Medical Advisory Panel


The Medical Advisory Panel advises the MRA leadership team on medical matters and policies including medical consultations, clinical research needs and opportunities, clinical regulatory and policy initiatives, and public education about melanoma.




David Fisher, M.D., Ph.D

Chief, Department of Dermatology
Director, Melanoma Program, MGH Cancer Center
Director, Cutaneous Biology Research Center
Massachusetts General Hospital 
Edward Wigglesworth Professor of Dermatology
Harvard Medical School

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.
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Sancy Leachman, M.D., Ph.D.

Director, Melanoma and Cutaneous Oncology Program, Huntsman Cancer Institute
Professor, Department of Dermatology, University of Utah
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Roger Lo, M.D., Ph.D.

Director, Melanoma Clinic in Dermatology
Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine, Dermatology
University of California, Los Angeles 
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David Polsky, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Dermatology and Pathology
Director, Pigmented Lesion Section 
NYU Langone Medical Center
Joan and Joel Smilow Research Center
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Susan M. Swetter, M.D.

Professor of Dermatology
Director, Pigmented Lesion & Melanoma Program
Stanford University Medical Center and Cancer Institute

Susan M. Swetter, MD, is Professor of Dermatology and Director of the Pigmented Lesion and Melanoma Program at Stanford University Medical Center and Cancer Institute. Dr Swetter received her BA with Distinction from the University of Virginia and her MD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. She completed an internship in internal medicine at University of California San Francisco, followed by a residency and a chief residency in dermatology at Stanford University Medical Center. She joined the Stanford Dermatology faculty in 1994 and has directed the Pigmented Lesion and Melanoma Programs at Stanford and VA Palo Alto since 1995. Dr. Swetter’s research interests include primary and secondary prevention strategies in melanoma and clinical studies of melanoma epidemiology, prognostic factors, and chemoprevention. She serves on the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Melanoma Panel and on the American Academy of Dermatology melanoma practice guidelines task force. She is the national dermatologist liaison to the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group’s Melanoma Committee and co-directs the Melanoma Prevention Working Group, a multi-center Intergroup collaboration dedicated to cancer control and melanoma prevention.
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Medical Oncology

Michael Atkins, M.D.

Deputy Director, Georgetown-Lombardi Cancer Center, Georgetown University
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Paul Chapman, M.D. - Chair

Attending 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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Thomas Gajewski, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor, Departments of Pathology and Medicine
University of Chicago 

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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F. Stephen Hodi, M.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute 
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Patrick Hwu, M.D.

Department Chair, Department of Melanoma Medical Oncology, Division Head, Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Dr. Patrick Hwu is considered one of the leading tumor immunologists in the country, and a primary force in the development of novel vaccine and adoptive T-cell therapies. His laboratory and clinical work have led to insights and advances in the understanding of the interactions between tumors and the immune system, and the development of cellular immunotherapies. He was recruited to be the first Chairman of the Department of Melanoma Medical Oncology in 2003. Since that time, he has also served as Associate Director of the Center for Cancer Immunology Research and is the current Chair of MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Promotion and Tenure Committee. His laboratory is significantly funded by the National Cancer Institutes. He is the principal investigator on three RO1 translational immunotherapy grants, as well as a P01 comprehensive program grant that is investigating the use of plasmacytoid dendritic cells to enhance immunotherapy. Dr. Hwu is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Immunotherapy. He is a frequently requested national and international lecturer. He has published more than 90 peer-reviewed articles. Dr. Hwu is the recipient of numerous awards such as the George and Barbara Bush Endowment for Innovative Cancer Research in 2004, the Robert R. Herring Professorship in Clinical Research 2004 – 2007, the Moshe Talpaz Endowed Chair in Immunology from 2007 to present, and the Division of Cancer Medicine Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program Mentor of the Year for FY2009, just to name a few.
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Howard Kaufman, M.D. 

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Patricia LoRusso, D.O.

Professor of Medicine, Associate Director of Innovative Medicine, Yale Cancer Center
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Kim Margolin, M.D.

Professor of Medicine
Stanford University
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Antoni Ribas, M.D., Ph.D.

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.
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Lynn Schuchter, M.D. - Chair

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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Jedd Wolchok, M.D., Ph.D

Associate Professor
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
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Surgical Oncology

Charlotte Ariyan, M.D.

Assistant Attending, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
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Jeffrey Gershenwald, M.D.

Professor, University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
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Suzanne Topalian, M.D.

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 and subsequently a Senior Investigator in the National Cancer Institute, NIH.  She joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2006 to direct the Melanoma Program in the Kimmel Cancer Center.  

Dr. Topalian is a physician-scientist whose studies of human anti-tumor immunity have provided a foundation for the translational development of cancer vaccines, adoptive T cell transfer, and immunomodulatory monoclonal antibodies.  Her current research focuses on manipulating immune checkpoints such as PD-1 in cancer therapy, and discovering biomarkers predicting clinical outcomes.  Dr. Topalian was named one of Nature’s 10 in 2014, and received the Karnofsky Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology in 2015.  Her work has opened new avenues of scientific investigation in cancer immunology and immunotherapy, and has established this modality as a treatment approach in oncology.  
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Jeffrey S. Weber, M.D., Ph.D.

Deputy Director and Head, Experimental Therapeutics, Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center
Professor of Medicine at the NYU Langone Medical Center

Jeffrey Weber 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.