About MRA » Grant Review Committee
The Grant Review Committee provides scientific merit-based peer review of research proposals submitted to MRA. The committee also advises MRA on other scientific matters as requested.
Associate Professor of Medicine, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Dr. Garraway currently serves as an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medical Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School. Dr. Garraway also leads a 16-member investigative team in cancer genomics as a faculty member of Dana-Farber Center for Cancer Genome Discovery. He is also an associate Member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, where he is co-director of Cancer Genome Analysis. His current research includes pursuing combined genomic and functional approaches to the characterization of human solid tumors, with an emphasis on melanoma and prostate cancer. Dr. Garraway received his A.B. and M.D./Ph.D. from Harvard. Dr. Garraway completed his medical internship and residency in Internal Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital, where he also served as Medical Chief Resident in 2003. Dr. Garraway is the recipient of numerous awards and honor, including the New Innovator Award from the National Institutes of Health, which is presented to the top 29 scientists from more than 2,200 applicants nationwide.
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Professor of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles
Antoni Ribas, M.D., Ph.D. is a Professor of Medicine, Surgery, and Molecular and Medical Pharmacology at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). He trained at the University of Barcelona, Spain, with postdoctoral research and clinical fellowship at UCLA. He is the Director of the Tumor Immunology Program at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC) and the Chair of the Melanoma Committee at SWOG. Dr. Ribas is also a permanent committee member of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) grant review panels and an elected member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI). As a physician-scientist, Dr Ribas conducts laboratory and clinical research in malignant melanoma, focusing on adoptive cell transfer with T cell receptor (TCR) engineered lymphocytes, anti-CTLA4 antibodies, BRAF-targeted therapies and nanoparticle-siRNA.
Program Leader for Cancer Cell Biology and Signaling, Kimmel Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University
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Associate Professor of Dermatology and Pathology, Yale School of Medicine
Marcus Bosenberg M.D., Ph.D., is a physician scientist who directs a leading melanoma research laboratory and is a practicing dermatopathologist at Yale Dermatopathology in the Yale Medical Group. In his research, Dr. Bosenberg studies the genetics and cellular changes that result in melanoma, the leading cause of skin cancer deaths. His laboratory has developed several models in order to study how melanoma forms and progresses, to test new melanoma therapies, and how the immune system can be stimulated to fight melanoma. He attempts to translate basic scientific findings into improvements in melanoma diagnosis and therapy, including efforts to develop new drugs that inhibit epigenetic targets in melanoma. He is Co-Editor in Chief of Pigment & Melanoma Cell Research and is a member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation, an honor society for physician scientists. Dr. Bosenberg mentors undergraduate, graduate, medical, and MD-PhD students in his laboratory, teaches at Yale Medical School, and trains resident physicians, fellows, and postdoctoral fellows.
Professor of Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology
Professor, Oncological Sciences
Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Steven Burakoff, M.D., is currently a Professor of Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology, Professor of Oncological Sciences, and the Director of The Tisch Cancer Institute at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. A native New Yorker, he graduated from Lehigh University with a Bachelor of Science degree, received his Master's degree from Queens College, and his M.D. from Albany Medical College. Dr. Burakoff, who prior to his appointment in 2007 to Mount Sinai School of Medicine, was the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Professor at New York University School of Medicine, the Director of the New York University Cancer Institute, and the Director of the Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine at the New York University School of Medicine from 2000 to 2007. Prior to joining the New York University School of Medicine, in 2000, he was Chair of Pediatric Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Margaret M. Dyson Professor of Pediatrics at the Harvard Medical School, and also received an Honorary Master's of Science Degree from Harvard University. He was the recipient of the first Harvard Medical School Excellence in Mentoring Award. He was also the Ted Williams Senior Investigator at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and he also served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Dr. Burakoff serves as a member of the External Advisory Committee at: the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Cancer Center, the Baylor Medical School Cancer Center, and the Cancer Center of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine Cancer Center and the St. Jude's Cancer Center. Dr. Burakoff holds memberships in many professional societies and organizations, including: Alpha Omega Alpha, the American Society of Clinical Investigation, and the Association of American Physicians, and the American Association of Immunologist where he serves as Secretary-Treasurer. He has been an Editor and Associate Editor for numerous journals and author of more than 300 publications in peer-reviewed journals. In 2009, Dr. Burakoff received the American Association of Immunologists Lifetime Achievement Award.
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Associate Physician, Melanoma/Sarcoma service
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Professor of Medicine, Weill Medical College of Cornell University
Dr. Chapman's focus of research is development of novel therapeutics and predictive assays for metastatic melanoma. He is leading early stage clinical trials with monoclonal antibodies as well as novel combinations of signaling pathway inhibitors and immune modulators. In addition to his contributions to the MRA, he is a member of the scientific advisory board of the Melanoma Research Foundation and the steering committee of Society of Melanoma Research. He received his MD from Cornell, completed a residency at the University of Chicago and a medical oncology fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
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Assistant Professor, Medical Oncology, Immunology and Urology
Director, Multidisciplinary Prostate Cancer Clinic
Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center
The focus of Dr. Drake's research is to understand the T-cell response at the genetic and cellular level and to identify immune checkpoints which can be exploited for therapeutic advantage. His laboratory has shown that lymphocyte activating gene-3 (LAG-3) signaling is important in CD4+ regulatory T cell suppression of autoimmune responses, that PD-1 is an important immune checkpoint, and that STAT-3 plays a role in autoimmunity. Dr. Drake earned his M.D. degree from the University of Colorado Health Science Center and his Ph.D. from National Jewish Center for Immunology. He is Board Certified in internal medicine and medical oncology.
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Chief, Dermatology Service
Director, Melanoma Program, MGH Cancer Center
Director, Cutaneous Biology Research Center, Massachusetts General Hospital
David E. Fisher, MD, PhD is an internationally known researcher, clinician and academic, who is Chief of the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Dermatology at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts (USA). He also serves as Director of the MGH Cutaneous Biology Research Center and Director of the Melanoma Center at MGH. A Professor of Dermatology and of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Fisher came to the MGH from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where he previously Directed the Melanoma Program. Dr. Fisher's research has focused on understanding the molecular and genetic events which underlie formation of melanoma as well as skin pigmentation. As a clinician, he has worked to translate these understandings into advances in diagnosis, treatment and prevention of human diseases related to the skin and associated disorders. A graduate of Swarthmore College with a degree in Biology and Chemistry, Dr. Fisher is also an accomplished concert cellist and received a degree from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. He received his PhD under Nobel Laureate Gunter Blobel at Rockefeller University and his Medical Degree at Cornell University Medical College under Dr. Henry Kunkel. Dr. Fisher's specialty training in Medicine, Pediatrics, and Oncology were carried out at Harvard Medical School. He recently served for three years as President of the Society for Melanoma Research, the largest international society dedicated to the study of melanoma.
Director, Henri and Belinda Termeer Center for Targeted Therapies
Richard Saltonstall Chair in Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
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Professor, Departments of Pathology and Medicine, University of Chicago
Director, Immunology and Cancer Program, University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center
Dr. Gajewski is a Professor of Pathology and Hematology/Oncology at the University of Chicago Medical Center. He investigates and develops new treatments for patients with melanoma, with a special interest in immunotherapy. Dr. Gajewski also leads development of immune-based therapies for other cancers, using new laboratory data on how the immune system is regulated to develop novel clinical trials. His clinical expertise includes biology therapy immunotherapy, epidemiology, immune system disorders, and melanoma. Dr. Gajewski serves as an associate editor for the Journal of Immunology and is on committees for the American Society for Clinical Oncology and the American Association for Cancer Research. He is a member of the American Society of Immunologists, the American Society of Hematology, and the International Society for the Biological Therapy of Cancer. Dr. Gajewski received his B.A. from the University of Chicago as well as his M.D./Ph.D. from the University of Chicago Pritzer School of Medicine.
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Professor, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
Associate Professor, Department of Medical Oncology
VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam
Tanja de Gruijl heads the Dendritic Cell (DC) research group and tumor immunomonitoring unit of the Division of Immunotherapy at the VU University medical center in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Dr. de Gruijl has co authored more than 60 research papers on (pre-)clinical tumor immunology topics. Her main line of research is the in vivo modulation of DC subsets for tumor immunotherapeutic purposes, through targeted gene transfer, small molecule inhibitors, and local cytokine administration. She is involved in pre-clinical studies on DC biology and in the monitoring of DC and T cell functions in prostate cancer and melanoma patients participating in clinical immunotherapy trials. She received her Master's degree in Medical Biology from the University of Utrecht, and her PhD from the VU University in Amsterdam.
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Director of Ocular Oncology, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
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Professor and Program Leader, Molecular and Cellular Oncogenesis Program
Dr. Meenhard Herlyn has been a cancer researcher since his arrival at Wistar in 1976 and has participated in the Wistar Institute Cancer Center's leadership as a program leader since 1985. He is currently one of three program leaders of this Cancer Center's Program for Molecular and Cellular Oncogenesis and the Associate Director for Translational Research. His current research focuses on the biological significance of stem cells in skin morphogenesis and in transformation, invasion and metastasis, using a variety of in vivo and in vitro models. He has over 400 publications, 80% of which are in melanoma. Others are complementary, addressing basic biological mechanisms in cancer and wound healing. He is the PI of two P0-1s on melanoma, one of which has been fully funded since 1980 and of a SPORE. Dr. Herlyn is an active member of three graduate groups at the University of Pennsylvania: Cellular and Molecular Biology, Genomics and Computational Biology, and Bioengineering. He has been an independently funded investigator for 25 years, and has for the same time period participated each year in NCI study sections [with previous memberships in Pathology B (1996-2000) and Tumor Microenvironment, where he served as chair from 2004 to 2006]. He has also been active in the SPORE review program since 2007. He has received several awards including: the Wings of Hope, Melanoma Research Award and the Diana Ashby Award for Excellence in Melanoma Research in 2004, the American Skin Association Annual Skin Cancer/Melanoma Achievement Award in 2005, the Scientific Research Award for Outstanding Contributions in Melanoma Research, American Cancer Society, Southeast Region, Pennsylvania Division in 2006, and the Pan-American Pigment Cell Society Achievement Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award in Melanoma Research from the Society of Melanoma Research in 2007.
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Chief of Dermatology, VA Maryland Health Care System
Associate Professor of Dermatology and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
University of Maryland School of Medicine
Dr. Hornyak obtained his A.B. in music from Princeton and his M.D. degree and Ph.D. degree in Biological Chemistry from The University of Michigan Medical School. He completed an internship in medicine at The New York Hospital - Cornell University Medical Center and a residency in dermatology at New York University Medical Center. In 1999, Dr. Hornyak joined the Department of Dermatology at the Henry Ford Health System as a staff member and independent investigator. He has received several NIH research grants and a New Investigator Award from the Department of Defense Neurofibromatosis Research Initiative. In 2003, Dr. Hornyak joined the Dermatology Branch, National Cancer Institute where he is a tenure-track investigator. His research focus is melanocyte developmental and stem cell biology and melanoma epigenetics.
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Director, Melanoma Clinic in Dermatology
Associate Professor, Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, UCLA School of Medicine
Head, Center for Melanoma and Cancer Immunotherapy
Sharett Institute of Oncology
Hadassah Hebrew University Medical Center
Dr. Lotem's research interests include using dendritic cells for MHC Class I and Class II presentation of tumor-derived antigens and CD4 and CD8 tumor reactive T cells for adoptive transfer strategies. She has received funding from the United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation, Israel Cancer Association, The Horowitz Foundation, Chief Scientist Israel Ministry of Health, and the Cancer Treatment Research Foundation. Dr. Lotem earned her medical degree in 1983 from Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Israel. From 2002-2004, she was a research fellow in the surgery branch of the U.S. National Cancer Institute studying under Dr. Steven A. Rosenberg.
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Professor of Medicine, Stanford University
Professor and Co-Chair, Melanoma and Skin Service, Peter MacCallum Cancer Center
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Cumming-Presidential Professor of Cancer Biology, Department of Dermatology & Senior Director for Preclinical Translation
Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah
Chief, Laboratory of Cancer Biology and Genetics
National Cancer Institute, NIH
Dr. Merlino is currently Chief of the Laboratory of Cancer Biology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Merlino's career research contributions include advancements in the areas of receptor tyrosine kinase signaling, oncogenic transformation, transcriptional regulation, cell cycle regulation, multiple drug resistance and genomic instability. Dr. Merlino was the first to report the amplification/rearrangement of the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor gene in human cancer and was among the first to show that growth factors could function in vivo as oncogenes using transgenic mouse models. Dr. Merlino and his colleagues in the Cancer Modeling Section are seeking to elucidate the complex molecular/genetic programs governing melanoma genesis and progression through the development and analysis of genetically engineered mouse models of human cancer. Using a novel mouse melanoma model, Dr. Merlino provided the first experimental evidence supporting the notion that childhood sunburn is a critical melanoma risk factor. This same model is being used to identify the molecular wiring of melanoma initiation by UV radiation, and to access the relative risks of exposure to UVA and UVB in sunlight. They also established the first relevant mouse model of embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma, and identified Ezrin and its transcriptional regulator Six1 as key pro-metastasis factors in that pediatric malignancy. A current goal of the Merlino lab is to use genetically engineered mouse models to perform preclinical studies aimed at an examination of the role of cancer stem cells in drug resistant metastatic disease.
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Professor of Oncology, Medicine, Pathology and Molecular Biology and Genetics
John Hopkins University School of Medicine
Professor of Dermatology, Head of the Dermatology Unit, Institute Gustave Roussy
Caroline Robert is Head of the Dermatology Unit at the Institut Gustave-Roussy, Paris, France. Dr Robert gained her medical degree at the Cochin Port-Royal School of Medicine, Paris, in 1990, after which she was made a faculty member of the graduate school of biological sciences and received her French Board Certification in Dermatology in 1992. On gaining her certification, Dr Robert was appointed Assistant Professor in Dermatology at the St-Louis Hospital, Paris. She completed a research fellowship at Harvard, US and a PhD in cancer immunology and immunotherapy. In 2000, Dr Robert returned to Europe as Medical Director for Johnson & Johnson Consumer Europe. In 2001, she took a position at the Institut Gustave-Roussy as Assistant in Dermatology, before becoming Head of the Dermatology Unit in 2005. She is board member for the European Association of Onco-Dermatology (EADO), melanoma board secretary for the European Organization for the Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC), a member of the European Association of Dermato-Venereology (EADV) and the French society of Dermatology and Venereology. Dr Robert is a scientist of international renown in the clinical and translational research of melanoma and the cutaneous side-effects of new targeted chemotherapies. She has authored more than 120 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals, including a number of publications on new treatments for metastatic melanoma and been involved in numerous international clinical trials.
C. Willard Robinson Professor of Hematology-Oncology
Attending Physician, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Program Leader: Melanoma Program, Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Division Chief, Hematology-Oncology, University of Pennsylvania
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CEO and President
David H. Koch Chair
Prostate Cancer Foundation
Dr. Simons is an internationally recognized physician-scientist, oncologist, and acclaimed investigator in translational prostate cancer research. Prior to joining the Prostate Cancer Foundation in 2007, he was distinguished Service Professor of Hematology and Oncology at the Emory University School of Medicine and Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Materials Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Simons is the founding director of the Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University in Atlanta and Co-Director of the National Cancer Institute Center for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence at Emory and Georgia Tech. Dr. Simons received a B.A. from Princeton University and an M.D. from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Before entering medical school he was a Rotary International Postgraduate Fellow in the Humanities at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, and a Nuffield Foundation Fellow in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge. Dr. Simons completed his residency in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital at Harvard Medical School and his fellowship in medical oncology at Johns Hopkins. He is also board-certified in internal medicine and medical oncology.
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Joseph Helps Farrow Professor of Surgery, Division of Surgical Oncology
Vice Chair for Research
Director, Human Immune Therapy Center, University of Virginia
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Associate Attending Physician, Genitourinary Oncology Service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Associate Member, Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Dr. Solit has been a practicing medical oncologist since 2002. His specific area of research has been the development of novel targeted inhibitors of activated kinase pathways. His clinical research efforts are focused on the identification of genetic predictors of RAS/BRAF-dependence. In addition to clinical work, Dr. Solit supervises basic science efforts focused on two areas of research: 1) investigation of the genetic and epigenetic changed that co-occur with mutations in BRAF and RAS and 2) the development of cell line and animal models in which targeted inhibitors of the MAPK pathway can be assessed. Dr. Solit received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania, completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at Barnes Hospital and a fellowship in medical hematology/oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Professor, Jewish General Hospital/Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research
Strang Progessor and Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, The Rockefeller University
Professor of Dermatology
Director, Pigmented Lesion & Melanoma Program
Physician Leader, Cancer Care Program in Cutaneous Oncology Stanford University Medical Center & Cancer Institute
Professor of Surgery and Oncology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Director, Melanoma Program, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center
Dr. Topalian received her medical degree from the Tufts University School of Medicine, and completed a general surgery residency at the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. She was a research fellow in Pediatric Surgery at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and subsequently completed a fellowship in Surgical Oncology at the National Cancer Institute, NIH. After 17 years as a Senior Investigator at the NIH, Dr. Topalian joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2006 to direct the Melanoma Program in the Kimmel Cancer Center.
Dr. Topalian is a physician-scientist who has published over 100 original research articles on cancer immunology and immunotherapy. Her studies of human anti-tumor immunity have provided a foundation for the translational development of cancer vaccines, adoptive T cell transfer, and immuno-modulatory monoclonal antibodies. Her current research focuses on modulating immune checkpoints such as PD-1 in cancer therapy, and discovering biomarkers predicting clinical outcomes. These efforts have opened new avenues of scientific interest and clinical investigation in cancer immunology and immunotherapy, and have established the importance of this approach in oncology.
Assistant Professor, Department of Surgical Oncology, Division of Surgery, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Director of the Donald A. Adam Comprehensive Melanoma Research Center at the Moffitt Cancer Center
Jeffrey Weber is a Senior Member at the Moffitt Cancer Center, holds the Donald A Adam Endowed Chair in Melanoma Research and is the Director of the Donald A Adam Comprehensive Melanoma Research Center of Excellence at Moffitt. He is a translational clinician-scientist and clinical trialist with an interest in Immuno-Oncology and the development of new treatment strategies for patients with melanoma. He has been funded by the National Cancer Institute with RO1 funding for over 20 years, and is the principal investigator of the Moffitt Skin SPORE, a large multi-project grant that is funded by the National Institutes of Health. He has sat on numerous study sections and has been instrumental in the development of the three immune oncology agents that have been approved by the FDA in the last 4 years: ipilimumab, nivolumab and pembrolizumab.
Dr. Weber was the first to show, and was the principal investigator of the first trial that demonstrated benefit for PD-1 blocking antibodies in melanoma patients that had failed ipilimumab. He was also the first investigator who demonstrated that PD-1 blocking antibodies had encouraging activity in resected melanoma patients and is the international principal investigator of the first adjuvant trial of PD-1 blocking antibody nivolumab in patients with surgically resected melanoma at high risk or resurrence. He maintains an active portfolio of clinical trials and runs a laboratory effort in which tumor and blood samples are analyzed for markers that are associated with benefit from novel immuno oncology agents.