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Personalized Career Conversations


Registration for Personalized Career Conversations is now open!

Organized as a collaborative effort between the Associate Member Council (AMC), Minorities in Cancer Research (MICR) Council, Women in Cancer Research (WICR) Council, and the AACR Science Education and Career Advancement Committee, we are pleased to offer this opportunity exclusively as an AACR Associate member benefit to allow early-career researchers with one-on-one with esteemed cancer researchers to discuss science and obtain career advice. Each participant will have the opportunity to meet individually with two (2) senior investigators during the session plus have access to multiple other researchers for small group interactions and networking throughout.

Pre-Registration is required and exclusive to AACR Associate Members.


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. Exclusively for early-career Associate Members who are 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 two (2) preferred senior scientists for 15-minutes each at the AACR Annual Meeting 2020.

One-on-one opportunities are available to meet with scientists who can speak to:

  • Transitioning from a career in academia to industry
  • Experimental therapeutics and clinical drug development
  • Radiation Oncology
  • Pharmacology
  • Biotechnology
  • Genetics
  • Epidemiology
  • Immunology
  • Pediatrics
  • Careers within academia, the federal government, industry, and/or nonprofits
  • International academics and industry
  • Patent applications
  • And much more!

Space is limited and filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Due to the unique structure and format of this program, all participants must supply a copy of their curriculum vitae (CV) and confirm that they will be  available to participate once paired with their senior scientist(s). Once confirmed, any individual who does not show up for their meeting may be disqualified from participating in future similar opportunities and applications.


To register, login to myAACR and select “Applications/Awards” across the top menu bar. After you click on Applications/Awards, select “View All Activities”, search for “Personalized Career Conversations Registration” and click on the application link to select the senior scientists with whom you would like to meet. Please note that all pairings will be made on a first-come, first-served basis, based on your submission time, and each Associate Member participant will have the opportunity to meet with two (2) senior investigators during the session. If the senior investigator selected is no longer available, you will be paired with another outstanding senior investigator.

We encourage you to take advantage of this unique opportunity for one-on-one with leaders in the field that is exclusive to early-career Associate Members by registering for this session, today! Please contact us at with any questions.

Personalized Career COnversations 2020 Participating Senior Scientists

Kenneth C. Anderson, MD, FAACR

Kenneth C. Anderson, MD, FAACR

Director, Jerome Lipper Multiple Myeloma Center; Kraft Family Professor of Medicine

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School

Boston, Massachusetts

Dr. Anderson is the Kraft Family professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School as well as director of the LeBow Institute for Myeloma Therapeutics and Jerome Lipper Multiple Myeloma Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He is a Doris Duke distinguished clinical research scientist and American Cancer Society clinical research professor. After graduating from Johns Hopkins Medical School, he trained in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and then completed hematology, medical oncology, and tumor immunology training at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Over the last four decades, he has focused his laboratory and clinical research studies on multiple myeloma. He has developed laboratory and animal models of the tumor in its microenvironment which have allowed for both identification of novel targets and validation of novel targeted therapies, and has then rapidly translated these studies to clinical trials culminating in FDA approval of novel targeted therapies. His paradigm for identifying and validating targets in the tumor cell and its milieu has transformed myeloma therapy and markedly improved patient outcome. He is the recipient of many scientific and humanitarian awards including Fellow of the American Association for Cancer Research, and has served as president of the International Myeloma Society and president of the American Society of Hematology.

Keywords: myeloma, targeted therapy, immune therapy, tumor microenvironment

Elizabeth H. Blackburn, PhD, FAACR

Elizabeth H. Blackburn, PhD, FAACR

Professor Emerita, Biochemistry and Biophysics

University of California San Francisco

San Francisco, California

Throughout her long career in science, Dr. Blackburn has been a leader in the area of telomere and telomerase research, having discovered the molecular nature of telomeres – the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes that serve as protective caps essential for preserving the genetic information – and co-discovered the ribonucleoprotein enzyme, telomerase. She is also known for her championing of diversity and inclusion in the sciences. Currently, Dr. Blackburn and her University of California San Francisco research team continue their work with various cells (including human cells), with the goal of understanding telomerase and telomere biology. She and her research team also collaborate in a wide range of investigations of the roles of telomere biology in human health and diseases, through clinical and other human studies.

Born in Australia, Dr. Blackburn earned her BSc and MSc degrees from the University of Melbourne, and her PhD from the University of Cambridge in England. She was a postdoctoral fellow in the Molecular and Cellular Biology Department at Yale University. Professor Blackburn has won many prestigious awards throughout her career including Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award for Basic Medical Research, and in 2007 was named one of TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People.

Keywords: telomeres, telomerase, cancer interception

Kerri L. Burnstein, PhD

Professor and Chair, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology; Associate Director for Education and Training

University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

Miami, Florida

Kerry L. Burnstein, PhD, a South Florida native, received her BA in biology (1981) from Wesleyan University, Middletown Connecticut and a PhD in genetics (1986) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She pursued postdoctoral training with Dr. John Cidlowski at UNC-CH studying the regulation of steroid hormone receptors. In 1991, Dr. Burnstein joined the faculty at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine as an assistant professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology. She received tenure and was promoted to associate professor in 1997 and became a full professor in 2003. Dr. Burnstein was appointed chair of molecular and cellular pharmacology in the fall of 2018. She maintains an active research program focusing on androgen receptor signaling and novel experimental therapeutics for castration-resistant prostate cancer. Dr. Burnstein has held leadership positions in the Endocrine Society and is a former president of the Cancer Biology Training Consortium (CABTRAC). She has served as a chartered member of two National Institutes of Health grant review panels. Dr. Burnstein was the 2019 recipient of the Society for Women in Urology / Society for Basic Urologic Research joint award for excellence in urologic research. Dr. Burnstein is deeply committed to training and mentoring the next generation of cancer researchers. In her lab, she has mentored 15 graduate students, most of whom are pursuing careers in oncology research and education. In addition, Dr. Burnstein is a former director of two graduate programs: molecular and cellular pharmacology (2001-2009) and the Sheila and David Fuente Graduate program in cancer niology (2009-2016). In 2015, she was appointed associate director for education and training for the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at UM and was part of the leadership team that worked to make Sylvester the 71st NCI-designated cancer center.

Joan S. Brugge, PhD, FAACR

Joan S. Brugge, PhD, FAACR

Professor of Cell Biology

Harvard Medical School

Boston, Massachusetts

Joan Brugge joined the faculty of the Department of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School in July 1997 and became the chair of this department in 2004. In 2014, she stepped down as chair to become the director of the Ludwig Center at Harvard. A graduate of Northwestern University, she received her PhD from the Baylor College of Medicine. During her postdoctoral training at the University of Colorado with Raymond Erikson, she isolated the protein coded for the viral and cellular forms of the SRC gene. Dr. Brugge has held full professorships at the State University of New York, Stony Brook, and the University of Pennsylvania, where she was also named as an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. In 1992 Dr. Brugge left academia to help found a new company, ARIAD, to focus on research aimed at developing new drugs targeting signaling pathways in disease.

Keywords: cancer initiation and progression, therapy resistance

Michael A. Caligiuri, MD, FAACR

Michael A. Caligiuri, MD, FAACR

Deana and Steve Campbell Physician-in-Chief Distinguished Chair

The City of Hope National Medical Center

Duarte, California

A quintessential figure in the cancer research community, Dr. Caligiuri is world renowned for his groundbreaking research dedicated to understanding the immune system to treat various cancers. While the sites and pathways for human T cell and B cell development have been known for decades, Dr. Caligiuri discovered the site, developmental stages, and soluble factors responsible for human natural killer (NK) cell development. He was the first to show that human hematopoietic stem cells migrate from the bone marrow to secondary lymphoid tissue where they undergo NK cell development in stages he identified. He discovered the critical role of IL-15 in human NK cell development, survival and activation. In human disease he elucidated the role of IL-15 in the genesis of NK cell leukemia and cutaneous T cell lymphoma. Dr. Caligiuri co-discovered human innate-lymphoid cells and first identified the specific human precursors for both NK cells and innate lymphoid cells. He discovered a fundamental mechanism of immune surveillance, demonstrating how Fc receptor-bearing innate immune cells recognize viral and bacterial pathogens. Over 1,500 patients with cancer have been treated on clinical protocols designed by Dr. Caligiuri.

Dr. Caligiuri has also demonstrated a relentless passion and commitment to advocating for increased efforts to address cancer health disparities and to mentoring the next generation of cancer scientists. As AACR President he devised and implemented “Project 2020 by 2020” to accrue thousands of African American cancer patient genomes and clinical data to national registries. He also co-founded the Oncology Research Information Exchange Network (ORIEN) that collects cancer clinical samples and tracks clinical, epidemiological, and molecular patient data to guide screening, treatment, and surveillance protocols. Concordantly, Dr. Caligiuri co-founded the grassroots bike tour, Pelotonia, which has generated over $150 million for cancer research in nine years and has provided over 400 scholarships for students pursuing cancer research.

Jon M. Carethers

Jon M. Carethers

Professor and Chair, Department of Internal Medicine

University of Michigan

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Dr. Carethers is a physician-scientist and gastroenterologist with focused interests in the genetics and cancer disparities involving colorectal cancer. He received his MD from Wayne State University, did internal medicine residency at Mass General Hospital, and GI fellowship at the University of Michigan. He has published over 250 manuscripts and book chapters, and has long-standing NIH funding. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, served as president of the Association of American Physicians, and is a former chair of MICR.

Keywords: colorectal cancer cancer, disparities, DNA repair, gastroenterology

John D. Carpten, PhD

John D. Carpten, PhD

Professor and Chair of Translational Genomics; Director, Institute For Translational Genomics

Keck School of Medicine of USC

Los Angeles, California

Dr. Carpten is an internationally recognized expert in genome science, and possesses unique training in multiple disciplines including germ-line genetics for disease risk and predisposition, somatic cancer genomics, health disparities research, cell biology, functional genomics, and precision medicine.

Dr. Carpten earned his PhD from the Ohio State University in 1994 with a focus on human genetics. He then went on to complete a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Human Genome Research Institute, NIH, Bethesda, in Cancer Genetics, where he was later promoted to the tenure track in 2000. In 2003, Dr. Carpten accepted a position to become division director, Division of Integrated Cancer Genomics, at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), Phoenix, Arizona. Later, in 2012 he was promoted to the position of deputy director of basic research for TGen. In 2016 he was recruited by the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, to build and chair a new department and Institute of Translational Genomics.

Dr. Carpten’s primary research program centers around the development and application of cutting edge genomic technologies and bioinformatics analysis in search of germ-line and somatic alterations that are associated with cancer risk and tumor characteristics, respectively. A major focus of Dr. Carpten’s research has been related to prostate cancer genetics. He was a lead author on the first genome wide scan for hereditary prostate cancer genes (Science. 1996 Nov 22;274(5291):1371-4.), and the identification of HOXB13 as the first true hereditary prostate cancer gene (New England Journal of Medicine. 2012 Jan 12;366(2):141-9.). His group has also discovered a number of single nucleotide polymorphisms, which confer increased risk of developing prostate cancer (Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2007 Dec 19;99(24):1836-44.). Furthermore, he has played a critical role in prostate cancer cell biology studies (Nat Genet. 2004 Sep;36(9):979-83.), and prostate cancer tumor genome profiling studies (Genome Res. 2011 Jan;21(1):47-55.).

Dr. Carpten has also been an early pioneer in the understanding the role of biology in disparate cancer incidence and mortality rates seem among underrepresented populations. Through his leadership, the African American Hereditary Prostate Cancer Study (AAHPC) Network was conceived.  This study has become a model for genetic linkage studies in underrepresented populations and led to the first genome wide scan for prostate cancer susceptibility genes in African Americans (Prostate. 2007 Jan 1;67(1):22-31.). 

Dr. Carpten has received research funding awards from various sources to support his research including NIH, Prostate Cancer Foundation, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, and a number of pharmaceutical companies. Dr. Carpten has co-authored over 160 publications in scientific journals that include Science, Nature, Nature Genetics, Genome Research, Cancer Research, Molecular Cancer Research, Cancer Cell, and the New England Journal of Medicine.

Suzanne Cory, PhD

Suzanne Cory, PhD

Honorary Distinguished Professorial Fellow

The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Professor Cory is a distinguished Australian molecular biologist. She completed her Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne and earned a PhD from the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) in Cambridge, England.

In 1971, Professor Cory returned to Melbourne and began her research career at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, together with her scientific and life partner, Professor Jerry M. Adams. After a decade of studying the immune system, their lab switched focus to the genetic origins of cancer and the mechanism of the physiological cell death program known as apoptosis. Cory’s current research focuses on enhancing apoptotic responses of blood cancers to therapy, using mouse models.

Professor Cory became the director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (1996-2009) and was president of the Australian Academy of Science from 2010 to 2014. Her scientific achievements have attracted numerous honors and awards, including election to the Australian Academy of Science (1986), Royal Society UK (1992), US National Academy of Sciences (1997), French Academy of Sciences (2002) and Japan Academy (2013).

Keywords: mouse lymphoma models, apoptosis, BCL-2 family

Channing J. Der, PhD

Channing J. Der, PhD

Sarah Graham Kenan Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology

University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Channing J. Der, PhD is Sarah Graham Kenan distinguished professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He received his PhD from the University of California, Irvine and completed his postdoctoral studies at Harvard Medical School/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Since his discovery of RAS oncogenes in human cancer, his research has centered on the study of RAS superfamily small GTPases in cancer. His research has been funded by grants from the National Cancer Institute, Lustgarten Foundation, and Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. He has authored >330 publications and is the holder of six patents. He has mentored >50 post-/30 predoctoral fellows. He is a member of the NCI RAS Working Group, and the scientific advisory boards of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and Mirati Therapeutics. He has served on the NCI Board of Scientific Counselors, the scientific advisory board of the Lustgarten Foundation. He has served on numerous editorial boards and as a consultant for numerous pharmaceutical/biotech companies. His honors include Fellow of the AAAS, the recipient of an NCI Outstanding Investigator Award, the Battle Distinguished Cancer Research Award, the Mentorship Award for Lifetime Achievement, the University of California, Irvine Distinguished Alumnus Award, and the Einstein BIH Visiting Fellow Award.

Keywords: RAS oncogene, protein kinases, pancreatic cancer

Lisa Drew, DPhil

Executive Director, Head of Oncology Bio-science

AstraZeneca (R&D Boston)

Waltham, Massachusetts

Lisa Drew serves as the executive director, head of Oncology Bioscience of AstraZeneca. Lisa started at AstraZeneca in October of 2017.

Julie Dutil, PhD

Associate Professor, Principal Investigator, Breast Cancer Genetics & Genomics

Ponce Health Sciences University (PHSU)

Ponce, Puerto Rico

Jessie M. English, PhD

Jessie M. English, PhD

Former Chief Scientific Officer

Tilos Therapeutics

Cambridge, MA

Dr. English is the former chief scientific officer of Tilos Therapeutics. Tilos Therapeutics was acquired by Merck in 2019. Postacquisition, Dr. English has worked at Merck on the transition of Tilos programs. Prior to Tilos, she was vice president and head of Discovery Research Immuno-Oncology Translational Innovation Platform (IONC TIP) at EMD Serono/ Merck KGaA. Her previous
positions include head of research at the Belfer Center for Applied Cancer Science at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, vice president of Kinase Biology at ArQule, Oncology Site Lead for External Discovery at Merck and head of Pfizer’s Kinase Center of Emphasis. Dr. English began her career in industry at Schering-Plough Research Institute in Oncology Discovery. Dr. English earned a BS in biochemistry at KSU, a PhD in neurobiology from UNC, and trained as a postdoctoral at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Keywords: cancer drug discovery & translational research

Jeremy R. Graff, PhD

Jeremy R. Graff, PhD

President and Chief Scientific Officer

Biothera Pharmaceuticals, Inc

Roseville, Minnesota

Dr. Graff earned his PhD in 1994 from the University of Kentucky. At UK, he studied the role for the mRNA translation initiation factor, eIF4E, in cancers driven by the ras oncogene. His postdoctoral fellowship in the lab of Dr. S. B. Baylin at the Johns Hopkins University Medical School focused on epigenetic silencing of metastasis suppressor genes such as E-cadherin. In 1998, he was recruited to join the cancer research division at Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis, Indiana. At Lilly, Jeremy was responsible for driving numerous new drug candidates into clinical development. He also held numerous research leadership positions, culminating in his role developing and leading Lilly’s Translational Oncology group, an exceptionally-talented group of scientists tasked with driving the science of the Lilly Clinical Portfolio. This group was intimately responsible for accelerating and enabling the success of numerous Lilly clinical assets including abemaciclib, olaratumumab and others. In 2014, Dr. Graff joined Biothera Pharmaceuticals in Eagan, Minnesota to lead the research and clinical development of a novel activator of the innate immune system, Imprime PGG. He now serves as president and chief scientific officer for Biothera Pharmaceuticals with broad responsibility for research, clinical, regulatory and manufacturing. He has nearly 60 research publications that have garnered more than 18,000 research citations. He holds numerous patents. Dr. Graff has served a grant review panelist for the NIH/NIDDK, the American Cancer Society, Genome Quebec, and the US Department of Defense. He serves on the editorial board for Cancer Research, the flagship journal of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).

Keywords: cancer drug discovery, cancer drug development, translational oncology

Michael B. Kastan, MD, PhD, FAACR

Michael B. Kastan, MD, PhD, FAACR

Executive Director, Duke Cancer Institute; William and Jane Shingleton Professor of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology

Duke Cancer Institute

Durham, North Carolina

Dr. Kastan earned MD and PhD degrees from the Washington University School of Medicine and did 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 in 2011. 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 roles of p53 and ATM in DNA damage signaling are among the most highly cited publications in the biomedical literature of the past two decades. He has received numerous honors for his highly cited work, including election to the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and receiving the 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 (NCI), on the boards of directors of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and the American Association of Cancer Institutes (AACI), as editor-in-chief of the
journal Molecular Cancer Research, and as editor of the textbook Clinical Oncology. He also serves on the scientific advisory boards of numerous cancer centers as well as the boards of both Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) and the V Foundation.

Keywords: DNA damage signaling, cellular stress responses, signal transduction, Cancer Center Administration

Heike Keilhack, PhD

Heike Keilhack, PhD

Senior Vice President, Biological Sciences

Ribon Therapeutics, Inc

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Dr. Keilhack is currently serving as senior vice president of Biological Sciences at Ribon Therapeutics, a cancer drug discovery company in the Boston area. She is an accomplished cancer biologist with rich experience in cell biology, animal models of cancer, pharmacology and translational medicine with over 14 years of experience in oncology drug discovery in both small biotechnology and large pharmaceutical companies. Prior to joining Ribon, Dr. Keilhack was senior director of biology at Epizyme where, among other responsibilities, she was the project leader for the company’s EZH2 inhibitor program. Before that, she was a research fellow at Merck and the biology project lead for the company’s clinical stage AKT inhibitor, MK-2206.

Dr. Keilhack received her PhD in biochemistry at Friedrich Schiller University of Jena (Germany) and completed postdoctoral training at the Harvard Medical School. She earned a BS in biochemistry at Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg (Germany).

Keywords: translational medicine, pharmacology, cancer drug discovery

Scott W. Lowe, PhD, FAACR

Scott W. Lowe, PhD, FAACR

Chair, Cancer Biology & Genetics Program

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

New York, New York

Scott W. Lowe is chair of the Cancer Biology and Genetics Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York City and an investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. Lowe received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He initiated his independent research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, where his group made important contributions to our understanding of the p53 tumor suppressor network, as well as the processes of multi-step carcinogenesis, cellular senescence, and tumor-cell drug resistance. At MSKCC, his laboratory applies mouse models, functional genomics and cancer genomics in a coordinated effort to identify cancer drivers and dependencies. These efforts have revealed fundamental insights into cancer mechanisms and identified potential therapeutic targets. Dr. Lowe’s work has been recognized by several awards, including a Sidney Kimmel Scholar Award, a Rita Allen Scholar Award, the Outstanding Investigator Award from the American Association for Cancer Research, the Paul Marks Prize, and the Alfred G. Knudsen Award. He has also been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences.

Keywords: cancer genetics, mouse models of cancer, tumor suppressor genes, senescence

Larry Norton, MD, FAACR

Larry Norton, MD, FAACR

Senior VP, Office of President; Med Director Lauder Center

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

New York, New York

Larry Norton is an MD graduate of Columbia P&S and trained in Medical Oncology at the National Cancer Institute. His major focus for many decades is on breast cancer with broad interests and activities. Dr. Norton co-authored the Norton-Simon Model of cancer growth, which has led to improved cancer treatments and novel biological insights (especially, lately, the phenomenon of cancer cell self-seeding and the discovery of the presence and importance of mutant tumor-infiltration leukocytes). He is involved in much drug discovery including trastuzumab, paclitaxel, and the use of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor. Co-founded the Breast Cancer Research Foundation with Evelyn Lauder. Dr. Norton has served on the NCI’s National Cancer Advisory Board under Presidents Clinton and Bush and chaired the Budget Sub-Committee. He co-chaired the Breast Committee of the Cancer and Leukemia Group B. President of ASCO 2001-2002 and Fellow of ASCO and the AACR Academy. Currently, he is the SVP in the Office of the President, associate director for clinical and translational science in the Cancer Center, and medical director of the E. H. Lauder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering. Dr. Norton received the Karnofsky and Bonadonna Awards from ASCO, McGuire Lectureship at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, MSK’s Whitmore Award, Gold Medal from Columbia U., and Golden Helix Award from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, among other recognitions.

Keywords: clinical and translational research

Morag Park, PhD

Morag Park, PhD

Director, Goodman Cancer Research Centre

McGill University Goodman Cancer Centre

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Dr. Morag Park is a James McGill Professor in the Departments of Biochemistry, Medicine and Oncology at McGill University, where she holds the Diane and Sal Guerrera Chair in Cancer Genetics. She is also the current scientific director of the CIHR Institute of Cancer Research. Dr. Park has published over 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards including becoming a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Dr. Park has a long standing interest in the molecular mechanisms of cancer. More recently her interests include how changes in the tumor microenvironment modulate breast cancer progression. She founded the Breast Cancer Functional Genomics Group, which integrates breast cancer sample collection, laser capture microdissection microarray-based gene expression profiling and signature validation, and includes members from basic research, informatics as well as clinical surgery and pathology.

Lillian L. Siu, MD

Lillian L. Siu, MD

Professor, Director of Phase I Program; BMO Chair in Precision Genomics

Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Dr. Siu is a senior medical oncologist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre since 1998, and has been a Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto since 2009. She is the director of the Phase I Program and co-director of the Bras and Family Drug Development Program at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, and holds the BMO chair in Precision Genomics (2016-2026). She is also the clinical lead for the Tumor Immunotherapy Program at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Dr. Siu served on the ASCO board of directors for a four-year term (2012-2016). She currently serves on the AACR board of directors for a three-year term (2017-2020).

Dr. Siu’s major research focus is in the area of new anticancer drug development, particularly with respect to phase I trials and head and neck malignancies. She is the principal investigator of a phase I cooperative agreement UM1 award sponsored by the United States National Cancer Institute.

Internationally, Dr. Siu was the recipient of the US NCI Michaele C. Christian Award in Oncology Drug Development in 2010. She has been awarded the TAT 2020 Honorary Award for contributions in the development of anticancer drugs. Dr. Siu has published over 300 peer-reviewed manuscripts, and she is currently a scientific editor for Cancer Discovery and is on the editorial board for JAMA Oncology.

Keywords: clinical trials, experimental therapeutics, immuno-oncology, precision medicine

Kedar S. Vaidya, PhD

Associate Director, Pharmacology and Early Development

Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Palo Alto, California

Kedar obtained his bachelor’s degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Bombay and PhD in Pharmacology and Cancer Biology from the University of Louisiana. He joined the laboratory of Dr. Danny Welch for his fellowship and studied the biology of metastasis suppressors. Following his fellowship, he was recruited to Abbott Laboratories as a senior pharmacologist. He rose up the ranks to various positions within Abbott Laboratories/AbbVie where he studied the pharmacology of novel targeted therapeutics including therapeutic antibodies, antibody-drug conjugates, and small molecules. His work has contributed to the the approval of venetoclax and towards the progression of numerous agents that are in various phases of clinical testing. He is currently associate director, pharmacology and early development at Jazz Pharmaceuticals where his responsibilities include development of novel agents and therapeutic modalities. Dr. Vaidya also serves as a reviewer for numerous peer reviewed journals and has served on grant review panels for the Department of Defense, Barts-NHS, and the Susan Komen foundation.

Geoffrey M. Wahl, PhD, FAACR

Geoffrey M. Wahl, PhD, FAACR

Professor, Gene Expression Laboratory

The Salk Institute

San Diego, California

I began my career as an undergrad at UCLA where I was given the opportunity to do research with two new assistant professors, one in chemistry, and the other in biological chemistry. There, I learned the value of great mentorship. I then went on to Harvard, where I did my degree with Mario Capecchi. He moved to Utah in my 3rd year, and I followed him there. From this, I learned it is the person with whom you study, as much as the place where you get your degree that is important. And then I went to Stanford and the Salk Institute, for postdoctoral training and faculty positions. Here, I learned about the importance of the academic environment and the ability to reinvent yourself scientifically to maintain your excitement and interest in diverse areas of science. I have also been fortunate to mentor many great students and post-docs, almost all of whom are still actively pursuing careers in academia or industry. They have taught me about the importance, joy, and fulfillment of being an involved mentor.

Keywords: developmental biology, breast, breast cancer, pancreas, pancreas cancer, stem cells, cell state plasticity

Robert A. Winn, MD

Director, Massey Cancer Center

Virginia Commonwealth University

Richmond. Virginia

Robert Winn, MD, was appointed director of VCU Massey Cancer Center on December 2, 2019. In this position, he oversees a cancer center designated by the National Cancer Institute that provides outstanding cancer care, conducts groundbreaking research to discover new treatments for cancer and offers high-quality education, training and community outreach programs. In addition to directing the activities of Massey’s 205 research members, he also manages a research laboratory at VCU. His current basic science research, which has been supported by multiple National Institutes of Health and Veterans Affairs Merit awards, focuses on the cellular pathways that drive the development and progression of lung cancer and the role of cell division arrest in lung cancer. He has authored or co-authored more than 60 published manuscripts in peer-reviewed academic journals. Winn is committed to community-engaged research centered on eliminating health disparities. He is a principal investigator on several community-based projects funded by the NIH and National Cancer Institute, including the All of Us Research Program, a NIH precision medicine initiative. He has received national and international acclaim for his efforts to empower underserved patient populations, improve health care delivery and ensure equal access to cancer care.

Keywords: health Disparities, pulmonology, bench to community