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.

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. 



David Fisher, M.D., Ph.D

Edward Wigglesworth Professor & Chairman
Dept of Dermatology
Director, Melanoma Program MGH Cancer Center
Director, Cutaneous Biology Research Center
Massachusetts General Hospital
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.

 back to top

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

Professor and chair, Department of Dermatology, OHSU
Inaugural recipient, John D. Gray Endowed Chair in Melanoma Research
Director, Melanoma Research Program, OHSU Knight Cancer Institute

The inaugural recipient of the John D. Gray Endowed Chair in Melanoma Research and Chair of the Southwest Oncology Group Melanoma Prevention Working Group, she is a dermatologist using basic science research and state-of-the-art technology to combat skin cancer. 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. She is interested in prevention, early detection, and chemoprevention of melanoma, particularly in genetically predisposed melanoma families. 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 is passionate about fighting the “War on Melanoma” and has led the effort in building one of the largest national melanoma patient registries in Oregon. In line with the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute’s focus on the early detection of cancer, Leachman and team have developed a mobile phone app, MoleMapper, which tracks moles and their change and growth over time. MoleMapper will help to gather data for melanoma research and, potentially, impact health outcomes in individuals at risk. An updated version of the app is expected to launch in May 2017. Prior to joining OHSU in 2013, Dr. Leachman was director of the Melanoma and Cutaneous Oncology Program at Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, 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 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. Dr. Leachman earned an M.D., Ph.D. at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, 1993 and her B.A. at the University of Texas at Austin Plan II, 1985. Her residency was at Yale-New Haven Hospital (dermatology) in New Haven, CT; she completed a Fellowship in cutaneous oncology at Yale University School of Medicine, and is certified by the American Board of Dermatology.

 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 Polsky, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor, Dermatologic Oncology
Professor, Pathology
Director, Pigmented Lesion Service

New York University

Dr. Polsky received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He completed his residency in dermatology at the New York University Medical Center, and a post-doctoral research fellowship in molecular pathology at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Polsky joined the NYU faculty in 2000, and was appointed the Director of the Pigmented Lesion Clinic in 2008, succeeding his mentor and clinic founder, Dr. Alfred Kopf.  Dr. Polsky conducts clinical research focused on improving the diagnosis of melanoma at its earliest, surgically curable stage. He also directs a research laboratory that is developing blood and tissue based biomarkers to improve the management of patients with locally advanced and metastatic melanoma.

 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 


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.

 back to top 

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. 

 back to top

Keith Flaherty, M.D.

Professor, Medicine
Director, Henri and Belinda Termeer Center for Targeted Therapies, Mass General
Director, Clinical Research, Mass General
Richard Saltonstall Chair, Oncology
Massachusetts General Hospital 

Dr. Flaherty has authored or co-authored nearly 300 peer-reviewed primary research reports and review articles, with 37 additional chapters and solicited editorials. Principal among these are three, first-author publications in the New England Journal of Medicine describing the first-in-human clinical trial with the first selective BRAF inhibitor, PLX4032 (now known as vemurafenib), the phase III trial of trametinib (a MEK inhibitor) demonstrating improved progression-free and overall survival compared to conventional cytotoxic chemotherapy, and the phase I/randomized phase II trial demonstrating that combined BRAF/MEK inhibition substantially improves efficacy compared to BRAF inhibitor monotherapy. And, the definitive evidence of benefit of BRAF/MEK combination therapy was defined in the study published in Lancet for which Dr. Flaherty was senior author. These manuscripts define two quantum steps in the advancement of therapy for metastatic melanoma. Dr. Flaherty has co-authored an additional three New England Journal of Medicine manuscripts describing long-term survival benefit from vemurafenib, improved survival with vemurafenib compared to conventional chemotherapy, and the mechanism by which growth of cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas is triggered by vemurafenib and other BRAF inhibitors.

 back to top

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.

 back to top

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.

 back to top

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

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

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. 

 back to top

Patrick Hwu, M.D.

Department Chair, 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.

 back to top

Kim Margolin, M.D.

Medical Director of the Melanoma Program
Saint John's Cancer Institute

Dr. Margolin specializes in melanoma and other skin cancers with a focus on immunotherapy. She came to Providence/St. John’s from the City of Hope, where she worked for a total of 30 years, stopping out for 6 years at University of Washington and 1 year at Stanford. 

Dr. Margolin has co-led the Cytokine Working Group and the Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network, participated in SWOG’s Melanoma Committee, and served ASCO and the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer in many capacities. She has served on the FDA’s Oncology Drugs Advisory Committee and has been on two advisory committees to the European Organization for the Research and Treatment of Cancer.

Among her research interests are brain metastasis in melanoma and immunotherapy of skin cancers. Dr. Margolin will collaborate with surgeons and laboratory investigators at St. John’s and will lead the institute’s efforts in melanoma/skin cancer clinical trials.


 back to top

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.

 back to top

Hussein Tawbi, M.D., Ph.D

Director, Personalized Cancer Therapy
Deputy Chair, Melanoma Medical Oncology
Professor, Division of Cancer Medicine
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Dr. Tawbi serves as Deputy Chair and Professor in the Department of Melanoma Medical Oncology, Division of Cancer Medicine at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He also serves as the Director of Personalized Cancer Therapy. He is a co-founder and Co-Director of the MD Anderson Brain Metastasis Clinic. Dr. Tawbi obtained his MD in 2001 from the American University of Beirut, and completed his training in Internal Medicine, Hematology/Oncology, and obtained his PhD in Clinical and Translational Research at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Tawbi has designed, and conducted many Phase I and II clinical trials in melanoma and sarcoma. Specifically, he participated in the early studies of targeted agents and immunotherapy agents for metastatic melanoma. In addition to pioneering the use of checkpoint inhibitors in sarcoma, he has been interested in the study of special populations including patients with autoimmune disorders, and critically in patients with brain metastases. Dr. Tawbi has led the practice changing clinical trial of combination checkpoint inhibitors in patients with melanoma brain metastases (CheckMate-204). His translational research efforts have helped discover the role of B cells in the response to checkpoint inihibitor therapy in collaboration with Jen Wargo and Catherine and Wolff Fridman. Dr. Tawbi is nationally and interationally recognized as a leader in melanoma and immunotherapy drug development. He currently is an active member of SITC, the Society for Melanoma Research, AACR, ESMO, and ASCO.

 back to top

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. 

∧ back to top

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.

 back to top

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.

 back to top

Jeffrey Gershenwald, M.D.

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.

 back to top

Suzanne L. Topalian, M.D.

Professor, Surgery and Oncology, Johns Hopkins Medicine
Director, Melanoma Program, Kimmel Cancer Center
Associate Director, Bloomberg~Kimmel Inst. for Cancer Immunotherapy

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.  

 back to top