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.

 

Dermatology

 

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 Research Program, Knight Cancer Institute

Sancy Leachman, M.D., Ph.D., is a physician-scientist who chairs the Department of Dermatology and is the director of the Melanoma Research Program at the Knight Cancer Institute. She is a dermatologist using basic science research and state-of-the-art technology to combat skin cancer. Her clinical interests include skin cancers, especially melanoma, pigmentary disorders that result from abnormalities of melanocytes such as vitiligo, and genetic disorders that involve the skin such as pachyonychia congenita, Cowden syndrome, and other cutaneous cancer syndromes. In addition to seeing patients with pigmentary disorders, she sees general dermatology patients at the Center for Health & Healing and the Lake Oswego dermatology clinics. Prior to joining OHSU in 2013, Dr. Leachman was at the University of Utah, where she was director of the Melanoma and Cutaneous Oncology Program in the Huntsman Cancer Institute, a professor in the Department of Dermatology, and member of the Imaging, Diagnostics, and Therapeutics Program and the Cancer Control and Population Sciences Program. Leachman was a key figure in developing the Melanoma and Cutaneous Oncology Program at Huntsman Cancer Institute. We are excited to have her talent in team building in Oregon to improve the care of patients in our community by bringing together researchers and physicians with an interest in melanoma and other skin cancers in order to bring knowledge and expertise from the laboratory into the clinical realm. Leachman’s research examines the role of genetic predisposition and differential gene expression in the development of melanoma, with an emphasis on the familial melanoma syndrome. Through her investigations, she is seeking to develop agents that will serve as diagnostic tools, prognostic indicators, or targeted agents for the prevention of melanoma. Leachman also worked on a DNA vaccination study to prevent and treat papillomavirus-induced squamous cell carcinoma at Yale University School of Medicine where she completed her residency training and research fellowship. Leachman was awarded the prestigious Doris Duke Clinical Scientist Development Award in 2000 and is currently an NIH R01- and Department of Defense-funded principle investigator.
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Roger Lo, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor, Departments of Medicine & Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine and Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center

Dr. Lo earned his B.S. degree from Stanford University and M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the Tri-institutional Cornell/Sloan-Kettering/Rockefeller MD-PhD Program (2003). He finished postdoctoral training at UCLA in 2008. Dr. Lo’s laboratory studies therapeutic resistance as a way to gain insights into patient-relevant melanoma biology.


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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

Michael B. Atkins, MD, is Deputy Director of the Georgetown-Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, DC, William M. Scholl Professor and Vice Chair of Oncology and Professor of Medicine (Hematology/Oncology) at Georgetown University School of Medicine.  He is co-leader of the MedStar Georgetown Cancer Network Melanoma Program and leader of the Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy initiative for Lombardi.   Prior to his move to Georgetown, Dr. Atkins was Deputy Chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology, Director of the Cancer Clinical Trials Office, Director of the Cutaneous Oncology Program, and Director of the Biologic Therapy Program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC). In addition, he was the leader of the Kidney Cancer Program at the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center and Professor of Medicine at the Harvard Medical School. He served as Director of the DF/HCC Kidney Cancer Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant and co–principal investigator of the DF/HCC Skin Cancer SPORE since their inceptions in 2003 and 2001, respectively. Dr. Atkins’ major research interests are cancer immunotherapy, treatment of melanoma and renal cell carcinoma, predictive markers for response to biologic therapy, and antiangiogenic and targeted therapies. He has authored over 400 peer reviewed original research articles, book chapters, review articles and editorials and edited three books.
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Paul Chapman, M.D.

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 

Dr. Stephen Hodi is the Director of the Melanoma Center and the Center for Immuno-Oncology at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, the Sharon Crowley Martin Chair in Melanoma at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.  Dr. Hodi is a graduate of Harvard University and Cornell University Medical College.  He completed his postdoctoral training in In¬ternal Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and his medical oncology training at Dana-Farber cancer Institute, where he joined the faculty in 1998. His research focuses on gene therapy, the development of immune therapies, and first into human studies for malignant melanoma.  Dr. Hodi is a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Association for Cancer Research, the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Melanoma Committee, the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer, the European Academy of Tumor Immunology and a founding member of the Society for Melanoma Research. Dr. Hodi is an internationally recognized leader in the development of immune therapy and melanoma therapeutics. In particular, he is known for the clinical development of immune checkpoint inhibitors.  His clinical investigation efforts have pioneered the use of immune checkpoint blockade and combinatorial approaches to treat cancer.  His publications include articles in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Journal of Clinical Oncology and the New England Journal of Medicine.
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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. 

Dr. Howard L. Kaufman has been a leading authority on tumor immunotherapy for the treatment of melanoma. He pioneered the development of recombinant viral vectors encoding eukarytoic tumor antigens and immune modulatory genes for cancer therapy and has conducted over 50 cancer vaccine and immunotherapy clinical trials. Dr. Kaufman has maintained an NIH-funded laboratory in tumor immunology for nearly 15 years. He was born in Chicago, Illinois and received his MD degree from Loyola University, did a residency in General Surgery at Boston University and completed fellowship training in Tumor Immunology and Surgical Oncology at the National Cancer Institute. He has previously held appointments as Chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology and Associate Director of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at Columbia University in New York City. In 2009 he was recruited to be the first Director of the Rush University Cancer Center in Chicago and in 2014, he was recruited to New Jersey as the Chief Surgical Officer and Associate Director for Clinical Sciences at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. Dr. Kaufman has published over 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers, books, review articles and abstracts and serves on the editorial board of several biomedical journals. He is the Editor-In-Chief of the Journal of Immunotherapy Applications and is a Senior Associate Editor at the Journal of Translational Medicine. He is a member of numerous professional societies and was elected President of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer. Dr. Kaufman has chaired several NIH grant review study sections and has been appointed to the Board of Directors of several professional organizations, including the Melanoma Research Foundation, American Cancer Society-Eastern Division and the University of Illinois Chicago. 

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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.

Clinical Professor, City of Hope National Medical Center

Dr. Margolin is a clinical investigator who has worked on melanoma trials of cytotoxic agents, molecularly-targeted drugs and a broad spectrum of immunotherapies.  She has a particular interest in the problem of melanoma metastatic to the brain as well as the use of adoptive cell therapy for melanoma.  She works with several intramural and extramural laboratories and collaborative groups, including the Melanoma Research Foundation’s breakthrough consortium, SWOG, and California Cancer Consortium.  She holds leadership positions in the Cytokine Working Group and the Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network and has served on the Board of Directors of the Society of the Immunotherapy of Cancer.  She has served a term on the Oncology Drugs Advisory Committee as well as a number of grant review committees and has contributed in many capacities to the American Society of Clinical Oncology.  Dr. Margolin graduated from the medical scientist training program at Stanford, completed a residency in internal medicine at Yale, and did fellowship training in hematology/oncology/bone marrow transplant at University of California, San Diego and City of Hope.  She remained on the faculty at City of Hope for 25 years, followed by professorship at the University of Washington/Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (6 years) and a professorship at Stanford (1 year) before returning to the City of Hope.

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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

Dr. Lynn Schuchter is the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine’s C. Willard Robinson Professor of Hematology/Oncology, she is the Chief of the Hematology/Oncology Division and Program Leader for the Abramson Cancer Center’s National Cancer Institute approved and funded Melanoma & Cutaneous Malignancies Research Program. Her research has focused on the development of new treatments for patients with melanoma in studies that have focused on immunotherapy and targeted approaches. Dr. Schuchter has utilized her senior administrative, clinical, and investigative leadership strengths and experiences at the University of Pennsylvania to foster translational research. She has extensive experience in melanoma translational research, and thus serves as an important link between basic scientists and clinical investigators. She is a recognized expert in the field of melanoma and an experienced investigator in the development and conduct of melanoma clinical trials. She has been the principal investigator of numerous phase I, phase II, and phase III melanoma clinical trials and widely published.  She is CoPI of the Skin Cancer/Melanoma SPORE grant awarded to Penn and the Wistar Institute.  She is the member of the scientific advisory committee for the Melanoma Research Association.  She is the Chair of the Scientific Program Committee for the 2016  American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting. Dr. Schuchter has a strong commitment to and passion for patient care and clinical research as well as teaching and mentoring young physicians and researchers.
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Jedd Wolchok, M.D., Ph.D

Associate Professor
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Dr. Wolchok is the Lloyd J. Old and Daniel K. Ludwig Chair in Clinical Investigation, Chief of the Melanoma and Immunotherapeutics Service, Attending Physician at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) with an expertise in the treatment of metastatic melanoma. He received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University and both M.D and Ph.D. from New York University, where he also fulfilled his residency program.  He completed his fellowship at MSK and remained on faculty with an appointment in the Melanoma and Immunotherapeutics Service, which he now leads. Dr. Wolchok has helped establish MSK as a leader in the discovery and treatment of cancers with novel immunotherapies. Dr. Wolchok was instrumental in the clinical development leading to the approval of ipilimumab for advanced melanoma and recently designed and led a global phase 3 trial of combined checkpoint blockade for melanoma. He has been at the forefront of cancer immunotherapy, as an active clinician scientist exploring innovative immunotherapeutic strategies in laboratory models and as a principal investigator in numerous pivotal clinical trials.  In 2011, he established the Immunotherapeutics Clinical Core, a specialized phase 1 outpatient unit at MSK that is focused on the conduct of novel immunotherapy trials, with a specific emphasis on pharmacodynamic biomarker identification. This group treats patients with a broad spectrum of malignancies and has become a model for similar efforts by other major cancer centers throughout the world.
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Surgical Oncology

Charlotte Ariyan, M.D.

Associate Attending, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Charlotte Ariyan, M.D., is a physician/scientist who specializes in the treatment of patients with melanoma . Dr. Ariyan completed her general surgical training at Yale and her surgical oncology training at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Her research is focused on investigating novel ways to allow the immune system to fight cancer.  She is the principal investigator of novel trials integrating local therapies in combination with immune therapies in melanoma.  She is also involved in multi-center clinical trials aimed at refining the surgical approach to melanoma through minimally invasive lymph dissection.
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Jeffrey Gershenwald, M.D.

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

Jeffrey E. Gershenwald, MD, FACS, is the Dr. John M. Skibber Professor of Surgery in the Department of Surgical Oncology and a Professor in the Department of Cancer Biology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (MD Anderson) in Houston, Texas. He is also the Medical Director of the MD Anderson Melanoma and Skin Center. Dr. Gershenwald received his M.D. from Cornell University Medical College, and after completing his general surgery residency at The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, he completed a fellowship in Surgical Oncology at MD Anderson before joining its faculty. In addition to his active surgical oncology practice focused on the care of patients with melanoma, Dr. Gershenwald's research focuses on integrated clinical-, pathological-, and molecular-based prognostic and predictive modeling in melanoma. He currently co-leads the inaugural MD Anderson Melanoma Moon Shot research program, an ambitious initiative that spans the melanoma continuum from public policy and prevention research initiatives to reduce ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure in youth to leveraging our understanding of the molecular and immune underpinnings of melanoma to improve treatment options for patients with early-stage and advanced melanoma. Dr. Gershenwald is a member of the Executive Committee of the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) and its 8th edition Editorial Board, and Chair of its Melanoma Expert Panel. He serves as a member of the Surgical Oncology Board of the American Board of Surgery. Recently, Dr. Gershenwald co-led the melanoma project of The NIH-funded Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) program. He has published more than 200 articles in peer-reviewed journals, as well as more than 100 editorials, abstracts, invited articles, and other publications; for the past 13 years, Dr. Gershenwald has been listed in America’s Best Doctors.
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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. 

 

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