Cancer, Aging, and Comorbidities Webinar Series (Speaker Bios)

Speaker Bios

  • Aarti Asnani
    Aarti Asnani, M.D.
    Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

    Dr. Aarti Asnani is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She serves as the Director of the Cardio-Oncology Program within the Cardiology Division at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Dr. Asnani’s scientific training began during a Sarnoff Cardiovascular Research Fellowship with Robert Gerszten, M.D., at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the Broad Institute, where she applied metabolite profiling to define new circulating biomarkers of myocardial injury in patients. After completing her clinical training in internal medicine and cardiology at MGH, she embarked upon a postdoctoral fellowship under the mentorship of Randall Peterson, Ph.D., where she applied chemical and systems biology approaches in preclinical models (zebrafish and mice) to identify new molecular pathways that contribute to doxorubicin cardiac toxicity. Dr. Asnani established her independent research program in 2019. Her research interest is to define the molecular pathways that lead to heart toxicity in patients treated for cancer, with the goal of targeting these pathways therapeutically in patients. In parallel, as Director of the BIDMC Cardio-Oncology Program and Cardio-Oncology Fellowship, her clinical cardiology practice is now exclusively focused on patients with cancer. She is also a fellow of the American Heart Association, Council on Basic Cardiovascular Sciences.

  • Judith Campisi
    Judith Campisi, Ph.D.
    Professor, Buck Institute for Research on Aging

    Dr. Judith Campisi received a PhD in Biochemistry from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and postdoctoral training in cancer biology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School. She joined the Boston University Medical School as an Assistant and Associate Professor before joining the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as a Senior Scientist. In 2002, she started a second laboratory at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, where she is a professor. At both institutions, she established a broad program to understand the relationship between aging and disease, with an emphasis on cancer and aging. Her laboratory made several pioneering discoveries in these areas, and her research continues to challenge and alter existing paradigms. Campisi has received numerous awards, including two MERIT awards from the National Institute on Aging, and awards from the AlliedSignal Corporation, Gerontological Society of America and American Federation for Aging Research, the Longevity prize from the IPSEN Foundation, and the first international Olav Thon Foundation prize. She serves on numerous national and international editorial and scientific advisory boards. Campisi is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  • Harvey Cohen
    Harvey Jay Cohen, M.D.
    Walter Kempner Professor of Medicine , Duke University

    Harvey Jay Cohen, M.D., is the Walter Kempner Professor of Medicine at Duke University School of Medicine. He is the Emeritus Chair of the Department of Medicine, and Emeritus Director, Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development (which he led for 37 years) and the founding Principal Investigator of the Duke Claude Pepper Older Americans Independence Center (which he led for over 25 years). He was also the founding Director of the Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC) at the Durham VAMC.
    Dr. Cohen is past chair of the Cancer in the Elderly Committee for Cancer and Acute Leukemia Group B (CALGB) (later the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology), and co-chaired the Task Force on Cancer and Aging for the American Association for Cancer Research. He is a past President of the American Geriatrics Society, the Gerontological Society of America and the International Society of Geriatric Oncology. He is past president and current member of the Executive Committee of the Board of the American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR).
    He has published extensively with more than 450 articles and book chapters on topic related to his interests in geriatric assessment, biologic basis for functional decline/resilience, and cancer and hematologic issues in the elderly. He is author of the book Taking Care After 50, and co-author of The Link Between Religion and Health: Psychoneuroimmunology and the Faith Factor, and co-editor of Geriatric Medicine, 4th Edition, and Practical Geriatric Oncology. He has received the Joseph T. Freeman Award and the Kent Award from the Gerontological Society of America, the Jahnigen Memorial Award from the American Geriatrics Society, the Paul Calabresi Award from the International Society of Geriatric Oncology, and the Clinically-Based Research Mentoring Award from Duke University. He has received Distinguished Alumnus and a Distinguished Teaching Awards from Duke University, an honorary Doctor of Science award from SUNY Downstate, a Lifetime Achievement Award from Brooklyn College.

  • Andrea Denicoff
    Andrea M Denicoff, R.N., M.S.
    Head of NCTN Clinical Trials Operations, National Cancer Institute

    Andrea Denicoff is a Nurse Consultant in the Clinical Investigations Branch within the Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program (CTEP) in the Division of Cancer Treatment & Diagnosis at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). She serves as the Head of Clinical Trials Operations for the NCI's National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN). In this role, she also works with the NCTN Lead Academic Participating Sites (LAPS) grantees on enhancing their efforts within the NCTN. She directs, manages, and coordinates several projects to reduce barriers to clinical trials accrual and increase participation of diverse populations into cancer trials, including racial and ethnic minorities, the elderly, and adolescent and young adults (AYA). She directs components of the Cancer Trials Support Unit (CTSU) that work on increasing education and awareness of NCI clinical trials. Provides scientific review, leadership and coordination for patient reported outcomes (PROs) and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) research in cancer treatment studies, serves on NCI's Symptom Management and HRQoL Scientific Steering Committee, and is a member of the NCI PRO-CTCAE Study Group. In addition, she is a Contracting Officer Representative for the NCI Clinical Trials Information and Management Support contract, serves as the CTEP representative to the Patient Advocate Steering Committee, and provides direction from CTEP's perspective on NCI research in palliative care in cancer. She serves as an Associate Editor for Clinical Trials: Journal of the Society for Clinical Trials. Before coming to the NCI, she was on the faculty at Georgetown University in the Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/ Oncology as an oncology nurse practitioner and was active in the breast cancer clinical research program. Prior to that, she was the research nurse coordinating early phase breast cancer trials for the Medical Breast Cancer Section in NCI's intramural program.

  • Martine Extermann
    Martine Extermann, M.D., Ph.D.
    Professor of Oncology and Medicine, Moffit Cancer Center

    Dr. Martine Extermann is a graduate from the University of Geneva, in Switzerland. She did her training in internal medicine and oncology-hematology in Switzerland, before joining Moffitt Cancer Center’s Senior Adult Oncology Program (SAOP) in 1994 for a research fellowship in geriatric oncology under the direction of Dr Lodovico Balducci. She joined the Faculty of the University of South Florida in 1997. Since 2017 she is the chair of the SAOP. Within the field of geriatric oncology, her research focuses on comorbidity and cancer, as well as the prediction of tolerance to treatment. Early on, she demonstrated that comorbidity was independent from functional status in senior cancer patients. She is also the author of the Chemotherapy Risk Assessment Score for High-Age patients (CRASH).
    Her research was recognized in 2009 by the ASCO B.J. Kennedy Award for Scientific Excellence in Geriatric Oncology and in 2014 by the International Society of Geriatric Oncology (SIOG) Paul Calabresi Award. In 2015, Dr. Extermann was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award in Geriatric Oncology by the German Society of Geriatrics and German Society of Hematology/Oncology in Basel, Switzerland.
    She was a founding board member of SIOG in 2000 and served as its President from 2008 to 2010. One of her key goals as president was to develop a consensus on the top priorities to develop cancer care for older adults worldwide. These 10 priorities were published in 2011 and helped guide policies in the field. In 2019 and 2020 she led an update of these priorities, broadening the range of stakeholders, notably in the field of public health. These updated policies were presented at the United Nations in Geneva in 2019 and published in Lancet Oncology in 2021. Dr Extermann’s passion is to see the care of all older cancer patients worldwide improving.

  • Marie Flannery
    Marie Flannery, Ph.D., R.N.
    Associate Professor, University of Rochester

    Dr. Marie Flannery is an Associate Professor at the University of Rochester, School of Nursing and the Director of the PhD Program. She is an active investigator in the Geriatric Oncology Research Program. Her program of research focuses on older adults with advanced cancer, patient reported outcomes, and the symptom experience. She is particularly interested in finding new methods to improve symptom reporting and communication between health care providers and individuals, as well as their family caregivers, as a way to enhance symptom management. She is a funded investigator on multiple trials, many conducted through the NIH NCI NCORP Research Base at the University of Rochester. Flannery's clinical and research expertise has been recognized repeatedly. Among her many honors, she is the recipient of the MASCC Cynthis Rittenberg Award for Excellence, the American Society of Clinical Oncology Conquer Cancer Foundation Merit Award in Palliative Care Oncology, and the March of Dimes Oncology Nurse of the Year.

  • Wei Gao
    Wei Gao, Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor, California Institute of Technology

    Dr. Wei Gao is an Assistant Professor of Medical Engineering, Ronald and JoAnne Willens Scholar, and Heritage Medical Research Institute (HMRI) Investigator in Division of Engineering and Applied Science at the California Institute of Technology. He received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at University of California, San Diego in 2014. In 2014–2017, he was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley. He is an Associate Editor of Science Advances. He is a recipient of IAMBE Early Career Award, NSF Career Award, Pittsburgh Conference Achievement Award, ONR Young Investigator Award, Sloan Research Fellowship, IEEE EMBS Early Career Achievement Award, IEEE Sensor Council Technical Achievement Award, 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award, MIT Technology Review 35 Innovators Under 35, and ACS DIC Young Investigator Award. He is a World Economic Forum Young Scientist, a member of Global Young Academy, and a Highly Cited Researcher (Web of Science). His research interests include wearable devices, biosensors, flexible electronics, micro/nanorobotics, and nanomedicine.

  • James Kirkland
    James L Kirkland, M.D., Ph.D.
    Noaber Foundation Professor of Aging Research, Mayo Clinic

    Dr. James L. Kirkland is the Noaber Foundation Professor of Aging Research at Mayo Clinic. Dr. Kirkland’s research is on the contribution of fundamental aging processes, particularly cellular senescence, to age-related and chronic diseases and development of agents and strategies for targeting fundamental aging mechanisms to treat age- and chronic disease-related conditions. Additional research areas include molecular and physiological mechanisms of age-related adipose tissue and metabolic dysfunction, frailty, and loss of resilience to infections and acute diseases in old age. Dr. Kirkland’s laboratory published the first article about agents that selectively eliminate senescent cells - senolytic drugs. Dr. Kirkland demonstrated that senolytic agents enhance healthspan and delay, prevent, or alleviate multiple age-related disorders and diseases in mouse models. He published the first composite biomarker score of senescent cell burden that is sensitive to drug interventions in humans and the first clinical trials of senolytic drugs. He is preparing or conducting clinical studies of senolytics, including for COVID-19, frailty in elderly women, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes/obesity, osteoporosis, childhood cancer survivors, restoring function of organs from old donors to enable transplantation, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, pre-eclampsia, and others. He has more than 270 publications and holds over 80 patents. Dr. Kirkland is Principal Investigator of the Translational Geroscience Network (R33 AG061456), which brings together 8 academic institutions to translate healthspan interventions, including senolytics and other drugs that target fundamental aging processes, from bench to bedside. He has been a scientific advisory board member for several companies and academic organizations. He is President of the American Federation for Aging Research, a past member of the National Advisory Council on Aging of the National Institutes of Health, past chair of the Biological Sciences Section of the Gerontological Society of America, and past member of the Clinical Trials Advisory Panel of the National Institute on Aging. He is a board-certified specialist in internal medicine, geriatrics, and endocrinology and metabolism. Dr. Kirkland is the 2020 recipient of the Irving S. Wright Award of Distinction from the American Federation for Aging Research.

  • Ann Klopp
    Ann Klopp, M.D., Ph.D.
    Professor, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

    Ann Klopp, M.D., Ph.D., is a Professor, Director of Radiation Oncology Gynecological Services and Center Medical Director, COVID Vaccine Clinic at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Klopp’s research and clinical practice focus on the use of advanced radiation techniques to reduce toxicity and improve outcomes for women with gynecologic cancers receiving radiation therapy. She leads a research protocols aimed at improving outcomes for women with cervical cancer, including investigating the impact of real-time MRI guidance to guide the position of brachytherapy applicators and evaluating a combination of HPV directed vaccine with radiation therapy. In addition, she is a physician-scientist investigating the effects of the tumor microenvironment on the biology of gynecologic cancers, including the tumor and gut microbiome. Her research is funded by the Emerson Collective and the MD Anderson Moonshot program. She also serves as the co-chair of the Corpus Committee at NRG Oncology and the President of the American Brachytherapy Society.

  • Andrew Laccetti
    Andrew Laccetti, M.D., M.S.
    Medical Oncologist, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Cancer

    Dr. Andrew Laccetti is a medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer (MSK) center who cares for people with prostate cancer and other genitourinary cancers. Dr. Laccetti graduated summa cum laude from Union College in Schenectady, NY, where, as a member of the Leadership in Medicine Program, he earned undergraduate degrees in both Chemistry and Music as well as a master’s degree in Clinical Leadership. He pursued his medical education at Albany Medical College and completed internal medicine residency at UT Southwestern, where he also served as chief medical resident, followed by hematology/oncology fellowship at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX. In addition to caring for patients, Dr. Laccetti conducts clinical research, educates trainees and medical students, and serves as medical director for MSK’s strategic partnership program.
    Dr. Laccetti has a strong foundation in clinical and outcomes research. He leads several clinical trials investigating novel anti-androgen drugs and treatment strategies for prostate cancer. He is also developing innovative remote-monitoring strategies for people with cancer that incorporate emerging technologies such as wearable activity trackers and smartphone apps. With these tools, he hopes to better understand patients’ experience with cancer in order to optimize clinical trial design, patient safety, and treatment outcomes. Ultimately, his clinical research aims to develop antiandrogen prostate cancer treatments while better understanding and mitigating associated toxicity. Dr. Laccetti also serves as the MSK lead for a collaborative project with the Prostate Health Education Network and the Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials Consortium that aims to improve access to and participation in prostate cancer clinical trials for African American men by using a customized education tool.
    With high quality, compassionate care and patient centered research, Dr. Laccetti strives to improve cancer outcomes, quality of life and physical function for all men with prostate cancer.

  • Edith Mitchell
    Edith Peterson Mitchell, M.D., MACP, FCPP, FRCP
    Clinical Professor of Medicine and Medical Oncology , Thomas Jefferson University

    Dr. Edith Peterson Mitchell is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology and is Clinical Professor of Medicine and Medical Oncology at Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University and Associate Director for Diversity Programs and Director of the Center to Eliminate Cancer Disparities for Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson.
    Dr. Mitchell has spent her medical career helping individuals in medically underserved areas and has demonstrated the importance of community service and outreach, especially to underserved populations. Her research in breast, colorectal and pancreatic cancers and other GI malignancies involves new drug evaluation and chemotherapy, development of new therapeutic regimens, chemoradiation strategies for combined modality therapy, patient selection criteria and supportive care for patients with gastrointestinal cancer.
    Dr. Mitchell served as the 116th President of the National Medical Association, is a member of the American Medical Association, National Medical Association, Aerospace Medical Association, Association of Military Surgeons, Medical Society of Eastern Pennsylvania, ECOG/ACRIN Cancer Research Group, and Radiation Therapy Oncology Group. Because of her experience in the cancer research community Dr. Mitchell served as a member of the NCI’s Blue Ribbon Panel convened to advise the National Cancer Advisory Board on then Vice President Biden’s National Cancer Moonshot Initiative. In 2019, Dr. Mitchell began service as a member of the President’s Cancer Panel and in 2020 she became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. In addition to her medical achievements, Dr. Mitchell is a retired United States Air Force Brigadier General.

  • Supriya Mohile
    Supriya Gupta Mohile, M.D., M.S.
    Philip and Marilyn Wehrheim Professor of Medicine and Surgery, University of Rochester

    Dr. Supriya Gupta Mohile is the Philip and Marilyn Wehrheim Professor of Medicine and Surgery at the James Wilmot Cancer Institute at the University of Rochester and Director of the Geriatric Oncology Research Group. She is a board-certified geriatrician and oncologist. A graduate of Pennsylvania State University, Dr. Mohile earned her M.D. at Thomas Jefferson Medical School. She completed internship, residency and fellowships in hematology/oncology and geriatrics at University of Chicago Medical Center, where she also earned a master's degree in health outcomes research. Dr. Mohile's research interests include the evaluation of patterns of care, health outcomes, and quality of life related to treatment for systemic cancer in older patients. She is working also to develop clinical trials for older adults with cancer and to identify interventions to reduce treatment morbidity.
    In 2013, Dr. Mohile was awarded a Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute Award and an NCI R01 to evaluate whether geriatric assessment can improve outcomes of older patients with cancer. She is an integral member of the University of Rochester NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) Research Base. She leads the Cancer Care Delivery Research (CCDR) efforts in the Research Base and sits on the CCDR Steering Committee at the NCI. Dr. Mohile is an expert in geriatric oncology with over 200 publications in this area. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Geriatric Oncology. She was the Chair for the ASCO Geriatric Oncology Task Force and the ASCO Geriatric Oncology Clinical Guideline panel. Her contribution to moving the geriatric oncology field forward is noted in her leadership with developing research priorities and guidelines

  • Karen Mustian
    Karen M Mustian, Ph.D., M.P.H.
    Professor, University of Rochester

    Dr. Mustian is an energetic, passionate, world-traveling yogi, scuba diver, foodie and world-renown scientist, who spends her life working to help good people through lousy times when they encounter cancer! Dr. Mustian is an international leader in the fields of Cancer Control and Survivorship, Integrative Oncology, Exercise Oncology, Geriatric Oncology, Behavioral Oncology and Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Health. She is Co-Director of the Wilmot Cancer Institute Cancer Prevention and Control Research Program, Co-Director and MPI (contact) of the University of Rochester Cancer Center NCORP Research Base, Director of the University of Rochester Medical Center PEAK Human Performance Clinical Research Laboratory, and a tenured Dean’s Professor in the Departments of Surgery, Radiation Oncology, and Public Health Sciences. She is also a Faculty Associate for the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at the University of Rochester. Dr. Mustian is an appointed member of the NCI Board of Scientific Advisors, a member of the NCI Symptom Management and Quality of Life Steering Committee and Cardiotoxicity Task Force. She is Co-Chair of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Fatigue Treatment Guidelines, and a member of the ASCO Evaluation & Management of Vulnerabilities in Older Patients Treatment Guidelines and Integrative Medicine in Oncology Treatment Guidelines Panels. Internationally, Dr. Mustian serves as Chair of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer International Cancer-Related Fatigue Treatment Guidelines Committee. She is a leader in conducting multi-center, phase III clinical trials testing exercise and behavioral interventions among cancer patients and survivors with over 19 years of experience at Wilmot Cancer Institute. Her research is in the area of cancer control and survivorship with primary foci on investigating the influence of exercise, yoga, and tai chi on symptoms and side effects stemming from cancer and its treatments. Dr. Mustian is the PI for several randomized clinical trials funded by the NCI, NCCAM, OCCAM, NINR and DOD. She has acquired over $80 million in research funding and authored over 150 articles and book chapters. Dr. Mustian has been recognized for her excellence in research and leadership with more than 43 awards nationally and globally.

  • Matthew Redinbo
    Matthew Redinbo, Ph.D.
    Kenan Distinguished Professor, University of North Carolina

    Matthew Redinbo earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry from UCLA and performed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Washington. He joined UNC Chapel Hill as an Assistant Professor, moved through the ranks and served as Chair of the Chemistry Department, and is now Kenan Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, Biochemistry, Microbiology and Genomics with appointments in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences and its School of Medicine. He is a pioneer in the study of gut microbial proteins and their influence on health and disease. His team showed that proteins in the microbiome can be selectively targeted by novel inhibitors that alleviate the gut toxicity caused by cancer chemotherapeutics, pain medications and immunosuppressants. They have also produced novel pipelines to identify and quantify specific proteins from the complexity of the human fecal microbiome. Together, this work has paved the way toward new paradigms in drug discovery and disease management that combine atomic-level protein information with multi-omics to create integrated views of inter-kingdom symbiosis and pathways to individualized medicine. Professor Redinbo has also made seminal contributions to our understanding of modern and ancient nuclear receptors, narcotic and nerve agent elimination, bacterial pathogenesis, epithelial defense, and DNA metabolism. He has been recognized with awards for excellence in research, teaching and mentoring.

  • Peter Turnbaugh
    Peter J Turnbaugh, Ph.D.
    Professor, University of California, San Francisco

    Peter J. Turnbaugh, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology, the G.W. Hooper Research Foundation, and the Benioff Center for Microbiome Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. He is also a CZ Biohub Investigator. For nearly two decades, his research has focused on the metabolic activities performed by the trillions of microbes that colonize our adult bodies. Dr. Turnbaugh and his research group use interdisciplinary approaches in preclinical models and human cohorts to study the mechanisms through which the gut microbiome influences nutrition and pharmacology. He received a B.A. in Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology from Whitman College and a Ph.D. in Microbial Genetics and Genomics from Washington University in Saint Louis. From 2010-2014 he was a Bauer Fellow in the FAS Center for Systems Biology at Harvard University, where he established an independent research group prior to starting his faculty position at the University of California, San Francisco. Notable honors include the Kipnis Award in Biomedical Sciences, the Needleman Pharmacology Prize, the Damon Runyon-Rachleff Innovation Award, the Searle Scholars Award, and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Investigators in the Pathogenesis of Disease Award.

  • Joseph Unger
    Joseph Unger, Ph.D., M.S.
    Associate Professor, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center

    Joseph Unger, Ph.D., M.S., is an Associate Professor in Cancer Prevention Program at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center. He is a biostatistician and health services researcher . He uses big data to understand more about cancer patients’ treatment outcomes and disparities, especially as they pertain to barriers to participating in clinical trials. He has been at the forefront of efforts to link Medicare claims data to clinical-trial records to address novel research questions. Dr. Unger also has extensive expertise in the design and analysis of prospective clinical trials that examine disease symptoms and treatment side effects, patient quality of life and delivery of cancer care. His research has revealed that factors such as annual household income and having multiple simultaneous health conditions, or comorbidities, can affect patients’ participation in clinical trials, as can structural and logistical issues such as the availability of a trial at the center where the patient is receiving treatment.