head and neck cancer and other cancers through optimized detection and personalized treatments. Dr. Bratman's laboratory is currently developing and validating blood-based biomarkers for detecting and monitoring the presence of cancer. The team is also interested in leveraging tumor genomics data to improve upon curative treatment approaches for head and neck cancers.


Research Synopsis

Innovation for optimized detection and analysis of circulating tumor-derived DNA (ctDNA). I previously co-developed a comprehensive strategy for isolating circulating DNA from blood and detecting rare cancer-associated mutations. The method, called CAPP-Seq, for Cancer Personalized Profiling by deep Sequencing, was able to accurately quantify the amount of tumor in the body of patients with lung cancer (Nature Medicine, 2014). My lab is now building upon the technology of CAPP-Seq to make ctDNA detection and analysis clinically useful.

Personalized cancer medicine for head and neck cancer (HNC). Since establishing my independent research program at University of Toronto and the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in 2014, my research has focused on improving outcomes for patients with HNC. As a radiation oncologist who treats patients with HNC, I am fortunate to have synergy between my clinical activities and research pursuits. Many HNC patients endure poor outcomes despite treatment regimens that cause significant toxicities. Thus, novel therapeutic strategies and innovative biomarkers are needed to improve our approach to this disease. One area of particular promise is the use of ctDNA to inform treatment decisions (Expert Rev Mol Diagn, 2015). Through innovative clinical trials, the use of model systems, and in vitro studies, my lab is working to turn ctDNA and other biomarkers into clinically useful tools for HNC patients.

Practical genomic biomarkers with clinical utility. There have been many significant roadblocks to clinical implementation of cancer biomarkers. A focus of my work has been on building practical tools that could have a major impact on clinical care. For example, in prior work I co-developed an RNA-based molecular prognostic index (MPI) for early-stage lung cancer that identifies high-risk patients who could benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy (J Natl Cancer Inst, 2015). The MPI has the potential to dramatically influence clinical practice by distinguishing lung cancer patients that could benefit from treatment intensification from those that could be cured with less toxic therapy. Moreover, the MPI would be easily implemented in clinical labs because of its use of standard quantitative PCR technologies. Ongoing work in the lab is focusing on practical genomic biomarkers with clinical utility for HNC, such as genotyping human papillomavirus for risk stratification (JAMA Oncol, 2016).

Graduate Students

Meghan Lambie
Ariana Rostami

Publications and Awards

View PubMed search of this faculty member's recent publications.

Recent Publications

  • Human papillomavirus genotype impacts survival in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. *Bratman, S.V., *Bruce, J.P., O’Sullivan, B., Pugh, T.J., Xu, W., Yip, K.W., and Liu, F.-F. (2016). JAMA Oncol. In Press. [(*) indicates co-first authorship]
  • Integrating tumor and stromal gene expression signatures with clinical indices for survival stratification of early-stage non-small cell lung cancer. *Gentles, A.J., *Bratman, S.V., Lee, L.J., Harris, J.P., Feng, W., Nair, R.V., Shultz, D.B., Nair, V.S., Hoang, C.D., West, R.B., Plevritis, S.K., Alizadeh, A.A., and Diehn, M. (2015). J Natl Cancer Inst. 107(10). PMID 26286589. [(*) indicates co-first authorship]
  • Potential clinical utility of ultrasensitive circulating tumor DNA detection with CAPP-Seq. Bratman, S.V., Newman, A.M., Alizadeh, A.A., and Diehn, M. (2015). Expert Rev Mol Diagn. 15(6). PMID 25773944.
  • An ultrasensitive method for quantitating circulating tumor DNA with broad patient coverage. *Newman, A.M., *Bratman, S.V., To, J., Wynn, J.F., Eclov, N.C.W., Modlin, L.A., Liu, C.L., Neal, J.W., Wakelee, H., Merritt, M.E., Shrager, J.B., Loo, B.W., Alizadeh, A.A., and Diehn, M. (2014). Nat Med. 20(5):548-554. PMID 24705333. [(*) indicates co-first authorship]