Personalized Career Conversations 2017
The application for 2017 is closed.
The AACR Annual Meeting has always offered a variety of unique opportunities for individuals to meet other cancer research experts, but it can be intimidating for early-career scientists to walk up to a senior scientist at a conference and try to start a conversation. Aimed toward Associate Member graduate students, medical students and residents, and clinical and postdoctoral fellows, this unique session allows participants to pre-register for the opportunity to individually speak with a preferred senior scientist for 15-minutes at the Annual Meeting.
Space is limited and filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Due the unique structure and format of this program, all participants supply a copy of their CV and confirm that they will be available to participate once paired with a senior scientist. Once confirmed, any individual who does not show up for their meeting may be disqualified from participating in future similar opportunities and applications. There is a very limited opportunity for participants to sign-up onsite, if space is available, and all onsite registrants must be able to provide a hard copy of their CV (printer is available at the door) in order to participate.
This program is offered as a benefit of Associate membership and is a collaborative effort between the Associate Member Council (AMC), the Minorities in Cancer Research Council (MICR), and Women in Cancer Research Council (WICR). #AACR1on1
Participating Senior Scientists from 2017
Please refer to the list of senior scientists listed below who participated at the AACR Annual Meeting 2017 in Washington, D.C.
Participating Senior Scientists in Alphabetical Order
- Alex A. Adjei, MD, PhD, FACP
- A. William Blackstock, Jr., MD
- Anne- Lise Børresen-Dale, PhD, MD (h.c.)
- Wayne D. Bowen, PhD
- Susan M. Galbraith, PhD, MBBCh
- Jennifer Rubin Grandis, MD
- Susan Band Horowitz, PhD
- Christopher I. Li, MD, PhD
- Guillermina (Gigi) Lozano, PhD
- Tak W. Mak, PhD
- Sofia D. Merajver, MD, PhD
- Gordon B. Mills, MD, PhD
- Victoria M. Richon, PhD
- Raphaël F. Rousseau, MD, PhD
- Judith S. Sebolt-Leopold, PhD
- Louis M. Staudt, MD, PhD
- Beverly A. Teicher, PhD
- Elizabeth L. Travis, PhD
- Robert H. Vonderheide, MD, PhD, DPhil
- Jonathan S. Wiest, PhD
Alex A. Adjei, MD, PhD, FACP
Consultant, Medical Oncology, Mayo Clinic
Director of the Early Cancer Therapeutics Program and Global Oncology
Professor of Oncology and Principal Investigator
Mayo College of Medicine
Alex A. Adjei, MD, PhD, FACP, is a consultant in medical oncology at Mayo Clinic and professor of oncology in the Mayo College of Medicine. Dr Adjei started his career at Mayo Clinic and was professor of oncology in 2006 when he left to be chair of the Department of Medicine as well as senior vice-president for clinical research at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New YOrk.
Adjei returned to Mayo Clinic in March 2016 to become the director of the Early Cancer Therapeutics Program across all three Mayo sites. He is also director of global oncology. He is the principal investigator of the Mayo Phase I and Phase II NCI grants. Adjei has served on a number of U.S. National Cancer Institute Committees. He was vice-chair of the North Central Cancer Treatment Group and Lung Cancer Committee Chair. He is currently co-chair of the Thoracic Malignancies Steering Committee, and is a member of Subcommittee A which reviews NCI Cancer Centers. He is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology.
Adjei’s research is focused on experimental therapeutics and clinical drug development. He received the first ASCO Drug Development Research Professorship 2012-2017, in recognition of his mentorship and his work in cancer drug development. He has authored 243 publications dealing primarily with preclinical pharmacology and phase I trials as well as novel therapeutics/phase II trials of lung cancer.
A. William Blackstock, Jr., MD
Professor and Chairman, Radiation Oncology
Wake Forest University School of Medicine
Winston Salem, North Carolina
A. William Blackstock, Jr., MD, is professor and chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Wake Forest University (WFU) Comprehensive Cancer Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Blackstock received his undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University in 1985, his MD from East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine (Greenville, NC) in 1989, followed by a residency and fellowship at the University of North Carolina (UNC Chapel Hill) School of Medicine completed in 1996. Following his fellowship, Dr. Blackstock joined the faculty at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. He has been principal investigator (PI) or co-PI of numerous institutional, cooperative group and international clinical trials in lung cancer and malignancies of the gastrointestinal tract. Blackstock has published more than 100 journal articles/book chapters and serves on the editorial board of numerous prestigious journals. He has served as a full member of several NIH study sections and is currently a member of the Board of Scientific Council for the NCI intramural program. He is also an active member of the AACR, ASCO and ASTRO. Blackstock is currently director of the clinical research program at the WFU Comprehensive Cancer Center. He has two daughters and one granddaughter and enjoys spending time with them traveling.
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Anne- Lise Børresen-Dale, PhD, MD (hc)
Professor, Department of Cancer Genetics, Institute for Cancer Research
Faculty of Medicine
Oslo University Hospital The Norwegian Radiumhospital and Institute for Clinical Medicine, and University of Oslo
Anne-Lise Børresen-Dale, PhD, MD (hc), is professor at University of Oslo and previous (until 1/11-2015) head of Department of Cancer Genetics, Oslo University Hospital Radiumhospitalet. She is among the leading geneticists in research on molecular biology of breast cancer, and her group was among the pioneers in expression profiling of breast carcinomas in collaboration with groups at Stanford, demonstrating that breast cancer can be divided into distinct sub-groups with differences in molecular profiles and in overall and relapse-free survival. Her achievements are seminal for understanding breast cancer evolution, and have had an enormous impact on our view of the complexity of breast cancer. She is author of more than 480 published scientific papers, books chapters and invited reviews.
Børresen-Dale has received several prizes and awards, some of the most prestigious being the Swiss Bridge Award for Outstanding Cancer Research in 2004, the Möbius prize for outstanding Research from the Research Council of Norway in 2008, The Mildred Scheel Lecturership in 2015, the Fritjof Nansen medal and award for Outstanding Research from the Academy of Science and Letters, Norway in 2015, and the AACR Distinguished Lectureship in Breast Cancer Research. Børresen-Dale has been member of the board of directors of both AACR and ECCO, is past president of EACR, and is elected member of The Royal Academy of Science, Norway, The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters and the European Academy of Cancer Sciences.
Børresen-Dale's current research projects are focusing on exploring the systems biology of breast cancer using high dimensional data in integrated approaches aiming at identification of genotypes and gene expression profiles contributing to elevated cancer risk, radiation sensitivity, tumor aggressiveness, and therapy resistance. The goal is to follow the linear time course of predisposition, initiation, early stages, and advanced disease and to dissect the molecular mechanisms triggered at each stage and to follow the multidimensional interactions at various levels in a systems biology approach to be able to better do risk estimation, prognostication and prediction.
Børresen-Dale has been director of the K.G. Jebsen Center for Breast Cancer Research with a major funding from the K.G. Jebsen Foundation in the period 2011-2016.
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Wayne D. Bowen, PhD
Upjohn Professor of Pharmacology
Professor of Biology
Chair of Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology and Biotechnology
Providence, Rhode Island
Wayne D. Bowen, PhD, earned his BS in chemistry from Morgan State College in 1974, and completed his PhD in biochemistry and neurobiology at Cornell University in 1981. After postdoctoral studies at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), he initially came to Brown University in 1983, as assistant professor of biology in the Section of Biochemistry where he taught endocrinology, introductory biology, and biochemistry and did research on opioid and sigma receptors in the brain. Shortly after promotion to associate professor, he moved back to the NIH in 1991 to establish the Unit on Receptor Biochemistry and Pharmacology within the Laboratory of Medicinal Chemistry of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). He returned to Brown University in 2004 to take his current position as professor of biology in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biotechnology in the Division of Biology and Medicine. In 2007, he assumed the position as department chair and was named Upjohn professor of pharmacology in 2008.
Bowen is a nationally recognized leader in research on sigma receptors—membrane proteins found in tissues throughout the body and that are highly upregulated in cancer cells. He has shown that activation of sigma-2 receptors induces apoptotic cell death and, therefore, they may serve as regulators of cell proliferation and survival. He is interested in signal transduction, particularly those pathways that lead to receptor-mediated cell death. Trained initially as a chemist, he maintains a strong interest and involvement in medicinal chemistry and drug design, particularly in relation to development of selective sigma receptor agonists and antagonists. He is exploring these compounds as potential anti-neoplastic, tumor diagnostic, and neuroprotective agents.
Bowen currently co-directs the medical school's pharmacology course, teaches in endocrinology and neuroscience courses for undergraduates, and co-directs the core pharmacology course for the Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology Graduate Program. Bowen is a member of the Society for Neuroscience, the International Brain Research Organization/World Federation of Neuroscientists, and the American Association for Cancer Research. He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, and has performed service on NIMH and NIDA Study Sections. He served as president of the NIH Black Scientists Association in 2001. Bowen's research has been funded by NIDA, NINDS, NIDDK, the Rhode Island Science and Technology Advisory Council, and a Salomon Award from Brown University.
Susan M. Galbraith, BSc, MB, BChir, PhD, MRCP, FRCR
Senior Vice President
Head of Oncology Innovative Medicines and Early Development
England, United Kingdom
Susan M. Galbraith, BSc, MB, BChir, PhD, MRCP, FRCR, joined AZ in September 2010, as head of the Innovative Medicines and Early Development Oncology group (IMED Oncology). Since then she has been responsible for transforming the productivity and scientific output from IMED Oncology. Four programs have moved into Phase III trials, 2 of which are now approved; Lynparza the first in class PARP inhibitor (now approved in USA, EU, and Japan), selumetinib a MEK inhibitor, Tagrisso a mutant-selective EGFR inhibitor (now approved in USA, EU, and Japan) and savolitinib a cMET inhibitor being developed in renal and lung cancer. IMED Oncology scientists have published 27 high impact and over 230 peer-reviewed papers in total the last two years.
Galbraith also co-leads the Cambridge Cancer Centre Onco-Innovation group, connecting Cambridge scientists to the biotech and pharmaceutical companies in the region. She is a Non-Executive on the Board of Horizon Discovery PLC.
Galbraith trained as a clinical oncologist in the United Kingdom. She studied medicine at Manchester and Cambridge Universities. She was admitted to membership of the Royal College of Physicians in 1992, and then trained in clinical oncology in London. She gained fellowship of the Royal College of Radiologists in 1997. She then completed a PhD at the University of London involving translational work on a vascular-targeting agent.
Prior to her current role at AZ, Galbraith worked in the Clinical Discovery Oncology group at Bristol-Myers Squibb from 2001-2010. She was closely involved in the in-licensing of ipilimumab from Medarex and the early development of nivolumab, elotuzumab from PDL, the acquisitions of Adnexus and Medarex and research collaborations with Exelixis. She held increasing levels of responsibility becoming VP for oncology and immunology early development, and then latterly taking on responsibility for the clinical biomarker team.
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Jennifer Rubin Grandis, MD
Associate Vice Chancellor, Clinical and Translational Research
Director, Clinical and Translational Science Institute
University of California San Francisco (UCSF)
San Francisco, California
Jennifer R. Grandis, MD, is professor of otolaryngology, head and neck surgery; associate vice chancellor of clinical and translational research, and director of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Her research focuses on developing precision medicine approaches to reduce morbidity and improve survival of patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). She is an American Cancer Society clinical research professor and a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the American Association of Physicians and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.
Keywords: head and neck cancer, precision medicine, signal transduction
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Susan Band Horowitz, PhD
Falkenstein Professor of Cancer Research
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
New York, New York
Susan Band Horwitz, PhD, is the Falkenstein professor of cancer research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. After graduating from Bryn Mawr College, Dr. Horwitz received her PhD in biochemistry from Brandeis University. She has had a continuing interest in natural products as a source of new drugs for the treatment of cancer. Her contributions span several decades of research and encompass agents which have served as prototypes for some of our most important drugs that are currently in clinical use. She made major contributions to our understanding of the mechanisms of action of camptothecin, the epipodophyllotoxins, and bleomycin. Her most seminal research contribution has been in the development of Taxol. Although no one was interested in Taxol® when she began her studies, today it is an important antitumor drug approved by the FDA for the treatment of ovarian, breast and lung carcinomas. The drug has been given to over a million patients. Dr. Horwitz' research played an important role in encouraging the development of Taxol®. She served as president (2002-2003) of the American Association of Cancer Research. Dr. Horwitz’ is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.
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Christopher I. Li, MD, PhD, MPH
Research Professor, Epidemiology
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, University of Washington
Christopher I. Li, MD, PhD, MPH, is a cancer epidemiologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center with research projects spanning cancer early detection/screening, etiology, and survivorship. He has significant expertise in cancer epidemiology and substantial experience in the design, leadership, and completion of multidisciplinary studies of cancer. Current research projects include: 1. A large population-based study of different molecular subtypes of breast cancer aimed at elucidating their risk factors and identifying novel subtype-specific tumor markers useful for predicting risk of disease recurrence (DOD Collaborative Innovator Award); 2. A nested case-control study of women with DCIS who did and did not go on to develop a second breast cancer aimed at developing novel epidemiologic, clinical, and molecular approaches for guiding clinical decision making for DCIS patients (R01); 3. Discovering and validating novel blood-based markers useful for the early detection of breast, colorectal, and ovarian cancers (U01); 4. Characterizing risk factors for second primary breast, lung, colorectal, and endometrial cancers among breast cancer survivors (R01); and 5. Discovering and validating novel biomarkers useful for assessing risk of recurrence among colorectal cancer survivors (R01 and U01). Other selected leaderships activities include: 1. Serving as the co-PI of the Cancer Surveillance System (CSS), the Seattle-Puget Sound Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) cancer registry, 2. Chairing the DOD Breast Cancer Research Program’s Integration Panel (FY 2017), and 3. Co-chairing the 2017 AACR Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities.
Keywords: breast cancer, epidemiology, biomarkers, survivorship
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Guillermina (Gigi) Lozano, PhD
Mattie Allen Fair Endowed Research Chair
Professor and Chair, Department of Genetics
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Guillermina (Gigi) Lozano, PhD, has made major contributions to our understanding of the functions of the p53 tumor suppressor pathway in vivo. Her laboratory identified Mdm2 and Mdm4 as critical regulators of p53 in vivo (Nature 378:203-206; Nat Genet 29:92-95). Other accomplishments include the generation of mice that showed that the ability of p53 to arrest the cell cycle and maintain chromosomal stability is as important as apoptosis in preventing tumorigenesis (Nat Genet 36:63 68), and mice with a common p53 missense mutation that indicated a gain-of-function phenotype (Cell 119:861-872). New studies include the importance of Mdm2 in dampening ROS levels in hematopoietic stem cells (Cell Stem Cell 7:606-617), direct evidence that a single nucleotide polymorphism in Mdm2 predisposes mice to cancer (Cancer Cell 18:220-230) and that Wnt driven mutant p53 mouse breast tumors respond better than wild-type p53 tumors to chemotherapy (Cancer Cell 21:793-806). Lozano is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She received the Minorities in Cancer Research Jane Cooke Wright Lectureship, and Women in Cancer Research Charlotte Friend Lectureship awards, from the American Association for Cancer Research. Lozano is also the recipient of distinguished alumni awards from both her undergraduate and graduate alma maters. She was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 2014.
Key words: p53 pathway, tumor suppressors, mouse models
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Tak W. Mak, PhD
Director, Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
Professor, University Health Network and University of TorontoToronto, Ontario, Canada
Tak W. Mak, PhD, is the director of the Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, senior scientist at the Ontario Cancer Institute, University Health Network, university professor in the Departments of Medical Biophysics and Immunology at the University of Toronto.
Mak is internationally known for his work in the molecular biology of cancer and the immune system, a world leader in the genetics of immunology and cancer. In 1984, he led the group that discovered the T-cell receptor, and his published work on the cloning of T-cell antigen receptor genes has been cited over 1,200 times. Since this landmark discovery, Mak has focused on elucidating the mechanisms underlying immune responses and tumorigenesis. He pioneered the use of genetically engineered mouse strains to identify genetic susceptibility factors associated with various immune disorders or different types of cancer. In particular, his team discovered that CTLA4 is a negative regulator of T-cell activation (cited 2000 times), paving the way for the development of anti-CTLA4 agents now in clinical use for autoimmune diseases. The Mak lab also made major contributions to defining the functions of PTEN (cited >2000 times) as well as the relationship between the breast cancer susceptibility genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 and defects in DNA repair. Most recently, Mak’s studies of the functions of various gene products in normal and cancerous cells are yielding important information on their biology that is crucial for the identification of new drug targets and the development of more effective cancer therapies.
Key words: cancer, metabolism, immunology/immunotherapy, transgenic mouse models, genetics, drug discovery, cell signaling pathways
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Sofia D. Merajver, MD, PhD
Professor of Internal Medicine and Epidemiology
Scientific Director, Breast Oncology
Director, Breast and Ovarian Cancer Risk Evaluation Program
University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Sofia D. Merajver, MD, PhD, was born in Argentina. She obtained her PhD in theoretical physics with a biophysics emphasis at the University of Maryland. After a postdoctoral fellowship at the Naval Research Laboratory, she pursued a medical career, earning MD degree and training in internal medicine and oncology at the University of Michigan, where she is presently professor of internal medicine and epidemiology. Merajver is scientific director of the Breast Oncology Program and director of the Breast and Ovarian Cancer Risk Evaluation Clinic. She has published over 275 manuscripts and a couple of dozen chapters. The subjects of her scholarship range from genetic determinants of aggressive breast cancers to fear of insurance discrimination as a result of genetic risk assessment and perception of risk for breast cancer. Among many important discoveries, Merajver and her team identified the first oncogene that controls metastatic cancer cell motility, RhoC-GTPase against which they are now developing new therapies. Through collaborative and multidisciplinary work, Merajver’s lab is identifying ex vivo metastatic niche assays in which to evaluate the metastatic potential of newly diagnosed cancers. Moreover, the lab is engaged in innovative developmental therapeutics projects targeting signaling molecules. Merajver has trained more than 130 scientists and she has received many honors and awards for her research and mentorship. She has received both a University of Michigan Distinguished Mentor Award and the Medical School Dean’s Basic Science award, so far the only faculty member at the University of Michigan to have received both honors. She has been inducted as a member of the American Clinical and Climatological Association in 2016. Besides her laboratory and clinical work, Merajver has pursued research and action in health disparities and has worked in Africa and South America to strengthen systems to care for cancer patients in low resource environments.
Keywords: cancer prevention, cancer genetics, mathematical modeling, metastases research, cancer metabolism, signaling based developmental therapeutics
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Gordon B. Mills, MD, PhD
Chairman, Department of Systems Biology
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Gordon B. Mills, MD, PhD, was recruited to The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in 1994, where he holds the rank of professor with joint appointments in systems biology, breast medical oncology and immunology; serves as chairman of the Department of Systems Biology; holds the Wiess Distinguished University Chair in Cancer Medicine. Mills founded the Department of Systems Biology at the MD Anderson Cancer Center which was the first Cancer Systems Biology Department and the second Systems Biology Department in the US. Mills is director of the Kleberg Center for Molecular Markers; co-director of the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy and the Women’s Cancer Moonshot. The center and the institute are responsible for developing and implementing personalized molecular medicine at MDACC. The Women’s Cancer Moonshot is responsible for transforming outcomes for these patients with breast and ovarian cancer.
Mills currently serves as principal investigator or project investigator on many national peer review grants including Stand Up To Cancer, NIH/NCI SPOREs U24 and PPGs, Department of Defense, CPRIT and Komen Foundation grants, and is a collaborator on multiple other national grants. Mills has published more than 700 papers on the molecular analysis of cancer; is listed as one of the most cited and influential scientists, has an H index over 100, holds more than 20 patents related to novel technologies and molecular markers and has co-founded an early diagnostics company. He currently sits on the scientific advisory boards of multiple companies and venture capital groups. He has recently been awarded the Komen Brinker award for Scientific Excellence and the Stand up to Cancer Laura Ziskin Prize for mentoring.
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Victoria M. Richon, PhD
President and Chief Scientific Officer
Victoria M. Richon, PhD, is currently the president and CSO at Ribon Therapeutics Inc. Ribon is a start-up biotechnology company focused on developing first-in-class therapeutics targeting Mono(ADP-ribosyl)ating (MARylating) PARPs for cancer. Prior to joining Ribon in November 2015, Richon was the vice president and head of oncology discovery and translational medicine at Sanofi and was responsible for target identification through early clinical development. Prior to Sanofi (2008-2012), Richon was vice president of biological sciences at Epizyme Inc. Epizyme is focused on the discovery and development of small molecule histone methyltransferase (HMT) inhibitors. Epizyme has discovered and developed two first in class agents, including the DOT1L inhibitor and EZH2 inhibitor that are currently in clinical development. Prior to Epizyme, Richon headed up the department of Cancer Biology and Therapeutics at Merck & Co. Inc. Prior to Merck, at Sloan Kettering, Richon was a member of the scientific group that discovered the histone deacetylase inhibitor vorinostat. This discovery was the basis of Aton Pharma Inc., a company that Richon co-founded and served as executive director. Aton Pharma was acquired by Merck in 2004 and Richon continued supporting vorinostat through its approval by the US FDA in October 2006. Vorinostat was the first histone deacetylase inhibitor approved for the treatment of cancer.
Key words: oncology drug discovery, chromatin, biomarkers
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Raphaël F. Rousseau, MD, PhD
Group Medical Director
Global Franchise Head, Pediatrics
Product Development Oncology
Genentech Inc., a member of the Roche group
South San Francisco, California
Raphaël F. Rousseau, MD, PhD, group medical director, is the global franchise head of the innovative pediatric drug development (iPODD) group at Genentech, a member of the Roche Group. iPODD oversees Roche’s pediatric strategy and ensures optimized implementation of pediatric clinical development plans across the company’s oncology portfolio.
Prior to joining Roche in 2009, Rousseau held the position of professor of medical and pediatric oncology at the University Claude Bernard in Lyon, France. In this function he established a clinical and translational research program in high-risk pediatric cancers at Lyon’s Institute for Pediatric Hemato-Oncology and became a permanent expert for biomedical research within France’s Agency for the Safety of Medicinal Products (AFSSAPS, now ANSM).
From 1998 to 2005, he was a research and clinical fellow at Texas Children’s Cancer Center and the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, USA. In 2005, he became an adjunct assistant professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine.
A recipient of EU’s Marie Curie Reintegration grant in 2005, he was also the coordinator from 2005 to 2009 of the CHILDHOPE European consortium (FP6 STREP programme) dedicated to the immune treatment of childhood acute leukemias using gene-modified T cells.
Rousseau is the lead author of several seminal publications in childhood neuroblastomas and leukemias. He was awarded the 2008 Cancer Foundation Advanced Clinical Research Award in Sarcoma from the American Society of Clinical Oncology for his translational research project in pediatric osteosarcoma, a bone tumour, using nanoparticles targeting tumour blood vessels.
A pediatric onco-hematologist by training, Rousseau holds an MD from the University René Descartes and a PhD in therapeutic biotechnologies from the University Denis Diderot, both in Paris, France.
Key words: pediatric heme-oncology, immunotherapy, cell & gene therapy, innovative clinical trials design, industry-sponsored drug development
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Judith S. Sebolt-Leopold, PhD
Associate Research Professor, Department of Radiology
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Dr. Sebolt-Leopold is co-director of the Experimental Therapeutics Program at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. She is a principal investigator in the Translational Oncology Program at UMCCC where her laboratory is focused on the design of combination therapies targeting KRAS mutant cancers.
Dr. Sebolt-Leopold has a long-standing interest in the discovery and development of kinase inhibitors for the design of novel molecular-targeted therapies. Her current research is devoted to the design of kinase inhibitor-based combination approaches that address the adaptive signaling responses observed in response to monotherapy. Focusing on pancreatic and colorectal cancers where the incidence of KRAS mutations is especially high, Dr. Sebolt-Leopold’s laboratory is engaged in designing MEK inhibitor-based combination regimens that are tailored to the genomic and phosphoproteomic signatures of individual tumors.
Before joining University of Michigan in 2009, Dr. Sebolt-Leopold served as executive director of the Mechanistic and Target Biology department at Pfizer Global R&D, Ann Arbor Laboratories. In this role, she led a group of more than 100 scientists dedicated to early stage drug discovery activities, encompassing molecular pharmacology, assay development, and biomarker validation. She has 23 years of pharmaceutical industry experience and has led multiple research teams, resulting in the advancement of four oncology clinical candidates, including the first clinically tested MEK inhibitor. She has an international reputation in kinase inhibitor development and has pioneered and championed the viability of MEK inhibitors from early discovery through clinical development.
Dr. Sebolt-Leopold received her undergraduate degree from Wellesley College and a PhD in biological sciences from Purdue University. She carried out postdoctoral studies in tumor biochemistry at the Indiana University School of Medicine under the mentorship of Dr. George Weber. She has a publication record that includes more than 80 peer-reviewed articles, invited reviews, and issued patents.
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Louis M. Staudt, MD, PhD
Director, Center for Cancer Genomics
National Cancer Institute
Louis M. Staudt, MD, PhD, received his BA from Harvard College in 1976, graduating cum laude in biochemistry. He was awarded a Medical Scientist Training Program fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and received his MD and PhD degrees in 1982. His PhD thesis in the field of immunology, performed in the laboratory of Walter Gerhard, revealed somatic hypermutation as a mechanism of rapid antibody diversification during normal immune responses. Following internal medicine training, he joined Nobel Laureate David Baltimore’s laboratory at the Whitehead Institute as a Jane Coffin Childs Fellow. There he cloned and characterized the first tissue specific transcription factor, Oct-2. He established his laboratory in the Metabolism Branch, National Cancer Institute (NCI) in 1988 and is currently co-chief of the NCI Lymphoid Malignancies Branch. He is also director of the NCI Center for Cancer Genomics, which oversees several large-scale managed programs studying the genomic aberrations in cancer. In 2011, Staudt was given the honorary title of NIH Distinguished Investigator. Staudt serves on the editorial boards of Cancer Cell and the Journal of Experimental Medicine. He has received numerous awards for his research, including the 2009 Dameshek Prize from the American Society of Hematology for outstanding contribution in hematology and election to the National Academy of Sciences in 2013. Staudt’s laboratory uses genomics to improve the diagnosis and treatment of lymphomas.
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Beverly A. Teicher, PhD
Chief, Molecular Pharmacology Branch, Developmental Therapeutics Program
National Cancer Institute
Beverly A. Teicher, PhD, is chief of the Molecular Pharmacology Branch at NCI, a position that she assumed in early 2011. One focus of the Molecular Pharmacology Branch is target and drug discovery for rare and recalcitrant cancers such as sarcoma and small cell lung cancer. Teicher completed a PhD in bioorganic chemistry at the Johns Hopkins University and postdoctoral training at Yale University School of Medicine. Teicher joined Dana-Farber Cancer Institute as an assistant professor of pathology and rose to associate professor of medicine and radiation therapy, Harvard Medical School at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Joint Center for Radiation Therapy. In 1997, Teicher was appointed research advisor in cancer drug discovery at Lilly Research Laboratories where she founded and chaired the Tumor Microenvironment Action Group, chaired the Cell Cycle Action Group and headed the In Vivo Tumor Models Group before joining Genzyme Corporation in 2002 where Teicher was vice president of oncology research for nine years.
Teicher is best known for her work in solid tumor models and physiologic measurements of tumor hypoxia and oxygenation, the study of anti-angiogenic agents and the study of drug combinations with an emphasis on in vivo determinations of tumor cell kill long with determination of bone marrow CFU-GM killing in the same host and has a special interest in antibody-drug conjugates. Teicher has headed laboratories and teams that have contributed critical preclinical studies to several approved anticancer agents and several investigational agents currently in clinical trial.
Teicher is an active member of the international scientific community having authored or co-authored >400 scientific publications. She has edited eight books, is senior editor for the journal Clinical Cancer Research, executive editor of the journal Pharmacology and Therapeutics and is series editor for the Cancer Drug Discovery and Development book series of >70 volumes.
Key words: drug discovery, drug resistance, in vivo tumor models, tumor microenvironment
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Elizabeth L. Travis, PhD, FASTRO
Associate Vice President, Women Faculty Programs
Mattie Allen Fair Professor in Cancer Research, Department of Experimental Radiation Oncology, Division of Radiation Oncology; Professor (Tenured), Department of Experimental Radiation Oncology, Division of Radiation Oncology; Professor (Tenured), Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Division of Internal MedicineThe University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Elizabeth L. Travis, PhD, FASTRO, is the associate vice president, Women and Minority Faculty Inclusion, and Mattie Allen Fair professor in cancer research in the departments of Experimental Radiation Oncology and Pulmonary Medicine at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. She is an internationally recognized scientist who has made significant contributions to our understanding of the effects of radiation on normal tissues in her 25 years in the field. For the past eight years, she served as associate vice president, Women Faculty Programs, where she led efforts to further the academic careers of women physicians and scientists by ensuring they are appointed to high profile committees and leadership positions, by leading institutional policy change to address obstacles that interfere with women’s success, and by providing career guidance to countless women faculty. The office recently expanded under her leadership to include minority faculty, where she will apply similar and new strategies to address their specific career needs.
Travis is a principal investigator on two NIH grants: a U54 partnership grant with Puerto Rico, “Partnership for Excellence in Cancer Research”, and an R01 grant “Gatekeepers and Gender Schemas,” which seeks to understand the role that gender plays in choosing faculty for tenure track positions.
She is a fellow of the American Society of Radiation Oncology, recipient of the Association of American Medical Colleges’ Group on Women in Medicine and Science Leadership Development Award for an individual (2009) and an institution (2012). Travis was inducted into the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame in 2012 and elected as a member of its board of directors in 2013 and became chair in January 2017. She is a member of the board of directors of the Association for Women in Science. She was recognized at the Houston Italian Cultural and Community Center’s 12th annual gala honoring the Italian Influence in Medicine and is the recipient of the 2014 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Award by The American Association for Women Radiologists. She is past chair of the Group on Women in Medicine and Science, Association of American Medical Colleges.
Keywords: mentoring, sponsorship, women & minority faculty career development, normal tissue radiation biology
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Robert H. Vonderheide, MD, DPhil
Professor of Medicine and Hanna Wise Professor in Cancer Research
Smilow Center for Translational Research, Abramson Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania
Robert H. Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, is the director of Penn’s Pancreatic Cancer Research Center and a national leader in pancreatic cancer immunobiology. He co-leads a SU2C Team on Pancreatic Cancer Immunotherapy and was co-chairperson for this year’s AACR conference on pancreatic cancer. Vonderheide’s laboratory combines efforts in both basic research and clinical investigation to advance the understanding of tumor immunology and to develop novel immunotherapies for cancer. His basic research includes deciphering the immunobiology of novel genetically engineered mouse models of pancreatic cancer, including the regulation of immune surveillance and the tumor microenvironment by CD40 and other pathways. His translational work tests novel approaches such as vaccines, antibodies, and adoptive T cells for the treatment of patients with pancreatic cancer, as well as breast cancer and melanoma. He has studied universal’ tumor antigens such as hTERT and immune modulatory pathways involving CD40, GM-CSF, PD-1, CTLA-4, and CD25.
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Jonathan S. Wiest, PhD
National Cancer Institute
Jonathan S. Wiest, PhD, obtained a bachelor’s degree in analytical chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1980. He worked as a production chemist synthesizing oligonucleotides for P-L Biochemicals until he began graduate school in 1982 at the Medical College of Ohio in Toledo. Wiest received a PhD in biochemistry in 1988 and did postgraduate work at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. He rose to the rank of senior staff fellow and then assisted in establishing a Cancer Research Institute in western Colorado. In 1996, he became an assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati, Department of Environmental Health, School of Medicine. Wiest joined the Center for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute as the associate director for training and education in 2001. In 2008, the NCI director appointed Wiest to lead the formation of the Center for Cancer Training (CCT) as the director. The CCT coordinates the major training activities at NCI in both the intramural and extramural communities. In 2003, Wiest received the NIH Director’s Award for Mentoring as well as the NCI Outstanding Mentor award. In 2007, he received an NIH Award of Merit for mentoring. In 2015, the Center for Cancer Training received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Postdoctoral Association at the annual meeting. The major focus of his research involves genetic alterations in lung tumorigenesis. He is involved in studies to identify tumor suppressor genes and altered signaling pathways in lung cancer.
Key words: signal transduction, oncogenes, training grants, and mentoring issues
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