Opportunity for Research Excellence Meeting (Speaker Bios)

Speaker Bios


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    Houssein Abdul Sater, M.D.
    Assistant Research Physician, NCI Center for Cancer Research

    Bethesda, United States

    Dr. Sater is a translational physician scientist (hematologist/oncologist) with special interest in immune therapy of cancer. He leads the Genitourinary Malignancies Branch efforts at understanding the role of cancer immunotherapy on the tumor (immune and non-immune) micro-environment. Dr Sater is one of the few nationally recognized experts in tissue-based multiplex biomarker development and multispectral imaging. The Society of Immune Therapy of Cancer (SITC) chose him as one of 29 young leader investigators to tackle one of the major hurdles in immune therapy in a funded consortium effort (Sparkathon Timios Project). He also has an interest in demographics (gender, race, age, BMI) effect on immune therapy as a biomarker for better personalized medicine.

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    Julie E Bauman, M.D., M.P.H.
    Professor and Chief, Hematology/Oncology, University of Arizona Cancer Center

    Tucson, United States

    Dr. Julie Bauman is Professor of Medicine, Chief of Hematology/Oncology, and Deputy Director at the NCI-designated University of Arizona Comprehensive Cancer Center (UACC). Dr. Bauman received a dual MD/MPH degree from Tufts University in 1999, earning the Dameshek Award in Internal Medicine, induction into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, and the MD/MPH Academic Achievement Award for work in epidemiology. She completed Residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Utah in 2003 and Fellowship in Medical Oncology at the University of Washington in 2006, where she served as Chief Fellow. Dr. Bauman’s education and training, focused at the intersection of oncology and public health, resulted in unique expertise in translational clinical trials for cancer prevention or treatment. Dr. Bauman’s research program concentrates on rigorous, biomarker-driven, early phase clinical trials to prevent or improve clinical outcomes in head and neck cancer (HNC). Dr. Bauman is the MPI of the UACC Cancer Prevention Clinical Trials Network (Chow, Bauman, UG1CA242596) and Vice-Chair of the NRG-NCORP Cancer Prevention Committee, where she focuses on agent development to protect against environmental carcinogenesis. She is a long-standing member of the HNC Core Committees of NRG and ECOG-ACRIN. She leads multiple investigator-initiated and National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) trials evaluating multimodality therapy in HNC. Dr. Bauman received the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Clinical Investigator Team Leadership Award in 2011. She is the current Co-Chair of the NCI Cancer Prevention Steering Committee and a Task Force member of the NCI HNC Steering Committee.

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    Bernardo Bonanni, MD
    Director, Division of Cancer Prevention and Genetics, European Institute of Oncology

    Milano, Italy

    I am the Director of the Division of Cancer Prevention and Genetics at the European Institute of Oncology (IEO) in Milan, Italy. My clinical interests are mainly focused on the identification and selection of high risk subjects (being patients with a precancerous condition or healthy subjects carrying one or more risk factors including genetic predisposition) and on their management in terms of surveillance and clinical trial participation.
    I have an established experience on the design, implementation and conduction of various types of trials including: a) phase II studies on surrogate endpoint biomarkers (SEBs); b) large phase III, multi-institutional trials on clinical endpoints (cancer incidence); c) “window of opportunity” studies in patients candidate to surgical treatment for primary breast cancer in order to test the efficacy of new and “old” drugs on breast cancer cell proliferation (measured by ki-67 in baseline biopsy and in the specimen after 3-4 weeks of treatment) and other tissue biomarkers.

    PI- and CoPI-ships (only NCI-sponsored studies):
    Within the NCI Contracts that support early phase chemoprevention trials, I have been the local PI/Co-PI of:
    a phase II trial for prevention of head and neck cancer with pioglitazone
    a phase II trial in a high-risk population with undetermined lung nodules detected at screening low dose CT scan with budesonide
    a phase II Trial of low dose aspirin vs placebo in high risk individuals with CT-screen-detected subsolid lung nodules.

    Currently, a phase II trial of “Alternative dosing of Exemestane in postmenopausal women stage 0-II ER-positive: a randomized presurgical trial”

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    Otis W Brawley, M.D.
    Bloomberg Distinguished Professor, Johns Hopkins University

    Baltimore, United States

    Otis Webb Brawley, MD, MACP, FRCP, FASCO, FACE

    Otis Webb Brawley is a medical oncologist and epidemiologist. He serves as Bloomberg Distinguished Professor in the Department of Oncology of the School of Medicine and the Department of Epidemiology in the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. He is a member of the National Cancer Institute Board of Scientific Advisors and the National Academy of Medicine.

    From 2007 to 2018, Brawley was Chief Medical and Scientific Officer of the American Cancer Society. From that position, he oversaw the largest private cancer research funding program in the U.S. He previously served as a professor in the Emory University School of Medicine and the Rollins School of Public Health and as a tenured senior investigator at the National Cancer Institute.

    Among numerous awards, he received the Key to St. Bernard Parish for his work in the U.S. Public Health Service in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He is a Master of the American College of Physicians, a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (London), a Fellow of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and a Fellow of the American College of Epidemiology. Brawley graduated from the University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine.

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    Dean E Brenner, M.D.
    Professor, University of Michigan

    Ann Arbor, United States

    My scientific career has been devoted to translational research in cancer therapeutics with the long term goal of reducing morbidity and mortality from cancer. My scientific vision is to develop new pharmacodynamic strategies to customize therapeutics through linking the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics of a therapeutic intervention, ultimately optimizing treatment. I have studied both pre-invasive and invasive neoplastic pharmacodynamics. I have worked to apply carcinogenesis and therapeutics concepts from one organ site to another with the long term goal of finding common therapeutic targets across organ sites. Thus, over my career I have published research in cancer treatment, prevention and detection in hematologic, cervical, ovarian, colon, esophagus, and breast sites.
    One of the most important pharmacodynamic targets in cancer prevention and treatment research is the eicosanoid pathway. This pathway plays a central role in the initiation and maintenance of chronic inflammation that drives carcinogenesis. Eicosanoids play a critical role in regulating stem cell pools, thus allowing inferences from multiple organ sites to inform new therapeutic targets that manipulate stemness via the eicosanoid pathway. I have studied the pharmacodynamics targeting cyclooxygenases with drugs, nutritional extracts, and purified fatty acid substrates.

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    Powel Brown, M.D., Ph.D.
    Professor and Chairman, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

    Houston, United States

    Dr. Brown has practiced as a breast medical oncologist and also directs laboratory and clinical research programs to develop more effective ways to treat and prevent breast cancer. In the laboratory, Dr. Brown and his group have studied the signaling molecules in breast cancer with a particular focus on identifying ways to treat and prevent triple-negative breast cancers, those cancers that lack estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and the HER2 protein. Dr. Brown’s laboratory has demonstrated that RXR-selective retinoids (or “rexinoids”) prevent triple-negative breast cancer, while the anti-HER2 drug lapatinib prevented the development of HER2-positive invasive breast cancer in animals. Dr. Brown leads two NIH-funded multicenter programs to develop and test novel strategies to prevent cancer. One of these programs supports pre-clinical studies testing vaccines, novel drugs, and other strategies to prevent breast, pancreas, and colon cancer. The other program supports early phase clinical trials to test novel drugs, natural products, and vaccines for cancer prevention. Clinical trials developed and conducted by Dr. Brown and his collaborators include a trial of novel “rexinoids” to prevent breast cancer in women carrying BRCA1 or 2 gene mutations, trials of an anti-HER2 drug or vaccine to prevent the progression of non-invasive breast cancer to invasive breast cancer, and trials testing topical forms of cancer preventive agents, including tamoxifen and bexarotene. These early phase clinical trials will pave the way to test the most promising cancer prevention strategies in the future.

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

    Rockville, United States

    Philip E. Castle, Ph.D., M.P.H., was appointed Director of the Division of Cancer Prevention (DCP) at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in July 2020. Dr. Castle earned a Ph.D. in Biophysics in 1995 and, in conjunction with his training in the CPFP, a Master’s in Public Health in 2000, both at The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland.

    Most recently, Dr. Castle was a tenured professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York, and a visiting professor at institutions in Singapore, China and Australia. He was previously the Chief Scientific Officer of the American Society for Clinical Pathology.

    Dr. Castle has been a principal investigator for more than 15 years, initiating, conducting, and leading several large NCI molecular and clinical epidemiologic research studies in the U.S. and internationally, including the Mississippi Delta Project; the HPV (Human Papillomavirus) Persistence and Progression Cohort and the Guidelines Cohort at Kaiser Permanente Northern California (KPNC); and the Anal Cancer Screening Study.

    Dr. Castle also rejoins the NCI as a senior investigator with DCEG, focused on discovery, development, and evaluation/validation of new technologies for the prevention of cancer. His professional interests include health disparities, science and translation of cancer prevention strategies, cancer screening, health services research and delivery, epidemiology of HPV and cervical/anogenital cancers, international health, and evidence-based medicine. Dr. Castle is conducting research studies on cancer screening and prevention in Mozambique, Rwanda, and India as well as continuing his work with KPNC.

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    Mary L. (Nora) Disis, MD
    Professor, University of Washington

    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 and the Association of American Physicians. She holds a leadership award from the Komen for the Cure Foundation and is an American Cancer Society Clinical Professor. Dr. Disis is the Editor-in-Chief of JAMA Oncology.

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    Renee N. Donahue, Ph.D.
    Staff Scientist, NIH

    Bethesda, United States

    Dr. Donahue is a Staff Scientist and Head of the Molecular Immunology Group in the Laboratory of Tumor Immunology and Biology, NCI. She received her Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology from the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the NCI from 2011-2016. The Laboratory of Tumor Immunology and Biology develops novel immunotherapeutics that are translated from hypothesis-driven preclinical studies to clinical trials. The Molecular Immunology Group is working to characterize the immune response of patients enrolled in clinical trials to identify patients, prior to or early following therapy, who go on to respond to various cancer immunotherapies. Dr. Donahue’s research program develops innovative methods to assess the immune response of cancer patients treated with combination immunotherapies as well as so-called “non-immune”‒based therapies. She investigates specific immune cell subsets in the peripheral blood of patients to identify potential correlations with clinical responses. Dr. Donahue’s studies are providing critical information toward the development of more effective immunotherapeutic approaches to cancer.

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    Leslie G Ford, MD
    Associate Director for Clinical Research, NIH NCI

    Rockville, United States

    One of the influential clinical scientists in the U.S. in the area of cancer prevention research, Leslie Ford, MD has had a profound impact on the health of women/ men around the world. Associate Director for Clinical Research for the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Division of Cancer Prevention—part of the National Institutes of Health—Dr. Ford is a pioneer in her field whose leadership and vision helped create and establish clinical cancer prevention research as an area of study and practice. Dr. Ford’s work led to the creation of the Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP)—a sophisticated network of community-based cancer clinics that has facilitated participation in NCI-sponsored prevention, treatment, and cancer control studies.

    As a visionary leader in her field, Dr. Ford spearheaded groundbreaking studies (the landmark Breast Cancer Prevention Trial and study of tamoxifen and raloxifene, or STAR trial) proving that breast cancer prevention is possible, demonstrating the effectiveness of several medications for the purpose of preventing cancer. She also directed the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial, which evaluated finasteride for prevention and collected critical information about prostate-specific antigen testing. This work also demonstrated the importance of community researchers as well as the ability to structure and implement nationwide drug trials to produce effective chemo-preventive drugs.

    In 2007, Dr. Ford received international recognition from the European Institute of Oncology for her “outstanding passion and pivotal role in creating, sustaining, & confirming the value of cancer prevention in modern oncology.” In 2016 she received an Honorary Sc.D from, The University of Buffalo.

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    Judy Garber, M.D
    Susan F. Smith Chair, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Chief, Division of Cancer Genetics and Prevention, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School , Dana-Farber Cance Institute

    Boston, United States

    Dr. Garber is the Susan F. Smith Chair and Chief of the Division of Cancer Genetics and Prevention at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She conducts research in clinical cancer genetics, with a special focus in the genetics of breast cancer. She has played a major role in the development of national guidelines in cancer genetics. Dr. Garber is also a leader in research into the characteristics and treatment of triple negative or basal-like breast cancer, the most common form in women with BRCA1 mutations and an expert in Li-Fraumeni Syndrome. Her translational research focuses on the evaluation of novel agents targeting DNA repair defects in breast cancer, including PARP inhibitors for treatment and prevention of breast cancer and other BRCA-associated cancers.

    Dr. Garber is a past president of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). She serves on the National Cancer Advisory Board of the National Cancer Institute and was elected into the National Academy of Medicine in 2013. She also serves as the Co-Scientific Director of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and past chair of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation Scientific Advisory Board. She is an ASCO Statesman and a Fellow of the AACR Academy.

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    Brandy Heckman-Stoddard, Ph.D., M.P.H.

    ROCKVILLE, United States

    Dr. Brandy Heckman-Stoddard received a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology at Baylor College of Medicine focusing on the intersection of Rho and IGF signaling in mammary gland development and breast cancer before joining the National Cancer Institute as a Cancer Prevention Fellow. During the fellowship she completed a Master's in Public Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health working with the Institute for Global Tobacco Control and the Evidence-Based Practice Center. During her time at NCI as a fellow, she focused on breast cancer prevention research including preclinical development and early clinical trials.

    Dr. Heckman-Stoddard's research focuses on drug development for breast cancer prevention and biomarker development. She is particularly interested in local delivery of agents, alternate dosing strategies, biomarkers of efficacy to reduce the number needed to treat, and targeting of stem cells. She serves as program director for the Early Phase Breast Cancer Prevention Clinical Trials grants portfolio and scientific monitor of early phase breast cancer clinical trials within the NCI Division of Cancer Prevention Early Phase Prevention Consortia. Dr. Heckman-Stoddard is also the NCI lead for an NCI-NIDDK collaboration examining cancer incidence within the Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study a randomized study of metformin, lifestyle intervention, versus placebo.

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    Maggie House, RN, BSN
    Nurse Consultant, NCI/DCP

    Rockville, United States

    Maggie House is a nurse consultant in the Division of Cancer Prevention, and has over 30 years of oncology nursing and clinical trial experience. She earned her Diploma in Nursing from St. Joseph’s Hospital School of Nursing in 1982, and graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Georgetown University in 2000. Maggie provides support to the Prostate and Urologic Cancer Research Group Contracts and Grants Program, and to the US-Latin American-Caribbean HIV/HPV-Cancer Prevention Clinical Trials Network (ULACNet). Maggie also oversees the DCP Consortia Monitoring Contract, and leads the DCP Clinical Trial Simplification Committee to assess the effectiveness of clinical trial safeguards put in place during COVID-19, and to propose innovative approaches to clinical trial conduct. Maggie's clinical trial interests include clinical trial recruitment and retention, and clinical trial process improvements including clinical trial conduct, site monitoring/auditing, and staff education.

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    Shehnaz K. Hussain, PhD, Sc.M
    Professor and Associate Director of Population Sciences, University of California, Davis

    Davis, United States

    Dr. Hussain's research stems from a long-standing interest in the intersection of infections and cancer. As a molecular epidemiologist, she brings together a mindset for maximizing public health impact and scientific curiosity to orchestrate research in cancer etiology, pathogenesis, chemoprevention, and early detection. A common thread of her ongoing research is the identification of biomarkers that relate to, or modulate, the immune response including serum immune markers, intestinal microbiome, and immunogenic microbial components and metabolites. Currently, she is utilizing this immunoepidemiology lens to lead investigations of the disease continuum from metabolic associated fatty liver disease to liver cancer. Key components of this integrated research program include nutritional interventions in fatty liver, novel biomarker identification for the progression of cirrhosis to HCC, and statin interventions in cirrhosis and HCC. Additionally, her work explores potential biological basis for disparities in liver cancer which disproportionately affects Latinx/Hispanic individuals. Lastly, aligned with her long-standing interests in infectious causes of cancer, she is actively conducting research on EBV- and HPV-associated cancer etiology and prevention, particularly in the setting of severe immunosuppression (HIV and solid organ transplantation).

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

    Madison, United States

    KyungMann Kim, PhD, is a professor of biostatistics and statistics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He serves as Director of the Clinical Trials Program at the Department of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics. He is PI of the Cancer Prevention Clinical Trial Network Data Management, Auditing, and Coordinating Center (CP-CTNet DMACC). His main research interests are in statistical methods for clinical trials and applications in cancer, cardiovascular disease, and healthcare-associated infections among others. He has served on advisory panels (including two Federal Advisory Committees), National Institutes of Health study sections, and numerous data monitoring committees for the NIH, Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense, and biopharmaceutical and medical device industry, in addition to professional services to the American Statistical Association, the Society for Clinical trials, the International Biometric Society, the International Society for Clinical Biostatistics, the American Association for Cancer Research, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology. 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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    Victor Kipnis, Ph.D.
    Chief, Biometry Research Group, NCI/DCP

    Bethesda, United States

    Dr. Kipnis leads the Biometry Research Group in providing key statistical support and resources to the Division of Cancer Prevention, and other national and international institutions. He has assured that group activities remain broad in nature and range from statistical reviews and consultations to development of statistical methodologies addressing rigor and reproducibility of biomedical research.

    One important area of his research relates to statistical problems of multiplicity and selectivity, especially in omics studies. Omics research often generates complex high-dimensional data that are particularly prone to overfitting and can lead to results that may look promising using discovery samples but do not hold on other samples. The other area involves biomedical studies with measurement error. Dr. Kipnis is a highly respected international leader in the field – he has given numerous invited talks at national and international conferences and has authored numerous pivotal publications examining the effects of measurement error on study design and analysis, and methods of adjusting for it in epidemiology and surveillance. Under Dr. Kipnis’s leadership, the Biometry Research Group is the only group within NIH with the statistical expertise in measurement error. An example of its activity is the new methodology for measurement error adjustment in nutritional research known as the NCI Method.

    Dr. Kipnis received a M.S. in mathematics in 1971 and a Ph.D. in statistics in 1978 from the Moscow State University, Russia, and has been teaching and conducting statistical research in the US since 1986. Dr. Kipnis joined the Biometry Research group in 1992.

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    Howard L. Parnes, M.D.
    Chief, Prostate & Urologic Cancer Research Group, Division of Cancer Prevention/NCI

    Bethesdsa, United States

    Howard L. Parnes graduated from Cornell University with a B.A. in Biology in 1977. He then received his M.D. from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey followed by a residency in internal medicine at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center (formerly Baltimore City Hospitals). After completing a medical oncology fellowship at the University of Maryland Cancer Center (UMCC) he remained on the UMCC faculty for 8 years until coming to NCI, where he has directed the genitourinary cancer prevention program in the Division of Cancer Prevention since 2001. He has co-authored over 150 peer-reviewed research articles and book chapters and was a member of the Steering Committees for PCPT and SELECT, the two largest prostate cancer prevention trials conducted to date. In addition to his primary research interest in cancer prevention, Dr. Parnes is an attending physician and clinical investigator in the prostate cancer multi-disciplinary clinic and bladder cancer clinic at the Center for Cancer Research.

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    Ellen Richmond, MS, GNP-BC
    Nurse Consultant , NCI/ DCP

    Bethesda, United States

    Ellen Richmond, MS, GNP-BC, gerontological nurse practitioner and oncology nurse by training, is a Nurse Consultant and Program Director in the NCI’s Division of Cancer Prevention (DCP) GI and Other Cancers Research Group, with a focus on esophageal cancer prevention and participant accrual. To promote a multi-dimensional, multi-disciplinary approach to efficient, inclusive clinical trial accrual, Ellen developed and leads the DCP Accrual Quality Improvement Program (AQuIP) for early cancer prevention clinical trials and co-developed the AccrualNet web-based accrual resource. In her Program Director role, Ellen has led several initiatives in Barrett’s esophagus clinical research including an NIDDK -NCI Barrett’s Esophagus, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease and Adenocarcinoma of the Esophagus grants program and the Barrett’s Esophagus Translational Research (BETR) Working Group which led to the DCP-DCB collaborative network, BETRNet. In other cross-NIH collaborations, she serves as the Project Scientist for the DCCPS CISNET- Esophageal cancer group and as the NCI Nurse Consultant for the Aspirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly (ASPREE) clinical trial project led by the National Institute on Aging. She joined the NCI DCP in 2000.

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    Niloy Jewel Samadder, MD
    Professor of Medicine, Mayo Clinic

    Scottsdale, United States

    N. Jewel Samadder, MD, MSc, is a Professor and Consultant in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine and a joint appointment in the Department in the of Clinical Genomics at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

    Dr. Samadder received his medical degree from the University of Toronto (Canada) where he also completed his internal medicine residency. He subsequently completed a fellowship in Gastroenterology and Masters in healthcare research at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI) and an Advanced Endoscopy fellowship at the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN).

    His clinical interests focus on the diagnosis and management of patients with inherited forms of cancers, most notably those with gastrointestinal cancer syndromes such as Lynch Syndrome and Familial Adenomatous Polyposis. He has been an author of national and international guidelines for the management of patients with familial colon cancers and has led several multi-center clinical trials for the prevention of cancer in patients with FAP. He has expertise in the use of large health administrative databases to explore questions related to the effectiveness of colorectal cancer screening and the molecular basis of missed cancers that develop in the interval between colonoscopies. Most recently he led a multi-center clinical trial of proactive multi-gene panel testing in all newly diagnosed cancer patients across three Mayo Clinic campuses. His research has been published in leading academic journals including, Journal of the American Medical Association and New England Journal of Medicine.

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    Sharon A. Savage, M.D.
    Clinical Director, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute

    Bethesda, United States

    Dr. Sharon A. Savage is the Chief of the Clinical Genetics Branch and Clinical Director of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Her comprehensive approach combines genomics with clinical genetics and molecular biology to improve understanding of cancer etiology and the lives of patients with complex cancer-prone disorders. Dr. Savage's internationally recognized research in dyskeratosis congenita (DC) and telomere biology is leading the way in understanding the consequences of aberrations in telomere biology and cancer etiology. Her recent work has expanded to studies of other causes of bone marrow failure, including the first genome-wide association study of severe aplastic anemia, and novel causes of Diamond Blackfan anemia and Fanconi anemia.
    Dr. Savage created and leads the NCI’s clinical and genetic study of Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS), a highly penetrant cancer susceptibility syndrome often caused by germline mutations in TP53. This study is evaluating pediatric and adult cancer-screening regimens and exploring cancer risk modifiers in LFS, with the end goal of cancer prevention in these individuals.

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    Jeffrey Schlom, Ph.D.
    Chief, Laboratory of Tumor Immunology and Biology, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health

    Bethesda, United States

    Dr. Jeffrey Schlom is Chief of the Laboratory of Tumor Immunology and Biology at the National Cancer Institute’s Center for Cancer Research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He directs a translational research program in which the latest advances in immunology and immunotherapy are used to design and develop a range of novel immunotherapeutic approaches for a variety of human cancers. His most recent work involves the development of novel immunotherapeutics, including cancer vaccines, checkpoint inhibitors, immune modulators, and inhibitors of immune suppressive entities, both as a monotherapy and in combination therapies. The program focuses on the design and development of novel "off-the-shelf" immunotherapeutics that can be translated from hypothesis-driven preclinical studies to science-based clinical studies both at the NIH and at numerous Cancer Centers throughout the United States. Dr. Schlom serves on the editorial boards of numerous scientific journals, has authored more than 800 scientific publications, and holds numerous patents for monoclonal antibody and recombinant vaccine generation and uses.

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    Shizuko Sei, M.D.
    Director PREVENT, National Cancer Institute/Division of Cancer Prevention

    Rockville, Maryland, United States

    Shizuko Sei, MD, is a medical officer and pediatric oncologist by training with more than 30 years of translational and clinical research experience at NCI. Prior to joining the DCP in 2015, she held multiple positions as a laboratory head/attending physician in the NCI Center for Cancer Research and Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis, and more recently worked for the NCI Experimental Therapeutics Program (NExT). In her current capacity, Dr. Sei manages the NCI PREVENT Cancer Preclinical Drug Development Program (PREVENT), a peer-reviewed NCI program that facilitates preclinical development of innovative interventions for cancer prevention/interception toward clinical applications through partnerships with researchers in academia and industry. She serves as a non-voting member of CP-CTNet Steering Committee and as a medical monitor for the CP-CTNet program. Her research interest includes tumor immunology, viral oncology, cancer vaccines, novel drug discovery and development, and precision cancer prevention.

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    Eva Szabo, MD
    Chief, National Cancer Institute/Division of Cancer Prevention

    Bethesda, United States

    Eva Szabo, MD is the Director of the Cancer Prevention Clinical Trials Network (CP-CTNet) and leads its lung and head and neck cancer prevention program, through which she designs and oversees cancer prevention studies funded by the NCI’s Division of Cancer Prevention (DCP). She is also the Chief of the Lung and Upper Aerodigestive Cancer Research Group in DCP and continues to see patients with lung cancer and thymic malignancies in the NCI intramural Thoracic Malignancies Clinic. Dr. Szabo’s research centers on identifying effective agents for lung and head and neck cancer prevention, identifying intermediate endpoints for assessing efficacy in early phase cancer prevention clinical trials, and developing new clinical trials models for assessing efficacy of preventive agents.

    Dr. Szabo received her B.S. in Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry at Yale University, Medical Degree at Duke University. She completed her Internship and Residency in Internal Medicine at NYU-Bellevue as well as her Fellowship in Medical Oncology at the National Cancer Institute.

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    Asad Umar, D.V.M., Ph.D.
    Chief, Gastrointestinal & Other Cancers Research Group/DCP/NCI

    Rockville, United States

    Asad Umar is the Chief of Gastrointestinal and Other Cancers Research Group in the Division of Cancer Prevention. He received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry with a focus on Immunology at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, in 1993.

    Trained in the laboratories of Patricia Gearhart in Baltimore, MD, and Thomas Kunkel at the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, NC. 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.

    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. 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.
    Associate Professor, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

    Houston, United States

    Dr. Vilar-Sanchez is Associate Professor and Deputy Chair of the Department of Cancer Prevention at MD Anderson Cancer Center. He is a physician-scientist and a medical oncologist with clinical expertise in hereditary colorectal cancer syndromes and colorectal medical oncology. His research is focused in developing novel chemopreventive interventions and early detection methods for patients at high-risk for colorectal cancer development. To accomplish this goal, his laboratory has characterized the genomic and transcriptomic landscape of premalignant polyps and identified new drug targets. In parallel, his team has applied this same workflow to genetically engineered mouse models that mimic the natural history of hereditary colorectal cancer syndromes to perform cross-species comparisons and validate these novel preventive agents and biomarkers in vivo. The Vilar-Sanchez laboratory has teamed with other groups to develop ex vivo models that better recapitulate the biology of normal mucosa and premalignancy. Finally, Dr. Vilar-Sanchez has designed, implemented and participated in several investigator-initiated clinical trials that have been funded by the NCI through the N01 Chemoprevention Consortium for early drug development in cancer prevention (Phase IB testing Naproxen in Preventing DNA Mismatch Repair Deficient Colorectal Cancer in Patients With Lynch Syndrome; and Erlotinib Hydrochloride in Reducing Duodenal Polyp Burden in Patients With Familial Adenomatous Polyposis at Risk of Developing Colon Cancer) as well as industry-sponsored trials (Phase IB of the IL-17 inhibitor Guselkumab in Familial Adenomatous Polyposis; and Phase II of Nivolumab in Preventing Colon Adenomas in Participants With Lynch Syndrome and a History of Partial Colectomy).

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    David B. Weiner, Ph.D.
    Professor & Director of Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center, The Wistar Institute

    Philadelphia, United States

    Dr. David Weiner directs a translational molecular immunology research focused on synthetic nucleic acid-based approaches for disease prevention and treatment. His group, are founding members of the field of nucleic acid vaccines/immune therapies, advancing novel FIH clinical trials for synthetic DNA immunogens. These include studies as countermeasures for EID including an early Zika vaccine, a MERS vaccine, a SARS-CoV2 vaccine, among others. In oncology, his laboratory with Inovio and AZ and others has helped to develope immune therapy approaches for HPV disease, prostate disease, GMB immunotherapy, and novel immunogens such as synthetic hTERT, WT1, PSMA. Studies resulted in the first clinically efficacy outcome of a therapeutic DNA vaccine (HPV CIN) (VGX3100), now moved into a licensure trail (REVEAL). Studies of hTERT immunogens are in progress. Dr. Weiner’s laboratory has published 430 papers, and received awards/honors, including Top 20 Translational Research Laboratories (Nature Biotechnology 2016 – 2020), NIH Directors Translational Research Award 2011 Pennsylvania Life Sciences Achievement Award (2019). Todays discussion Includes Dr. Jeffrey Skolnick, SVP, Clinical Development Inovio who leads INOVIO's HPV and immuno-oncology DNA medicines teams. Dr. Skolnik was at Tetralogic Pharmaceuticals, as Chief Medical Officer, Prior he was at AZ as well as GSK. Dr. Skolnik received his M.D. degree with honors from NYU and his pediatric training at Children's Hospital, Boston and completed his hematology/oncology training at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where he continues on staff as an Attending Physician.