This is What a Hero Looks Like

· The Great Wide Open Press

About this ebook

This Is What a Hero Looks Like is a companion photography book to the award-winning documentary, Jim Allison: Breakthrough (, expanding on the film’s portrait of Nobel Prize-winning scientist Jim Allison, the book celebrates cancer scientists from all over the world at different stages in their career – all united by their passion to defeat one of the world’s deadliest diseases. Anchored by heartwarming personal stories from Jim Allison and Padmanee Sharma, his partner in life and in the lab, and featuring a forward from filmmaker Bill Haney.

This Is What a Hero Looks Like presents photographs and stories from scientists spanning the globe, such as Matthew, a former US paratrooper whose personal battle with cancer inspired him to pursue a career in science, and Luisel, whose passion for science began while watching manatees of the coast of Puerto Rico and continues undeterred as she runs her own University cancer research laboratory. Featuring more than 85 scientists from 35 countries, this photography book celebrates the inherent joys and wonder of science and the scientists whose creativity, irreverence, and boundless passion for their work inspires us all.

About the author

Bill Haney is a filmmaker, inventor, and entrepreneur.  

As a screenwriter, director and producer, he has made 15 narrative and documentary films and won The Gabriel Prize, A Silver Hugo, The Earthwatch Award, A Marine Conservation Award, and an Amnesty International Award.  

Chosen as Global Leader of Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum, he has won a Humanitarian Award from Harvard Medical School, a Distinguished Service Award from the Senior Olympics, the Slow Food Prize, a Genesis Award, and an Achievement Award from the ACLU. Bill has been repeatedly nominated for a NAACP Image Award and won the Pare Lorentz Award.  

As an inventor and entrepreneur, Bill started his first company as a college freshman, inventing air pollution control systems for power plants now in use in utilities the world over. He has since founded or co-founded more than a dozen technology companies. Presently, Bill is the co-founder and CEO of Dragonfly Therapeutics, a biotech company developing drugs to cure cancer, and co-founder and CEO of Skyhawk Therapeutics, a biotech company developing drugs to cure RNA-splicing based disease - from devastating neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease, to major cancers. 

Bill's been a founding member of the national environmental advisory board for the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the President’s Circle for the National Academy of Sciences and serves or has served on a variety of non-profit and government boards including for Harvard’s Kennedy School, MIT, State and Federal Government agencies, the World Wildlife Fund, the US DOE, the World Resources Institute, and the NRDC. He is the founder and Chairman Emeritus of World Connect, a non-profit partnered with the Peace Corps and dedicating to improving the health and welfare of mothers and children in the developing world, with programs now launched in more than 1500 villages in 30 countries. Bill is an inventor on more than 100 granted or pending patents, has a BA from Harvard College, and served as a Fellow of Harvard’s Kennedy School. 

Bill’s portfolio as a filmmaker includes award-winning documentaries on socially important subjects such as coal mining (The Last Mountain, 2011) and worker exploitation (The Price of Sugar, 2007) and his work as writer/producer on Tim Disney’s civil rights drama, American Violet. 

Jim Allison: Breakthrough, his new work, celebrates the imagination and resilience that our greatest scientists display on their quest to push the frontiers of knowledge. Featuring the extraordinary journey of immunologist Jim Allison from his childhood in foster support after the death of his mother in Friday Night Lights, Creationist Texas to his groundbreaking achievements in cancer research, Bill plumbs the incredible human drama of a life as a pioneer in the life sciences. Haney was inspired to highlight Allison’s discoveries after hearing his college roommate Tyler Jack’s description of Allison’s amazing life. Made with partner Tim Disney under their Uncommon Productions banner, Jim Allison: Breakthrough was shot across the U.S. in 2017 and 2018, with its final day of filming taking place hours before Allison received the 2018 Nobel Prize in Medicine. 



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