American Association for Cancer Research

Translational Cancer Research Grant Leadership Biographies

Ellis L. Reinherz, M.D., chief, Laboratory of Immunobiology; co-director, Cancer Vaccine Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School
Robert I. Haddad, M.D., chief, Head and Neck Oncology Program; member, Department of Adult Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; associate professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School

 Ellis L. Reinherz, M.D., is the chief of the Laboratory of Immunobiology and the co-director of the Cancer Vaccine Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He is also a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. He received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard College in 1971 and his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1975. After an internship and residency at Massachusetts General Hospital from 1975-1977 and a period as a hematology fellow at Brigham and Women’s Hospital from 1977-1978, he joined Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. His postdoctoral work was done there with Stuart Schlossman. He is currently chairman of the Steering Committee of the NIH Human Immunology Project Consortium. He is a member of several organizations including the American Association of Immunologists, from which he received the Human Immunology Award in 2011.

Reinherz’s scientific work has revealed key functional and structural discoveries about T-cell receptors (TCR), including their CD3 signaling subunit components, and how, with CD4 and CD8 co-receptor molecules, which he identified as such, TCRs bind to peptide-loaded MHC  (pMHC). More recently he and his colleagues have defined the TCR as an anisotropic mechanosensor, offering a physical solution to the longstanding question of how T cells can achieve rapid and specific sensing of a single peptide bound to an MHC molecule among a sea of unrelated peptides arrayed on an antigen presenting cell surface with exquisite specificity and dynamic range. His findings on the molecular basis of adaptive immunity have implications for rational vaccine design and human immunotherapy efforts in the clinic. He is the author of more than 400 research publications in human and murine immunology. These are both basic as well as translational in nature. The development of OKT3, the first FDA-approved monoclonal antibody in humans, resulted from his studies demonstrating its inhibition of antigen-specific T-cell responses.

 Robert I. Haddad, M.D., is the chief of the Head and Neck Oncology Program at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Haddad received his medical degree from Saint Joseph University, French Faculty of Medicine in Beirut, Lebanon, and served as intern and resident at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York, N.Y. He completed his fellowship in hematology/oncology at Greenebaum Cancer Center, University of Maryland, in Baltimore, Md. Haddad is a member of several professional societies, including the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Association for Cancer Research, and the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology. He is a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network’s head and neck cancer guidelines committee and serves as co-chair of the thyroid cancer guidelines committee.

Haddad’s research has focused on the use of biologic agents and combined modality sequential and concurrent chemoradiotherapy in head and neck cancer. He was instrumental in the phase III study that led to FDA approval of docetaxel in head and neck cancer. His research interests also include the role of the human papillomavirus (HPV) as a cause of head and neck cancer, particularly the effect of such infection on treatment and prognosis, and the search for HPV-related biomarkers that can be useful for early detection, risk stratification, and detection of early relapse. He is particularly interested in the epidemiology of HPV infection as it relates to cancer risk in partners and spouses of patients with HPV-related cancers.

Haddad lectures extensively on head and neck cancer on the regional, national, and international level. He has authored more than 100 publications related to head and neck cancer.


Prospective Use of DNA-guided Personalized Cancer Treatment

Emile E. Voest, M.D., Ph.D., head of the Department of Medical Oncology at the University Medical Center (UMC) Utrecht in the Netherlands
René Bernards, Ph.D., head of the Division of Molecular Carcinogenesis at the Netherlands Cancer Institute

Emile E. Voest, M.D., Ph.D.Emile E. Voest, M.D., Ph.D., is head of the department of medical oncology at the University Medical Center Utrecht. He also serves as chair of the Center for Personalized Cancer Treatment (a joint effort of the UMC Utrecht, Erasmus MC and NKI/AvL), director of the Graduate School of Life Sciences Ph.D. program “Clinical and Translational Oncology” of the University of Utrecht and as chair of the scientific council of the Dutch Cancer Society.

His translational research has focused on improving systemic treatment for patients with cancer. This includes the clinical development of targeted agents, discovery and validation of biomarkers and identification of new targets of treatment to overcome chemoresistance.

Voest became registered as a medical doctor in 1985. He became board certified as an internist in July 1993, and as a medical oncologist in January 1995. He completed his Ph.D. program on the enhancement of the efficacy of anthracyclines by modulation of iron metabolism in tumor cells in June 1993 (cum laude). In 1994 and 1995, he was a postdoctoral fellow of the Dutch Cancer Society. As a postdoctoral fellow he joined the laboratory of Dr. Judah Folkman at Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass., and worked on endogenous inhibitors of angiogenesis. Thereafter, he worked at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam on high dose chemotherapy. In November 1999, he became a full professor in medical oncology. He currently serves in a variety of scientific committees and advisory boards. He has several patents to his name in the field of angiogenesis and biomarkers and recently founded the spin-out company PIFA Therapeutics that investigates reversal of resistance to anti-cancer treatment. He has co-authored more than 180 manuscripts that together have been cited almost 6,000 times.

The department of medical oncology at the UMC Utrecht has several preclinical and translational research lines including mitotic checkpoints, chemoresistance and genetic analyses of tumors in relation to treatment outcome. The program also includes a large phase I unit with a devoted team of nurses, scientists, data managers and clinicians. The preclinical research program and the early clinical trial program are mutually supportive and have a strong interaction. 

Voest will serve as one of the team leaders in the Stand Up To Cancer International Translational Research Grant “Prospective Use of DNA-guided Personalized Cancer Treatment.”

Rene Bernards, Ph.D.René Bernards, Ph.D., is head of the division of molecular carcinogenesis at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam and professor of molecular carcinogenesis at Utrecht University. He also serves as chief scientific officer at Agendia Inc., a molecular diagnostics company he co-founded in 2003. His laboratory focuses on the identification of biomarkers that can help identify patients that are most likely to benefit from specific cancer therapies. To enable this, his laboratory developed the first shRNA libraries to carry out genome-wide functional genetic screens. These tools have made major new lines of research possible for cancer researchers across the world. His own laboratory has used this technology to find novel cancer-relevant genes in major signaling pathways. Examples include the identification of the cylindromatosis tumor suppressor gene as a regulator of NF-kB signaling and the finding that the NF1 tumor suppressor acts in retinoic acid signaling. In addition, these biomarkers can suggest combination therapies to combat drug resistance. A very recent example is their finding that BRAF inhibition in BRAF mutant colon cancer is only effective when combined with inhibition of the EGFR. The “MammaPrint” 70 gene prognosis profile for breast cancer is an example of a multi-gene biomarker co-developed by his laboratory. This gene profile is currently used worldwide by clinicians to help assess the risk of recurrence in early stage breast cancer through the company co-founded by Bernards.

Bernards has co-authored some 175 manuscripts that together have been cited over 20,000 times. He received several awards for his research, including the Pezcoller Foundation-FECS Recognition for Contribution to Oncology, the Ernst W. Bertner Award for Cancer Research from the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, the ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award in Translational Research in Breast Cancer and the Spinoza award from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research. He is a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Bernards is a molecular biologist. He received his doctorate in 1984 from the University of Leiden. He joined the laboratory of Robert A. Weinberg, Ph.D., at the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge for his postdoctoral training. Here, he studied the function of both oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes. He continued this work when he joined the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center as an assistant professor in 1988. In 1992, he was appointed senior staff scientist at the Netherlands Cancer Institute. In 1994, he was appointed part-time professor of molecular carcinogenesis at Utrecht University, The Netherlands.

Bernards will serve as one of the team leaders in the Stand Up To Cancer International Translational Research Grant “Prospective Use of DNA-guided Personalized Cancer Treatment.”