SU2C-Lustgarten Foundation JSAC

The Joint Scientific Advisory Committee for the SU2C-Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Convergence Dream Team Grant is dedicated to seeking out the most innovative and promising pancreatic research projects. The committee is comprised of highly accomplished senior laboratory researchers and physician-scientists, as well as advocates. The scientific oversight provided by the Joint Scientific Advisory Committee is critical to achieve Stand Up To Cancer's mission to translate the most promising cancer research into real advances in cancer diagnosis, treatment, and prevention as quickly as possible.

Joint Scientific Advisory Committee Biographies


Phillip A. Sharp, Chairperson Arlene Sharpe
Michael B. Kastan, Vice-Chairperson Ben Z. Stanger
David A. Tuveson, Vice-Chairperson Bruce W. Stillman
Olivera J. Finn Marc Vidal
Charles S. Fuchs Jen Jen Yeh
James R. Heath David J. Roy
Steven M. Larson Ellen V. Sigal
Alexander Rudensky  


Phillip A. Sharp, Ph.D., Chairperson
Institute Professor
David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, Mass.

A world leader of research in molecular biology and biochemistry, Dr. Phillip A. Sharp is institute professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. Dr. Sharp earned a B.A. degree from Union College, Ky., in 1966, and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, in 1969. He did his postdoctoral training at the California Institute of Technology, where he studied the molecular biology of plasmids, and then studied gene expression in human cells at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory under James Watson. Much of Dr. Sharp's scientific work has been conducted at MIT's Center for Cancer Research, which he joined in 1974.

Dr. Sharp's research interests have centered on the molecular biology of gene expression relevant to cancer and the mechanisms of RNA splicing. His landmark achievement was the discovery of RNA splicing in 1977. The discovery that genes contain nonsense segments that are edited out by cells in the course of utilizing genetic information is important in understanding the genetic causes of cancer and other diseases. For this work he received the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. His lab has now turned its attention to understanding how RNA molecules act as switches to turn genes on and off (RNA interference). These newly discovered processes have revolutionized cell biology and could potentially generate a new class of therapeutics.

Dr. Sharp has received numerous awards and honorary degrees, and has served on many advisory boards for the government, academic institutions, scientific societies, and companies. In addition to the Nobel Prize, his awards include the Gairdner Foundation International Award, the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award, the National Medal of Science for Biological Sciences and the inaugural Double Helix Medal from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. Dr. Sharp co-founded Biogen (now Biogen Idec), Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, an early-stage therapeutics company and Magen Biosciences Inc., a biotechnology company developing agents to promote the health of human skin.

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Michael B. Kastan, M.D., Ph.D.
Executive Director, Duke Cancer Institute
Duke University School of Medicine
Durham, N.C.


Michael B. Kastan, M.D., Ph.D., is the executive director of the Duke Cancer Institute. He earned M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the Washington University School of Medicine and did his clinical training in pediatrics and pediatric hematology-oncology at Johns Hopkins. He was a professor of oncology, pediatrics, and molecular biology at Johns Hopkins prior to becoming chair of the hematology-oncology department and later cancer center director at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, before moving to Duke earlier this year. He is a pediatric oncologist and a cancer biologist; his laboratory research concentrates on DNA damage and repair, tumor suppressor genes, and causes of cancer related to genetic predisposition and environmental exposures. His discoveries have made a major impact on our understanding of both how cancers develop and how they respond to chemotherapy and radiation therapy and his publications reporting the role of p53 and ATM in DNA damage signaling are among the most highly cited publications in the biomedical literature of the past two decades.

Dr. Kastan has received numerous honors for his highly cited work, including election to the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine and receiving the 47th annual AACR-G.H.A. Clowes Memorial Award for outstanding contributions to basic cancer research. He has served as chairman of the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Cancer Institute and on the Board of Directors of the American Association for Cancer Research. He is currently editor-in-chief of the journal Molecular Cancer Research and editor of the textbook Clinical Oncology.

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David A. Tuveson M.D., Ph.D.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.

David Tuveson is professor and deputy director of the cancer center at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Dr. Tuveson obtained a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at M.I.T. and medical and doctoral  degrees at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Tuveson was a medical resident at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a medical oncology fellow at Dana-Farber/Partners Cancer Care. During his postdoctoral years in Boston, Dr. Tuveson co-developed KIT inhibitors for gastrointestinal stromal tumors with George Demetri, and created several Kras dependent mouse cancer models with Tyler Jacks. His lab generated the first mouse models of ductal pancreatic cancer at the University of Pennsylvania, and subsequently moved to the University of Cambridge to develop preclinical and clinical therapeutic strategies for pancreatic cancer. In Cambridge, his lab identified a variety of parameters that limit therapeutic efficacy in pancreatic cancer, including poor drug delivery and survival factors in the microenvironment. These findings are currently undergoing clinical evaluation. Dr. Tuveson was recruited back to the USA to direct the Cancer Therapeutics Initiative at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and to serve as director of research for the Lustgarten Foundation. He will continue to practice medical oncology with an adjunct appointment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. His honors include an award from the Rita Allen Foundation.

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Olivera J. Finn, Ph.D.
Chair and Distinguished Professor
Department of Immunology
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburg, Pa.

Olivera (Olja) J. Finn, Ph.D., is University of Pittsburgh distinguished professor of immunology and surgery and founding chair of the department of immunology, the position she held from 2001 to 2013. She has been a leader of the Cancer Immunology Program at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute since 1991. After receiving her doctorate in immunology at Stanford University in 1980 and completing her postdoctoral training there in 1982, Dr. Finn moved to Duke University and in 1991 to the University of Pittsburgh. She gained prominence through her original focus on transplantation biology and later through her basic and applied research focused on the development of cancer vaccines. She has an extensive track record of research accomplishments reported in over 160 peer-reviewed papers and numerous reviews and book chapters. She was the discoverer of the MUC1 tumor antigen and has published actively and continuously for the last 20 years on her basic and preclinical work on the development and evaluation of MUC1 cancer vaccines. She has been a co-investigator on a dozen clinical trials of various MUC1 vaccines in pancreatic, colon, breast, prostate, and lung cancer. Dr. Finn and her team also discovered cyclin B1 tumor antigen and published several papers on its excellent potential as a cancer vaccine. She has trained over 50 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows many of whom hold important positions in academic institutions or biomedical companies.

She is on editorial boards of many cancer journals and advisory boards of many cancer centers and several companies. She is an active member of the American Association of Immunologists where she served seven years as council member and one year as president. She is also a member of the American Association for Cancer Research and past chair of the Steering Committee of the Cancer Immunology (CIMM) Working Group. Among her many honors are the University of Pittsburgh Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute Scientific Leadership Award and the city of Pittsburgh Proclamation of March 8, 2013, as “Olivera Finn Day.”

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Charles S. Fuchs, M.D.
Professor of Medicine
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Boston, Mass.

Charles S. Fuchs, M.D., MPH, is director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Robert T. and Judith B. Hale chair in Pancreatic Cancer.  He leads the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center Gastrointestinal Malignancies Program and the DF/HCC SPORE Grant in Gastrointestinal Cancers.  

Dr. Fuchs splits his time between laboratory-based research, clinical research, and clinical care. His laboratory focuses on biochemical markers of GI cancer risk, molecular predictors of patient prognosis in colorectal and pancreatic cancers, and the discovery of novel targets for therapy. Dr. Fuchs is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer and a cadre member of GI Committee for Cancer and Leukemia Group B. Dr. Fuchs has over 400 scientific publications in such journals as The New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, Journal of the American Medical Association, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Cell, and Nature. Dr. Fuchs is the recipient of the Lee M. Nadler “Extra Mile” Award and the Tisch Award for Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Research, both at Dana-Farber.

Dr. Fuchs is a graduate of Harvard Medical School and completed his residency training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He completed a medical oncology fellowship at Dana-Farber.

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James R. Heath, Ph.D.
E.W. Gilloon Professor
Department of Chemistry
California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, Calif.


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Steven M. Larson, M.D.
Chief of Nuclear Medicine
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York, N.Y.


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Alexander Rudensky, Ph.D.
HHMI Investigator
Chairman, Immunology Program
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York, N.Y.

Alexander Rudensky, Ph.D., is chairman of the Immunology Program and director of the Ludwig Center for Cancer Immunotherapy at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and a tri-institutional professor at MSKCC, the Rockefeller University and Cornell University, and professor at Gerstner School of Graduate Studies and at Weill-Cornell Medical School.

Dr. Rudensky received his Ph.D. degree from the Gabrichevsky Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow. From 1990-1992, during his postdoctoral training at Yale University School of Medicine with the late Dr. Charles Janeway, when together they made the discovery of characterization of self antigens associated with MHC class II molecules. After completing his training, Dr. Rudensky started his independent research career at the University of Washington becoming professor in the Department of Immunology. He remained in Seattle till 2009 before assuming his current position at MSKCC.

Currently, Dr. Rudensky’s research is focused on the development of T lymphocytes, whose function is vital to prevent inflammation in diverse biological settings ranging from pregnancy and autoimmunity to cancer and metabolic disease. His laboratory identified the transcription factor Foxp3 as a Treg cell lineage specification factor and revealed a crucial role for these cells as lifelong “guardians” of immune homeostasis. This work established a firm genetic footing for the phenomenon of T cell-mediated suppression of immune mediated inflammation and autoimmunity.

Dr. Rudensky is an elected fellow of the National Academy of Sciences. He is a member of numerous advisory and editorial boards including Cell, Immunity, Cancer Research Institute and Damon Cancer Research Foundation. He serves also as an editor of the Journal of Experimental Medicine. Dr. Rudensky has authored over 150 peer-reviewed publications.

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Arlene Sharpe, M.D., Ph.D.
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Harvard Medical School
Boston, Mass.

Arlene Sharpe, M.D., Ph.D., is the George Fabyan professor of Comparative Pathology at Harvard Medical School, head of the Division of the Division of Immunology in the Department of Microbiology and Immunobiology, and co-director of the Harvard Institute of Translational lmmunology at Harvard Medical School, and a member of the Department of Pathology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. Sharpe earned her A. B from Harvard University and her M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard Medical School. She completed residency training in pathology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and is board certified in anatomic pathology. After postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Rudolf Jaenisch at The Whitehead Institute, Dr. Sharpe became an assistant professor in the Department of Pathology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and rose to professor in the departments of pathology and microbiology and immunobiology. Dr. Sharpe has served as a member and chair of the NIH Hypersensitivity, Autoimmunity and Immune-mediated diseases (HAI) study section and is currently a member of NIAID Council. She also is a councilor of the American Association of Immunologists.

Dr. Sharpe is a leader in the field of T cell costimulation, and investigates how costimulatory pathways regulate immune responses. Her laboratory has discovered and elucidated the functions of T cell costimulatory pathways, including the immunoinhibitory functions of the CTLA-4 and PD-1 pathways, which have become exceptionally promising targets for cancer immunotherapy. Her laboratory currently focuses on the roles of T cell costimulatory pathways in regulating T cell tolerance and effective antimicrobial and antitumor immunity. Her laboratory also is involved in studies aimed at translating fundamental understanding of T cell costimulation into new therapies for autoimmune diseases, chronic viral infections, and cancer.

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Ben Z. Stanger, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Medicine
Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pa.

Ben Z. Stanger, M.D., Ph.D., is assistant professor of Medicine and Cell and Developmental Biology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is also an assistant investigator in the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute. Dr. Stanger earned his S.B. in Life Sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1988 and a combined M.D. and Ph.D. from Harvard Medical School, where he worked on mechanisms of apoptosis with Dr. Philip Leder. He then went on to complete a residency in internal medicine at UCSF and a fellowship in gastroenterology at the Massachusetts General Hospital, where his postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Douglas Melton focused on mechanisms of pancreatic development and growth. He was instructor at Harvard Medical School from 2003-2006 until his move to the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Stanger’s research program bridges the fields of developmental biology, cancer biology, and regenerative medicine. Focusing on the pancreas and the liver, his laboratory is focused on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie cancer metastasis. To study the process, his group utilizes mouse models to examine cellular behavior during cancer progression. In addition, his group uses insights learned from basic studies of liver and pancreas development to understand how these tissues regenerate following injury. He was named a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences in 2009 and was elected to the American Society of Clinical Investigation in 2011.

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Bruce W. Stillman, Ph.D., F.R.S.
President, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
William J. Matheson Professor of Cancer Biology

Dr. Bruce Stillman is a native of Australia. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree with first class honors at The University of Sydney and a Ph.D. at the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the Australian National University. He then moved to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow in 1979 and has been at the laboratory ever since, being promoted to the scientific staff in 1981. Dr. Stillman has been Director of the Cancer Center at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory since 1992, a position he still holds. In 1994, he succeeded Nobel laureate James D. Watson as director of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and was appointed president in 2003.

Dr. Stillman's research focuses on the mechanism and regulation of duplication of DNA and chromatin in cells, a process that ensures accurate inheritance of genetic information from one cell generation to the next. He was awarded the Order of Australian (AO) in 1999 for his medical research. He was elected to The Royal Society (UK), the National Academy of Sciences, the Australian Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Stillman was awarded the 2004 Alfred P. Sloan Prize from the General Motors Cancer Research Foundation and the 2010 Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize from Columbia University, both with Dr. Thomas Kelly of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He is a recipient of the American Cancer Society Basic Science Award from the Society of Surgical Oncology and the Curtin Medal from the Australian National University. This year he was awarded the Herbert Tabor Research Award from The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMS).

He is the past co-chair of the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Cancer Institute and was vice-chair of the National Cancer Policy Board as well as a former member of the Board of Life Sciences of the National Research Council. Currently, Dr. Stillman is a member of the Medical Advisory Board of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the advisory boards for Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT and the Lewis Sigler Institute at Princeton University and the Board of Scientific Advisors of the National Cancer Institute. He also consults for a number of corporations and foundations.

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Marc Vidal, Ph.D.
Department of Genetics
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Boston, Mass.

Marc Vidal, Ph.D., is professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and the founding director of the Center for Cancer Systems Biology (CCSB) at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Originally trained as a bioengineer and a geneticist, he pioneered the concept of “interactome network modeling.” Having developed interdisciplinary strategies together with collaborators from the fields of physics, computer science, mathematics, genomics and human genetics, Dr. Vidal and his team have been charting the human interactome network, the complex system of interacting macromolecules operating inside cells of the body. Having discovered systems properties in the interactome, they are now starting to unravel fundamental relationships between cellular systems and human disease. Dr. Vidal was elected associate member of the Royal Academy for Science and the Arts of his native country Belgium and received several awards including a prestigious chair from the Francqui Foundation and an Abbott Bioresearch Award. His work has been featured in several documentaries (e.g., “Connected: How Kevin Bacon cured cancer” originally broadcasted on ABC) and on the web, including interviews on “Futures in Biotech” with Leo Laporte.

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Jen Jen Yeh, M.D.
Associate Professor of Surgery and Pharmacology
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, N.C.

Jen Jen Yeh, M.D., FACS, is an associate professor in the Division of Surgical Oncology and Departments of Surgery and Pharmacology at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill. She established and directs the Patient-Derived Xenograft (PDX) Program at UNC.

Dr. Yeh received her B.A. from Wesleyan University. Prior to receiving her medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, she worked in the laboratory of Dr. William G. Kaelin Jr. After completing a general surgery residency at Boston Medical Center, during which she was a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratories of Dr. Charis Eng and Dr. William R. Sellers, she went on to become a surgical oncology fellow at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. After joining the faculty at UNC in 2005, she worked in the laboratory of Dr. Channing Der until 2008 while establishing herself as an independent investigator.

Currently, in addition to an active surgical oncology practice that focuses on the care of patients with endocrine and pancreatic cancers, Dr. Yeh has devoted her research interests to focus on identifying key proteins that explain why and how pancreatic cancers metastasize. She has taken on a multidisciplinary approach (biomedical engineering, chemistry, genomics, proteomics, biostatistics) to tackle the complexities of pancreatic cancer and has established an infrastructure for the preclinical evaluation of therapeutic agents with the long-term goal of identifying promising therapies for pancreatic cancer and accelerating their translation to the clinic.

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David J. Roy
Patient Advocate
Manhattan Beach, Calif.

Mr. Roy is a Pancreas cancer patient (67 years old) diagnosed in November 2012 with stage 4 metastatic pancreas cancer.

In his professional life, since 1989 Mr. Roy has served as vice chairman and president of Van Beuren Management Inc. which serves as a full service family office for the Ray Chambers family. At Van Beuren Management, his responsibilities encompass all aspects of the multidiscipline, multilocation (N.J., N.Y., Calif.) enterprise, including investments, legal, accounting, tax, estate planning, etc. Investment activity oversight includes direct private equity, private equity and fund seeding, managed investments (including hedge funds) as well as publicly traded securities. In addition to his duties as vice chair and president, Mr. Roy also serves as senior trustee. In this capacity he works as an adjunct to operational responsibilities, serves as a senior trustee for all Chambers’ family trusts (including the family foundation), as well as GP for the Chambers family partnership.

Prior to his tenure at Van Beuren Management Inc. Mr. Roy held the positions of vice president and managing director at Wesray Capital Corporation from 1986-1989, and was responsible for Wesray’s west coast business activities, served as an advisor to Wesray portfolio companies, and was also a member of the Wesray investment committee.

In 1969, Mr. Roy co-founded Science Dynamics. Over a 16-year period, Science Dynamics grew to become a leading national provider of health care information systems (hardware, software, services) to major medical centers, including teaching medical centers, throughout the United States. Clients included university-affiliated institutions such as the University of California medical Centers, the Stanford University Medical Center, the University of Texas Health Science Centers, the Georgetown University Medical Center, etc. as well as regional multispecialty medical clinics and HMO providers such as Cigna Healthcare. Science Dynamics was sold to McDonnell Douglas (MCAUTO) Healthcare Systems in 1984.

Mr. Roy holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in business/operations research. He has been married for 44 years with two sons and 7 grandchildren.

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Ellen V. Sigal, Ph.D.
Chairperson and Founder, Friends of Cancer Research (Friends)
Washington, D.C.

Ellen V. Sigal, Ph.D., is chairperson and founder of Friends of Cancer Research (Friends), a cancer research think tank and advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.

Friends is a leader in developing partnerships and advocating policies that will get treatments and therapies to patients in the safest and quickest way possible. Friends works with federal health agencies, congressional leadership, academic research centers, and private sector industry producing real results.

Dr. Sigal is vice chair of the inaugural board of directors of the Reagan-Udall Foundation, a partnership designed to modernize medical product development, accelerate innovation, and enhance product safety in collaboration with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. She serves on the Board of the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health where she chairs its Public/Private Partnerships Committee.

In 2010, Dr. Sigal was appointed to a six-year term on the Board of Governors of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) as a representative of patients and health consumers. PCORI is an independent organization created by Congress to initiate research that will help patients, physicians and caregivers make informed health care decisions and improve health care delivery.

She also holds leadership positions with a broad range of cancer advocacy, public policy organizations and academic health centers including: the American Association for Cancer Research Foundation Board; Research!America Board; University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center External Advisory Board, the Duke University Cancer Center Board of Overseers and The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center Advisory Council.

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