Opportunity for Research Excellence Meeting (Speaker Bios)

Speaker Bios


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    Howard Bailey, M.D.
    Medical Oncologist/, Andy and Susan North Professor of Cancer Research and Professor of Medicine and Obstetrics and Gynecology, Director of the University of Wisconsin (UW) Carbone Cancer Center, Associate Dean of Oncology in the UW School of Medicine and Public Health

    Madison, Wisconsin, United States

    Dr. Bailey has a 30-year history of leading federal and industry sponsored preclinical and clinical cancer research focusing on the application of novel interventions for cancer prevention and therapy. Dr. Bailey is the principal investigator of the MW Chemoprevention Consortium (UG1CA242635), an NCI-sponsored research network of universities that conduct Phase I and II clinical trials for chemopreventive agents. Dr. Bailey also leads the UWCCC Chemoprevention Scientific Program.

    Dr. Bailey was appointed to the national committee which reviews all NCI-designated Cancer Centers in 2011. He is internationally recognized as an expert in chemoprevention and sarcoma and has lectured both in the United States and abroad. Dr. Bailey has directed or participated in more than 100 cancer clinical trials examining agents for prevention or treatment of cancer. His clinical expertise is in sarcomas and gynecologic malignancies and his research focus is on anti-cancer drug development, especially chemoprevention, and research network development.

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    Doris Mangiaracina Benbrook, Ph.D.
    Presbyterian Health Foundation Presidential Professor, College of Medicine, The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

    Oklahoma City, OK, United States

    Dr. Doris Mangiaracina Benbrook is a Presbyterian Health Foundation Presidential Professor at the University of Oklahoma. During her PhD thesis research in biochemistry at Loyola University Medical School in Illinois, she demonstrated that the target of the antibiotic Norfloxacin in Pseudomonas aeruginosa is DNA gyrase. As a postdoctoral fellow at the La Jolla Cancer Research Foundation in California, she cloned nuclear receptors for thyroid hormone, retinoic acid, and cholesterol. During her research fellowship in the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London, England, she demonstrated crosstalk between the AP-1 and CREB signal transduction pathways.

    Dr. Benbrook's past research at the University of Oklahoma focused on developing heteroarotinoid compounds selectively targeted at specific retinoid receptors to improve the therapeutic ratios of retinoids as pharmaceuticals for the prevention and treatment of cancer. The current generation of Flexible Heteroarotinoids (Flex-Hets) developed by her research team acts independently of the retinoid receptors and associated toxicities, and instead targets three 70 kD heat shock protein A chaperones that protect cancer cells as they develop and tumors progress. The lead Flex-Het compound, SHetA2, was supported by the USA National Cancer Institute's Rapid Access to Intervention Development (RAID), Rapid Access to Preventive Intervention Development (RAPID) and PREVENT programs and is now in a Phase 1 clinical trial (NCT04928508). Her current research includes window-of-opportunity cancer prevention trials and developing reduced toxicity drug combination therapies to treat cancer and prevent recurrence.

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    Lisa Bengtson, RN, MSN, OCN
    Nurse Consultant/CP-CTNet;DCP Early Phase Consortia, National Cancer Institute, Division of Cancer Prevention, Lung and Upper Aerodigestive Cancer Research Group

    Rockville, MD, United States

    Lisa Bengtson is the Nurse Consultant for the Lung and Upper Aerodigestive Cancer Research Group (LUARCG) in the Division of Cancer Prevention at the National Cancer Institute. As the LUARCG Nurse Consultant, Lisa is involved in the development and oversight of early phase Lung and Upper Aerodigestive cancer chemoprevention trials. Lisa is also the co-Project Officer for the DCP Consortia Monitoring Contract, serves as the primary Liaison between CP-CTNet and DCP’s Regulatory Contractor and leads the CP-CTNet Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion committee to collaborate with grantees to identify opportunities to improve CP-CTNet clinical trial accrual in these areas.

    She has over 10 years of oncology research experience in the NCI’s intramural and extramural programs with over 20 years of experience in medical oncology physician practices and community cancer centers and has been an Oncology Certified Nurse for 34 years. Lisa received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the Catholic University of America and her Master’s in Nursing Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington. Lisa received the University of Texas Student Award for Outstanding Clinical Performance and the NIH Award of Merit for work on the development of anti-mesothelin immunotoxin therapy for Malignant Mesothelioma.

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    Philip E Castle, Ph.D., M.P.H.
    Director, Division of Cancer Prevention, National Cancer Institute/Division of Cancer Prevention

    Rockville, MD, United States

    Philip E. Castle, PhD, MPH is the Director of the Division of Cancer Prevention (DCP) and Senior, Tenured Investigator in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG) at the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) (Rockville, MD, USA). From 2014-2020, he was a Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Population Health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine (Bronx, NY, USA), at which he was granted tenure in 2019. Previously, Dr. Castle was the Chief Scientific Officer of the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) (2011-2). He was a Senior, Tenured Investigator (2010) and Tenure-Track Investigator (2003-10) in DCEG/NCI. From 1999-2002, Dr. Castle was a Cancer Prevention Fellow in DCP/NCI, during which time he received M.P.H. in Epidemiology in 2000 from the Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD, USA). Dr. Castle received his Ph.D. in Biophysics in 1995 from the Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Castle’s research interests are (1) epidemiology of human papillomaviruses (HPV) and cervical/anogenital cancer; (2) science and translation of cancer prevention strategies; (3) cancer screening; (4) international health; (5) health services research; and (6) evidence-based medicine.

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    Andrew Chan, MD, MPH
    Chief, Clinical and Translational Epidemiology Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital

    Boston, MA, United States

    Andrew T. Chan, MD, MPH is a gastroenterologist, the Daniel K. Podolsky Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Chief of the Clinical and Translational Epidemiology Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, Director of Epidemiology at the MGH Cancer Center, and co-leader of the Cancer Epidemiology Program of the Dana-Farber Harvard Cancer Center.

    Through contributions ranging from clinical trials to population epidemiology, Dr. Chan’s research focuses on the role of aspirin, diet, lifestyle, and screening for prevention and treatment of gastrointestinal cancers through molecular approaches linked with epidemiologic data. He is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians and an American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professor.

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    Brian Cholewa, Ph.D.
    Senior Toxicologist, National Cancer Institute/Division of Cancer Prevention

    Rockville, MD, United States

    Brian Cholewa is a Senior Toxicologist and Program Director for the Chemopreventive Agent Development Research Group of the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Cholewa currently leads regulatory efforts for the Division of Cancer Prevention in support of the Cancer Prevention Clinical Trials Network and serves as the primary toxicologist for agent development in the PREVENT program.

    Dr. Cholewa completed his Ph.D. in Molecular and Environmental Toxicology at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, which was followed by a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Vanderbilt University. Following a brief transition into industry, Dr. Cholewa joined the FDA in the Division of Hematology Oncology Toxicology in the Office of Oncologic Diseases as a Pharmacology/Toxicology reviewer prior to joining the NCI.

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    Clara Curiel-Lewandrowski, M.D.
    Professor of Medicine and Bio5 Institute Chief of Dermatology, Co-Director, University of Arizona Cancer Center- Skin Cancer Institute

    Tucson, Arizona, United States

    Dr. Curiel-Lewandrowski's role as a member of the UACC is to establish and foster research activities related to the skin cancer field across multiple disciplines. She is currently the Co-Director of the Skin Cancer Institute and Director of the Cutaneous Oncology Program. In her role as Chief of Dermatology at the University of Arizona, she has developed a strong network for translational sciences between the College of Medicine and UACC. Dr. Curiel has served as a lead dermatologist in seven clinical studies and as a PI in seven clinical trials through the PO1-Skin Cancer Targeted Prevention Grant, the UA NCI/DCP/Cancer Chemoprevention Consortium Agreement, and sponsored studies. She has been instrumental in establishing research collaborations between the UACC and the College of Optical Sciences, Bioengineering, and the Department of Radiology to evaluate novel imaging modalities in the skin cancer arena.
    Dr. Curiel's research focus is on skin cancer targeted prevention, early detection of skin cancer, and implementation of novel immunotherapeutic approaches for non-melanoma skin cancer.

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    Nora Disis, M.D.
    Director of the University of Washington (UW) Institute of Translational Health Science and the UW Medicine Cancer Vaccine Institute, UW Medicine Cancer Vaccine Institute

    Seattle, WA, United States

    Dr. Disis is the Helen B. Slonaker Endowed Professor for Cancer Research at the University of Washington (UW), Associate Dean for Translational Health Sciences in the UW School of Medicine, Professor of Medicine and Adjunct Professor of Pathology and Obstetrics and Gynecology at UW and a Member of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. She is the Director of UW Medicine’s Cancer Vaccine Institute and the Institute for Translational Health Science (ITHS). Her research interest is in the discovery of new immunologic targets in solid tumors for the development of vaccine and cellular therapy for the treatment and prevention of common malignancies. In addition, her group evaluates the use of the immune system to aid in the diagnosis of cancer and develops novel assays and approaches to quantitate and characterize human immunity. She holds several patents in the field of targeted cancer immunotherapy and immune-based diagnostics. Dr. Disis is a member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, and is an elected member of Sigma Xi Scientific Honor Society. She is an American Cancer Society Clinical Professor and the Editor-in-Chief of JAMA Oncology.

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    Linda Doody, Ph.D., DABT
    Executive Director, CCS Associates, CCS Associates

    San Jose, CA, United States

    Linda Doody, PhD, is Executive Director at CCS Associates (CCSA). Until 2018, she led CCSA’s regulatory affairs and safety reporting activities in support of commercial, government, and nonprofit drug development, including developing strategies, coordinating with pharmaceutical partners, serving as liaison with FDA, managing staff, and overseeing SAE processing and submission and maintenance of regulatory dossiers. Currently, Dr. Doody is serving as regulatory and clinical safety expert and senior advisor for NCI, DCP and other clients. She is an experienced project manager, scientific writer, and drug development scientist with expertise in nonclinical through clinical research, pharmacovigilance and identification of safety signals, and regulatory affairs. Dr. Doody received her BS in Physical Anthropology from University of California at Santa Barbara and her PhD in Pharmacology and Toxicology from University of California at Davis, and is certified as a Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology (since 1994)

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    Tracy Downs, MD, FACS
    Chief Diversity & Community Engagement Officer, University of Virginia

    Charlottesville, Virginia, United States

    Tracy M. Downs, MD, FACS, is a Professor of Urology and our inaugural Chief Diversity & Community Engagement Officer here at UVA Health, and the Senior Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion within the School of Medicine. Tracy is a leader of integrity who is passionate about the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion as well as community health advocacy. He also is a board-certified urologist specializing in the surgical treatment of urologic cancers, with a sub-specialty focus in the treatment of both prostate and bladder cancer. He also served as Faculty Director of the Cancer Health Disparities Initiative at the University of Wisconsin’s Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center. Tracy earned his MD from the University of California San Diego, completed his residency in urology at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, and completed a fellowship in urologic oncology at the University of California at San Francisco.

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    Raymond N DuBois, MD, PhD, FAAAS, FAGA, FAACR, FRCP (London)
    Director of the MUSC, Hollings Cancer Center

    Charleston, SC, United States

    Raymond N. DuBois (Ray), M.D., Ph.D., is a Distinguished University Professor and Director of the MUSC Hollings Cancer Center in Charleston. DuBois is a Former Dean of the College of Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. Before serving in these roles, he was Executive Director of the Biodesign Institute in Arizona (ASU) with a joint appointment as Professor of Medicine at the Mayo College of Medicine, Arizona. From 2007 to 2012, he served as the Founding Provost and Executive Vice President at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. During his tenure at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (1991-2007), he was Director of a Clinical Division and the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. Vanderbilt has recognized Dr. DuBois's contributions by awarding him the E.V. Newman Research Prize and making him an honorary member of the Tinsley Harrison Society of Scholars.

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    Olivera Finn, Ph.D.
    Distinguished Professor of Immunology and Surgery, University of Pittsburgh

    Pittsburgh, PA, United States

    Dr. Finn 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 was Program Leader of the Cancer Immunology Program at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute from 1991 to 2014.

    After receiving her PhD 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 tumor antigens and the development of cancer vaccines. Her current efforts are on the development of preventative cancer vaccines.

    Dr. Finn is an active member of the American Association of Immunologists, where she served as President in 2007-2008. She is also member of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC). She has served on NCI study sections and was a member of the NCI Board of Councilors. She has trained 25 PhD and MD/PhD students in her laboratory and over 70 postdoctoral fellows. Dr. Finn is the recipient of the AAI Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016), the NCI Outstanding Investigator Award in 2016, the AACR CIR Lloyd Old Cancer Immunology Prize in 2017, and the SITC Richard V. Smalley Memorial Award in 2019. She was inducted into the inaugural class of AAI Distinguished Fellows in 2019 and in 2022.

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    Leslie Ford, M.D.
    Associate Director for Clinical Research, National Cancer Institute/Division of Cancer Prevention

    Rockville, MD, United States

    Dr. Leslie Ford built clinical cancer prevention research as a scientific field when few people were considering the possibility of prevention and is recognized as a national and international leader in cancer prevention research. She has a passion for prevention and strong belief that all clinical science must, to the fullest extent possible, derive as a translation of basic science. The European Institute of Oncology recognized her in 2007 for her "outstanding passion and pivotal role in creating, sustaining, and confirming the value of cancer prevention in modern oncology."

    It was Dr. Ford’s vision and leadership that led to NCI’s large phase III cancer prevention trials conducted through the CCOPs. These include the landmark Breast Cancer Prevention Trial, which was the first demonstration that breast cancer could be prevented. This and the subsequent STAR trial led to the only Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs to reduce breast cancer risk: tamoxifen and raloxifene. Success goes beyond the trials and drug approvals to the priceless biorepositories from these studies. These resources allow research into the molecular underpinnings of trial results, the molecular basis of carcinogenesis for breast and prostate cancer. Dr. Ford redesigned the drug development and early phase trials system for DCP as a translational research program, linking basic science to early phase trials of prevention agents. In 2007, the Early Phase Clinical Trials Consortia began 11 new trials and completed 2 others.

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    Moumita Ghosh, Ph.D.
    Associate Professor, Medicine – Pulmonary Sciences & Critical Care, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus School of Medicine, Thoracic Oncology Research Initiative, University of Colorado Cancer Center

    Aurora, CO, United States

    Dr. Ghosh received her PhD degree in Biochemistry from Jadavpur University, India in 2002. She then moved to the US to pursue her postdoctoral career at National Jewish Health in Denver, Colorado. Her postdoctoral training included investigating lipid mediator signaling during lung inflammation. After a successful postdoctoral training, Dr. Ghosh took a brief break from research to spend time with her young family. In 2008, she joined the laboratory of Dr. Susan Reynolds as a research instructor to study the role of lung stem cells in lung injury and repair. Dr. Ghosh began her independent research career in 2012 at National Jewish Health to investigate the role of airway stem/progenitor cells in lung health and how it changes during development of chronic lung disease or in lung premalignancy. In 2020, she was recruited as an Associate Professor of Pulmonary Sciences and Critical Care Medicine and Thoracic Oncology Research Initiative at University of Colorado. Studies from her laboratory have shown that progenitor dysfunction is an early step in carcinogenesis and restoration of this function could be a goal for cancer prevention.

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    William Gwin, M.D.
    Medical Oncologist, Fred Hutch Cancer Center; Assistant Professor, University of Washington School of Medicine

    Seattle, WA, United States

    Dr. William R. Gwin III, is a board certified medical oncologist with a clinical focus in breast cancer at the University of Washington / Fred Hutch Cancer Center, where many of the patients for his groups trials are recruited from. Dr. Gwin received his MD from the University of Alabama School of Medicine (UAB) in 2006. He went on to complete training in internal medicine at the University of Washington where as a resident he worked with Dr. Nora Disis in the Cancer Vaccine Institute investigating adoptive T-cell therapy in HER2+ breast cancer. He subsequently was a fellow in Hematology/Oncology at Duke University Medical Center where he worked with Dr. Neil Spector exploring mechanisms of resistance to HER2 targeted therapies in breast cancer. As a senior medical oncology fellow he worked with Dr. Kim Lyerly and Dr. Mike Morse in the clinical development of immunotherapies targeting mechanisms of therapeutic resistance in breast cancer. As a faculty member of the UW/FHCC and the CVI his research involves the development and translation of immunotherapies to maximize anti-tumor immunity and target mechanisms of resistance in oncology. In this role he oversees the development, daily management and completion of multiple immunotherapy and plasmid-based cancer vaccine Phase I and II clinical trials.

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    KyungMann Kim, Ph.D.
    Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison

    Madison, Wisconsin, United States

    KyungMann Kim, PhD, is Professor of Biostatistics and Statistics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He serves as Director of the Clinical Trials Program in the Department of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics. He is PD/PI of the Cancer Prevention Clinical Trial Network Data Management, Auditing, and Coordinating Center (CP-CTNet DMACC) and MPI of the HIV/Cervical Cancer Prevention 'CASCADE' Clinical Trials Network Coordinating Center. His research interest is in statistical methods for clinical trials including group sequential methods for interim analysis, survival analysis and analysis of longitudinal and repeated measures data, and applications in cancer, cardiovascular disease, and healthcare-associated infections among others. He has served on numerous advisory committees, including two Federal Advisory Committees, study sections for NIH, VA and PCORI, and data monitoring committees for NIH, VA, DOD, and biopharmaceutical and medical device industry. He is an elected Fellow of the American Statistical Association (2005), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2012), and the Society for Clinical Trials (2012), for contributions in statistical science and clinical trials methodology, professional services to government, industry and professional organizations, and leadership role at the national and international level.

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    Edward Messing, M.D.
    Urologist, Professor, Department of Urology/Pathology/Laboratory Medicine; University of Rochester Medical Center

    Rochester, NY, United States

    Dr. Messing is an internationally renowned expert in all facets of urologic oncology, both as a clinician/surgeon, and as a clinical, translational and basic researcher.

    His research contributions have ranged from enhancing our knowledge about the basic molecular biology and genetics of development and progression of cancers of the bladder, prostate and kidney, and bringing these studies to fruition for the detection, prevention and treatment of these diseases. Dr. Messing received his MD degree from New York University in 1972, had his surgery training at NYU-Bellevue Hospital in New York 1972-1974, and his Urology Residency at Stanford University 1974-1978. After 2 years on the faculty at Tulane University, he completed a fellowship in Urologic Oncology at UCLA in 1982. He was on the faculty of the Division of Urology at the University of Wisconsin from 1982-1995, being Director of their Urologic Oncology Program for the last 10 years. He became The W.W. Scott Professor and Chairman of the Department of Urology and maintained that position until he stepped down as Chairman in January, 2018. He remains an active clinician and surgeon and is a Professor of Urology, Oncology, and Pathology at the University of Rochester.

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    Alexander Raufi, M.D.
    Hematologist/Oncologist, Lifespan Cancer Institute, Rhode Island Hospital

    Providence, Rhode Island, United States

    Alexander G. Raufi, MD, is a hematologist/oncologist at the Lifespan Cancer Institute at Rhode Island and The Miriam hospitals, where he specializes in gastrointestinal oncology. Dr. Raufi received his medical degree from The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of California Irvine. He performed his fellowship in hematology/oncology at Columbia University/New York-Presbyterian. His research interests include the development of novel immunotherapy combinations in gastrointestinal malignancies. Dr. Raufi is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Society of Hematology, and the American Association for Cancer Research.

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    Steven Reed, Ph.D.
    President, CEO, HDT Bio Corp.

    Seattle, WA, United States

    Steve Reed is the co-founder, President, and CEO of HDT Bio, based in Seattle, USA. His academic appointments include Adjunct Professor of Medicine at Cornell University Medical College Research Professor of Pathobiology at the University of Washington. Dr. Reed received a PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Montana in 1979. That year he was appointed as Scientist of the National Institute of Amazon Research in Manaus, Brazil, where he directed research on tropical diseases.

    Dr. Reed joined Cornell University Medical College in 1980 as Assistant Professor of Medicine, continuing to work in Brazil as manager of the Cornell-Bahia program in International Medicine. He joined the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute in 1984 where he worked until founding the Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI) in 1993 where he served in various capacities until 2019. He has received over $140 million in grants from the NIH, BARDA, DARPA, and Gates Foundation. In 1994 he co-founded Corixa Corporation (which was later sold to GlaxoSmithKline, GSK) where he served as Chief Scientific Officer until leaving in 2004. In 2008 Dr. Reed co-founded Immune Design Corp., a cancer therapeutics company later sold to Merck, where he served as CEO until 2011. In 2014 he co-founded Afrigen Biologics in Cape Town, where he served as Director until 2019.

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    Ellen Richmond, MS, GNP-BC
    Deputy Chief, GI and Other Cancers Research Group, National Cancer Institute/Division of Cancer Prevention

    Rockville, MD, United States

    Ellen Richmond is the Deputy Chief of the Gastrointestinal and Other Cancer Research Group (GOCRG) in the Division of Cancer Prevention at the National Cancer Institute. As the GOCRG Nurse Consultant, Ellen is involved in the development and oversight of early phase GI cancer chemoprevention trials. She conceived and directs AQuIP, the Accrual Quality Improvement Program to monitor and better understand the recruitment of participants for DCP’s early phase clinical trial enterprise. She also conceptualized the initial AccrualNet, a resource to support clinical trial professionals, and served on the AccrualNet development team, representing the cancer prevention perspective. In her role as Program Director in GOCRG, she has facilitated the growth of DCP’s GI prevention clinical research portfolio, with an emphasis on esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) and Barrett’s Esophagus (BE). This includes expansion of the investigator-initiated grants portfolio through development of major DCP programs, the BE WG RFA, and the BETRNet initiative; and launching several EAC-related clinical trials in the early phase Consortia and CP-CTNet programs. Her work has actively engaged collaborators across the NIH, nationally and internationally as part of clinical trial committees and panels.

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    Malvi Savani, MD, MS
    Hematology-Oncology Fellow, University of Arizona Cancer Center

    Tucson, AZ, United States

    Malvi Savani, MD, MS is a third-year hematology-oncology chief fellow and member of the CP-CTNet at the University of Arizona Cancer Center with an interest in academic hematology/oncology with a focus in head and neck cancer, and cancer prevention. She has a productive academic portfolio consisting of 23 publications, ad hoc reviewer status for peer-reviewed journals in hematology and leadership within hematology. During fellowship, as she transitioned from hematology to focus on head and neck cancer under the mentorship of Dr. Julie Bauman, she sought to gain experience with early phase clinical trials. During her fellowship, she completed a Master’s in Clinical Translational Sciences to develop a formal structured education in clinical trial design and execution. Under mentorship of Drs. Bauman and Chow, she developed a clinical trial protocol evaluating the use of broccoli seed and sprout extract in detoxification of carcinogens in firefighters.

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    Sue Siminski, MS, MBA
    CEO, Frontier Science Foundation, Frontier Science Foundation

    Amherst, NY, United States

    Suzanne Siminski is Chief Executive Officer of Frontier Science Foundation. She currently serves as Frontier Science sub-PI and Director of the Data Management and Reporting Unit for the Cancer Prevention Clinical Trials Network (CP-CTNet) and is the Contact MPI for the HIV/Cervical Cancer Prevention CASCADE Network Coordinating Center. She is also Frontier Science Principal Investigator for the Pediatric HIV/AIDS Cohort Study (PHACS), PHACS affiliate study “Health Outcomes around Pregnancy and Exposure to HIV/ARVs” (HOPE), and the Clinical Pharmacology Quality Assurance and Quality Control Project (CPQA), and is the current MPI of Collaborating Consortium of Cohorts Producing NIDA Opportunities (C3PNO), all programs funded by the NIH.

    Ms. Siminski’s main research interest is in clinical trials data management, specifically in the areas of cancer, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, and quality assurance. Additionally, she oversees Frontier Science’s compliance program and has interests in innovative data collection such as EMR data integration, geocoding, data sharing strategies, and data science initiatives. She has served as a project advisor for a large industry sponsored Phase III breast cancer clinical trial (OlympiA) which is being conducted throughout Europe. She also represents Frontier Science on the NIAID harmonization data repository hub initiative. As Chief Executive Officer of Frontier Science Foundation, Ms. Siminski is strategically increasing the repertoire of clinical research services provided by the organization, and actively building global collaborative partnerships with investigators around the world.

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    Eva Szabo, M.D.
    Chief Lung and Upper Aerodigestive Cancer Research Group, National Cancer Institute/Division of Cancer Prevention

    Rockville, MD, United States

    Eva Szabo, MD is the Chief of the Lung and Upper Aerodigestive Cancer Research Group in the Division of the Cancer Prevention. She graduated from Yale University with a B.S. in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, received her M.D. from Duke University, and completed her internal medicine residency at Bellevue-NYU Medical Center. After completing her medical oncology fellowship at the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Szabo led a laboratory effort studying lung cancer biology.

    Dr. Szabo joined the NCI Division of Cancer Prevention to oversee lung and head and neck cancer prevention trials. She is the Director of the Cancer Prevention Clinical Trials Network (CP-CTNet), through which she designs and oversees early phase cancer prevention clinical trials funded by the NCI. A board-certified physician in oncology and internal medicine, she continues to see patients with lung cancer and thymic epithelial tumors and participates in multiple phase I and phase II cancer treatment trials in the NCI Intramural Thoracic Malignancies Clinic. She is a Senior Deputy Editor for Cancer Prevention Research, has participated in multiple committees and working groups for ASCO and AACR, has participated in FDA Oncologic Drug Review Committees, recently served as the Chairperson of the US Department of Defense Lung Cancer Research Program Integration Panel, and is a member of the Cancer Research UK Prevention and Population Research Committee.


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    Asad Umar, D.V.M., Ph.D.
    Chief Gastrointestinal and Other Cancers Research Group, National Cancer Institute/Division of Cancer Prevention

    Rockville, MD, United States

    Dr. Asad Umar received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Immunology at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, in 1993. He conducted his training as an Immunologist in the laboratories of Patricia Gearhart in Baltimore, MD, and in carcinogenesis at the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, NC with Dr. Thomas Kunkel. Dr. Umar's main scientific interest is to understand the molecular pathways during gastrointestinal carcinogenesis and applying molecularly targeted and immunologic interventions to prevent cancer. His research contributions are in deciphering the biochemical defects in Lynch syndrome (Hereditary Non-Polyposis Colorectal Cancer or HNPCC) and later published testing guidelines for HNPCC. As a Program Director, he oversees a wide variety of grants and contracts focusing on cancer prevention translational research, cancer screening, and clinical trials.

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    Eduardo Vilar-Sanchez, M.D., Ph.D.
    Physician Scientist/Medical Oncologist; Associate Professor, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

    Houston, TX, United States

    A physician-scientist and a medical oncologist by training, Eduardo Vilar-Sanchez, M.D., Ph.D., devotes his clinical expertise and practice to the care of patients and families diagnosed with hereditary gastrointestinal cancer syndromes, mainly Lynch syndrome and Familial Adenomatous Polyposis. Families with hereditary cancer syndromes are at extremely high risk of developing cancers during their lifetime; those with Lynch syndrome can develop cancers in several organs.

    Dr. Vilar-Sanchez and his research team are contributing to the understanding of colorectal cancer carcinogenesis at the molecular level. Recently they looked at how the anti-inflammatory pain medicine naproxen works compared to aspirin in people with Lynch Syndrome. They found that in addition to reducing inflammation, naproxen had an impact on the immune response in the colon. In addition, the Vilar-Sanchez lab is heavily involved now in the development of vaccines for cancer prevention in this patient population.