Chief Science Officer
Dr. Perkins joined the Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA) as Chief Science Officer in 2013 where she is responsible for the development and implementation of MRA’s scientific strategy to eliminate suffering and death due to melanoma. Her interests center on translational research including genomics, drug discovery and advancement of novel therapeutic approaches. Prior to joining MRA, she was Chief Scientific Officer at the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) for five years, following a 16-year research career at two major pharmaceutical companies.
While at the MMRF, Dr. Perkins led the continued growth of its venture philanthropy investments including its Biotech Investment Award program. She was responsible for the expansion of the MMRF’s Genomics Initiative, which sequenced the first myeloma tumor genome in 2009 and comprehensively analyzed 250 myeloma patient samples with an array of genomic technologies including next-gen sequencing. She also led development of the genomics and data sharing strategy underpinning the 1,000 patient longitudinal study, CoMMpass, to develop new targets and biomarkers through deep clinical and molecular data capture and analysis.
Before transitioning to the non-profit space, Dr. Perkins was Director of Cancer Research at Bayer Pharmaceuticals and contributed to advancing novel targeted therapies toward clinical study, including Nexavar® and other innovative signal transduction inhibitors. While at Bayer, she also served as the Director of Research Licensing and was responsible for oncology licensing activities in support of cancer research programs. Prior to joining Bayer, she led a cancer research group at the Schering-Plough Research Institute where she participated in several early-stage research programs, including novel target-finding research using human genomics data.
Dr. Perkins received her PhD in Biological Chemistry from the University of Michigan and conducted postdoctoral studies at Princeton University in the Department of Molecular Biology. Prior to graduate school, she earned a BS in Zoology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Perkins is a member of the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research and of the Health Research Alliance.