Two Inspiring MSK Employees and Why They Lead Cycle for Survival Teams

Jennifer Brosnan

Jennifer Brosnan is beloved for her leadership of MSK colleagues on the In It to Spin It team.

Even when they’re off the clock, the people of MSK devote themselves to raising money for cancer research through events like Cycle for Survival®, MSK’s biggest fundraising event of the year, focused on conquering rare cancers. These are just two of the people who epitomize the best of MSK through their stewardship.

Bringing People Together

For Jennifer Brosnan, an Associate Director for Content Operations at MSK, joining the movement to beat rare cancers was initially a way to honor her aunt, who died of leukemia in October 2013. Jennifer was working as a producer at CNN when a friend invited her to hop on a stationary bike and join their Cycle for Survival® team.

Several years later, Jennifer landed a job at MSK and in a matter of months, she became captain of In It To Spin It, the MSK Marketing & Communication department’s Cycle for Survival team.

“I just started bringing people together, and I’ve been doing that ever since,” she says.

Jennifer has been part of Cycle for Survival for 12 seasons, securing her status as a Decade Rider, which is a milestone for participants who have been riding for at least 10 years. Along the way, she and her team have raised more than $136,000 for rare cancer research, and 100% of every dollar has gone directly to the labs at MSK.

‘A Direct Line of Impact’

Through her work at MSK, Jennifer makes regular visits to MSK labs and clinics for film shoots. She says that meeting researchers and seeing the results of her fundraising is one of the best parts of her job. 

On a recent tour of the Integrated Genomics Operation, a collaborative core facility led by Neeman Mohibullah, PhD, Jennifer saw a large rectangular box that was flashing purple lights like a machine from the future. She discovered that it was a genome sequencing tool, called the NovaSeq X Plus, bought with support from Cycle for Survival. With the power of the NovaSeq X Plus, MSK scientists can perform a wide range of genome sequencing tasks at a larger scale and lower cost than with previous technologies.

“It’s truly a direct line of impact,” she says. “I feel lucky to be here.”

Fueling Rare Cancer Breakthroughs

Santosha Vardhana

The immunotherapy research of Santosha Vardhana, MD, PhD, has been supported by Cycle for Survival. Dr. Vardhana’s reason to ride is also deeply personal — the memory of his mother, Raji, and to honor all the caregivers.

Lymphoma specialist Santosha Vardhana, MD, PhD, first heard about Cycle for Survival® as an early-career research fellow at MSK. When he discovered that people riding stationary bikes were supporting his work on T cell lymphoma, an extremely rare type of cancer that forms in the lymph system, he says he had to get involved.

Like Jennifer, Dr. Vardhana is a Decade Rider and passionate team captain. Every season, he rallies colleagues and labmates to join his squad, and they’ve raised more than $228,000 for rare cancer research.

“MSK’s T cell lymphoma program is one the strongest of its kind in the world, thanks to the Cycle for Survival community,” he says.

Over the years, Dr. Vardhana’s research has been supported by numerous philanthropic funds, including the Equinox Innovation Initiative, named in honor of Cycle for Survival’s founding partner, the fitness company Equinox.

Dr. Vardhana is determined to understand why immunotherapy doesn’t work for everyone. The idea that immune cells can be harnessed to attack tumors has revolutionized cancer care, but these novel treatments unfortunately still have a low success rate. In the Santosha Vardhana Lab, Dr. Vardhana’s research team is using next-generation techniques to better understand the biological mechanisms that drive immune system regulation. Their mission is to make cancer treatments like immunotherapy effective for more patients.

It Takes a Village

In 2023, Dr. Vardhana found another reason to ride with Cycle for Survival after his mother, Raji, died from a rare cancer. The definition of a caregiver, his mother taught him that no goal can be accomplished alone, and her commitment to helping others continues to inspire him to do more.

Now named Raji’s Riders, Dr. Vardhana’s team remembers her legacy by pedaling in honor of those caring for friends or family members with cancer.

“I want to celebrate the people who make daily phone calls, go to appointments, sit in the chemo suite, and change their life plans — all for their loved ones,” he says.

Since 2007, Cycle for Survival has directed more than $375 million for rare cancer research at MSK. To learn more, visit