The Department of Oncology Seminar Series and Oncology Grand Rounds take place every Friday at noon during the spring and fall semesters. Both clinical and basic cancer researchers who are leaders in their field are invited to present their work and also participate in a journal club presentation by graduate students. Guest speakers typically have time to meet with faculty members at various points during the day. Please contact the person sponsoring the speaker if you would like to request a meeting with the speaker. It is possible to have these seminars show up on your calendar automatically. The following link includes instructions on how to subscribe to the Oncology Seminar Series calendar. This calendar also lists the special seminars and mini-symposia that sometimes replace the Oncology Seminar.
Upcoming Speaker Profiles
December 14th, 2018:
Rafael Meza, Ph.D.
University of Michigan
"Lung cancer screening in the US: where are we and where should we go from here? Lessons from simulation modeling studies."
Sponsors: Dr. David Levy and Dr. Kenneth Tercyak
Dr. Meza is associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and co-leader of the Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Program at the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center. He is also Honorary Professor at Mexico’s National Institute of Public Health (INSP).
Dr. Meza's research interests lie at the interface of epidemiology, biostatistics and biomathematics. In particular, his research focuses on cancer risk assessment and on the applications of mathematical modeling and decision theory in cancer epidemiology and prevention and public health policy. Dr. Meza is Coordinating Principal Investigator of the Cancer Intervention and Surveillance Modeling Network (CISNET) lung group, and Principal Investigator, with Dr. David Levy, of the UM/Georgetown Center for the Assessment of the Public Health Impact of Tobacco Regulations.
January 11th, 2019:
Tom Misteli, Ph.D.
"Deep Imaging of the Human Genome."
Sponsor: Dr. Louis Weiner
Tom Misteli is an NIH Distinguished Investigator and the Director of the Center for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute, NIH. He is an internationally renowned cell biologist who pioneered the use of imaging approaches to study genomes and gene expression in living cells. His laboratory’s interest is to uncover the fundamental principles of 3D genome organization and function and to apply this knowledge to the development of novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for cancer and aging. He obtained his PHD from the University of London, UK and performed post-doctoral training at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. For his work he has received numerous awards including the Herman Beerman Award, the Wilhelm Bernhard Medal, the Gold Medal of the Charles University, the Flemming Award, the Gian-Tondury Prize, the NIH Director’s Award, and an NIH Merit Award. He acts as an advisor for numerous national and international agencies and serves on several editorial boards including Cell, Science and PLoS Biology. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Current Opinion in Cell Biology.
January 25th, 2019:
Dejana Braithwaite, Ph.D.
Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
Cancer Prevention & Control Program
"Cancer Screening in the Elderly in the Era of Precision Medicine."
Dejana Braithwaite, PhD, FRS (Med), is an Associate Professor of Oncology at Georgetown University Medical Center. Her research into the impact of comorbid conditions on cancer screening and outcomes serves as a model for improving clinical decision-making. Dr. Braithwaite has advised Cancer Research UK and the American Cancer Society, among others. Dr. Braithwaite received her PhD in Epidemiology from Cambridge University, her postdoctoral training in cancer epidemiology at the University of California, San Francisco, and was elected into the Royal Society of Medicine (UK) for her accomplishments in the field of cancer screening and epidemiology.
February 1st, 2019:
Marc Lippman, M.D.
Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
Breast Cancer Program
"RAGE and its ligands: a pathway which leads from the environment to breast cancer progression."
Marc E. Lippman, M.D., MACP FRCP is a Professor of Oncology at Georgetown University. Before that he was the Kathleen and Stanley Glaser Professor of Medicine at the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, and was Chairman of the Department of Medicine from May 2007 to May 2012. He was also deputy director of the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. Previously Dr. Lippman was the John G. Searle Professor and Chair of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. From 1988 through 2000 Dr. Lippman was Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology, and Chair, Department of Oncology at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and served as Director of the Lombardi Cancer Center at Georgetown University Medical Center. From 1978 through 1990 he was Clinical Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology, Uniformed Services, University of the Health Sciences. Dr. Lippman served as Head of the Medical Breast Cancer Section, Medicine Branch, at the National Institute of Health.
Dr. Lippman completed a Fellowship in Endocrinology at Yale Medical School in New Haven, CT from 1973-1974. In addition, he was Clinical Associate at the National Cancer Institute from 1970-1971 and Clinical Associate at the Laboratory of Biochemistry of the National Cancer Institute of the National Institute of Health. From 1970 to 1988 he served as an Officer and Medical Director in the United States Public Health Service. Dr. Lippman completed his residency on the Osler Medical Service, John Hopkins Hospital, in Baltimore, Maryland from 1968-1970.
A native of New York, Dr. Lippman received his Bachelor’s Degree from Cornell University, Magna Cum Laude, and medical school degree at Yale Medical School in New Haven, CT where he was elected to AOA.
Dr. Lippman is known for his research in breast cancer. He has received numerous awards including: Meritorius Service Medal, USPHS in 1987; Clinical Investigator Award, American Federation for Clinical Research in 1985; D.R. Edwards Lecture and Medal, Tenovus Institute, Wales 1985; Transatlantic Medal and Lecture, British Endocrine Societies, 1989; the Tiffany Award of Distinction, Komen Foundation in 1989; the Astwood Award, Endocrine Society, 1991; the Bernard Fisher Award and Lectureship, University of Pittsburgh in 1991. He also has been the recipient of the First William P. McGuire Memorial Lecture, San Antonio, TX in 1992, and the Howard University Outstanding Achievement Award in 1993. He also received the First American Cancer Society Lectureship and Prize and the AACR Rosenthal Award of the AACR in April 1994, and the Brinker Award for Basic Science of the Komen Foundation in 1994.
His research has been devoted to a better understanding of breast cancer his entire life. He has contributed to studies ranging clinical trials for every stage of breast cancer to basic biology. Most recently he has been exploring the biological links between systemic health issues such as depression, obesity, diabetes and inflammation and occurrence and recurrence of breast cancer; issues which are particularly relevant to many underserved minorities.
Dr. Lippman is a member of the Association of American Physicians, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the American Association for Cancer Research, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology. He has recently received the honor of becoming a Master of the American College of Physician and was elected Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of England.
Past speaker profiles
December 7th, 2018:
Jennifer Wargo, M.D.
"Novel insights into response to cancer therapy vis translational research."
Sponsor: Dr Michael Atkins
Dr. Wargo’s career commitment is to advance the understanding and treatment of disease through science. After completing her medical degree, she entered surgical residency training at the Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School where she became interested in the biology and treatment of cancer. During her training, she completed two fellowships in surgical oncology and immunotherapy for cancer (with Dr. Toni Ribas and Dr. Steve Rosenberg). Dr. Wargo was recruited to the Division of Surgical Oncology at the Massachusetts General Hospital in July 2008, and ran an active research laboratory focusing on the interface between oncogenic mutations and anti-tumor immunity. There, she made the critical observation that targeting oncogenic mutations could make tumors more immunogenic, providing the rationale for combining targeted therapy and immunotherapy in the treatment of cancer. In September 2013, Dr. Wargo was recruited by University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center to help lead the Melanoma Moon Shot program. She is currently an Associate Professor of Surgical Oncology and Genomic Medicine, and has continued her critical research to better understand responses to therapy and to develop novel strategies to combat resistance. This includes her groundbreaking recent work elucidating the role of the gut microbiome in shaping responses to immunotherapy in patients with melanoma – with a manuscript describing this work published in Science.
Dr. Wargo has contributed significantly to the world literature with her impactful research on melanoma tumorigenesis / immunotherapy for cancer and the gut microbiome having published over 140 peer-reviewed manuscripts and extensive grant funding (including R01 funding). She is also the recipient of numerous awards, including the Rising STARS and Regents Health Scholars Award, Outstanding Young Investigator Award, Stand up to Cancer / AACR Innovative Research Award, Society for Melanoma Research Outstanding Investigator Award, Best Boss Award, among others. She is recognized internationally as a leader in cancer research, and is leading innovative efforts globally.
November 16th, 2018:
Anirban Maitra, M.B.B.S.
"Emerging targets in the pancreatic cancer genome."
Sponsor: Dr. Anton Wellstein
Dr. Anirban Maitra is Professor of Pathology and Translational Molecular Pathology, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Distinguished University Chair, and Scientific Director of the Sheikh Ahmed Center for Pancreatic Cancer Research at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. He is an expert in pancreatic cancer, a disease that is the most lethal of all solid cancers and where he has made seminal contributions in understanding the molecular alterations that underlie cancer initiation and progression. His laboratory has made important strides in the application of liquid biopsy for longitudinal monitoring of pancreatic cancer patients, in particular, demonstrating the value of circulating exosomes in therapeutic stratification and monitoring for disease recurrence.
November 9th, 2018:
Susan Vadaparampil, Ph.D.
Moffitt Cancer Center
"The Road to Equity in Genetic Counseling and Testing in Breast Cancer: Moving from Observation to Intervention."
Sponsors: Dr Kristi Graves
Dr. Susan Vadaparampil received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Health Science Education from the University of Florida, an M.P.H. in Epidemiology from Johns Hopkins University and a Ph.D. in Health Behavior from Indiana University. She then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Cancer Prevention at the National Cancer Institute. In 2003, she joined the faculty of Moffitt Cancer Center where she is currently a Senior Member and Vice Chair of the Health Outcomes and Behavior Program in the Division of Population Sciences. She is also Professor in the Department of Oncologic Sciences at the University of South Florida College of Medicine. She currently serves as the Associate Director for Moffitt Cancer Center’s Behavioral Oncology Post Doctoral Training Program. Over the past 15 years, Dr. Vadaparampil has developed a research program applying behavioral science, epidemiology, health services, and clinical perspectives to improve utilization of cancer prevention and control innovations across the cancer continuum. Her work has been influenced by transdisciplinary collaboration, focused on health disparities, and contributed to both the scientific literature and clinical practice. She has been funded since 2006 through research grants from organizations such as the National Institutes of Health and the American Cancer Society. Dr. Vadaparampil has published over 200 scientific manuscripts. She recently completed her term as chair of the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Control and Prevention Research Peer Review Committee and is a member of the Florida Biomedical Research Advisory Council. Dr. Vadaparampil also partners with several community organizations dedicated to reducing the burden of cancer.
November 2nd, 2018:
Jason Butler, Ph.D.
Hackensack University Medical Center
"Targeting endothelial niches to treat age-related hematopoietic dysfunction."
Sponsor: Dr. Jeffery Toretsky
Dr. Jason Butler obtained his B.S. in Zoology from the University of Florida in 2001 and continued his graduate education at UF where he completed his Ph.D. in 2006 studying stem cell biology. Dr. Butler completed his postdoctoral fellowship in stem cell and vascular biology at Weill Cornell Medical College in the laboratory of Shahin Rafii. Since 2011, Dr. Butler has been an independent investigator at the Ansary Stem Cell Institute at Weill Cornell and recently became an Associate Scientist at Hackensack University Medical Center (HUMC) and is a founding member of the newly developed Center of Discovery and Innovation located on the previous Hoffman-LaRoche research campus in Nutley, NJ. In addition to being part of the research faculty at HUMC, Dr. Butler is a full member of both the John Theurer Cancer Center and the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. The Butler laboratory is dedicated to understanding the role of bone marrow endothelial cells (BMECs) in establishing unique instructive vascular niche cells that produce the correct milieu and stoichiometry of paracrine factors to direct organ regeneration, in particular within the BM microenvironment and in the context of hematopoietic aging and regeneration. The Butler laboratory is developing novel therapeutic applications and justification for the transplantation of BMECs to enhance the regeneration of the BM microenvironment. The Butler laboratory has set forth the notion that reconstitution of hematopoiesis along with an increase in the stability and integrity of newly formed vessels allows for an inductive mechanism to promote tissue repair and multi-organ regeneration. The laboratory’s research goals aim to have a significant and positive impact on decreasing the morbidity and mortality associated with life threatening pancytopenia that is associated with hematopoietic dysfunction.
October 19th, 2018:
Robert B. Dickson Memorial Lecture
Claudine Isaacs, M.D.
Georgetown University Medical Center
"Advances in the management of hereditary breast cancer."
Dr. Claudine Isaacs is Professor of Medicine and Oncology and Co-Director of the Breast Cancer Program at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., USA. She is also Medical Director of the Jess and Mildred Fisher Center for Hereditary Cancer and Clinical Genomics Research. She received her medical degree and internal medicine residency training at McGill University, in Montreal Canada. She completed fellowship training in the Division of Hematology and Oncology at McGill University and a Fellowship in Breast Medical Oncology in the Division of Hematology and Oncology at Georgetown University. She then joined the faculty in the Department of Medicine and Oncology at Georgetown University.
She has served as the PI of a number of clinical trials in early-stage and metastatic breast cancer, and as PI or co-investigator on a number of peer reviewed grants including those examining the role of novel screening or prevention measures in high-risk women. She has authored over 200 peer-reviewed publications and edited two textbooks. She has a long history of mentoring junior faculty and fellows and recently received the Estelle Ramey Mentorship Award. She has served on a number of committees, including the Cancer Education Committee at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the ASCO Scientific Program Committee, the Breast Oncology Local Diseases Task Force of the Breast Steering Committee of the National Cancer Institute, and most recently the ASCO Breast Cancer Advisory Group to Clinical Practice Guidelines Committee.
October 12th, 2018:
Douglas Yee, M.D..
University of Minnesota
"Did We Learn Anything By Targeting The IGF Receptor In Breast Cancer?"
Sponsors: Dr Lou Weiner and Dr Michael Johnson
Dr. Yee is director of the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota. A professor in the Departments of Medicine and Pharmacology, Dr. Yee holds the John H. Kersey Chair in Cancer Research. He is internationally known for his laboratory research on the growth regulation of tumors by the insulin-like growth factors and the clinical translation of these findings. Dr. Yee’s curriculum vitae includes well over 230 publications. He also maintains an active clinical practice in breast medical oncology at the Breast Center, University of Minnesota Medical Center.
Dr. Yee graduated from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, earned his medical degree from the University of Chicago, and completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and completed his fellowship in medical oncology at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD. Before coming to the University of Minnesota, he held faculty positions in the Lombardi Cancer Center at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.
October 5th, 2018:
Andrea Bild, Ph.D.
City of Hope
"Single cell phenotype evolution in breast cancer during treatment."
Sponsor: Dr Claudine Isaacs
Dr Bild’s research program focuses on cancer, and uses genomic and pharmacological studies to interrogate and treat cancer. As a member of NCI’s Cancer Systems Biology Consortium, the Center of HoPE (Heterogeneity of Phenotypic Evolution) is developing a suite of systems-based methodologies to understand how genomic diversity, clonal evolution, and phenotypic change interact in the progression toward chemoresistant breast and ovarian cancer. Their studies show that selective pressures from therapy and the tumor microenvironment can propel subclones from a patient’s tumor along an evolutionary trajectory that leads to resistance. In particular, they use single cell RNA and whole genome DNA sequencing to identify tumor subclones and their phenotype as tumor cells acquire resistance to chemotherapy. They also develop dynamical systems models to identify points of therapeutic vulnerability that they will test in clinical trials aimed at blocking evolution to a resistant state. By integrating broad disciplines centered on translational sciences, and ensuring that they include multiple ethnicities in our research, they promote innovative scientific exploration and enable scientists to tether clinically impactful results to the enhancement of an individual patient’s care.
September 21st, 2018:
Paula Cupertino, Ph.D.
Hackensack University Medical Center
"Population Health Interventions using Technology to Address Tobacco-Related Disparities"
Sponsor: Dr. Kenneth Tercyak
Dr. Cupertino is the Associate Director of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program and the Director of the Latino Cancer Disparities Center at The John Theurer Cancer Center, part of Hackensack University Medical Center. Moreover, she is the Director of Community Educational Experiences at Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University. She is also the founder of JUNTOS Center for Advancing Latino Health (http://juntosks.org), part of the Preventive Medicine and Public Health Department at the University of Kansas Medical Center. As a social and behavioral scientist, her research has included studies related to cancer prevention, including smoking cessation and access to cessation treatments among underserved and understudied populations; health disparities; immigrant health; and e-Health initiatives. She has expertise in the development and implementation of research projects that incorporate cultural appropriateness and principles of community-based participatory research. Originally from Brazil, her cancer prevention research has expanded to Mexico, Brazil, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and the United States.
Over the past 15 years, she has developed a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded career in health disparities research. This began with a post-doctoral National Cancer Institute (NCI) diversity research supplement, that led to receipt of a NCI K-01 minority research career development grant, and most recently culminated in site leadership on a National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)-funded R24 project designed to implement the “Health for All Model” in the Kansas City Latino community. She is currently implementing a NHI R01 randomized clinical trial assessing a text message-based smoking cessation program for Latinos in the United States.
September 14th, 2018:
Ethan Dmitrovsky, M.D.
Frederick National Lab for Cancer Research
"Eradicating Aneuploid Cancers by Engaging Anaphase Catastrophe."
Sponsors: Dr Louis Weiner
Ethan Dmitrovsky, M.D., became Laboratory Director of the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research and President of Leidos Biomedical Research in 2017. This National Laboratory combats AIDS, cancer, infectious diseases and emerging health challenges. He oversees this national resource that serves the public’s health. Examples of this include finding ways to target the RAS oncogene (an unmet medical need) and producing vaccines and leading clinical trials to combat Ebola, Zika and other deadly diseases. He previously served as provost and executive vice president as well as the Olga Keith and Harry Carothers Weiss Distinguished University Chair and American Cancer Society Professor at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Before joining MD Anderson, he chaired the Pharmacology and Toxicology Department and was Interim Dean at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. He also served as chair of the Board of Scientific Counselors for Clinical Sciences and Epidemiology for the National Cancer Institute.
At MD Anderson, Dr. Dmitrovsky oversaw robust undergraduate and graduate programs and more than 4,000 clinical trials. He also served as Principal Investigator of their National Institutes of Health-funded Cancer Center Core Grant, MD Anderson's largest federal grant. In addition, Dr. Dmitrovsky fostered collaborations with 33 sister institutions in 23 countries, including the launching of a pain medicine initiative for cancer patients in Ethiopia, a country of 90 million with few pain specialists. He created a Provost Protégé Program for faculty members of diverse backgrounds, broadened the reach of the Women Faculty Office to add Minority Faculty Inclusion to its mission, and implemented innovative programs to support the training and scholarship of faculty, research nurses, students and fellows. His team also implemented in 100,000 computers a tobacco prevention and cessation program for the Houston Independent school system that will reduce the burden of cancer, lung and heart diseases in at-risk students and staff. His trailblazing translational research established successful all-trans-retinoic acid differentiation therapy for acute promyelocytic leukemia that became FDA approved. His laboratory developed and patented the genetic test widely used to diagnose this leukemia and monitor treatment response. He recently uncovered a way to eradicate aneuploid cancers, a hallmark of cancer. This opened a novel area of cancer pharmacology. For these discoveries, he received an American Cancer Society Professorship and the 2016 American Society of Clinical Oncology and American Cancer Society Award.
Dr. Dmitrovsky graduated magna cum laude in Biochemical Sciences from Harvard University and received his medical degree from Cornell University. He completed his residency in internal medicine at New York Hospital-Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and oncology fellowship at the National Cancer Institute. He is a physician-scientist and oncologist who directs a laboratory focused on molecular pharmacology and has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health throughout his career. Dr. Dmitrovsky is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI), the Association of American Physicians (AAP) and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
September 7th, 2018:
Goutham Narla, M.D., Ph.D.
University of Michigan
"Allosteric regulation of PP2A: lessons from cancer mutants and small molecules."
Sponsors: Dr Chris Albanese
Goutham Narla, M.D., Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Medicine with Tenure, and the Division Chief of Genetic Medicine at the University of Michigan. His laboratory is focused on the identification and characterization of the key negative regulators, tumor suppressor proteins, of cancer development and progression. In addition, his laboratory is focused on developing small molecule based therapies to these underlying drivers of tumorigenesis and chemotherapy resistance. His accolades as a principal investigator include the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Physician-Scientist Early Career Award, and the Irma T. Hirschl / Monique Weill-Caulier Trust Scholar Award. He has over 65 publications in journals including Nature Genetics, Science, Science Translational Medicine, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and the Journal of Clinical Investigation. Dr. Narla has authored 11 patents. He is one of the scientific co-founders of RAPPTA therapeutics and serves as the chief scientific officer of the company. These novel small-molecule tumor suppressor gene activators represent the first example of drugs that directly bind and activate tumor suppressor genes for cancer treatment and provide the mechanistic and translational framework/foundation to develop entire classes of drugs directed at the key negative regulators of oncogenic signaling, an area that to date has not been the focus of major drug development efforts. He is a practicing high risk cancer geneticist who sees over 400 high risk cancer patients a year. He has been recently inducted into the American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI) and has worked with the past president Vivian Cheung and Melanie Daub from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to organize the food and science evening at the annual ASCI meeting. He is the founder and president of the Young Scientist Foundation (www.ysf.org) which supports high school students to perform biomedical research in laboratories throughout the country. This work resulted in a recent NIH R25 grant to support continuing efforts and this program.
June 8th, 2018:
Rennert Memorial Lectureship in Pediatric Oncology
Kimberly Stegmaier, M.D.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
"Identification of Pediatric Cancer Therapeutic Targets with Chemical and Functional Genomic Screening"
Location: W. Proctor Harvey Clinical Teaching Amphitheater
Kimberly Stegmaier, an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and the Ted Williams Chair at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI), has advanced the application of genomics to drug and protein target discovery for pediatric cancers. She is the Vice Chair for Pediatric Oncology Research and Co-director of the Pediatric Hematologic Malignancy Program at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children’s Hospital. Dr. Stegmaier is also an Institute Member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT.
The Stegmaier laboratory develops and integrates chemical and functional genomic approaches to identify new protein targets and small-molecule modulators of malignancy with an eye toward clinical translation. The laboratory has focused on pediatric malignancies notable for the aberrancy of differentiation and/or oncogenic activation of transcription factors: the acute leukemias, neuroblastoma, and Ewing sarcoma. Multiple clinical trials have resulted from her laboratory’s research. Dr. Stegmaier has won numerous awards for her work, including the SPR Young Investigator Award, the Sir William Osler Young Investigator Award from the Interurban Clinical Club, a SU2C Innovative Research Grant, the 2016 E. Mead Johnson Award for Research in Pediatrics, an NCI Outstanding Investigator Award and the 2017 St. Baldrick’s Foundation Robert J. Arceci Innovation Award.
Dr. Stegmaier was elected to the Society for Pediatric Research in 2007, the American Society for Clinical Investigation in 2009, and the Association of American Physicians in 2017. She is a strong advocate for pediatric research, serving as a Council Member with the Society for Pediatric Research from 2013-2016 and now as the Chair Elect for the AACR Pediatric Cancer Working Group. She was awarded the A. Clifford Barger Excellence in Mentoring Award from Harvard Medical School for her commitment to training the next generation of pediatric cancer researchers.
Dr. Stegmaier received her undergraduate degree from Duke University, medical degree from Harvard Medical School, and trained in Pediatrics and Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Boston Children’s Hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
May 11th, 2018:
Patrick Grohar, Ph.D..
Van Andel Institute
" A Bench to Bedside Approach Targeting the EWS-FLI1 Transcription Factor for Ewing Sarcoma."
Sponsor: Dr. Jeffery Toretsky
Dr. Patrick Grohar completed his Ph.D. in chemistry in the laboratory of Dr. Christine Chow. He subsequently received an M.D at Wayne State University; graduating with distinction in biomedical research. He then completed a pediatric residency at Johns Hopkins University in the accelerated research track. Dr. Grohar did his fellowship training in pediatric hematology-oncology in the joint program at the National Cancer Institute and Johns Hopkins, serving as chief fellow in his final year. He worked in the lab of the renowned sarcoma expert, Lee Helman, both as a resident and as a fellow. He was subsequently as assistant professor at Vanderbilt University before joining the faculty of the Van Andel Institute as an associate professor in July 2015. He has a clinical appointment at Helen De Vos Children’s Hospital and an academic appointment in the Department of Pediatrics at Michigan State University. Dr. Grohar’s research focuses on methods to block the activity of the EWS-FLI1 transcription factor for Ewing sarcoma. This work has been recognized with multiple grant awards including a St. Baldrick’s research award, a career development award from the Sarcoma Alliance for Research through Collaboration (SARC), a Hyundai Hope on Wheels Award, an Alex’s Lemonade Stand Reach Award, the Turner-Hazinski Award and an R01 from the National Cancer Institute. He serves as an ad hoc reviewer for multiple scientific journals and for the Alex’s Lemonade Foundation. He has lectured extensively on his research in the United States and Europe. Dr. Grohar is a member of the bone tumor steering committee of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), vice-chair of the Ewing sarcoma biology committee of the Children’s Oncology Group and co-chair of the combined sarcoma biology group.
May 4th, 2018:
Olivier Loudig, Ph.D..
Hackensack University Medical Center
" MicroRNA expression deregulation during breast cancer development."
Sponsors: Dr. Claudine Isaacs and Dr Robert Clarke
Dr. Olivier Loudig is currently an Associate Scientist at the Hackensack University Medical Center. He earned his Master of Science degree from the Louis Pasteur University in Strasbourg, France in 1997, working at the Institut de Genetique et Biologie Moleculaire et Cellulaire (IGBMC) under the mentorship of Dr. Pierre Chambon. He then received a Ph.D. in Biochemistry at Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada in 2003, working with Dr. Martin Petkovich on the retinoic acid inducible cytochrome p450 responsible for degradation of retinoic acid, for which he described the self-regulatory loop governing the expression of this enzyme. In 2004, he moved to New York City for a post-doctoral fellowship at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where he established molecular assays and technologies to analyze highly degraded archived formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded RNA. In 2006, Dr. Loudig entered the rank of faculty at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and became an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Epidemiology and Pathology in 2008. The laboratory of Dr. Loudig has established large-scale retrospective studies using archived benign breast tissue and non-invasive breast lesions to identify molecular markers, and in particular microRNA expression deregulation, associated with the risk of breast cancer development. Dr. Loudig recently moved his laboratory to Hackensack University Medical Center where he is now studying circulating biomarkers and working closely with clinicians to improve detection and follow-up of breast cancer patients.
April 27th, 2018:
Steven Metallo, Ph.D.
Department of Chemistry
"Direct targeting of c-Myc: understanding specificity and promiscuity of small-molecule binding to intrinsically disordered protein targets."
Steven Metallo is an Associate Professor in the Georgetown University Department of Chemistry and a founding member of the Georgetown University Institute for Soft Matter Synthesis and Metrology (ISMSM). He obtained his Ph.D. in chemistry from Yale University (with Alanna Schepartz) where he studied protein-DNA interactions. He then conducted postdoctoral research at Harvard University where he studied multivalency and surface chemistry with George M. Whitesides. Currently his work focuses on disordered proteins, in particular the c-Myc protein, and on understanding the binding of small molecules to disordered protein regions.
April 20th, 2018:
Gray Pearson, Ph.D.
Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
Breast Cancer Program
"Understanding cooperative interactions between tumor cells."
Understanding how intratumor phenotypic heterogeneity promotes disease progression is essential to improve patient care. Dr Pearson’s research group focuses on the cooperative relationships between distinct tumor subpopulations, which are a critical yet poorly understood property of heterogeneity within tumors. A substantial barrier impeding our understanding of collaborative tumor cell interactions has been the lack of techniques for defining how discrete tumor cell variants interact during tumor development. He has addressed this challenge by developing methods for sophisticated live-imaging and functional interrogation of tumor population dynamics in organotypic culture systems and primary tumor models. With this approach, he uncovered a new symbiotic relationship between tumor subpopulations that promotes a transition from benign to malignant growth by inducing the collective invasion of cohesive groups of cells. This democratization of invasive behavior through subpopulation cooperation eliminates a bottleneck in tumor evolution, thus unleashing the metastatic potential of a more diverse tumor cell population. Extensive phenotypic variability within the invasive tumor cell community may negatively impact patient outcome by accelerating the progression to metastatic disease. Indeed, his functional dissection of this new form of tumor cell cooperation has revealed fresh approaches for improving the accuracy of patient diagnosis and uncovered previously unrecognized therapeutic targets with associated sensitivity signatures. His future objectives are to (i) continue defining the composition and function of signaling pathways that promote cooperative collective invasion; (ii) investigate how cancer hallmarks can be shared by tumor cells in synergistic relationships; and (iii) determine how population diversity influences tumor responses to conventional therapeutics and emerging approaches that harness the power of the immune system.
April 13th, 2018:
Ian Davis, M.D., Ph.D.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
"Chromatin Accessibility as a Strategy to Explore Human Cancer."
Sponsor: Dr. Jeffrey Toretsky
Ian Davis is the G. Denman Hammond Associate Professor for Childhood Cancer in the Departments of Pediatrics and Genetics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Davis earned a B.A. in biochemistry, cell and molecular biology from Northwestern University, a Ph.D. in genetics from the University of Illinois at Chicago (with Lester Lau) and an MD from Northwestern University Medical School. He then served as a resident and chief resident in medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital followed by subspecialty training in pediatric hematology/oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children’s Hospital. While a postdoctoral fellow with David Fisher at Dana-Farber, he started studying transcriptional deregulation in translocation-associated sarcomas. In 2006, he was recruited to the University of North Carolina where he is currently affiliated with the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Program in Chromatin and Epigenetics. He was a Rita Allen fellow and received a Martin D. Abeloff Scholar Award from the V Foundation for Cancer Research. His lab applies genomic and computational approaches to study the epigenetic consequences of genetic alterations in Ewing sarcoma and renal cell carcinoma.
April 6th, 2018:
Charles Fuchs, M.D.
Yale School of Medicine
"Big Data Approaches to Advance Colorectal Cancer Prevention, Treatment and Biology."
Sponsor: Dr. Michael Atkins
Dr. Fuchs is the Yale Cancer Center Director and Physician-in-Chief at Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven. An internationally recognized expert in gastrointestinal cancers and cancer epidemiology, Dr. Fuchs was most recently a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Chief of the Gastrointestinal Oncology Division and the Robert T. and Judith B. Hale Chair in Pancreatic Cancer at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Dr. Fuchs received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1986. He completed his medical residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he also served as chief medical resident, and completed his medical oncology fellowship at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. In 1994, he received his M.P.H. from Harvard School of Public Health. He has written over 550 scientific publications and, most recently, served as a member of the National Cancer Institute Blue Ribbon Panel Working Group.
March 23rd, 2018:
Catherine Wu, M.D.
"Developing Personalized Neoantigen Targeting Cancer Vaccines."
Sponsor: Dr. Michael Atkins
J. Catherine J. Wu, MD is a Professor of Medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston. She received her M.D. from Stanford University School of Medicine and completed her clinical training in Internal Medicine and Hematology-Oncology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA. She joined the staff at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in 2000. At DFCI, she has initiated an integrated program of research and clinical activities that focuses on dissecting the underlying mechanisms of pathobiology of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), including the understanding of clonal heterogeneity and kinetics in this disease. She has been Principal Investigator of several center-initiated clinical trials of cancer vaccination. A major priority of her studies is the identification of tumor-specific antigens that would allow effective tumor targeting without collateral toxicity. She has been using exome and transcriptome sequencing technologies to identify unique mutated leukemia antigens that arise from individual-specific genetic alterations within a tumor and that could be potentially targeted immunologically, thus paving the way for developing personalized tumor vaccines across malignancies, which she is testing in melanoma, glioblastoma, renal cell carcinoma and indolent lymphomas.
March 16th, 2018:
David Sabatini, M.D., Ph.D.
"Regulation of Growth by the mTOR Pathway."
Sponsor: Dr. Michael Atkins
David Sabatini is a Member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, and a Professor of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, a Senior Associate Member at the Broad Institute and a member of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. David and his lab study the basic mechanisms that regulate cell growth. A major focus of the lab is the Target of Rapamycin (TOR) pathway, a major regulator of growth in many eukaryotic species. This has resulted in the identification of many components of the pathway and to an understanding of their cellular and organismal functions, most of which have implications for diseases such as cancer and diabetes. David is also interested in the role of metabolism in cancer and in the mechanisms that control the effects of dietary restriction on tumorigenesis. Additionally, his lab has developed new technologies that facilitate the analysis of gene function in mammalian cells. David received his B.S. from Brown University magna cum laude and his M.D./Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1997. David was appointed a Whitehead Fellow later that year. He became a Member of the Whitehead Institute and Assistant Professor of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2002, and received tenure in 2012. David has received a number of awards, some of which are the 2014 NAS Award in Molecular Biology, the 2017 Lurie Prize in Biomedical Sciences, and the 2017 Dickson Prize in Medicine. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2016.
March 9th, 2018:
Torsten Nielsen, M.D., Ph.D.
University of British Columbia
"Translating Expression Profiles into Biology, Diagnosis, and Treatment for Synovial Sarcoma and Breast Cancer."
Sponsor: Dr. Aykut Uren
Dr. Torsten Nielsen is a clinician-scientist pathologist based at Vancouver General Hospital and the BC Cancer Agency, working to translate molecular research findings into clinical care for cancer. Born and raised in North Vancouver, he trained at several institutions in North American and Europe before starting his own laboratory and clinical practice at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in 2003. Nielsen was involved in some of the world’s first genome-wide studies of musculoskeletal tumors (sarcomas), work which has led to the development of several new diagnostic tests, clinical trials of targeted therapies, and breakthroughs in understanding the biology of fusion gene sarcomas affecting young adults. He has also worked to translate the molecular profiles of breast cancer into practical clinical tests that may help women avoid ineffective treatments by more carefully targeting their therapies to the molecular subtype of their tumor. Nielsen is a member of clinical trial groups in Canada and the USA, and is also helping train a new generation of clinician-scientists in his capacity as associate director of the UBC MD/PhD Program.
February 23rd, 2018:
Raghu Kalluri, M.D., Ph.D.
"Strategies to Exploit the Biology of Exosomes for Diagnosis and Treatment of Cancer."
Sponsor: Dr. Michael Atkins
Raghu Kalluri was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He received his B.S. in Chemistry and Genetics, then earned his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Kansas Medical Center, and then received his M.D. degree from Brown University Medical School. Dr. Kalluri was a postdoctoral fellow and a research associate at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School and performed research in areas of immunology and organ fibrosis. In 1997, Dr. Kalluri moved to Harvard Medical School as an Assistant Professor of Medicine and as a faculty based in the Department of Medicine at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. In 2000, he was named Associate Professor and the Director of the Center for Matrix Biology. In 2006, this program became the Division of Matrix Biology and Dr. Kalluri was appointed the Chief of the Division and promoted to Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He held appointments in the Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at HMS, Harvard MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Harvard Stem Cell Institute and was a research fellow of the HMS Peabody Society. In 2012, Dr. Kalluri moved to The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center as the Chairman and Professor of the Department of Cancer Biology and the Director of the Metastasis Research Center. Dr. Kalluri currently holds the RE Bob Smith Distinguished Chair for Cancer Biology and previously held the Olla S. Stribling Distinguished Chair in Cancer Research and the Rebecca and Joseph Brown Endowed Chair at MD Anderson Cancer Center. In 2015 Dr. Kalluri received the Jacob Henle Medal from the Georg-August University in Germany to honor his contribution to medical research. He is the recipient of several mentorship and teaching awards from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School. He is also the recipient of research excellence awards for his work on basement membranes and extracellular matrix as related to fibrosis and cancer progression. He is the fellow of American Society of Clinical Investigation and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Dr. Kalluri has published over 287 peerreviewed manuscripts. Dr. Kalluri has trained 73 postdoctoral fellows, 11 graduate students, and 56 undergraduate students, and fifty-one of his trainees hold academic positions around the world. Dr. Kalluri teaches 1st year core courses for graduate students and medical students. He serves on science and health advisory panels in the USA and European Union and on the editorial boards of several academic journals representing biology and medicine. His laboratory is broadly interested in the study of cell/tissue microenvironment and its impact on cancer progression and metastasis, and tissue injury and repair.
February 9th, 2018:
Omar Abdel-Wahab, M.D.
Memorial Sloan Kettering
"Understanding and Targeting Spliceosomal Gene Mutations in Cancer."
Sponsor: Dr. Jeffrey Toretsky
Omar Abdel-Wahab is an Associate Member in the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program (HOPP) and an Attending Physician on the Leukemia Service in the Department of Medicine at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Abdel-Wahab’s research focuses on the role of disordered transcriptional regulators in the pathogenesis of hematopoietic malignancies. This includes mutations in epigenetic modifiers in leukemia pathogenesis including mutations in Polycomb-group proteins (EZH2, ASXL1, ASXL2, and BAP1) as well as mutations in genes encoding spliceosomal proteins that are commonly mutated in leukemia. We have generated substantial reagents to study the role of alterations in splicing in cancer, including several murine models of mutations in RNA splicing factors. We utilize these models to for transcriptomic, epigenomic, functional, and preclinical therapeutic studies. Finally, we are also interested in hematological malignancies driven by MAP kinase pathway alterations.
January 26th, 2018:
J. Robert Hogg, M.D., Ph.D.
"A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Perils and Promise of Protecting the Transcriptome."
Sponsor: Dr. Jeffrey Toretsky
J. Robert Hogg graduated from Haverford College in 2000 with a B.S. in biology and earned a Ph.D. from the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley in 2006. His thesis research at UC Berkeley focused on the composition and function of ribonucleoprotein complexes containing noncoding RNAs. He pursued postdoctoral research at Columbia University, where he studied mechanisms of mRNA biogenesis and quality control. He joined the NHLBI in 2012 as an Earl Stadtman tenure-track Investigator..
January 19th, 2018:
Graham Warren, M.D., Ph.D.
Medical University of South Carolina
"Addressing tobacco use in cancer patients: biologic, clinical, behavioral, and administrative considerations."
Sponsor: Dr. Kathryn Taylor/CPC
Dr. Warren is a Professor of Radiation Oncology and Vice Chairman for Research in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Medical University of South Carolina. His primary work involves evaluating the biologic effects of tobacco and tobacco related products on therapeutic response in cancer cells, evaluating the clinical effects of tobacco and tobacco cessation on cancer treatment outcomes, developing systems approaches to addressing tobacco use in clinical cancer care, and working to address cost and policy related issues about tobacco in cancer patients. He has helped found or develop several institutional or statewide programs to address tobacco use in cancer patients and has worked as a Chair or Member of several committees within ASCO, IASLC, AACR, SRNT, Alliance, and NCI as related to cancer care and research.
January 12th, 2018:
Ganesh Raj, M.D., Ph.D.
"Targeting the Interactome of Nuclear Receptors in Breast and Prostate Cancer."
Sponsor: Dr. Rebecca Riggins
Dr. Raj, M.D., Ph.D. is a Professor of Urology and Pharmacology at UT Southwestern Medical Center. He is a funded cancer investigator with an active clinical practice. He is an experienced and highly regarded prostate cancer surgeon with significant experience in robotic and minimally invasive approaches. His basic science research laboratory efforts are largely focused on translational strategies against the nuclear hormonal receptors. At UT Southwestern, Dr. Raj pioneered and developed a primary human tumor explant culture approach to test the efficacy of new drugs using ex vivo culture of human prostate and breast tumors. His laboratory has recently developed several active peptidomimetic compounds targeting the interactome between nuclear receptors and their coregulators.
December 8th, 2017:
Natasha Caplen, Ph.D.
"Defusing a Fusion Oncogene."
Sponsor: Dr. Jeffrey Toretsky
Dr. Caplen earned her Ph.D. from the University of London, UK, for studies on the genetics of type I diabetes and its complications. Her postdoctoral training began at Imperial College, where she focused on the development of gene therapy approaches for cystic fibrosis (CF). There she conducted some of the first pre-clinical and clinical studies of cationic lipid-mediated gene therapy for CF. Her collaborative studies established, in a mouse model of CF and individuals with CF, that delivery of the CFTRcDNA into airway cells alters critical aspects of the electrophysiological defects characteristic of CF cells. While continuing her postdoctoral training at the NIH’s National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), she developed an interest in the then newly identified gene-silencing mechanism, RNA interference (RNAi) and was a co-discoverer of RNAi in mammalian cells. Dr. Caplen then went on to pioneer approaches for exploiting the RNAi mechanism to investigate cancer biology and treatment.
Dr. Caplen applies the perturbations induced by nucleic acid-based technologies to interrogate specific aspects of the genetic, transcriptional, and cell-signaling alterations observed in cancer cells. Her current studies are focused on the functional genetic analysis of cancers driven by fusion oncogenes, particularly the pediatric bone and soft tissue tumor Ewing sarcoma (ES). The initiating genetic event in ES is a chromosomal translocation that fuses the 5’ end of the EWSR1 gene to 3’ end of either the FLI1 (~85% of cases) or ERG (~10% of cases) genes. FLI1 and ERG are members of the ETS family of transcription factors. Dr. Caplen is using functional genetic approaches to discover proteins required for the expression of EWS-ETS fusion oncoproteins. Her seminar will describe recent work showing the splicing of the fusion transcript is a potentially targetable vulnerability in ES and new studies investigating the post-translational modification of EWS-ETS fusion oncoproteins.
November 17th, 2017:
Gloria Petersen, Ph.D.
"Recent Advances in Risk Stratification and Early Detection of Pancreatic Cancer."
Sponsor: Dr. Christopher Loffredo
Gloria M. Petersen, Ph.D. is Professor of Epidemiology and holds the Purvis and Roberta Tabor Professorship at Mayo Clinic. She is Deputy Director for Population Sciences in the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, and is a Founding Fellow of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics. Before joining the Department of Health Sciences Research at Mayo Clinic, with joint appointments in Medicine and Medical Genetics, she had faculty appointments at UCLA School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health. She has had many trainees, and is co-PI of the Mayo Cancer Genetic Epidemiology Training Program. She serves on the Board of Scientific Counselors for the NHGRI and NCI’s Clinical and Translational Research Advisory Committee. She studies the genetic epidemiology of pancreatic cancer, improving risk stratification, and early detection. She is the Contact MPI of the Mayo Clinic Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in Pancreatic Cancer, and the recently completed bioethics-focused Genomic Incidental Findings Disclosure (GIFD). She leads a major research effort on early detection of pancreatic cancer at Mayo Clinic, supported by new research grants. She is a key member of the leadership teams of the PanScan, PACGENE, and PanC4 consortia.
November 10th, 2017:
Claudia Palena, Ph.D.
"Tumor plasticity in the context of immunotherapies against metastatic diseases."
Sponsors: Drs. Louis Weiner
Dr. Claudia Palena is an Investigator and the Head of the Immunoregulation Group in the Laboratory of Tumor Immunology and Biology, National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda. Dr. Palena received her Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry from the National University of Rosario, Rosario, Argentina, in 2000, and subsequently completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Laboratory of Tumor Immunology and Biology, NCI. Dr. Palena has made significant contributions to the field of tumor immunology and cancer immunotherapy, including the identification and characterization of novel tumor-associated antigens, and the use of costimulation for optimal activation of human T-cell responses to various tumor antigens. Her current research is focused on the development of novel immunotherapeutic approaches aimed at targeting critical events in tumor progression with the ultimate goal of designing vaccine platforms and combinatorial therapies for the prevention and/or treatment of metastases in human cancer. In particular, Dr. Palena has characterized the role of the transcription factor Brachyury as a driver of the phenomenon of mesenchymalization and therapeutic resistance in human carcinomas, and is currently investigating the use of cancer vaccines approaches to target Brachyury in a range of human tumors.
November 3rd, 2017:
Gideon Dreyfuss, Ph.D.
University of Pennsylvania
"Telescripting: Overarching Gene Expression Control and Cancer Cell Phenotype."
Sponsors: Drs. Jeffrey Toretsky, Rebecca Riggins
Gideon Dreyfuss received a BSc in chemistry and physics (Hebrew University, 1973) MSc in biochemistry (Tel Aviv University, 1975), and PhD in biological chemistry (Harvard University, 1978). He was a Helen Hay Whitney postdoctoral fellow at MIT. He joined the department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Cell Biology at Northwestern University in 1981, becoming Professor in 1987. He is the Isaac Norris Professor of Biochemistry & Biophysics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine where he has been a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator since 1990. Dreyfuss is a Member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, and the European Academy of Sciences, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dreyfuss’ research is focused on RNA-binding proteins, RNA-protein complexes (RNPs), and the SMN complex, key gene expression regulators in eukaryotes linked to many diseases.
October 27th, 2017:
Robert B. Dickson Memorial Lecture
Sandra M. Swain, MD, FACP, FASCO
Georgetown University Medical Center
"Treatment of patients with HER2 positive advanced breast cancer."
Sandra M. Swain, MD, FACP, FASCO is a Professor of Medicine and the Associate Dean for Research Development at the Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) in Washington, DC. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. In her primary role as Associate Dean for Research Development, Swain works closely with industry and community partners to improve patients’ access to cutting-edge treatments and technologies by expanding medical research opportunities both at GUMC and across the MedStar Health system.
Swain graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina in 1975 and earned her Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) from the University of Florida in Gainesville in 1980. She completed a residency in Internal Medicine at Vanderbilt University in 1983 followed by a fellowship in Medical Oncology at the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute in 1986. She served at the National Institutes of Health as the Deputy Branch Chief for the Medicine Branch of the Center for Cancer Research at the NCI as a tenured Principal Investigator. Next at the NIH, she became the Head of the Breast Cancer Section, and Chief of the Cancer Therapeutics Branch. From 2007-2016 she served as the Medical Director of the Washington Cancer Institute at MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC.
Swain’s research interests include translational research and clinical trials focused on metastatic and inflammatory breast cancer, adjuvant therapy for breast cancer, cardiotoxicity, and health care disparities. Her research has received funding from the National Institutes of Health, Susan G. Komen Foundation, Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and the Avon Foundation. She has published over 270 articles and is internationally recognized as a leader in the field breast cancer research and treatment. Moreover, Swain has received numerous awards and recognitions for her work, including the Susan G. Komen Award of Distinction for Community Service in 2012. She is also a recipient of the National Institutes of Health Merit Award, as well as a two-time recipient of the National Cancer Institute Mentor of Merit Award. In 2012, she received the Claude Jacquillat Award for Clinical Cancer Research and in 2016, the 3rd Aleksandr Savchuk Prize, Aleksandr Savchuk Foundation. The Washington Business Journal honored Swain with its prestigious Women Who Mean Business award in 2016.
Swain was a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Board of directors and served as President from 2013-14. She is currently a member and treasurer of the Conquer Cancer Foundation Board of Directors of ASCO. She sits on the Executive Committee of the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at GUMC. She has actively contributed to the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project for over 30 years, as Vice-Chair of the Breast Committee and a Principal Investigator of adjuvant trials for breast cancer. She currently is an active member of the NRG Breast Committee. She is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and ASCO. She is a member of both the American Association of Cancer Research and the American Medical Association.
October 20th, 2017:
Samir Khleif, M.D.
"Rational Combination of Immunotherapy, It is science, not logic."
Sponsor: Dr. Michael Atkins
Dr. Samir Khleif is a world renowned oncologist who was until recently Professor of Medicine, Medical College of Georgia where he was also Cancer Center Director of the State of Georgia Cancer Center until 2016. From 2002 to 2006, he served as the Director General and Chief Executive Officer of the King Hussein Cancer Center in Amman, expanding and strengthening the clinical operations and building that institution into a National Comprehensive Cancer Center of Excellence. He has more than 25 years of experience in the medical oncology, tumor immunology and immunotherapy fields. Dr. Khleif served Chief of the Cancer Vaccine Section and Senior Investigator at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). He also served as a Special Assistant to the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from 2006 to 2009, where he led the FDA Critical Path for Oncology designed to restructure the oncology drug development process. He is also a recognized basic and translational scientist and a medical oncologist. Dr. Khleif's research group focuses on the development of novel immune therapies and cancer vaccines and rational designs for combination immune therapy, based on understanding the molecular mechanisms of the interaction between cancer and the immune system (including cancer-induced immune suppression). He recently moved his laboratory to Georgetown University.
October 18th, 2017:
Special Seminar- W
Lars Juhl Jensen, Ph.D.
Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research
University of Copenhagen, Denmark
"Cellular network biology: Large-scale integration and visualization"
Sponsors: Drs. Kalliopi Tsafou and Jeffrey Toretsky
Dr. Jensen has developed a suite of tools which cover protein–protein (http://string-db.org) and protein–chemical (http://stitch-db.org) associations, subcellular localization (http://compartments.jensenlab.org), tissue expression (http://tissues.jensenlab.org), and disease associations (http://diseases.jensenlab.org). These tools all share a highly efficient and versatile, open-source text-mining pipeline.
October 13th, 2016:
Joanna Kitlinska, Ph.D.
Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
Molecular Oncology Program
"Neuropeptide Y (NPY) as a hypoxia-driven metastatic factor - potential links with bone and perineural invasion."
Dr. Kitlinska received a PhD in Medical Biology from the Medical Academy in Lublin Poland in 1991, where she became Assistant Professor in the department of Medical Genetics in 1995. She came to the US in 1997 and to Georgetown in 2000, where she is Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular & Cell Biology. Her laboratory focuses on role of a sympathetic neurotransmitter, neuropeptide Y (NPY) in tumor biology. NPY is normally released from the activated sympathetic neurons, e.g. during stress. However, the tumors with neuronal features, such as two pediatric malignancies, neuroblastoma and Ewing’s sarcoma, may also synthesize and release this peptide. She has found that NPY is not only a marker of neuronal differentiation of these tumors, but also an active regulator of their growth and vascularization. Currently, she is exploring the role of NPY in metastases of these tumors, as well as assessing NPY and its receptors as targets in their therapy. Since NPY is highly up-regulated during chronic stress, the findings on its important role in regulation of tumor growth and dissemination have triggered interest in the impact of stress on cancer progression and development. At present, she is investigating the effect of prenatal stress on development of neuroblastoma – a childhood tumor arising due to defects in sympathetic neuron differentiation.
October 6th, 2017:
Jacqueline Jeruss, MD, Ph.D.
University of Michigan
"Translating Breast Cancer Research into Clinical Practice."
Sponsor: Dr. Claudine Isaacs
Dr. Jeruss is an Associate Professor of Surgery and the Director of the University of Michigan Breast Care Center and Breast Surgical Fellowship, and she is Co-Director of the Surgical Oncology T32 Training Program. She also holds appointments in the Departments of Pathology and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan. Dr. Jeruss’s clinical practice is focused on the care of patients at high risk for the development of breast cancer and patients with benign and malignant breast disease.
Dr. Jeruss received her undergraduate degree in neuroscience and history from Brandeis University and her medical degree from the University of Vermont. Dr. Jeruss completed her General Surgery residency training at Northwestern University Medical School and holds a PhD from Northwestern, having done her dissertation in the field of breast cancer biology. She completed her fellowship in Breast Surgical Oncology at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in 2006, and returned to Northwestern as Associate Professor of Surgery in the Division of Breast Surgery before joining the University of Michigan faculty.
Dr. Jeruss is board certified in General Surgery and is a member of several professional societies. She currently has active roles with the American College of Surgeons, American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the National Institute of Health. Through her basic and clinical research program, Dr. Jeruss has been involved in the training of high school students, undergraduates, graduate students at the PhD and postdoctoral levels, medical students, and residents. She has published numerous manuscripts and book chapters, and has also received many awards for teaching and research.
Dr. Jeruss's clinical and basic research interests are focused on novel therapeutics for aggressive breast cancer subtypes, new approaches to manage cancer metastasis, incorporation of fertility preservation into the care of young patients with cancer, and surgical ethics. Her research efforts, to date, have yielded new insights into the mechanisms associated with breast cancer cell cycle deregulation, implementation of bioengineered scaffolds to forestall breast cancer metastasis, and the basic and clinical translation of fertility preservation for young patients with cancer.
Her research program is funded by the National Institute of Health and several foundations including the Society of Surgical Oncology and A Sister's Hope. She was the recipient of the Society of Surgical Oncology Clinical Investigator Award in Breast Cancer Research that supported the preclinical work for a study directed toward the treatment of patients with hormone receptor negative breast cancer.
September 29th, 2016:
Giuseppe Giaccone, M.D.
Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
Experimental Therapeutics Program
"Tumors of the Thymus."
Giuseppe Giaccone, M.D., Ph.D. is an internationally recognized expert in the field of lung cancer and developmental therapeutics. Dr. Giaccone received his M.D. cum laude from the University of Torino Medical School in 1980, followed by training in clinical oncology and internal medicine, which he completed at the University of Torino in 1988. He spent the next two years in the NCI's Medical Oncology Branch under the direction of Dr. John Minna. Following his training at the NCI, Dr. Giaccone received his Ph.D. from the Vrije University Medical Center in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He served as a senior medical oncologist at the Medical Center from 1990 to 2000, when he was appointed Professor of Medical Oncology. Dr. Giaccone became Head of the Center's Department of Medical Oncology in 2003.
He played a major role in the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC), serving as a member of the EORTC's Lung Cancer Cooperative Group since 1982 and as its Chair from 1993 to 2000. During his leadership of this Group, Dr. Giaccone led several major clinical studies focusing on lung cancer and mesothelioma.
Dr. Giaccone was appointed Chief of the Medical Oncology Branch of the Center for Cancer Research of the National Cancer Institute in April 2007. During his presence at NCI Dr. Giaccone helped restructure the intramural medical oncology and clinical trial organization. He developed cutting edge clinical, basic and translational research in the field of thoracic malignancies.
In January 2013 he joined the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University, Washington DC as the Associate Director for Clinical Research and the Director of Clinical Research for the MedStar Health Cancer Network’s Washington Region. His research activity is mainly focused on the study of the biology of lung cancer and thymic tumors, and treatment of these tumor types. He has recently made some seminal discoveries that have disclosed new ways to treat lung cancer and to diagnose thymic tumors. These discoveries have been published in very high impact scientific journals. Dr. Giaccone has published more than 500 peer-reviewed papers and contributed to more than 30 book chapters.
September 22nd, 2017:
Janice Mehnert, Ph.D.
"Apoptosis in Melanoma: Re-focusing the lens."
Sponsors: Drs. Michael Atkins, Geoffrey Gibney
Janice M. Mehnert, M.D. is the Director of the Developmental Therapeutics Unit at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and a member of the Melanoma and Soft Tissue Oncology Program. She is also an Associate Professor of Medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Her clinical research focuses on novel therapies for all types of tumors, especially melanoma and sarcoma, and involves the development of both targeted and immunotherapies. At a national level, she is part of the Melanoma Committee of the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group-American College of Radiology Imaging Network, where she works with other investigators to develop clinical trials for patients with melanoma, and a member of the American Society Clinical Oncology Education Committee for Melanoma and Skin Cancers. Her broad clinical research experience spans industry-sponsored, investigator-initiated and cooperative group studies. Dr. Mehnert is the author or co-author of multiple peer reviewed articles and book chapters and has been awarded numerous peer reviewed national and private foundation grants to support her work. She has published in such prestigious authorities as Cancer Discovery, Journal of Clinical Oncology and Clinical Cancer Research, serving on the editorial board of the latter.
Dr. Mehnert completed her MD degree in 2001 at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. She completed her residency training in internal medicine at The Mount Sinai Hospital, New York followed by a fellowship in medical oncology and hematology at The Yale Cancer Center. She began her career at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey/Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in 2007.
September 15th, 2017:
Cathy Bradley, Ph.D.
University of Colorado
"Cancer and Employment Opportunities for Work."
Sponsor: Dr. Ken Tercyak
Cathy Bradley, Ph.D. is the Associate Director of Population Health Sciences at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus Cancer Center. She holds the Grohne Chair in Cancer Prevention and Control research. Dr. Bradley is an internationally recognized expert in health outcomes research and health economics. Her expertise is in labor market outcomes of cancer survivors, health policy, and health services research. She pioneered methods to estimate disparities in cancer diagnosis, treatment, and outcomes.
Prior to joining CU, she was the founding Chair of the Department of Healthcare Policy and Research, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. She has been an NIH funded Principal Investigator since 1998 and has received funding from the American Cancer Society, The Commonwealth Fund, and various state and international agencies.
September 8th, 2017:
Benjamin Izar, M.D., Ph.D.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
"Dissecting Cancer Ecosystems and Drug Resistance Using Single-cell Technologies."
Sponsor: Dr. Michael Atkins
Dr. Izar is a physician-scientist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. He has a clinical appointment as Medical Oncologist in the Melanoma Disease Center and member of the Center for Cancer Precision Medicine at DFCI. Dr. Izar’s research focusses on understanding tumor heterogeneity and drug resistance to MAPK-pathway inhibitors (MAPKi) and immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) in metastatic melanoma. He pioneered the implementation of single-cell RNA-sequencing and highly-multiplexed imaging in patients with melanoma and other cancers. He is leading efforts integrating genome-scale overexpression/CRISPR-Cas9 knockout perturbations and single-cell profiling in patient-derived models to systematically dissect mechanisms of ICI resistance.
May 12th, 2017:
Kai Wucherpfennig, M.D., Ph.D.
"Discovery of novel targets for cancer immunotherapy."
Sponsor: Dr. Michael Atkins
Kai W. Wucherpfennig, MD, PhD is Chair of the Department of Cancer Immunology and Virology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Professor of Neurology in the Department of Neurology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Professor of Microbiology and Immunobiology at Harvard Medical School. His research focuses on basic T cell biology as well as the role of T cells in tumor immunity and autoimmunity. His lab currently focuses on negative regulatory mechanisms that impair the function of cytotoxic T cells in tumors, and he is applying these insights to the design of adoptive T cell therapies.
Dr. Wucherpfennig has served in a number of leadership roles in cancer immunology DFCI and the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DH/HCC). He has been a co-leader of the Cancer Immunology Program of DF/HCC since 2004, and since October 2015 he serves as chair of the Department of Cancer Immunology and Virology. He also initiated a Center for Cancer Immunotherapy Research which fosters collaborative research between basic scientists and clinical investigators focused on novel approaches to cancer immunotherapy.
He has been elected as a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (2006), the Henry Kunkel Society at Rockefeller University (2007) and as Fellow of the American Society for the Advancement of Science (2009). Dr. Wucherpfennig received a MD and PhD degree from the University of Göttingen in Germany, and did his postdoctoral training at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital (Drs. Howard Weiner and David Hafler) and at Harvard College (Dr. Jack Strominger).He has been a faculty member at Dana-Farber since 1995.
May 5th, 2017:
Benjamin Tycko, M.D., Ph.D.
"Gentic-Epigenetic Interactions in Human health and Disease."
Sponsor: Dr. Louis Weiner and Dr Michael Atkins
Dr. Tycko received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from New York University Medical School in 1984, and then did residency and post-doctoral training in pathology and molecular genetics at Stanford University. Following a brief instructorship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in 1991 he joined the Pathology Department, Institute for Cancer Genetics, and Taub Institute, at Columbia University Medical Center, where he is currently a Professor of Pathology & Cell Biology. Dr. Tycko has a long-standing research program on genetics and epigenetics in human development and disease. Recent work by his group has involved genome-wide and locus-specific profiling of CpG methylation, both net and allele-specific, for disease gene discovery and pathway analysis in Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease, autoimmune disorders, and cancer susceptibility. In addition, his laboratory is pursuing preclinical studies of epigenetic therapies, using mouse models of pancreatic cancer.
April 28th, 2017:
Goncalo Abecasis, Ph.D.
University of Michigan
"Sequencing & Analysis of 10,000's of Human Genomes: Lessons, Challenges, and Opportunities."
Sponsor: Dr. Subha Madhavan
Gonçalo Abecasis, Felix E. Moore Collegiate Professor of Biostatistics and chair of the Department of Biostatistics, U-M School of Public Health, is a leader in genetic analysis of complex human traits. His team has developed statistical methods, computational algorithms and software that facilitate quick, accurate analysis of genetic studies of human disease. His studies enable a better understanding of human genetic variation and its role in disease biology. Abecasis has made important contributions to understanding conditions as diverse as heart disease, diabetes, psoriasis, macular degeneration. Ongoing projects include the sequencing and analysis of >50,000 deep human genomes – an unprecedented amount of data. Abecasis leads the University’s Biostatistics department, which is training a new generation of scientists and making contributions to the statistical and computational machinery for the analysis of diverse types of biomedical data – including not only genomic data but also electronic health records, registry data and health surveys, a variety of imaging data types, and environmental exposures, among others.
April 21st, 2017:
Michael Rosen, Ph.D.
"Physical Mechanisms of cell Organization on Micron Length Scales."
Sponsor: Dr. Jeffrey Toretsky
Dr. Rosen is the Chair of the Department of Biophysics at UT Southwestern and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Prior to moving to UT Southwestern in 2001 he was a member of the Cellular Biochemistry and Biophysics Program at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. He received undergraduate degrees in chemistry and in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan in 1987, and then spent a year in Alan Battersby’s lab in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge as a Winston Churchill Foundation Scholar. He received his Ph.D. in chemistry from Harvard University in 1993 under the direction of Stuart Schreiber, where he studied the structure and function of the FK506 binding protein, FKBP12. He was a Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell post-doctoral fellow in the laboratories of Tony Pawson and Lewis Kay at the University of Toronto, where he studied regulation of the signaling adaptor protein, Crk, and developed methods of selective methyl group labeling of proteins for NMR spectroscopy. The Rosen lab website can be found at: www.utsouthwestern.edu/labs/rosen/"
April 7th, 2017:
Wei Zheng, M.D., Ph.D.
"Use of big data and cohorts to uncover causes of cancers."
Sponsor: CPC program
Professor Wei Zheng is the Director of the Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center. His research, funded continually by NIH for the past 20 years, focuses on the evaluation of lifestyle factors and biomarkers for cancer risk and survival. Having authored or co-authored more than 850 scientific publications, he is known for his work on molecular, genetic, and nutritional epidemiology of cancer, particularly breast and colorectal cancers. He is one of the most highly cited researchers and has been named in “The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds” by Thomson Reuters since 2015. Dr. Zheng has directed more than 20 large-scale, population-based studies, including several international consortia. In 2008 and 2009, he initiated two genetic research consortia for breast and colorectal cancers in Asians - currently including nearly 200,000 cases and controls from more than 40 studies - which have identified over 30 novel susceptibility loci/variants. He directed the first project in the Asia Cohort Consortium to harmonize data from 1.1 million subjects and quantified the association of BMI with total and cause-specific mortality. Dr. Zheng has served as a senior editor and an editorial board member for multiple epidemiology and cancer journals. He is the primary mentor for more than three dozen junior investigators. In 2009, Dr. Zheng received an NCI MERIT award. Before joining the Vanderbilt faculty in 2000 as a full Professor, he worked at the National Cancer Institute, University of Minnesota, and University of South Carolina. Dr. Zheng received his doctoral degree in epidemiology in 1992 from Johns Hopkins University.
March 31st, 2017:
Anthony Capobianco, Ph.D.
University of Miami
"Nic, NACK and Other Odds and Ends; Exploiting Notch Mechanism For Novel Cancer Therapeutic."
Sponsor: Dr. Akut Uren
Dr. Tony J. Capobianco is a professor and the Director of Molecular Oncology at Dewitt Daughtry Family Department of Surgery, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, Miami, FL. He completed his undergraduate education at Purdue University and obtained his PhD degree from Boston University. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at UCSF in Dr. Michael Bishop’s laboratory, Dr. Capobianco started his academic career at University of Cincinnati. Before joining his current position at University of Miami, he also worked at Wistar Institute, in Philadelphia, PA. His research focuses on understanding the role of Notch signaling in cancer and its potential role as a therapeutic target. Dr. Capobianco is the founder of StemSynergy Therapeutics, which aims to develop drugs targeting Notch, Wnt, and Hg pathways in cancer.
March 24th, 2017:
Udayan Guha, M.D., Ph.D.
"Integrated proteogenomics analyses to study tumor heterogeneity and how it influences targeted treatment response."
Sponsor: Dr. Beppe Giaccone
Dr. Udayan Guha is an Investigator in the Thoracic and Gastrointestinal Oncology Branch and head of the Cancer Signaling Networks Section in the Center for Cancer Research at the NCI Intramural Program. Apart from his clinical training in Hematology and Oncology at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, NY, he received basic science training during his graduate studies and postdoctoral training with Dr. Harold Varmus at MSKCC. Upon initiation of his own group at the NCI Intramural Program, Dr. Guha has established a state-of-the-art proteomics facility for basic, translational and clinical studies. His group specializes in quantitative proteomics, particularly for posttranslational modifications, such as phosphorylation. Apart from his studies in lung cancer and targeted therapy, he has collaborated with several intramural and extramural investigators whom he has assisted with his expertise and infrastructure in mass spectrometry-based proteomics. Dr. Guha is the Principal Investigator of several clinical protocols in Thoracic Oncology at the NIH Clinical Center. One treatment protocol is currently evaluating the role of local ablative therapy (LAT) and osimertinib re-challenge in EGFR mutated lung adenocarcinoma. He is also the PI of a rapid/warm autopsy protocol for Thoracic malignancies to interrogate tumor heterogeneity.
March 17th, 2017:
Fisher Center Visiting Professorship Lecture
Elena Stoffel, M.D.
University of Michigan
"Germline Implications of Tumor Testing – A New Paradigm in Precision Oncology."
Sponsor: Beth Peshkin
Dr. Stoffel is Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan. She earned her MD at Harvard Medical School, her Master’s in Public Health at the Harvard School of Public Health, and completed her training in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. After many years in Boston at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Dr. Stoffel moved to the University of Michigan in 2011 and became Director of the Cancer Genetics Clinic. Dr. Stoffel’s clinical and research interests focus on cancer risk stratification and early detection and prevention of gastrointestinal cancers. She was awarded a NIH/HCI K07 Career Development Award in Cancer Prevention and Control for her work examining the effect of genetic and behavioral factors on risk for colorectal cancer. Dr. Stoffel serves on the ASCO Committee for Cancer Genetics and is a past President of the Collaborative Group of the Americas on Inherited Colorectal Cancer (CGA-ICC). She is involved with international collaborative studies in genetic epidemiology and cancer chemoprevention and is a co-Investigator in the University of Michigan’s MiOncoseq Precision Oncology Initiative, funded through the NCI/NHGRI Clinical Sequencing in Exploratory Research (CSER) consortium.
March 10th, 2017:
Patricia Steeg, M.D.
"Brain Metastases of Breast Cancer."
Sponsor: Dr. Aykut Uren
Dr. Steeg is Deputy Chief of the Women's Malignancies Branch at NCI. She discovered the first metastasis suppressor gene, Nm23. Nm23 and other metastasis suppressors prevent the formation of metastases, with no effect on primary tumor size. Her recent studies focus on breast cancer metastatic dormancy, showing that an antagonist to the Lysophosphatidic acid receptor 1 (LPA1) emulates a metastasis suppressor gene by reducing experimental liver and lung metastases and inducing dormancy in models of triple-negative breast cancer. Dr. Steeg also investigates brain metastases of breast cancer. Her studies identify molecular events controlling brain colonization, investigate the pharmacology of the blood-tumor barrier, and determine the radiation sensitivity of brain lesions.
March 3rd, 2017:
Naiyer Rizvi, M.D.
"Genetics of Response to Immunotherapy in Lung Cancer."
Sponsor: Dr. Michael Atkins
Dr. Rizvi is the Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine and the Director of Thoracic Oncology and Co-Director of Cancer Immunotherapy Program for the Division of Hematology and Oncology at Columbia University Medical Center. He also holds the Price Chair in Clinical Translational Research. He is an internationally recognized leader in the treatment of lung cancer and immunotherapy drug development. Prior to joining Columbia University Medical Center, his clinical research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer played a significant role in the FDA approval path of a new class of immunotherapies, called immune checkpoint inhibitors, for melanoma and lung cancer. His research focus is studying mechanisms of sensitivity and resistance to immunotherapy. Through genetic testing of tumors, he has been able to improve the understanding of why immune checkpoint inhibitors work in certain patients. This work has been partially supported by Stand Up To Cancer -- Cancer Research Institute Immunology funding. In his research, he also is studying why certain cancers do not respond to immune checkpoint inhibitors, so we can find better ways to harness the immune system to attack cancer cells. He oversees phase 1 immunotherapy research in solid tumors at Columbia University Medical Center and is conducting key clinical studies of novel immunotherapy drugs and immunotherapy combinations to help more patients in the fight against cancer.
February 24th, 2017:
Steven Sherman, M.D.
"Therapies for Advanced Thyroid Cancer."
Sponsor: Dr. Michael Atkins
Dr. Sherman received his undergraduate degree from Harvard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts and his medical degree from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. After completing his internship, residency and fellowship in Endocrinology and Metabolism at Johns Hopkins Hospital, he served as Assistant Professor. He has been at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center since 1993, and has headed the endocrine department there since 2000. He was appointed as Professor in 2005, and he has served as Associate Vice-Provost for Clinical Research at MD Anderson since 2014. In addition to authoring more than 100 journal articles and book chapters on thyroid disease and his service on the editorial board for two medical journals, he has been a guest editor for the Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network as well as Seminars in Surgical Oncology. He has served as the Chair of the Thyroid Cancer Guidelines Panel for the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, as a member of multiple American Thyroid Association thyroid cancer guidelines task forces, and as Chairman of the International Thyroid Oncology Group for four years. He has also been a speaker nationally and internationally at numerous seminars and symposia, and has been the program co-chair of several international symposia dedicated to thyroid carcinoma.
February 17th, 2017:
Christine Rini, Ph.D.
John Theurer Cancer Center
"Behavioral Intervention for SCT Survivors."
Sponsor: Dr. Ken Tercyak
Dr. Christine Rini is a social/health psychologist who completed doctoral training at the University of California at Los Angeles and postdoctoral training in cancer prevention and control at the Icahn School of Medicine in New York, NY. Her research investigates psychosocial factors that affect people’s adjustment to health-related challenges, with an emphasis on those involving cancer prevention and control. Her major interests include: (1) Interpersonal influences, such as those involving the effectiveness of enacted social support, peer support, and significant others’ influences on behavior change and health decision making; (2) Individual differences that influence how people respond to health challenges; (3) Patient decision making and post-decision adjustment in the context genomic sequencing; and (4) Development of behavioral and psychosocial interventions, including those using technology (eHealth). Her interventions have included web-based pain coping skills training to help people manage persistent pain and web-based decision support to help people make difficult health decisions. She has also developed an intervention that uses expressive writing as a basis for helping cancer survivors share their treatment experience, advice, and encouragement with peers through a written peer support narrative. This intervention, called Expressive Helping, has been shown to reduce physical and psychological symptoms after hematopoietic stem cell transplant.
February 10th, 2017:
David Spetzler, Ph.D.
Caris Life Sciences
"Molecular Profiling and Precision Oncology"
Sponsor: Dr. John Marshall
Dr. Spetzler joined Caris Life Sciences® in August of 2009, and currently provides executive guidance for the company’s tumor profiling business, Caris Molecular Intelligence®, and direct leadership of the Research and Development division. His executive and scientific oversight of the R&D team is focused on the development of clinical assays to aid in the creation of precision medicine strategies for individual cancer patients, as well as noninvasive technologies to identify and predict early stage cancer. His work is focused on the development of the ADAPT Biotargeting System™, a groundbreaking and proprietary method of profiling molecular complexes in their native form in a highly multiplexed format. The innovative technology is the result of the convergence of Caris’ deep expertise in Next-Generation Sequencing, exosome biology, bioinformatics and broad-based molecular profiling.
Prior to his position at Caris, Dr. Spetzler was a member of the research faculty at Arizona State University where he developed multiplexed nanotechnologies for single molecule detection of nucleic acid and protein targets. He also developed novel methods of using DNA to create biological computers to solve NP-complete optimization problems, and built a novel optical detection system capable of measuring single molecule protein conformational changes with microsecond time resolution. He has published numerous research articles, and is an author on more than twenty patents.
February 3rd, 2017:
Andre Goy, M.D.
John Theyrer Cancer Center
"Mantle Cell Lymphoma - A Changing Paradigm?"
Sponsor: Dr. Louis Weiner
Andre Goy, M.D., is an internationally renowned clinician and researcher in the field of lymphoma. He is the Chairman and Executive Director of John Theurer Cancer Center at HackensackUMC where he also leads the Lymphoma Program. Dr. Goy is also the Executive Director of Oncology for Hackensack Meridian Health Network.
Dr. Goy trained and worked at the three largest cancer programs in the world, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX, and The University Hospital System as well as Gustave Roussy and Pasteur Institutes in Paris.
Dr. Goy’s research interest includes drug development in lymphoma as well as identification of biomarkers predictive of outcomes in patients with lymphoma. He has focused his interest particularly in mantle cell lymphoma where he was the lead investigator for two of the three new agents: Lenalidomide (Revlimid), and Bortezomib (Velcade) as well as co-investigator for the recent development of Ibrutinib (Imbruvica). After moving to HUMC Dr. Goy initiated the tissue repository for the entire cancer program. He has also been actively involved in cell therapy including bone marrow transplantation and immunotherapy through CAR-T cells and check-point inhibitors across the board in lymphomas and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. He has published extensively and serves as reviewer for many key journals in the field of hematology and oncology research. He serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Lymphoma Research Foundation as well as the NCI study group on lymphoma. Dr. Goy is a Professor of Medicine at Georgetown University in D.C.
Dr. Goy is a co-founder of COTA, a cloud based analytics platform which can help stratify patients in oncology and beyond to optimize treatment decisions and outcomes. This is not only key to rationale approach of value based health care but also to implement precision medicine.
Dr. Goy has participated in the World Economic Forum Think Tank on the Future of Health Care since 2014, and currently serves as co-chair of the WEF Council on the Future of Health and Health Care.
January 27th, 2017:
Richard White, M.D., Ph.D.
Memorial Sloan Kettering
"Zebrafish models of melanoma heterogeneity and metastasis"
Sponsor: Dr. Michael Atkins
Richard White is a physician scientist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. His laboratory uses the zebrafish for modeling cancer, with a particular emphasis on melanoma biology. Because of its optical transparency and ease of genetic manipulation, the zebrafish is an ideal platform for unbiased discovery of factors that promote metastasis in vivo. His talk will discuss recent findings on the role of novel microenvironmental cell types in promoting melanoma progression.
January 13th, 2017:
Kathryn Schmitz, Ph.D.
Penn State Cancer Institute
"Implementing exercise as standard of care after breast cancer"
Sponsors: Dr. Chris Loffredo & Dr. Marc Schwartz
Kathryn Schmitz, PhD, MPH, FACSM, is a Professor of Public Health Sciences and Associate Director of Population Sciences at the Pennsylvania State University’s College of Medicine. She is an exercise interventionist who has led multiple trials, including a large randomized controlled trial, titled the Physical Activity and Lympehdema Trial (PAL), to assess the safety of upper body exercise among 295 breast cancer survivors with and without lymphedema. She has conducted dissemination research in translating the PAL intervention to become more broadly disseminable. The program, now called Strength After Breast Cancer, has been delivered to over 1,000 breast cancer survivors. An online educational training program which prepares exercise professionals and physical therapists to administer the program has been requested by and provided to over 200 outpatient rehabilitation specialists across the country.
Dr. Schmitz has published over 180 peer reviewed scientific papers (scopus h-index of 44) and has had continuous National Institutes of Health funding for her research since 2001, including three R01s, two R21s and a TREC (Transdisciplinary Research on Energetics and Cancer) Center. She has also received research support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality. She has served on the expert panel for the YMCA/Lance Armstrong Foundation Cancer Survivorship Collaborative, wrote the cancer survivorship section of the recently published U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report of the Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee, and served on the ad hoc committee that developed the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Cancer Exercise Trainer certification. She is the lead author of the ACSM Roundtable on Exercise for Cancer Survivors, which published guidance for exercise testing and prescription for cancer survivors in July 2010.
December 16th, 2016:
Catherine Bollard, M.D.
Children's National Health System
"Virus-specific T cell Therapies : Broadening Applicability"
Sponsor: Dr Michael Atkins
Catherine Bollard received her medical degree at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. She is Board certified both in Pediatrics and Hematology. She worked both in New Zealand and London, England before moving to Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in 2000 where she was Professor of Pediatrics, Medicine and Immunology and the Director of the Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Center Pediatric Lymphoma Program. In August 2013, she moved to Children’s National and The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, DC. She is currently Chief, Division of Allergy and Immunology, Professor of Pediatrics and of Microbiology, Immunology and Tropical Medicine and Director of the Program for Cell Enhancement and Technologies for Immunotherapy (CETI). She is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) and is President of the International Society for Cellular Therapy (ISCT). She is on the Board of Directors of the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) and Chairs the Non Hodgkins Lymphoma committee of the Children’s Oncology Group. She is an Associate Editor for the journals Blood and Cytotherapy and is a member of the NCI Clinical Oncology Study Section and is a member of the Cellular, Tissues and Gene Therapies Advisory Committee for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Her bench and translational research focuses on improving outcomes for patients after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation as well as the development of novel cell therapies for viral diseases and hematologic malignancies.
December 9th, 2016:
Alexander Bishop, Ph.D.
University of Texas San Antonio
"Damage induced BRCA1 dynamics in Ewing sarcoma, dysfunction and therapeuticpotential"
Sponsor: Dr Jeffrey Toretsky
Alex Bishop attained his DPhil in Oxford University working on meiotic recombination in yeast. He went on to the Harvard School of Public Health and then Harvard Medical School for two postdoctoral fellowships. The first position was with Robert Schiestl to look at homologous recombination in vivo using mouse models for p53 and ATM. His second postdoctoral position was with Phil Leder where he conducted RNAi screens in Drosophila cells to identify genes and pathways involved in damage survival. In 2005 he set up his own lab in the Greehey Children's Cancer Research Institute, a part of the University of Texas Health at San Antonio. His work has continued to examine mechanisms of damage survival and DNA repair using cell based and mouse models, initially applied to breast and ovarian cancer as well as DNA repair syndromes. In the last few years he has applied the knowledge gained from those studies to try to begin to understand Ewing sarcoma, why it is often sensitive to a variety of DNA damaging chemotherapeutics and how it may acquire resistance.
November 18th, 2016:
American Cancer Society Mini-Symposium
Rebecca Cowens-Alvarado, MPH, Vice President South Atlantic Division Health Systems, American Cancer Society
Sonia de Assis, PhD, Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
Patrick Lombardi, PhD, Johns Hopkins University
Filipa Lynce, MD, Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
Lisa A. Taneyhill, PhD, University of Maryland, College Park
Chaitra Ujjani, MD, Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
Lunch to follow
More information here.
November 11th, 2016:
Anna Riegel, Ph.D.
Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
Breast Cancer Program
"Do Nuclear co-regulators drive malignant progression of breast cancer? "
Dr Riegel’s research is focused on the role and regulation of nuclear receptor coactivators in cancer progression. The long-term goal of her research is to understand the signals that enhance tumor cell / stromal interactions with a focus on breast cancer and ultimately to determine ways that this cross talk could be interrupted therapeutically. Her laboratory was the first to report the potentiation by the coactivator oncogene AIB1 of the oncogene HER2 and also the activity of a variant isoform of AIB1 in breast cancer. These studies utilized xeno and allograft models, transgenic and conditional knockout mouse models of breast cancer as well as 3D models of cancer progression. Recent work has examined the role of coactivators in maintenance of cancer stem cells and is focused on determining how stem cell cross talk with components of the tumor stroma influences breast cancer progression.
November 4th, 2016:
John Bushweller, Ph.D.
University of Virginia
"Drugging “Undruggable” Transcription Factor Drivers in Cancer "
Sponsor: Dr Aykut Uren
Dr Bushweller received a B.A. in chemistry in 1984 from Dartmouth College where he was one course short of a minor in Classics… He then did a Ph.D. in chemistry with Paul Bartlett at the University of California, Berkeley (1990). After postdoctoral research on NMR based structural biology with Nobel laureate Kurt Wuthrich at ETH-Zurich, he became Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Dartmouth College. In 1998 he moved to the University of Virginia in the Depts. of Molecular Physiology and Chemistry where he is currently Professor, and Program Leader for Chemical and Structural Biology in the University of Virginia Cancer Center.
October 28th, 2016:
Robert B. Dickson Memorial Lecture
Robert Clarke, Ph.D., D.Sc.
Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
"Resistance to Endocrine Therapy in Breast Cancer: A Systems Biology Approach"
Dr. Robert Clarke is an internationally recognized leader in breast cancer research. Currently, he is Dean for Research, Director of the Biomedical Graduate Research Organization, and co-Program Leader of the Breast Program at Georgetown University Medical Center. He obtained his Ph.D. and D.Sc. from the Queen’s University of Belfast in Northern Ireland and completed his postdoctoral training as a Breast Cancer Study Group Fellow at the Medicine Branch of the National Cancer Institute, NIH. He joined Georgetown University in 1989, where he served as Secretary/Treasurer of the Georgetown University Faculty Senate from 2004-2007. Dr. Clarke was cited among the 100 most frequently published breast cancer researchers of the 20th Century at the 23rd San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. He is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, each in the U.K. He has served as chair of several peer-review study sections for NIH, most recently for BMCT (Basic Mechanisms of Cancer Therapy).
Dr. Clarke has also served as chair for several Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program study sections. He is a Senior Editor for the journal Cancer Research, an Associate Editor for the journal Endocrine-Related Cancer, and serves on the editorial boards of over a dozen other international peer review journals. Dr. Clarke completed a two year term as the elected National Cancer Institute-SigmaXi Distinguished Lecturer in 2014.
October 21st, 2016:
Loren Walensky, M.D., Ph.D.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
"Noncanonical Strategies for Therapeutic Targeting of Apoptotic Regulators in Cancer"
Sponsor: Dr Jeffery Toretsky
Loren Walensky, MD, PhD, is a Principal Investigator and Attending Physician in the Department of Pediatric Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, and Director of the Harvard/MIT MD-PhD Program. He received his B.A. in Chemistry from Princeton University, his MD-PhD degrees from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, was a resident at the Boston Combined Residency Program in Pediatrics, and completed Pediatric Hematology/Oncology fellowship training at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Boston Children’s Hospital. Dr. Walensky’s research focuses on the chemical biology of deregulated cell death and transcriptional pathways, with the goal of developing and translating a new generation of therapies to overcome treatment-resistance in human cancers.
October 7th, 2016:
Albert Fornace, M.D. & Amrita Cheema, Ph.D.
Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
"Metabolomic Applications in Oncology"
Molecular Oncology Program
Dr. Fornace, who holds the Molecular Cancer Research Chair at LCCC, was previously Director of the John B. Little for the Radiation Sciences and Environmental Health at Harvard, and earlier led the Gene Response Section at NCI. He is a highly cited researcher in stress-signaling mechanisms and characterization of pathways involved in tumor suppression, cell cycle control, and radiation injury. His group has pioneered the use of omics approaches including metabolomics for oncogenic and genotoxic stress signaling, and he now directs the Waters Center of Innovation at GUMC. He leads the metabolomics component of the Center For High-Throughput Minimally-Invasive Radiation Biodosimetry, a multi-institutional U19 program. He also leads a NIH-supported project focusing on development of human metabolomic biomarkers for assessment of radiation responses in patients and animal models.
Dr Amrita Cheema serves as a Professor in the Departments of Oncology, and Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biology at Georgetown University. She also co-directs the Waters Center of Innovation for Metabolomics at the Georgetown University Medical Center. Research in her laboratory is focused on molecular phenotyping studies for identification and verification of predictive, diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers of radiation exposure as well as anticipatory biomarkers of response to therapeutic interventions in cancer.
September 30th, 2016:
Christopher Vakoc, M.D., Ph.D.
Cold Spring Harbor
"Chromatin Regulators as Cancer Dependencies"
Sponsor: Dr Jeffrey Toretsky
After graduating with a degree in biochemistry from Penn State University, Chris earned Ph.D. (2005) and M.D. (2007) degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. His dissertation research was performed in the laboratory of Gerd Blobel, where he studied basic mechanisms of long-range enhancer function, hematopoietic transcription factors, and histone lysine methylation. In 2008, Chris accepted a position as a Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Fellow and during this time, he initiated research into how chromatin modifications support the pathogenesis of leukemia. A key focus of this work has been to use functional genomics approaches to reveal unique chromatin regulator dependencies in cancer cells. This has led to the identification of several chromatin regulator pathways that are essential to maintain the leukemia cell state, which includes the discovery of BRD4 as a therapeutic target in acute myeloid leukemia. This work has also revealed novel mechanisms of transcriptional regulation, such as identifying a role for MLL as a mitotic bookmark and a role for TRIM33 in enhancer decommissioning.
September 23rd, 2016:
Darren Mays, Ph.D., MPH
Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
"Public health communication research in the tobacco regulatory science era"
Cancer Prevention & Control Program
Darren Mays, PhD, MPH, is an Assistant Professor of Oncology at Georgetown University Medical Center and Member of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Mays's research focuses on behavioral cancer prevention among adolescents and young adults with specific interests in tobacco prevention and control. As a public health scientist, his research seeks to develop and examine the effects of public health communications, behavioral intervention programs, and policy/regulation to prevent and reduce tobacco use in youth and young adult populations. His research has a strong focus on tobacco regulatory science, conducting studies designed to guide federal regulation of tobacco products with specific interests in public education about the risks of tobacco use and tobacco product packaging and warning labels.
September 16th, 2016:
Michael Ittmann, M.D.
Baylor College of Medicine
"A novel oncogenic axis in African-American prostate cancer"
Sponsor: Dr Aykut Uren
Michael Ittmann MD PhD holds the William D. Tigertt Chair of Pathology at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. He is a Board certified pathologist with expertise in genitourinary pathology and is Chief of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center. He has carried out a funded research program in prostate cancer signal transduction and molecular genetics over the last 23 years. The major focus of his research has been on the role of FGFs and their receptors in prostate cancer; the TMPRSS2/ERG fusion gene, mouse models of prostate cancer and the tumor microenvironment, resulting in 198 scientific publications. He also directs the Human Tissue and Pathology Core of the Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine.
September 9th, 2016:
Leisha A. Emens, M.D., Ph.D.
"Harnessing the Immune System to Treat Breast Cancer"
Sponsor: Dr Claudine Isaacs
Leisha A. Emens, M.D., Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Oncology at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins. She is a medical oncologist who specializes in breast cancer care, and is a member of both the cancer immunology and the breast/ovarian cancer research programs. Her research is focused on developing innovative immune-based therapies that combine cancer vaccines, immune checkpoint inhibitors, and other immune modulators with standard and novel treatments for breast cancer and ovarian cancer. She developed a cytokine-secreting breast cancer vaccine for testing in clinical trials. Using a preclinical murine breast cancer model of antigen-specific tolerance, she develops rational combinatorial immunotherapy strategies to overcome immune tolerance and translates the most promising immunotherapy regimens to the clinic. Dr. Emens is on the editorial boards of Cancer Research, and the Journal for the Immunotherapy of Cancer. She is immediate past chair of the Stakeholder’s Council of the Society for the Immunotherapy of Cancer, and is a former member of the FDA Advisory Committee on Cellular, Tissue, and Gene Therapies. She is an active member of ASCO, AACR, and SITC.
May 13th, 2016:
Meenhard Herlyn, D.M.V., D.Sc.
"Understanding the biology of melanoma to develop new strategies for therapy"
Sponsors: Dr Michael Atkins and Dr Anton Wellstein
Dr. Meenhard Herlyn is Caspar Wistar Professor for Melanoma Research and Director of the Melanoma Research Center at The Wistar Institute in Philadelphia and Founding President of the Society for Melanoma Research. He has been a cancer researcher since arriving at Wistar in 1976 and has worked in melanoma research since 1977. Current major efforts include the ability to model the microenvironment of normal and diseased human tissue through 3-D artificial skin, providing his laboratory with a unique insight into cancer research. His laboratory also seeks to further define the various signaling pathways that work in cancer cells in order to discover new opportunities to inhibit cancer growth through targeted therapeutics. Since therapy is increasingly guided by the genetic aberrations in tumors, Dr. Herlyn and colleagues are developing combinations of compounds that take into account the genetic signature of tumors, with the specific goal of individualized cancer therapy. Another major effort of his laboratory is the study of therapy resistance and tumor dormancy. Tumor cells can become dormant in primary tumors or at any time after metastatic dissemination and can persist in the dormant state for many years, allowing tumors to resist treatment. Dr. Herlyn’s working hypothesis is that defined tumor subpopulations are central to dormancy and drug resistance due to their slow turnover and their non-responsiveness to growth signals. His efforts seek to define how tumor cells escape dormancy for growth, invasion, and metastasis, and how to best develop strategies for therapy.
May 6th, 2016:
George A Calin, M.D., Ph.D.
"About Chomsky, patterns, non-coding RNAs and cancer patients"
Sponsors: Dr. Anna Riegel and Dr Anton Wellstein
George Adrian Calin received both his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees at Carol Davila University of Medicine in Bucharest, Romania. After working cytogenetics as undergraduate student with Dr. Dragos Stefanescu in Bucharest, he completed a cancer genomics training in Dr. Massimo Negrini’s laboratory at University of Ferrara, Italy. In 2000 he became a postdoctoral fellow at Kimmel Cancer Center in Philadelphia, PA, in Dr. Carlo Croce’s laboratory. He is presently a Professor in Experimental Therapeutics at MDACC and studies the roles of microRNAs and other non-coding RNAs in cancer initiation and progression, as well as the mechanisms of cancer predisposition and explores new RNA therapeutic options for cancer patients.
April 29th, 2016:
Eileen White, Ph.D.
Rutgers Cancer Institute
"Role of autophagy in metabolism and cancer"
Sponsor: Dr Aykut Uren
Dr. Eileen White received her Bachelor of Science degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute followed by a Ph.D. in Biology from SUNY Stony Brook. She went on to be a Damon Runyon Postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Bruce Stillman and then to a Staff Investigator position at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. There she discovered that one of the oncogenes of the DNA tumor virus adenovirus encoded an inhibitor of programmed cell death or apoptosis (E1B 19K) that this gene was a viral homologue of the human BCL-2 oncogene. She went on to establish that oncogene activation that deregulates cell growth also activates apoptosis, and that coordinate inhibition of apoptosis is an important function that promotes cancer. These findings revealed roles for the p53 tumor suppressor in activating apoptosis and suppressing cancer and for the Bcl-2-related anti-apoptotic proteins blocking apoptosis and promoting cancer.
Dr. White continued her work defining the role and mechanisms of apoptosis regulation in cancer at Rutgers University where she is currently the Deputy Director and Associate Director for Basic Science at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. She is also a Distinguished Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. Dr. White has served on the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Cancer Institute and other review panels for the National Institutes of Health. She is the recipient of numerous awards including a MERIT award from the National Cancer Institute, the Red Smith award from the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigatorship, an Achievement Award from the International Cell Death Society, a Career Award for the European Cell Death Organization, and is an elected Fellow of the American Society of Microbiology (ASM) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Dr. White has also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the Scientific Review Boards for the Starr Cancer Consortium, the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, and the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). She is on the External Advisory Boards of the Yale, Case, and MGH Comprehensive Cancer Centers. Editorial Board memberships have included Genes & Development, Cancer Discovery, the Journal of Cell Biology, Oncogene, Cancer Prevention Research, Molecular Cancer Research, Autophagy and Cell Death and Disease. Dr. White is currently serving on the Board of Scientific Advisors for the National Cancer Institute. Current research of the White Laboratory at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey is focused on determining the role of the catabolic process of autophagy in protein and organelle homeostasis, and how this recycling of cellular components sustains cancer metabolism and tumorigenesis.
April 22nd, 2016:
Thomas F. DeLaney, M.D.
"The Integration of Proton Radiation Therapy in Clinical Practice"
Sponsors: Dr. Michael Atkins
Dr. DeLaney received his undergraduate degree from Harvard College and MD degree from Harvard Medical School in Boston, completed a surgical internship at the Yale-New Haven Hospital, and did his residency training in Radiation Oncology at the Massachusetts General Hospital. He was a senior investigator in the Radiation Oncology Branch at the U.S. National Cancer Institute in Bethesda MD from 1986-1992 and then the Chief of Radiation Oncology at the Boston University Medical Center from 1992-2000. Since 2001, he has been the Chief of the Sarcoma Radiation Oncology Service, the Co-Director of the Connective Tissue Oncology Center, and the Medical Director of the Francis H. Burr Proton Therapy Center at the Massachusetts General Hospital. He is the Andres Soriano Professor of Radiation Oncology at the Harvard Medical School. Dr. DeLaney has been actively involved in clinical trials evaluating treatments for patients with bone and soft tissue tumors. He is a member of the Sarcoma Working Group and head of the Proton Clinical Trials Group of the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (now NRG Oncology). He is currently the Principal Investigator of a multi-institutional, National Cancer Institute funded U19 Grant, “Improving the Clinical Effectiveness and Understanding of the Biophysical Basis of Proton Beam Therapy”. He has published over 200 peer-reviewed papers, book chapters, and reviews. He is the co-editor along with Hanne Kooy, Ph.D. of the book, “Proton and Charged Particle Radiotherapy” (Lippincott, 2007). Dr. DeLaney is an active member of the Connective Tissue Oncology Society and has served on its board. He is on several editorial boards including the Journal of Clinical Oncology and the Journal of Surgical Oncology, as well as the advisory boards for several research foundations including the Chordoma Foundation.
April 15th, 2016:
The Rennert Memorial Lecture
Heinrich Kovar, PhD
Medical University of Vienna
"The stress of turning malignant"
Heinrich Kovar is Professor of Molecular biology at the Medical University of Vienna and Scientific Director of the Children´s Cancer Research Institute, CCRI, hosting 12 research groups with more than 100 scientists. CCRI is closely affiliated to the St. Anna Kinderspital, with which it forms the largest pediatric oncological center in Austria. Heinrich Kovar´s field of expertise is in sarcoma research with a focus on Ewing sarcoma. Back in the nineties, he was the first to describe and characterize the defining immune histochemical marker for this disease, CD99, and was involved in the identification and characterization of the pathognomonic EWS-FLI1 gene fusion. Ever since, his lab has made a number of important contributions to a better understanding of the pathogenic mechanisms driving Ewing sarcoma, resulting in more than 100 publications. In his most recent research, he has turned to the study of tumor cell metabolism and epigenetics, and their potential role in cancer predisposition.
April 8th, 2016:
Lisa Hensk, M.D.
Brigham and Women's
"Tuberous Sclerosis Complex: Lessons for Sporadic Malignancies with mTOR Hyperactivation"
Sponsors: Dr. Louis Weiner and Dr. Michael Atkins
Dr. Elizabeth (Lisa) Petri Henske is the Director of the Center for LAM Research and Clinical Care at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School in Boston. She is also a medical oncologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She earned her undergraduate degree summa cum laude from Yale and her MD from Harvard. She completed her Residency and Fellowship at the Massachusetts General Hospital. The Henske Lab discovered that somatic TSC2 mutations cause LAM. Her laboratory focuses on the cellular and metabolic mechanisms of LAM. She is a Principal Investigator of the Sirolimus and Autophagy Inhibition in LAM (SAIL) trial.
April 1st, 2016:
Robert A. Gatenby, M.D..
DH. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center
"Evolutionary Dynamics in Cancer Biology and Treatment"
Sponsor: Dr Louis Weiner
Robert A. Gatenby, MD is the Chair of the Department of Radiology at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Co-Director of the Cancer Biology and Evolution Program. He joined Moffitt in 2008 from the University of Arizona where he was Professor, Department Radiology and Professor, Department of Applied Mathematics since 2000. He received a B.S.E. in Bioengineering and Mechanical Sciences from Princeton University and an M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1977. He completed his residency in radiology at the University of Pennsylvania where he served as chief resident. Bob remains an active clinical radiologist specializing in body imaging. While working at the Fox Chase Cancer Center after residency, Bob perceived that cancer biology and oncology were awash in data but lacked coherent frameworks of understanding to organize this information and integrate new results. Since 1990, most of Bob’s research has focused on exploring mathematical methods to generate theoretical models for cancer biology and oncology. His current modeling interests include: 1. the tumor microenvironment and its role in tumor biology. 2. evolutionary dynamics in carcinogenesis, tumor progression and therapy. 3. information flow in living systems and its role in maintaining thermodynamic stability.
March 18th, 2016:
Matthias Gromeier, M.D..
"Oncolytic Immunotherapy With Recombinant Poliovirus"
Sponsor: Dr Michael Atkins
Matthias Gromeier, Assoc. Prof. of Neurosurgery/Molecular Genetics & Microbiology at Duke University, pioneered oncolytic immunotherapy based on a highly attenuated polio:rhinovirus hybrid, PVSRIPO. PVSRIPO pairs selective tumor cytotoxicity with targeting/infection of antigen-presenting cells. The result is a uniquely potent and auspicious combination of pro-inflammatory and immunogenic stimuli that may produce immune effector responses broadly directed against neoplasia. PVSRIPO is currently in clinical trials against recurrent glioblastoma. It has demonstrated very encouraging results, including complete clinical and radiographic remissions that -currently- extend to almost 4 years post-treatment in a universally lethal malignancy with dismal prognosis.
March 11th, 2016:
Tim F. Greten, M.D.
National Cancer Institiute
"Immunology and Immunotherapy of Hepatocellular Carcinoma"
Sponsor: Dr. Giusette Giaccone
Dr. Greten is an expert in hepatobiliary cancers and liver immunology. His research is focused on better understanding of how non-immune based therapies effect tumor specific immune responses including suppressor mechanisms in patients with hepatobiliary cancers. He is currently studying novel immune based therapies combined with ablative therapies including radiofrequency ablation, transarterial chemoembolization and radiation for the treatment of patients with primary cancers of the liver and pancreas as well as patients with liver metastasis.
March 4th, 2016:
David Solit, M.D.
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
"Defining the Actionable Genome"
Sponsor: Dr Michael Atkins
Dr Solit is a Medical Oncologist and a Laboratory Scientist. As a member of the Genitourinary Oncology Service, he specializes in treating cancers of the prostate, bladder, kidneys, testes, and other related cancers. He treats his patients with chemotherapy, targeted therapies, immunotherapy, or combinations of these drugs and works with other cancer experts including surgeons and radiation oncologists to develop an individual treatment plan for each patient. He is very involved in clinical trials, particularly trials of targeted drugs known as kinase inhibitors. These drugs block pathways inside cancer cells that cause the cells to grow or spread. One area of focus in Dr Solit’s research is studying patients who are known as extraordinary responders. These are people with difficult-to-treat cancers who are found to respond exceptionally well to a new drug, even though that drug does not work in most people with the same disease. His laboratory in the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering completed the first whole-genome analysis of a patient with bladder cancer. This patient had a complete and durable response to a novel targeted drug that was only effective in a small minority of patients. By performing this analysis, his lab were able to determine what was genetically unique about this patients’ tumor. Work is ongoing testing the same drug in other patients whose tumors have a similar genetic profile. Dr Solit is Director of the Center for Molecular Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where he leads a multidisciplinary team of clinicians, geneticists, bioinformaticians and laboratory scientists. The mission of the Center for Molecular Oncology is to integrate molecular and clinical information to develop therapies that are individualized to each patient’s cancer.
February 26th, 2016:
William F. Regine, M.D.
University of Maryland
"Proton Radiotherapy Clinical Trials:Challenges and Hope for the Future"
Sponsor: Dr Tony Dritschilo
William F. Regine, M.D. is the Isadore and Fannie Schneider Foxman Chairman and Professor of Radiation Oncology at the University of Maryland, ranked top 5 in the country in published NIH rankings for research funding profile. Dr. Regine obtained his training at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia where he also completed a Radiation Oncology Fellowship in Gastrointestinal and Head and Neck malignancies. Dr. Regine is considered a National and International expert in the area of GI and CNS malignancies, as well as in the use of Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS). His first faculty appointment was at St. Jude’s Children’s Cancer Research Hospital where as a Clinical Investigator he helped redefine new standards of care in children with rhabdomyosarcomas and in developing a pediatric SRS program. After 2 years at St. Jude he dedicated his career to clinical research in adult cancer patients. He has since served as Principal Investigator or Co-Principal Investigator in at least 4 national NCI sponsored cooperative group clinical trials (Radiation Therapy Oncology Group [RTOG] protocol 97-04,RTOG Protocol BR-0018, RTOG Protocol BR-0013, RTOG Protocol 08-48). He is a member of the GI and CNS Tumor steering committees for the RTOG and is the Chairman of the GI section of the National Oral Board examination for trainees in Radiation Oncology. Dr. Regine served as the Principal Investigator of RTOG 9704 study evaluating adjuvant therapy in patients with pancreatic cancer published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2008 and the Annals of Surgical Oncology 2011(Regine). This study defined a new standard of care for patients with pancreatic cancer. He has also been the Radiation Oncology Principal Investigator/Study Chairman for 2 Institutional clinical trials published in JAMA (Patchell) and the Lancet (Patchell) which defined new standards of care for patients with brain metastases and malignant spinal cord compression. He is co-Editor of “Principles and Practices of Stereotactic Radiosurgery”, the first comprehensive textbook of its kind. More recently, Dr. Regine published the benefits of advanced imaging and treatment delivery (Yovino-2012) techniques in pancreatic cancer which are the basis for the current accruing RTOG Protocol 0848 for which Dr. Regine is a Study Chairman. Dr. Regine is also co-inventor of the first of its kind treatment device completely dedicated to the stereotactic radiation treatment of early stage breast cancer known as the GammaPod.
February 19th, 2016:
David S. Perlin, Ph.D.
"Multidrug resistant fungal infections in cancer and other high risk patients"
Sponsor: Dr Louis Weiner
Dr. David S. Perlin, PhD is Executive Director of the New Jersey Medical School’s Public Health Research Institute (PHRI), a 74-year-old specialized center for global infectious diseases. He is also Director of the Rutgers Regional Biocontainment Laboratory (RBL), one of thirteen NIH-designated national centers for pathogen research, and a Professor of Microbiology, Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics. Dr. Perlin is a highly accomplished administrator and medical researcher. He helped establish PHRI as a leading translational research organization specializing in infectious diseases with an annual research budget of $25 million and a robust patent and licensing portfolio. He also established the RBL as a major national center for the study of high priority, high-threat infectious agents. Dr. Perlin’s research emphasizes studies to diagnose and overcome drug resistant fungal and bacterial infections in high-risk patients, and he is widely regarded as a global leader in the area of antifungal drug resistance and fungal molecular diagnostics. He has published more than 216 papers and book chapters and has co-authored two books; and his publications have been cited in more than 9400 publications. His laboratory is supported by multiple grants from the NIH, DoD, Pharma and biopharma sectors. The NIH has continuously funded him for 29 years, and he was most recently awarded a $26.7 million grant from the NIH to lead a Center of Excellence in Translational Research to discover novel antibiotics and against drug resistant bacterial infections. His group has developed specialized diagnostic products for hospitals, clinical labs and companion diagnostics for large Pharma. He serves on editorial boards for prominent scientific journals and is the inaugural Editor-In-Chief for the new open access Journal of Fungi. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center (ADARC), and Scientific/Medical Advisory Boards for the Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI), Pharma and biotech companies, and PinnacleCare. He is a founding member of Leading International Fungal Education (LIFE) and an advisor to the new Global Action Fund for Fungal Infections (GAFFI). He is a principal consultant to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for evaluating vaccine-suitable biosafety level 3 facilities. Dr. Perlin’s recent awards include being named a Fellow of the New York Academy of Sciences in 2005, a distinguished visiting Professor from the University of Manchester, UK in 2009 and the Foundation Lecturer at the 2015 meeting of the British Society for Medical Mycology. Dr. Perlin lectures on the global impact of infectious diseases and regularly comments in mainstream media outlets, such as the New York Times and NPR. He earned an AB degree from Brandeis University in 1976 and a Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1980. He pursued postdoctoral studies at the Yale University School of Medicine and the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. Dr. Perlin joined PHRI in 1985; he was named Scientific Director in 1992, President in 2005, and Director of the new NJMS-UMDNJ (Rutgers) PHRI Center in 2006. He was appointed Professor of Microbiology, Biochemisty and Molecular Genetics in 2003 and Executive Director of PHRI and the Rutgers Regional Biocontainment Laboratory in 2010.
February 12th, 2016:
Jordan Winter, M.D.
Thomas Jefferson University
"Pancreatic cancer, are we on the right path?"
Sponsor: Dr. Chris Albanese
Jordan Winter is a pancreatic surgeon and scientist with clinical, translational, and basic research interests in the management of pancreatic cancer. He graduated as a chemistry major from Princeton University, and medical school from Weill Medical College of Cornell University. He then trained in General Surgery at Johns Hopkins, and perform3ed a Surgical Oncology Fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. During his residency, he spent an additional three years as a post-doctoral research fellow in pancreatic cancer biology and genetics with Scott Kern at Johns Hopkins University. He was hired as an Assistant Professor of Surgery at Thomas Jefferson University in 2011, and was promoted to the Associate level in 2014. His clinical practice and expertise is principally focused on the management of pancreatic and related cancers. He performs rougly40 pancreatic resections per year, while maintaining a funded research laboratory. Dr. Winter has been funded by the NIH and industry, as well as recipient of a 5 year research mentored scholar grant from the American Cancer Society. He also is the sub-site PI for the current international APACT adjuvant chemotherapy trial, where Thomas Jefferson is the leading accrual site in the United States. He manages the Thomas Jefferson pancreatic cancer clinical database. His basic science research focuses on chemotherapy resistance and understanding how pancreatic cancer cells are able to adapt to their harsh metabolic microenvironment. Dr. Winter is also a multidisciplinary group leader in the Kimmel Cancer Center for gastrointestinal cancer.
February 5th, 2016:
Michael D. Hogarty, M.D.
The University of Pennsylvania
"A novel mitochondrial mechanism of cancer therapy resistance"
Sponsor: Dr. Jeff Toretsky
Dr. Hogarty received his BS in Biomedical Engineering from The Johns Hopkins University and his MD from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He did his Residency and Chief Residency in Pediatrics at the Children’s Memorial Hospital at Northwestern University, and his Fellowship in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He is currently an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and member of the Center for Childhood Cancer Research and Abramson Cancer Center at CHOP/Penn. Dr. Hogarty serves as Director of the MD/PhD Recruitment and Training Program, and the Director of Research for the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program. He currently serves as Chair of the Neuroblastoma Biology Program within the Children’s Oncology Group, and is on the Executive Committee and Advisory Board for the Advances in Neuroblastoma Research Association. Dr. Hogarty’s initial research training was done in the laboratory of Dr. Garrett Brodeur studying MYCN deregulation in neuroblastoma. He currently runs an independent laboratory that (1) studies neuroblastoma therapy response and resistance (with a special interest in mitochondrial activities), and (2) develops experimental therapeutics that antagonize polyamine signaling in MYC-driven cancers.
January 29th, 2016:
Daniel F. Hayes, M.D.
The University of Michigan
"Circulating Tumor Cells and cell free DNA: Liquid Biopsies"
Sponsors: Dr. Claudine Isaacs and Robert Clarke
Dr. Daniel F. Hayes is the Clinical Director of the Breast Oncology Program at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, where he is the Stuart B. Padnos Professor of Breast Cancer Research. Dr. Hayes received bachelor’s, master’s and medical degrees from Indiana University, followed by a residency in internal medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center/Parkland Memorial Hospital from 1979 to 1982. After a fellowship in medical oncology at Harvard’s Dana Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) from 1982 to 1985, he remained on faculty and was the Medical Director of the Breast Evaluation Center at DFCI from 19912-1996. He subsequently became the Director of the Breast Cancer Program at Georgetown University’s Lombardi Cancer Center from 1996 to 2001, when he moved to the University of Michigan. Dr. Hayes’ research interests are in the field of experimental therapeutics and cancer biomarkers related to breast cancer. His work has been particularly focused on development and validation of cancer biomarker tests, such as HER-2, CA15-3, circulating tumor cells and pharmacogenomic markers that have prognostic and/or predictive value in the treatment of breast cancer. He has been instrumental in establishing international guidelines for the use of tumor biomarker tests, including criteria for their clinical utility.
Currently, he is chair of the SWOG Breast Cancer Translational Medicine Committee, and he is past chair of the Correlative Sciences Committee of the North American Breast Cancer Group. He was an inaugural member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Tumor Marker Guidelines Committee, which he co-chaired for the last decade. Dr. Hayes served on the 2011 to 2014 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Board of Directors, and in 2015 he was elected to serve a three-year term as President of ASCO. He is a Fellow of ASCO, and he serves on the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Scientific Advisory Council as a Komen Scholar. He is a member of the Association of American Physicians and of the American Clinical and Climatologic Association, and he was the inaugural recipient of the ASCO Gianni Bonadonna Award for research and mentoring in breast cancer.
January 15th, 2016:
Rachael Stolzenberg-Solomon, Ph.D.
"The Etiology of Pancreatic Cancer: Nutrition and Beyond"
Sponsors: Dr Chris Loffredo and Dr Marc Schwarts
Dr. Stolzenberg-Solomon received a BS in Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of California, Davis in 1984, followed by a dietetic internship and M.Ed. in Health Science (Nutrition) Education at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and George Peabody School of Education, respectively. After this training she worked as a Registered Dietitian for 10 years. In 1994 she completed a M.P.H. with concentrations in Epidemiology and Nutrition at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health while working full time. Dr. Stolzenberg-Solomon joined the NCI in 1996 as a predoctoral fellow in the Cancer Prevention Studies Branch in the in the former Division of Cancer Prevention and Control and later the Center for Cancer Research and subsequently earned a Ph.D. in Epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health in 1999. As a Cancer Prevention Fellow, she continued post-doctoral research in the Division of Cancer Prevention and DCEG. She became an investigator in the Nutritional Epidemiology Branch in December 2002 and achieved tenure in 2011. Dr. Stolzenberg-Solomon has won several awards in recognition of her contributions to cancer research, including the 2008 NIH Merit Award for sustained and innovative work in elucidating nutritional, genetic, infectious, and other determinants of pancreatic cancer. She is an active mentor, working with graduate students, as well as post-doctoral fellows. She serves on the editorial board of the American Journal of Epidemiology and Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention. Dr. Stolzenberg-Solomon also holds a position as an adjunct Associate Professor at the Yale University School of Public Health and is a fellow of the American College of Epidemiology.
December 18th, 2015:
Daviid Salomon, Ph.D.
"Cripto-1: An Embryonic Stem Cell Gene that is Re-expressed in Multiple Types of Human Cancers and Represents a Novel Diagnostic and Therapeutic Target"
Sponsor: Dr Giuseppe Giaccone
Dr David Salomon received a BA in biology from Clarke University and a Ph.D. from the State University of New York. After postdoctoral work at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology in New Jersey he moved to the National Institutes of Health in the Laboratory of Developmental Biology and Anomalies in NIDR. He moved to the NCI where he has held various positions and is currently the Chief, Tumor Growth Factor Section, Mouse Cancer Genetics Program, NCI Frederick. He is an expert on mammary gland biology and the role of growth factors in the regulation of normal and tumor associated processes. His recent work has focused in particular on Crypto-1, and Erb family ligand.
December 12th, 2015:
Timothy Rebbeck, Ph.D.
University of Pennsylvania
"BRCA1/2: A paradigm for precision medicine"
Sponsor: CPC Group
Dr. Rebbeck is Professor of Epidemiology at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and the TH Chan School of Public Health. He leads molecular epidemiology studies of cancer etiology, outcomes, health disparities, and global health. His work has led to an understanding of the genetic and environmental causes of breast, prostate, skin, endometrial and ovarian cancers. He currently leads international cancer consortia that study risk and outcomes of 1) cancer in BRCA1/BRCA2 mutation carriers, and 2) prostate cancer in men of African descent in North America, the Caribbean, and Africa.
December 4th 2015:
Giulio Draetta, M.D., Ph.D.
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
"Targeting functional dependencies in pancreatic cancer"
Sponsor: Dr. Maria Laura Avantaggiati
Giulio Draetta is a physician scientist with long standing experience in both academia and industry. Since his discovery of essential regulators of human cell division, he became interested in translating research into cures. He co-founded several biotechnology companies and led global research in large pharma, resulting in the identification of many Oncology clinical candidates and new drugs. His product development team at MD Anderson aims at increasing the probability of success in the clinic by better integration of academic and industrial science. Dr. Draetta spent nearly three decades in Oncology research and drug discovery in both academia and industry. In 2011, he embraced the opportunity to lead to lead the MD Anderson Cancer Center Institute for Applied Cancer Science as well as his own research laboratory. This combination allows an opportunity for truly transformative research, combining best practices from both academia and industry with the goal of rapidly translating basic discoveries into patient therapies. The group is interested in finding new approaches to treat some of the most elusive and devastating tumors, including PDAC and glioblastoma multiforme. Though a biochemist with expertise in the cell cycle and development pathways by training, Dr. Draetta's group is now focusing on harnessing the power of various -omics analyses, and in particular the development of in vivo functional genomic screens, to inform on new therapeutic targets. The laboratory pursues new approaches to treat some of the most elusive and devastating tumors, including pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), and glioblastoma multiform. They employ a variety of techniques, including harnessing the power of -omics analyses and conducting large-scale in vivo functional genomic screens to inform on new therapeutic targets. Their goal is to rapidly validate the clinical relevance of identified mechanisms and to translate our findings into clinical opportunities. We are particularly interested in studying the impact of deregulated tumor metabolism and epigenetics in treatment-resistant cancer cells.
November 13th 2015:
Lisa A. Carey, M.D.
The University of North Carolina.
"Trials and Tribulations of Neoadjuvant Systemic Therapy for Breast Cancer."
Sponsor: Dr. Robert Clarke
Dr Carey, is the Richardson and Marilyn Jacobs Preyer Distinguished Professor in Breast Cancer Research in the UNC Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology-Oncology. Dr. Carey is the Division Chief of Hematology and Oncology, as well as the Physician-in-Chief of the North Carolina Cancer Hospital. She graduated from Wellesley College in 1984 with a B.A. in Biology and Art History. She received her M.D. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1990. She remained at Johns Hopkins for her residency in Internal Medicine followed by a fellowship in Medical Oncology and an advanced degree in Clinical Investigations. Dr. Carey joined the UNC faculty and Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1998. At UNC-Lineberger, she is the Medical Director of the Breast Center, co-Leader of the Breast Cancer Research Program, and chairs the Oncology Protocol Review Committee. She became the Cancer Center’s Associate Director for Clinical Research in 2010.
Dr. Carey has a longstanding research interest in the clinical application of laboratory findings in breast cancer, with a particular interest in the clinical implications of different molecular subtypes of breast cancer. She designs and leads clinical trials of novel drugs and approaches, and is a close collaborator with several laboratory investigators and epidemiologists. Dr. Carey has served on the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Scientific Program and Education Committees and as faculty for ASCO and AACR-CTRC San Antonio annual meetings for many years. She was named to the Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB) Breast Core Committee in 2003. She was awarded a Doris Duke Clinician Scientist Award in 1999, a Career Development Award from the NCI in 2000, and was inducted into the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars in 2008. In 2011 Dr. Carey was awarded the NCI Director’s Service Award.
October 30th, 2015:
Amato J. Giaccia, Ph.D.
Stanford University School of Medicine
"Eradicating Metastasis with Targeted Therapy and Immune Therapy"
Sponsor: Dr. Maria Laura Avantaggiati
Dr. Giaccia is a Professor of Radiation Oncology, Associate Chair for Research & Director of the Division of Radiation & Cancer Biology in the Department of Radiation Oncology. He is also the Director of Basic Science at the Stanford Cancer Institute and heads the Radiation Biology Program in Stanford’s Cancer Center, and is Director of the Cancer Biology Interdisciplinary Graduate Program. He was awarded an American Cancer Society Junior Faculty Research Award and the Michael Fry Award from the Radiation Research Society for his outstanding contributions on understanding the molecular mechanisms of resistance promoted by the tumor microenvironment. Additionally, he was the recipient of the 2013 ASTRO Gold Medal. He co-authored the sixth & seventh editions of the textbook, “Radiation Biology for the Radiologist,” with Professor Eric Hall from Columbia. In addition, he is currently the “Jack, Lulu and Sam Willson Professor in Cancer Biology” in the Stanford University School of Medicine.
October 23rd, 2015:
Roger Abounader, M.D., Ph.D.
University of Virginia
"Identification and exploitation of master regulatory microRNAs in Glioblastoma"
Sponsor: Dr. Jeffrey Toretsky
Dr Abounader received a B.S. in Biology from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon before moving to Germany where he received an M.D. and Ph.D. in Physiology from the University of Heidelberg. After postdoctoral studies in Neuroscience at McGill in Canada and Neuro-Oncology at Johns Hopkins, he joined the faculty at Hopkins in the Department of Neurology and became a member of the Cancer Center. In 2006 he moved to the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, where he remains as a Professor of Microbiology, Immunology and Cancer Biology, and is a member of the Cancer Center. Dr Abounader is a recognized expert in the molecular basis of the development of brain tumors and is conducting ongoing studies on the role of microRNA in brain tumor malignancies, the interactions between PTEN and p53 and their implications for prognosis and anti-tumor therapy, and the role of the VEGF-MET axis and other receptor tyrosine kinases in brain tumors.
October 9th, 2015:
The 8th annual Robert B. Dickson Memorial Lecture Nancy E. Davidson, M.D.
Director, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and UPMC Cancer Centers
"Tackling Endocrine Resistance in Breast Cancer"
Nancy E. Davidson, M.D. is a world-renowned breast cancer researcher who serves as Hillman Professor of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, Director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and UPMC Cancer Center. She is a distinguished Professor of Medicine and Associate Vice Chancellor for Cancer Research. She holds secondary appointments as Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology and Professor in the Clinical and Translational Science Institute. Dr. Davidson has published key findings on the role of hormones, particularly estrogen, on gene expression and cell growth in breast cancer. She has guided several important national clinical trials of potential new therapies, including chemo-endocrine therapy for premenopausal breast cancer. Her research has been supported by a portfolio of funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Defense, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and Susan Komen for the Cure. Dr. Davidson has coauthored over 300 articles in the top journals of her field, including the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, and the Journal of Clinical Oncology. She has won several awards, including being elected to membership in the Association of American Physicians and the Institute of Medicine. She received the honor of being named a Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher in 2014. A member of the scientific advisory board for many foundations and cancer centers, Davidson has served as an elected member of the boards of directors of the American Association of Cancer Research and the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the two largest organizations for cancer researchers and oncology professionals in the world. She was president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology from 2007-2008. She has recently been appointed as President Elect for the American Association of Cancer Research and will serve as President in April, 2016.
October 2nd, 2015:
Maureen E. Murphy, Ph.D.
The Wistar Institute
"An African specific polymorphism in p53 tumor suppressor impairs its tumor suppressor function"
Sponsors: Dr. Jeffrey Toretsky and Dr. Maria Laura Avantaggiati
Maureen Murphy received her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1993, where she did her thesis work with Dr. Donna L. George, the discoverer of the MDM2 oncogene. Maureen then performed post-doctoral work at Princeton University working with Dr. Arnold J. Levine, the discoverer of the p53 tumor suppressor protein. At Princeton Maureen studied how p53 made the decision between inducing growth arrest versus programmed cell death, with funding by the Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund for Cancer Research. In 1998 Maureen obtained an Assistant Professor position at the Fox Chase Cancer Center, where she obtained tenure in 2003, and became a full Professor in 2011. In 2011 Maureen moved her laboratory to her current position at The Wistar Institute, where she is currently Professor and Program Leader of the Molecular and Cellular Oncogenesis program. At Wistar, Maureen gets to engage in her three passions: discovering ways to reduce the burden of human cancer, training the next generation of cancer researchers, and helping mentor the junior faculty at Wistar. In 2014, based upon her work on HSP70 and HSP70 inhibition for cancer therapy, Maureen was awarded a GlaxoSmithKline “Fast Track” award, which is an academic-industry collaboration designed to bring HSP70 inhibitors to the clinic. Her current work also focuses on coding region polymorphisms in the p53 tumor suppressor protein, with emphasis on how these variants contribute to cancer risk and the efficacy of cancer therapy.
September 25th 2015:
Benjamin G. Neel, M.D., Ph.D.
NYU Langone Medical Center
"Emergent Vulnerabilities in Breast Cancer"
Sponsor: Dr. Michael B. Atkins
Dr Neel earned his Ph.D. in Viral Oncology from the Rockefeller University in 1982, under Bill, where his thesis work established that slowly transforming RNA tumor viruses cause cancer by insertional mutagenesis, leading to activation of the c-Myc gene. He received his M.D. degree from Cornell University Medical School in 1983, completed medical internship and residency training at the former Beth Israel Hospital (now Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center) from 1983-85, and then pursued post-doctoral studies with Raymond L. Erikson at Harvard University from 1985-1988. In 1988, he was appointed Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and began his own research laboratory at Beth Israel Hospital. He rose through the ranks at HMS, becoming a Professor of Medicine in 1999, and also serving as Director of the Cancer Biology Program, from1994, and Deputy Director for Basic Research, Hematology-Oncology at Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Center, beginning in 2003. In 2006, he was appointed to the William B. Castle Chair of Medicine at HMS. In 2007, he was appointed Director of Research at Princess Margaret Cancer Center in Toronto, Canada, and Senior Scientist and Canada Research Chair, Tier 1 in the Departments of Medical Biophysics and Biochemistry at the University of Toronto. On January 1, 2015, he became Director of the Isaac and Laurie Perlmutter Cancer Center and Professor of Medicine at NYU-Langone Medical Center. Neel’s research focuses on cellular signaling, with a particular interest in the biology and regulation of protein-tyrosine kinases and -phosphatases, the role of RAS/ERK pathway mutations in developmental disease and malignancy, and the biology of breast and ovarian cancer. He has authored >200 primary papers and >25 reviews, several in leading journals including Cell, Molecular Cell, Developmental Cell, Science, Nature, Nature Medicine and Nature Genetics. Neel is a member of the Board of Directors of the AACR and served as Program Chair for the 2012 Annual Meeting. He received a Junior Faculty Research Award from the ACS, was the inaugural recipient of the Gertrude Elion Award of the AACR, received the Premier of Ontario’s Summit Award (Ontario’s highest scientific honor) in 2009, and an NIH MERIT award. He has been a permanent member of two NIH study sections, and served on review panels for multiple foundations. He also was an Editor of MCB (2000-2010), and serves on the Editorial Boards of Cancer Cell, Molecular Cell, Journal of Experimental Medicine, Journal of Clinical Investigation and Cancer Discovery. He is a member of the SAB of Kolltan Pharmaceuticals, was a long time SAB member of Ceptyr, Inc., and is a co-founder and member of the SAB of Northern Biologics, which focuses on therapeutic antibodies for cancer and fibrosis.
September 18th 2015:
Vilhelm A. Bohr, M.D., Ph.D.
National Institutes on Aging, NIH, USA
"DNA repair defects and mitochondrial dysfunction in cancer and aging"
Sponsor: Dr. Aykut Üren
Dr. Bohr received his M.D. in 1978, Ph.D. in 1987, and D.Sc. in 1987 from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. After training in neurology and infectious diseases at the University Hospital in Copenhagen, Dr. Bohr did a postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Hans Klenow at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He then worked with Dr. Philip Hanawalt at Stanford University as a research scholar from 1982-1986. In 1986 he was appointed to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) as an investigator, becoming a tenured Senior Investigator in 1988. Dr. Bohr developed a research section in DNA repair at the National Cancer Institute, NIH. In 1992 he moved to the National to become Chief of the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics. His main contributions have been in the area of DNA repair. He has worked on many aspects of DNA damage and its processing in mammalian cells. He developed a widely used method for the analysis of DNA repair in individual genes and found that active genes are preferentially repaired. This observation was a major advance in the clarification of the tight interaction between DNA repair and transcription, a process termed transcription-coupled repair. In recent years numerous papers from his laboratory have focused on mechanisms of DNA damage processing, particularly on base excision repair. A main interest now is to elucidate how these processes change in relation to aging and to develop interventions.
September 11th, 2015:
Ronald B. Gartenhaus, M.D.
The University of Maryland
"MNKs Modulate Oncogenic Translation in Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma"
Sponsor: Dr. Louis Weiner
Ronald B. Gartenhaus, M.D. is a Tenured Professor of Medicine and Co-Leader, Program in Molecular & Structural Biology at the NCI-designated University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center. He also heads the Hematologic Malignancies Clinic at the University affiliated Baltimore VA Hospital. Dr. Gartenhaus has a longstanding interest in lymphoma biology dating back to the early 1990's when he trained as a post-doc in the laboratory of Dr. Robert Gallo at the National Cancer Institute after completing a medical oncology fellowship at the MD Anderson Cancer Center. His laboratory was the first to identify and describe the MCT-1 oncogene. His current research focus is studying post-transcriptional/translational gene deregulation as well as oncogenic signaling cascades associated with lymphoma and how they can be exploited for targeted therapy. His research has been continually funded over the past 15 years through multiple NIH grants, VA Merit Review awards, as well as other national research foundations. Dr. Gartenhaus is a standing member of the NIH MONC study section and has participated as an ad hoc member of multiple NIH and VA reviews, including several NIH PO1 program project review panels. He has served on multiple editorial boards and is currently an Associate Editor for PLOS Genetic.
September 4th 2015:
Thomas F. Gajewski, M.D., Ph.D.
University of Chicago
"Molecular mechanisms of the T cell-inflamed tumor microenvironment: Implications for cancer immunotherapy"
Sponsor: Dr. Michael B. Atkins
Dr Gajewski received a B.A. in biology from the University of Chicago in 1984, where he also received his Ph.D. in 1989 and M.D. in 1991. He went on to do a Fellowship in Hematology/Oncology at Chicago and did post-doctoral work at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Brussels. He joined the faculty at the University of Chicago in 1997 where he is now Professor in the Department of Pathology and Medicine (Hematology/Oncology). He is an internationally recognized expert in tumor immunology and therapy, has published extensively in this area, and has received numerous awards for his clinical, research, and educational activities.
May 29th 2015:
Yves Pommier, M.D., Ph.D.
Developmental Therapeutics Branch, NCI, NIH
"Alterations of DNA Repair Genes and Their Predictive Value for Anticancer Drug Activity"
Sponsor: Dr. Giuseppe Giaccone
Dr. Pommier received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Paris, France, and has been at the NIH since 1981. Dr. Pommier is the chief of the Developmental Therapeutics Branch (formerly the Laboratory of Molecular Pharmacology), the co-chair of the Discovery Committee of the NCI Experimental Therapeutics Program and member of the Molecular Target steering committee at the Center for Cancer Research, NCI. Dr. Pommier is also honorary professor of the Shanghai Institute Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences and adjunct member of the NCI Developmental Therapeutics Program (NCI-DTP). Dr. Pommier has received an NIH Merit Award for his role in elucidating the function of topoisomerases as targets for anticancer drugs and Federal Technology Transfer awards for studies on HIV-1 integrase and DNA topoisomerase inhibitors. Dr. Pommier serves as senior editor for the therapeutics, targets, and chemical biology sections of Cancer Research. He also served as chair for the 2004-2005 Gordon conferences on the molecular therapeutics of cancer and organized the international conferences on retroviral integrase: molecular biology and pharmacology in 1995, 2001, 2008, 2011 and 2014. Dr. Pommier received the Paul Ehrlich Lecture Award from the Societe de Chimie Therapeutique in 2005. Dr. Pommier has authored more than 550 publications and holds over 20 patents for inhibitors of DNA topoisomerases, tyrosyl-DNA phosphodiesterase, checkpoint inhibitors and HIV-1 integrase inhibitors.