About MRA » Scientific Advisory Panel
The Scientific Advisory Panel advises the MRA leadership team on scientific matters and policies of MRA including research needs and opportunities that may be targeted for funding and planning scientific symposia.
Professor of Surgery and Oncology
Director, Melanoma Program, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center
Johns Hopkins University
Dr. Topalian is a physician-scientist credentialed in general surgery, with specialty training in surgical oncology and cancer immunology. After a 21-year tenure in the Surgery Branch of the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, she joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in June 2006 to lead the newly-established Melanoma Program in the Kimmel Cancer Center. She has published over 100 original research articles and reviews on cancer immunology, and is internationally recognized for this work. Dr. Topalian's basic studies of human anti-tumor immune responses have provided a foundation for the translational development of immunotherapies for melanoma and other cancers, including cancer vaccines, adoptive T cell transfer, and immunomodulatory monoclonal antibodies. She was a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology's Melanoma Program Committee 2007-2008.
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Senior Advisor for Translational Research, Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health
Dr. Austin is Scientific Director NIH Center for Translational Therapeutics (NCTT) and Director of the Division of Preclinical Innovation at the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). The NCTT’s mission is to both translate basic science discoveries into new treatments, particularly for rare and neglected diseases, and to develop new technologies and paradigms by which therapeutic development is done. The NCTT’s programs span the spectrum of translational science from RNAi biology to small molecule probe discovery to drug development, including Genome-wide RNAi, the NIH Chemical Genomics Center (NCGC), the Therapeutics for Rare and Neglected Diseases (TRND) program, and the Bridging Interventional Development Gaps (BrIDGs, formerly the NIH-RAID) program. The NCGC is an ultrahigh-throughput screening, informatics, and chemistry center that profiles small molecule libraries for biological activity using its qHTS technology, and develops novel compounds as probes of biology and starting points for the development of new drugs for rare and neglected diseases. The NCGC is a partner with NTP, EPA, and FDA in the Toxicology in the 21st Century (Tox21) Program, which is developing in vitro signatures for in vivo toxicity endpoints. The TRND program develops small molecules and biologics from lead to clinical proof-of concept for rare and neglected diseases. Before joining NIH in 2002, Dr. Austin directed research programs genomics-based target discovery, pharmacogenomics, and neuropsychiatric drug development at Merck, with a particular focus on schizophrenia. Dr. Austin received his A.B. in biology summa cum laude from
Princeton, and his M.D. from Harvard Medical School. He completed clinical training in internal medicine and neurology at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and a postdoctoral fellowship in genetics at Harvard.
Chief Medical Officer, Life Technologies
Board certified internist and clinical geneticist Dr. Paul R. Billings serves as Chief Medical Officer of Life Technologies Corporation, a new position aimed at improving patient care through expanding the use of medically relevant genomic technologies in clinical settings. Dr. Billings brings extensive expertise and health care experience in the areas of genomics and molecular medicine. Most recently, he served as Director and Chief Scientific Officer of the Genomic Medicine Institute at El Camino Hospital, the largest community hospital in the Silicon Valley. He was a member of the United States Department of Health and Human Services Secretary's Advisory Committee on Genetics, Health and Society. He currently serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Food and Drug Administration, the Genomic Medicine Advisory Committee at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the IOM Roundtable on Genomics. Dr. Billings has had a distinguished career as a physician and researcher. He has been a founder or chief executive officer of companies involved in genetic and diagnostic medicine, including GeneSage, Omicia and CELLective Dx Corporation. Previously, he was senior vice president for corporate development at Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings (LabCorp). He has held academic appointments at some of the most prestigious universities in the United States, including Harvard Medical School, U.C. San Francisco, Stanford University School of Medicine and U. C. Berkeley, and has served as a physician at a number of prestigious medical centers. He is the author of nearly 200 publications and books on experimental and clinical medicine. Dr. Billings holds an M.D. from Harvard Medical School and a Ph.D. in immunology, also from Harvard University.
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Senior Vice President of Research, Plexxikon, Inc.
Dr. Bollag has served as senior vice president of research since June 2008, and has more than 20 years of biotechnology drug discovery experience. During his tenure at Plexxikon, the drug PLX4032 (now named vemurafenib) was discovered, developed, and approved for the treatment of metastatic melanoma. He joined Plexxikon as senior director of drug discovery in June 2002. Prior to Plexxikon, he helped build drug discovery capabilities at Syrrx, Inc., where he was the director of cellular pharmacology. Before Syrrx, he held escalating positions at Onyx Pharmaceuticals, initially as one of the founding scientists and eventually senior director of small molecule therapeutics. While there, Dr. Bollag was involved in the Onyx collaboration with Bayer to discover BAY 43-9006 (now named sorafenib), a kinase inhibitor that is now approved for the treatment of renal cell and hepatocellular carcinoma . Prior to Onyx, Dr. Bollag was a scientist at Cetus, Inc after he had earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley.
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Professor and Chair, Dept of Genomic Medicine
Scientific Director, Institute for Applied Cancer Science
University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
Lynda Chin, M.D., joined MD Anderson in September 2011 as chair of Genomic Medicine and as scientific director of the Institute for Applied Cancer Science. Chin received her M.D. from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, followed by clinical and scientific training at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where she was chief resident of dermatology.
For 14 years prior to joining MD Anderson, Chin was a member of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School community in Boston. She was professor of Dermatology at Harvard Medical School, member of the Department of Medical Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and senior associate member of the Broad Institute, where she was principal investigator of the Genome Data Analysis Center in The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). Chin also served as scientific director of the Belfer Institute for Applied Cancer Science and co-leader of Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center’s Melanoma Program and the Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant for skin research. She serves on the scientific steering committee of the International Cancer Genome Consortium.
Chin co-founded AVEO Pharmaceuticals in 2002, a cancer biotechnology company that emphasizes cancer biology and genetics to identify new targets with tumor maintenance roles. Most recently, she founded Metamark Genetics, a cancer diagnostic company that will develop function-based prognostic determinants that can guide customized care of cancer patients who have early-stage disease, including melanoma and prostate cancer.
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Vice President, Oncology, Product Development and Medical Affairs, Eli Lilly
Dr. Richard B. Gaynor received a bachelor of science degree in biology from Texas Tech University and a medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. Dr. Gaynor went on to do his residency in internal medicine at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, Texas and completed a fellowship in hematology-oncology at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Medicine where he served on the faculty for 10 years.
Prior to joining Lilly, Dr. Gaynor was a professor of medicine and microbiology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UTSW) in Dallas and held several important leadership positions. He was chief of the division of hematology at UTSW and director of the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center there in addition to his work as the Lisa K. Simmons Distinguished Chair in Comprehensive Oncology. He served on numerous NIH advisory committees and was elected to both the American Society of Clinical Investigation and Association of American Physicians.
Gaynor is on the editorial board of scientific journals and has an extensive publication record totaling more than 140 scientific articles. He serves on the board of the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation and the Walther Cancer Institute and on several committees for the American Association of Cancer Research. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee for Stand Up to Cancer.
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Chief, Melanoma Program
Director, Surgical Oncology Fellowship Program
John Wayne Cancer Institute
Dr. Morton is an accomplished surgical oncologist and a renowned clinical scientist whose fundamental discoveries have profoundly changed the treatment of human cancer. His pioneering work with intratumoral bacille Calmette-Guerin for melanoma represented the first successful clinical application of immunotherapy against a metastatic human cancer. His innovative studies of sentinel node mapping changed the standard of care for patients with early-stage malignant melanoma and other solid cancers that drain via the lymphatic system.
Dr. Morton has received NIH peer-reviewed research funding for 35 years; in the year 2000 he topped a list of clinical investigators who received the most grant funding from the National Institutes of Health (Science, June 15, 2001). Dr. Morton's scientific contributions towards the immunology of cancer and surgical oncology have yielded more than 600 publications in peer-reviewed journals and have garnered him a long series of prestigious awards and honors. Dr. Morton is the past President of the International Sentinel Node Society, the Society of Surgical Oncology, and the World Federation of Surgical Oncology Societies.
Dr. Morton was Chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology at UCLA before establishing the John Wayne Cancer Institute at Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California. As Chief of the Melanoma Program, Dr. Morton has guided the Institute to its present position as an internationally respected melanoma center. As Director of the Surgical Oncology Fellowship Program, Dr. Morton has trained more than 100 postdoctoral fellows, most of whom hold academic positions in medical schools or cancer institutes.
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Enid A. Haupt Chair in Medical Oncology
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Dr. Rosen is a Member of the Department of Medicine and the Program in Molecular Pharmacology and Chemistry at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where he serves as the Head of Developmental Therapeutics. He is also a Professor of Pharmacology, Cell Biology and Medicine at the Cornell University Medical School.
Dr. Rosen received his undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Columbia College and an M.D., Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He completed a residency in Internal Medicine at the Brigham and Women's Hospital and post-doctoral training and a fellowship in Medical Oncology at the National Cancer Institute. He was on the senior staff of the Medicine Branch at the U.S. National Cancer Institute prior to joining the faculty of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
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Chief, Surgery Branch
* National Cancer Institute
Dr. Rosenberg is Chief of Surgery at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland and a Professor of Surgery at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences and at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, DC. Dr. Rosenberg received his B.A. and M.D. degrees at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland and a Ph.D. in Biophysics at Harvard University. After completing his residency training in surgery in 1974 at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, Dr. Rosenberg became the Chief of Surgery at the National Cancer Institute, a position he has held to the present time.
Dr. Rosenberg has pioneered the development of immunotherapy that resulted in the first effective immunotherapies for selected patients with advanced cancer. He has also pioneered the development of gene therapy and was the first to successfully insert foreign genes into humans as treatment for cancer. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, is author of over 820 scientific articles.
* Dr. Rosenberg serves on the MRA Scientific Advisory Panel in his personal capacity.
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Senior Vice President
Clinical Development and Medical Affairs
Secretary of Health & Mental Hygiene, State of Maryland