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.

Please note: All organizational affiliations and titles are listed for identification purposes only. All individuals serve in their personal capacity and not as a representative of their employer. 

Ana Anderson, Ph.D

Associate Professor, Neurology 
Harvard Medical School

Associate Scientist, Neurology
Brigham And Women's Hospital

Associate Member
Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

Dr. Anderson is currently an Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, Associate Scientist at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Associate Member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and core faculty member of the Evergrande Center for Immunologic Diseases. Her laboratory identified the inhibitory molecule Tim-3 as a key regulator of T cell dysfunction in cancer. Prior to working in the field of cancer immunology, Dr. Anderson worked in the field of autoimmunity. Dr. Anderson has published over 49 original papers, 19 reviews, and 5 book chapters. Her work on checkpoint receptors has laid the foundation for the translation of blocking antibodies against several receptors into clinical trials for cancer.

 She has had several papers selected as either ‘must-read’ or ‘recommended’ by the Faculty of 1000. Dr. Anderson is on the editorial board for OncoImmunology, Cellular Immunology, and The Journal for Immunotherapy of Cancer. She served on the scientific advisory board for CoStim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which was acquired by Novartis for their immunotherapy programs. She currently serves on the scientific advisory boards for Tizona Therapeutics, Compass Therapeutics, Zumutor Biologics, and Astellas Pharma Global Development.

∧ back to top

Andrew Aplin, Ph.D

The Kalback-Newton Professor in Cancer Research
Associate Director, Basic Research
Program Leader, Cancer Cell Biology & Signaling
NCI-designated Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center
Professor, Department of Cancer Biology

Thomas Jefferson University

Andrew E. Aplin is the Associate Director for Basic Science and the Program Leader for Cancer Cell Biology and Signaling in the NCI-designated, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center. His research elucidates mechanisms underlying aberrant growth and invasion in melanoma and the influence of the tumor microenvironment. In the past 18 years, his lab has identified downstream targets of mutant BRAF signaling and shown their contribution to malignant traits in melanoma. One focus is the role mutant BRAF regulated transcription factors. They have shown that BRAF-MEK-ERK1/2 signaling differentially regulates FOXD3 and TWIST1 and demonstrated the opposing roles of these transcription factors in melanoma invasion. Another area of focus is the determinants of response and mechanisms of resistance to RAF inhibitors in BRAF V600E melanomas. To facilitate these efforts, his group has developed novel models to quantitatively measure ERK1/2 signaling in melanoma tumors in vivo. A third area is response and resistance to next generation RAF inhibitors, ERBB3 neutralizing antibodies and CDK4/6 inhibitors in different genetic subsets of melanoma. Through collaborations with clinicians on the Jefferson campus, he is extending his group’s studies into ocular melanoma. Dr. Aplin is a regular member of the NIH study section, Molecular Cancer Therapeutics-1 (MCT1) and served as a Discussion Leader on NCI SPORE review panels. He is a past co-editor of Pigment Cell and Melanoma Research and serves on the editorial board of Cancer Research and Molecular Cancer Research.

 back to top

Charlotte Ariyan, M.D., Ph.D.

Carol Bassok Lowenstein Endowed Chair
Memorial Sloan Kettering

Charlotte Ariyan is physician-scientist and co-leader of the melanoma disease management team at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Dr Ariyan is the melanoma section editor for the Annals of Surgical Oncology, Chair of the melanoma/sarcoma committee for the complex surgical oncology certifying exam. She is an active member of the international neoadjuvant melanoma consortium and the Society for Immunotherapy in Cancer (SITC) melanoma guidelines committee. Dr Ariyan’s laboratory research has focused on strategies to augment the immune system to fight cancer, specifically by novel combinations of local therapies (chemotherapies and viruses) with checkpoint blockade engaging in cutting-edge laboratory research with the goal of rapid translation to clinical application. The laboratory has also focused on understanding rare melanoma subtypes of melanoma such as acral melanoma, as well as integration of surgery with new systemic agents.

 back to top

Boris Bastian, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor, Dermatology and Pathology
Gerson and Barbara Bass Bakar Distinguished Professor, Cancer Research
Leader, Cutaneous Oncology

University of California, San Francisco

Dr. Boris Bastian is a dermatologist and dermatopathologist with expertise in diagnosing and treating patients with cutaneous neoplasms. He has expertise in molecular cancer genetics and molecular pathology and leads a research laboratory at the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Since 1997 his research has focused on the molecular pathogenesis of melanoma and revealed the existence of distinct disease subtypes that differ in their underlying genetic alterations, epidemiology, anatomic distribution, clinical and microscopic appearance, evolution from precursor lesions, role of UV radiation, and cell of origin. The Bastian Lab also has contributed to the discovery of oncogenic alterations such as mutations in KIT, GNAQ, GNA11, HRAS, and a whole panel of oncogenic fusion genes of various receptor tyrosine and threonine kinases in various melanocytic neoplasms. Dr. Bastian has developed clinical tests to assist pathologists with the diagnosis of histologically ambiguous lesions, which have been adopted word-wide. He has proposed a two-dimensional taxonomy of melanocytic neoplasia that has been adopted as the framework for the revised WHO Classification of Skin Tumors. He founded and directs the Clinical Cancer Genomics Laboratory at UCSF, which performs genomic analyses of tumor samples of patients seen at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and have additional clinical responsibilities in the in the Dermatopathology Section of the Departments of Dermatology and Pathology.

∧ back to top

Emily Bernstein, Ph.D. 

Professor, Oncological Sciences
Professor, Dermatology

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Dr. Bernstein is an Associate Professor of Oncological Sciences and Dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. She performed her thesis research in the laboratory of Dr. Gregory Hannon at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory with a PhD from Stony Brook University. Dr. Bernstein completed her postdoctoral studies with Dr. David Allis at The Rockefeller University. She has made important scientific contributions to various areas of biology during her career, including understanding the mechanisms underlying RNA interference and chromatin regulation, and more recently, how the latter can impact on disease. Her laboratory studies epigenetic mechanisms underlying stem cell biology and reprogramming, and cancer initiation and progression with a focus on malignant melanoma.

∧ back to top

Nina Bhardwaj, M.D., Ph.D. 

Professor, Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology
Professor, Urology

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Dr. Bhardwaj's research focuses on the study of dendritic cells, which serve a crucial function as sentinels of the immune system. They are potent antigen-presenting cells which integrate microbe sensing, antigen display, and context-dependent instruction to T cells, to direct the appropriate type of immune response. The Bhardwaj lab focuses on combining fundamental research in dendritic cell biology with innovative translational and clinical approaches. We are thus investigating specialized cytokine secretion, antigen presentation, T cell skewing, interactions with NK cells, and optimal methods of antigen delivery for vaccines using dendritic cells, in HIV, autoimmunity and cancer.

 back to top

Marcus Bosenberg, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor of Dermatology, Pathology, and Immunobiology
Co-Leader, Genomics, Genetics and Eipgenetics Program
Co-Director, SPORE in Skin Cancer
Practicing Dermatopathologist, Yale Dermatopathology

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.

 back to top

Richard Carvajal, M.D.

Deputy Physician-in-Chief
Director of Medical Oncology
Northwell Health Cancer Institute
R.J. Zuckerberg Chair in Medical Oncology
Professor of Medicine
Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell

Richard Carvajal, MD, is a leader in rare melanoma research and early phase drug development. As deputy physician-in-chief and director of medical oncology at the Northwell Health Cancer Institute, Dr. Carvajal leads all hematology and medical oncology programs across Northwell’s cancer network, the largest in New York State. Dr. Carvajal is also the R. J. Zuckerberg Chair in Medical Oncology and professor of medicine at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell. Dr. Carvajal received his medical degree from NYU Grossman School of Medicine. Prior to joining Northwell, Dr. Carvajal led the Developmental Therapeutics Service at MSK Cancer Center. He then served as director of Experimental Therapeutics and director of the Melanoma Service at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, as well as co-lead of the Precision Oncology and Systems Biology Program at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Carvajal has authored or co-authored more than 250 peer-reviewed articles, books, and book chapters. He serves on the editorial boards of six cancer journals.

 ∧ back to top

Tanja de Gruijl, Ph.D.

Professor, Translational Tumor Immunology
Head Immunotherapy Lab

Amsterdam University Medical Centers, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam

Tanja de Gruijl heads the Immunotherapy and Immune monitoring Lab of the Department of Medical Oncology of Amsterdam UMC, Vrije Universiteit-Cancer Center Amsterdam, The Netherlands. She has over 25 years of experience in the field of tumour immunology and has co authored more than 200 research papers. Her research ranges from preclinical topics to immune monitoring of Phase I-III clinical trials. Her main line of research is the in vivo targeting and modulation of dendritic cells. Further topics of research include tumor-mediated immune suppression, control of myeloid differentiation, immunological arming of oncolytic adenoviruses, nanobody-mediated targeting of (NK)T-cell subsets, and the immune potentiation of tumor-draining lymph nodes and  the tumor microenvironment.  She is associate editor for Cancer Immunology Research and Clinical and Experimental Immunology. In addition to her involvement in MRA, she is a member of the scientific council of the Dutch Cancer Society, has chaired the Dutch Tumour Immunology Working Party, and is co-chair of the International Advisory Committee and has recently been elected as at-large director on the Board of Directors of the Society for the Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC). She received her Master's degree in Medical Biology from the University of Utrecht, and her PhD from the VU University in Amsterdam.

 ∧ back to top

Stephanie Dougan, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator, Cancer Immunology and Virology
Associate Professor of Immunology, Harvard Medical School
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Stephanie Dougan received her PhD in immunology from Harvard University in 2007 after studying NKT cells and CD1d antigen presentation with Dr. Richard Blumberg. She then performed postdoctoral work at the Whitehead Institute with Dr. Hidde Ploegh. While at Whitehead, she collaborated with Dr. Rudolf Jaenisch to learn somatic cell nuclear transfer and generate a panel of transnuclear mice. Stephanie Dougan joined the DFCI and Harvard faculty in 2014.

 ∧ back to top

David Fisher, M.D., Ph.D.

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.

 back to top

 back to top

Thomas Gajewski M.D., Ph.D

Professor, 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.

 back to top

Jeffrey Gershenwald, M.D.

Professor, Surgical Oncology
Professor, Cancer Biology

The University of Texas MD Anderson

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.

 back to top

J. William Harbour, M.D.

Professor, Ophthalmology Mark J. Daily Chair in Ophthalmology Secondary Appointment, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Bascom Palmer Eye Institute
Vice Chairman, Translational Research
Director, Ocular Oncology
Eye Cancer Site Disease Group Leader
Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center Associate Director, Basic Research

University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

J. William Harbour, M.D., a pioneering ocular oncologist and cancer researcher whose genetic discoveries are transforming the diagnosis and treatment of uveal melanoma and other eye cancers.  He attended Johns Hopkins for medical school, Wills Eye Hospital for residency, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute for retina fellowship, University of California San Francisco for ocular oncology fellowship, and Washington University in St. Louis for post-doctoral cancer research training.  He was on the faculty of Washington University for 16 years, rising to the rank of Distinguished Professor before being recruited to the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center of the University of Miami in 2012.  He is now the Dr. Mark J. Daily Endowed Professor, Vice Chairman for Translational Research at Bascom Palmer and Associate Director for Basic Research at Sylvester.  His research laboratory has been continuously funded for the past 20 years and uses methods in biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, epigenetics and genomics to understand the pathogenesis, identify biomarkers, and discover treatments for eye cancers.  His discovery of mutations in BAP1 has triggered to an intense international interest in this tumor suppressor, and his group was the first to show that BAP1 mutations can be transmitted in the germline as part of the newly discovered BAP1 familial cancer syndrome.    

Dr. Harbour’s lab developed a clinical prognostic test for uveal melanoma that is now the industry standard and is used for routine clinical testing at the vast majority of ocular oncology centers in North America.   His group has discovered mutations in SF3B1, another important cancer gene in uveal melanoma that is associated with intermediate metastatic risk.  Recently, the Harbour lab discovered yet another prognostic biomarker in uveal melanoma, aberrant expression of the proto-oncogene PRAME, which is associated with tumor progression, chromosomal instability and increased metastatic risk.  Ongoing research efforts focus on the use of these discoveries as “companion prognostic” biomarkers that link high-risk patients to innovative new therapies based on their molecular profile.

 back to top

Ping Chi Ho, Ph.D.

University of Lausanne

Dr. Ping-Chih Ho is a cancer immunologist, and his research focuses on immunometabolism in T cells and macrophages. His laboratory explores how the metabolic crosstalk between cancer cells and tumor-infiltrating immune cells shapes the immunosuppressive microenvironment that helps tumors evade immune clearance. The lab's ultimate goal is to exploit this knowledge to develop interventions to reprogram the tumor microenvironment, reverse immunosuppression and broaden and boost the efficacy of cancer immunotherapy.

Dr. Ho's interests in cancer biology and signaling cascades began during his undergraduate and postgraduate training toward a master’s degree at National Taiwan University and grew over the course of his graduate studies toward a PhD at the University of Minnesota. During his postdoctoral training with Susan Kaech at Yale University, Dr. Ho focused on how T cells utilize aerobic glycolysis to support productive T cell immune responses and demonstrated how cancer cells evade T cell immunosurveillance.

Dr. Ho was recruited as an adjunct Ludwig scientist and tenure-track assistant professor in the Department of Oncology at the University of Lausanne in 2015 and became a full member of the Ludwig Institute in 2023, when he was promoted to full professor at the University of Lausanne.

His work is establishing a fundamental understanding of how tumor cells evade immunosurveillance through their metabolism, and how we can preprogram the metabolic machinery of immune cells to improve immunotherapy. His work is also delineating links between metabolic processes, signaling cascades and epigenetic programming in the activation and differentiation of T cells and macrophages.

Dr. Ho has receive several awards, including the Swiss Bridge Award, Anna Fuller Award, Cancer Research Institute-CLIP investigator award, Melanoma Research Alliance-SITC Young investigator Award and a European Research Council Starting Grant. He was recently named a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization’s Young Investigator Programme, and is also a member of the editorial board of the journal Immunometabolism.

 back to top

Eva M. Hernando-Monge, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Pathology
New York University Langone Health

Dr. Hernando-Monge obtained her PhD in Sciences (Molecular Biology) at the Universidad Autónoma (Madrid, Spain) in 1999. She conducted her post-doctoral studies at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and Cold Spring Harbor laboratories, co-supervised by Carlos Cordon-Cardo, MD PhD, and Scott W. Lowe, PhD. She joined the Department of Pathology at NYU School of Medicine in 2006 where she is currently a tenured professor and assistant dean for research integration. She has served as vicechair for the Department of Pathology and associate director for basic science for the Perlmutter Cancer Center, an NCI-designated Cancer Center. She has published more than 80 peer-reviewed articles, including reports at Nature, Nature Medicine, Nature Cell Biology and Cancer Cell. She is a permanent member of the Cancer Molecular Pathobiology [CAMP] NIH Study Section. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and visiting NYC parks and museums with her husband and two children.

 ∧ back to top

Thomas J. Hornyak, M.D., Ph.D.

Chair, Department of Dermatology, VA Maryland Health Care System
Associate Professor, Dermatology
Associate Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology UM
Associatew Chief of Staff, Research & Development, VA Maryland Health Care System

University of Maryland School of Medicine

Dr. Hornyak is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Dermatology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, and Associate Chief of Staff for Research & Development, VA Maryland Health Care System. His research activities are focused upon melanocyte developmental and stem cell biology and melanoma epigenetics, and he maintains a clinical interest and practice in pigmented lesions and melanoma. He is also currently the President of the Pan-American Society for Pigment Cell Research. He 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.

 back to top

Siwen Hu-Lieskovan, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Medicine
Director of Solid Tumor Immunotherapy
Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah

Dr. Siwen Hu-Lieskovan is an Associate Professor of Medicine, and Director of Solid Tumor Immunotherapy at the Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah. She received her Hematology/Oncology Fellowship training at UCLA and held a faculty position there after fellowship. She is a board-certified oncologist with clinical focus on melanoma/skin cancers and early phase testing of cancer immunotherapies in solid tumors. She is experienced with protocol development and conduct of immunotherapy-based clinical trials, and has been a principal investigator of industry-, investigator- and cooperative group-initiated clinical trials testing immune checkpoint inhibitors, oncolytic viruses, cancer vaccines and other immune-modulatory agents, as well as cell therapy with genetically modified T cells and hematopoietic stem cells. Dr. Hu-Lieskovan chairs the SWOG Immunotherapeutics Committee. She is a study chair and translational lead of several cross-NCTN protocols initiated by SWOG, including the immunoMATCH trial. She has been a scientific advisor on cancer immunotherapy drug development strategies for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry.

Dr. Hu-Lieskovan is a physician scientist with research focus on characterization of tumor immune microenvironment, development of biomarkers to predict response and resistance to immunotherapies, and combination strategies to overcome immune resistance, by studying patient-derived clinical samples and immune-competent (syngeneic) animal models. In the past, she and her research teams made contributions in understanding the role of driver mutations in oncogenesis and immune evasion, mechanisms of response and resistance to immune checkpoint inhibitors, and developing novel drug delivery systems. She led the first studies showing efficacy of nanoparticle delivered siRNA targeting oncogenes in treating metastatic cancers, and synergistic effect of combining BRAF and MEK inhibitors with immunotherapy in BRAF mutant melanoma. She has authored/co-authored research articles, reviews, editorials and book chapters in peer-reviewed journals and is a recipient of several prestigious awards and grants. Siwen is a member of the NCI Investigational Drug Steering Committee (IDSC) Immunotherapy Task Force, Society of ImmunoTherapy of Cancer (SITC) Biomarker Taskforce, ASCO, and AACR. She was an associate director of the UCLA Parker Institute of Cancer Immunotherapy supervising biobanking and translational studies. She currently serves in the ASCO annual meeting Education Committee Developmental Therapeutics Immunotherapy Track.

 back to top

Roger Lo, M.D., Ph.D

Director, Melanoma Clinic in Dermatology
Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Dermatology
Associate Professor, Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology

University of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine

Dr. Roger Lo is Professor and Associate Chief of Medicine/Dermatology and Program Director of the Dermatology STAR Residency at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine.  He earned his BS in Biology (Honors and Distinction, 1994, Stanford University) and his MD-PhD degrees from the Tri-institutional (Weill Cornell, MSKCC, and Rockefeller) Program in 2002. After residency and postdoc training at UCLA, he joined the faculty in 2008. Work from his group has been recognized for providing the major scientific rationale toward the use of inhibitors of BRAF and MEK in combination to effectively treat melanoma – a therapeutic approach that is now globally considered the standard of care. Studies from his group have provided rationale for additional clinical trials and foundational knowledge on the roles of tumor heterogeneity, non-genomic processes and the tumor microenvironment in determining clinical responses to mutation/immune-targeted therapies. His work has been published in Nature, New England Journal of Medicine, Cancer Discovery, Cancer Cell, and Cell. Dr. Lo was elected to American Society for Clinical Investigation in 2012 and American Dermatological Association in 2015. He received the 33rd Annual Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Research from the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) (2013), the inaugural AACR-Waun Ki Hong Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Research (2017), and the Milstein Innovation Award from the American Skin Association (2018). He currently serves on the Editorial Board of the AACR journal Cancer Discovery.

 back to top

David Lombard, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Pathology
Director, Cancer Biology Graduate Traning Program

University of Michigan

Dr. Lombard performed his doctoral studies with Dr. Lenny Guarente (MIT), a pioneer in sirtuin biology. After Pathology residency, Dr. Lombard pursued postdoctoral work in Dr. Fred Alt’s laboratory (HHMI), where he studied the sirtuins SIRT3 and SIRT6, supported by an NIA/NIH K08 award. Dr. Lombard was the first to describe a central role for SIRT3 in regulating mitochondrial protein acetylation (cited >900 times per Google Scholar). Subsequent studies have revealed that SIRT3 is a major player in regulating metabolism, cancer, and cardiac health. He set up his independent lab at the U-M in 2008. Among Dr. Lombard’s most significant more recent contributions have been describing SIRT6’s tumor suppressor function via metabolic regulation (Cell); and novel aspects of mitochondrial regulation by SIRT5 (Molecular Cell). He is a member of the Aging Cell and JBC editorial boards. He was named a New Scholar in Aging of the Ellison Medical Foundation, a member of The American Society for Clinical Investigation, the contact PI on a Melanoma Research Alliance Team Science project, a Scholar-Innovator of the Harrington Discovery Institute, a recipient of an AACR Innovation and Discovery award, and a regular member of the NIH study section CMAD. He serves as Director of the Cancer Biology doctoral program at the U-M, supported by T32CA009676. He also serves as Deputy Site Director for the NIA-funded Interventions Testing Program, which identifies small molecules that extend mouse health span and longevity.

∧ back to top

Michal Lotem, M.D.

Head, Center for Melanoma and Cancer Immunotherapy
Hadassah Hebrew University Medical Center

Michal Lotem, MD. Graduate of Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University; Board certified in Dermatology (1993) and Clinical and Radiation Oncology (1997). Post-doctoral research fellowship at the Surgery Branch, NCI, Bethesda, Md, USA. Prof. Michal Lotem combines intensive clinical work with scientific translational research. She is conducting anti-cancer vaccination protocols, adoptive cell therapy using tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and adoption of TCR-transduced cell therapy to the clinic. The Lotem's Lab is studying SLAM (signaling lymphocyte associated molecules) family of receptors, as targets for cancer immunotherapy. 

 back to top

Glenn Merlino, Ph.D.

Senior Investigator, Laboratory of Cancer Biology and Genetics
Head, Cancer Modeling Section
Scientific Director for Basic Research, CCR
National Cancer Institute

Dr. Merlino has contributed through his career to our understanding of receptor tyrosine kinase signaling, oncogenic transformation, transcriptional regulation, cell cycle regulation, multiple drug resistance and genomic instability. Currently, Dr. Merlino is seeking to elucidate the complex molecular/genetic programs governing melanoma genesis and progression through the development and analysis of genetically engineered mouse models. His models are being used to identify the molecular and microenvironmental mechanisms underlying UV induction of melanoma, as well as its metastatic spread. A translational goal is to develop improved preclinical melanoma models to study inherent and acquired resistance to targeted and immune-based therapeutics.

 back to top

Michael Postow, M.D.

Chief, Melanoma Service
Co-Director, Melanoma Disease Management Team
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Dr. Postow is the Chief of the Melanoma Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), where his practice is devoted solely to the care of people with melanoma. Dr. Postow leads an outstanding group of medical oncologists, nurses, and researchers with world-leading expertise in the treatment and management of melanoma. Many FDA-approved therapies for patients with melanoma were developed by Dr. Postow's team, including the combination of nivolumab (Opdivo®) and ipilimumab (Yervoy®). The regimen has since been recognized as a major scientific advance in melanoma by The American Society of Clinical Oncology.

 back to top

Poulikos Poulikakos, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Oncological Sciences
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Precision Immunology Institute
The Tisch Cancer Institute 

Dr. Poulikos I. Poulikakos is a biochemist and a cancer biologist whose research is focused on regulation of oncogenic signaling and tumor sensitivity and resistance to targeted cancer therapeutics. He completed his doctoral studies in Athens, Greece and he then moved for postdoctoral training first to Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia and subsequently to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center New York. During the course of that work, he brought to light hitherto underappreciated aspects of kinase regulation, controlled by conformational switch and dimerization, as well as novel mechanisms of resistance to drugs targeting MAPK signaling (BRAF and MEK inhibitors) in melanoma and other cancers. He subsequently developed a mechanistic model that explains and predicts the biochemical effects of diverse inhibitors based on their structural properties, thus enabling the use of specific inhibitors tailored for clinical contexts.

The long-term goal of his research group is to improve our understanding on the role of signal transduction networks in tumor resistance to targeted therapies and in tumor immunity, to help the design of more effective cancer therapies. The research program of his laboratory is focused on several important areas. They investigate oncogenic signaling by studying the effects of blocking the network at various points (RTK, SHP2, RAF, MEK, ERK, CDK4/6) on signaling and they are developing strategies to overcome adaptive and acquired resistance to these drugs, a major limitation in current therapeutic approaches to cancer. Secondly, they investigate the effect of targeted cancer therapies on immune signaling and on tumor immunity, with the goal of developing more effective integrated therapeutic strategies. Finally, they investigate novel approaches to target oncogenic signaling more broadly, using alternative pharmacologic approaches and next generation proteasome-targeted technologies. 

 back to top

Antoni Ribas, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor, Medicine
Professor, Surgery
Professor, Molecular and medical Pharmacology
Director, Turmor Immunology Program, Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC)
Chair, Melanoma Committee, SWOG

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.

∧ back to top

Caroline Robert, M.D., Ph.D.

Head, Dermatology Unit
Co-Director, Melanoma Research Unit
Professor, Dermatology

Institute Gustave Roussy

Caroline Robert is Head of the Dermatology Unit and Co-director of the Melanoma Translational Research Team INSERM U981 at Gustave-Roussy, Villejuif-Grand-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 and  co-director of the Melanoma Translational Research Team INSERM U981 in 2010. She is board member for the European Association of Onco-Dermatology (EADO), past-President of  the Melanoma group of the European Organization for the Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC), a member of the ESMO, AACR and ASCO. 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 250 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.

 back to top

Jonathan Simons, M.D.

Medical Director and Chief Science Officer
Marcus Foundation

Dr. Jonathan W. Simons* is a senior fellow with the Milken Institute and a member of the board of directors of FasterCures. An internationally recognized physician-scientist, oncologist and acclaimed investigator in translational research, he is the Medical Director and CSO at the Marcus Foundation in Atlanta, Georgia.

Prior to this, he served as president and CEO for 14 years at the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) in Santa Monica, Calif. At PCF he led teams of scientists to gain U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of 16 new therapies during his tenure. 

Before joining PCF 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 , Georgia's first NCI designated cancer center, and was 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 has been a funded physician-scientist in prostate cancer by the National Cancer Institute, the Department of Defense, PCF, and other biomedical research foundations since 1990. He is also board-certified in internal medicine and medical oncology.

 back to top

Craig Slingluff, M.D.

Professor, Surgery
Vice Chair, Research, Department of Surgery
Director, UVA Cancer Center Human Immune Therapy Center
Co-Chair, Melanoma Committee of ECOG

The University of Virginia

Dr. Craig Slingluff is the Joseph Helms Farrow Professor of Surgery at UVA Health System, where he serves as the vice-chair for research in the Department of Surgery, director of the UVA Cancer Center Human Immune Therapy Center, and co-chair of the Melanoma Committee of ECOG. He has 20 years of experience as a surgical oncologist and as an independent investigator in cancer immunology and immunotherapy, all at UVA. 

His research work includes laboratory studies and clinical trials, focused primarily on developing melanoma vaccines and combination immunotherapy, with extensive correlative studies. Since 1996, he has run 19 investigator-initiated clinical trials, most of which have been for melanoma vaccines, especially involving melanoma peptides. These studies have all included intensive immunologic correlates based on evaluating immunologic response in multiple tissue compartments. A major focus of his work now is on characterizing the metastatic melanoma microenvironment, especially including the molecular mediators of immune dysfunction versus tumor rejection. 

As a surgical oncologist, he facilitates collection of human tumor tissue for research, and has collected a large human tissue resource for ongoing and future correlative studies. This includes tumor microarrays linked to clinical outcome data. He is dedicated to development of new technologies and therapies for melanoma and other cancers. He has mentored over 20 research fellows and he has been funded continuously by the National Cancer Institute for 20 years for his work in translational and clinical research.

 back to top

Keiran Smalley, Ph.D.

Professor and Director of the Melanoma and Skin Cancers Center of Excellence
Moffitt Cancer Center

Dr. Smalley completed his PhD in Pharmacology at the University of Cambridge in 2000, before switching to work on melanoma as a post-doc at University College London, UK. He moved to the US in 2003 and worked for 5 years with Meenhard Herlyn at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia. In 2008, he started his lab at the Moffitt Cancer Center with a focus on drug resistance in melanoma. Today his lab has wide ranging interests across the melanoma spectrum including cutaneous melanoma, melanoma brain metastases, acral melanoma, uveal melanoma and pediatric melanoma.

 back to top

Marisol Soengas, Ph.D. 

Leader, Melanoma Group

Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) 

Since 2008, Dr. Soengas leads the Melanoma Group at the CNIO. The main objective of her team is to translate basic research in melanoma to the clinic by identifying novel markers of this disease and targets for drug development. Soengas has been recipient of fellowships and awards from both the Human Frontiers in Science Programme and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America. She has also received a Life Science Biomedical Scholar Award from the University of Michigan, the Diana Ashby Young Investigator Award from the Society for Melanoma Research as well as Career Development Awards from the American Dermatology Foundation, the Elsa V. Pardee Foundation and the V Foundation for Cancer Research. She has also been honoured with the Premio M. Josefa Wonenburger from the Xunta de Galicia.

∧ back to top

David B. Solit, M.D.

Director, Marie-Josee & Henry R. Kravis Center for Molecular Oncology

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Dr. Solit is a medical oncologist and laboratory scientist specializing in the treatment of many cancers using chemotherapy, targeted therapies, immunotherapy, or combinations of these drugs. He is involved with clinical trials, particularly trials of targeted drugs known as kinase inhibitors that block pathways inside cancer cells that cause the cells to grow or spread. Dr. Solit directs the Center for Molecular Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and leads a multidisciplinary team of clinicians, geneticists, bioinformaticians, and laboratory scientists.  

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.

 back to top

Susan M. Swetter, M.D.

Professor, Dermatology
Assistant Chief, Dermatology Service
Director, Pigmented Lesion & Melanoma Program
Physician Leader, Cancer Care Program in Cutaneous Oncology

Stanford University Medical Center & 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, as well as Physician Leader of the Cancer Care Program in Cutaneous Oncology. 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 chairs the American Academy of Dermatology melanoma clinical practice guidelines Work Group. Dr. Swetter 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.

 back to top

Jennifer Wargo, M.D., M.Ms.

Associate Professor, Surgical Oncology
Associate Professor, Genomic Medicine

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Dr. Wargo has significantly contributed to the knowledge of resistance mechanisms and the effect of targeted therapy on anti-tumor immunity. She joined MD Anderson in September 2013 to build a program collecting serial biopsies in patients, particularly those with melanoma, being treated with chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy. The goal of this program is to better understand responses to therapy and develop novel strategies to combat resistance. By studying patients with metastatic melanoma initially treated with immune checkpoint blockade, Wargo's research program uncovered important biomarkers of response. Potential mechanisms of therapeutic resistance to immune checkpoint blockade were also identified. These findings were published in the Summer 2016 edition of Cancer Discovery and have far-reaching implications for the use of immune checkpoint blockade in precision medicine. Currently, her team is examining the microbiome — the collective population of microorganisms that live in and on humans — to determine the role it plays in patient response to cancer therapy.

∧ back to top

Jeffrey Weber, M.D., Ph. D.

Deputy Director, Perimutter Cancer Center
Co-Director, Melanoma Research Program
Professor, Medicine

New York University 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 24 years, has been the principal investigator of the Moffitt Skin SPORE, and is the co-PI of the submitted NYU Melanoma SPORE. He has sat on numerous study sections, chairs the NCI Clinical Oncology Study section and has been instrumental in the development of the three immune oncology agents that have been approved by the FDA for melanoma in the last decade: 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 to show that PD-1 blocking antibody nivolumab showed benefit in patients with surgically resected melanoma at high risk or recurrence. 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 immune-oncology agents. 

 back to top

Xu Wu, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Dermatology

Massachusetts General Hospital

Before joining the faculty of MGH/HMS, Xu was a PI and Director of Biological Chemistry at Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (GNF) for six years. He has been working on chemical biology and drug discovery for regenerative medicine and cancer.

 back to top

Kai Wucherpfennig, M.D., Ph.D.

Chair, Cancer Immunology and Virology
Professor, Immunology, Harvard Medical School

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Dr. Wucherpfennig is a leader in cancer immunology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School. He serves as chair of the Department of Cancer Immunology and Virology at the Dana-Farber and is the co-leader of the Cancer Immunology Program of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center.

Dr. Wucherpfennig has worked in the T cell immunology field for more than 30 years, with a focus on the molecular mechanisms of antigen presentation and T cell recognition. His lab has defined key features of T cell receptor recognition of peptide-MHC complexes at a structural, biochemical and cellular level, and has also defined the molecular mechanisms responsible for the assembly of the T cell receptor – CD3 complex which is composed of six distinct chains. He showed that the polar interactions among the transmembrane domains that guide TCR-CD3 assembly are also highly relevant for many other receptors in the immune system. Most recently, his lab developed an in vivo shRNA screen to discover key negative regulators of T cell function in the tumor microenvironment. These genes are studied at a mechanistic level and are used as therapeutic targets to improve the efficacy of adoptive T cell therapy against solid tumors.

 ∧ back to top

Iwei Yeh, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Dermatology and Pathology
University of California, San Francisco

Dr. Iwei Yeh is a dermatologist and a dermatopathologist, a specialist in diagnosing skin cancer and other skin disorders by analyzing samples under a microscope. With her colleagues in the Clinical Cancer Genomics Laboratory, she studies mutations in cancer to propose novel therapies for patients with advanced disease. Yeh's research focuses on understanding the genetics of melanoma to improve treatment for advanced melanoma by studying the genetic changes that occur in melanocytic tumors – which start as benign moles or birthmarks and develop into melanoma – with the goal of providing more accurate diagnoses and additional treatment options. After earning a bachelor's degree in biochemical sciences at Harvard College, Yeh earned her medical degree and a doctorate in biomedical informatics at Stanford University School of Medicine. She completed a residency in dermatology at the University of Washington and a fellowship in dermatopathology at UCSF.

 ∧ back to top