Portrait of Avrum “Avi” Spira, M.D., M.S.C.
Avrum Spira, M.D., M.Sc.
Global Head of the Lung Cancer Initiative (LCI) at Johnson & Johnson Professor of Medicine, Pathology and Bioinformatics Alexander Graham Bell Professor in Health Care Entrepreneurship Boston University Director, Boston University - BMC Cancer Center


Avrum “Avi” Spira, M.D., M.Sc. is the Global Head of the Lung Cancer Initiative (LCI) at Johnson & Johnson which is developing solutions to prevent, intercept and cure lung cancer. Practicing medicine for more than 20 years, Dr. Spira leads a team of dedicated scientists and medical professionals focused on developing novel technologies and approaches for earlier lung cancer detection and treatment.

In addition to leading the Johnson & Johnson Lung Cancer Initiative, Dr. Spira is an attending physician in the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Boston University—Boston Medical Center (BMC) and is a Professor of Medicine, Bioinformatics and Pathology at Boston University. He also serves as the Alexander Graham Bell Professor in Health Care Entrepreneurship at Boston University. He has served as the Director of the Boston University-BMC Cancer Center and founding Chief of the Division of Computational Biomedicine at Boston University.

Since his 2003 appointment to the BU faculty, Dr. Spira has built a translational research program that focused on genomic alterations associated with smoking-related lung disease, leading to a molecular test for the early detection of lung cancer that has successfully translated into the clinic (PerceptaTM) as well as a novel therapeutic for COPD that is in preclinical development. Dr Spira has served as Principal Investigator on grants from the National Cancer Institute; National Heart, Lung, Blood Institute; National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences; and the Department of Defense and has authored more than 150 peer-reviewed publications. He currently leads the Stand-Up-To-Cancer (SU2C)- LUNGevity-ALA Lung Cancer Interception Dream Team and the NCI Moonshot’s HTAN Lung Precancer Atlas Research Center. He was elected a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation in 2010 and a member of the Association of American Physicians in 2017.

Dr. Spira obtained his M.D. from McGill University in Montreal, completed his internal medicine residency at the University of Toronto and his fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at BMC. During his fellowship, he obtained a master’s degree in Bioinformatics from Boston University.