Scientist: Reham Abdel-Wahab, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Reham Abdel-Wahab is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Oncology at Assiut University – Egypt. She obtained her MD, MSc, and Ph.D. degrees and completed her clinical residency and fellowship oncology training at Assiut University. She had five years of postdoctoral fellowship training in the Department of GI Oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center, The University of Texas. Her current practice at Assiut University – Egypt and her extensive clinical and research experience in GI malignancies. Also, she holds the Chief Scientific Officer position for the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation, Utah, USA. She is the recipient of the 2018 ASCO Global Young Investigator Award, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Marion Edwards Fellowship Award in Hepatic Oncology, the Leadership Award from the American University of Beirut/Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center course of oncologic sciences, and the technology transfer grant award from the European Society for Radiation Oncology. She is recognized as an expert in hepatobiliary cancers with over 25 published articles, 55 meeting abstracts in national and international meetings, and few book chapters. She is on the editorial board of many journals. She has a record of more than 100 peer reviews in several well-recognized oncology journals.

Twitter: @Dr_R_Abdelwahab

Scientist: Philipp Aftimos, M.D.

Philippe Aftimos, M.D. is a medical oncologist and the Clinical Trials Development Leader at the Clinical Trials Conduct Unit of Institut Jules Bordet, a comprehensive cancer center in Brussels.

He works in the fields of breast cancer, new drug development and precision medicine. At Institut Jules Bordet, he heads the new drug development program at the Clinical Trials Conduct Unit. He has participated in the development of novel monoclonal antibodies and antibody-drug conjugates for the treatment of breast cancer as well as in the development of novel endocrine therapies. He currently leads multiple projects with agents targeting epigenetics. As a clinical research physician, he is a member of the think tank of the Oncodistinct network and is a member of the Scientific Executive Committee of the International Breast Cancer Study Group.

In the precision medicine field, Dr. Aftimos has participated in drafting the national Belgian NGS guidelines. He is co-PI of AURORA (Aiming to Understand the Molecular Aberrations of Metastatic Breast Cancer), a large European molecular screening program launched by the Breast International Group.  He is also co-PI of the Belgian Society of Medical Oncology precision medicine program, a national clinico-genomic data sharing program. He co-created and leads the Belgian national molecular tumor board.

Twitter: @aftimosp

Scientist: Meenakshi Anurag, Ph.D.

Meenakshi believes that cancer is a diverse and heterogeneous disease; hence one therapy will not be uniformly beneficial to all patients. To dissect heterogeneity at the molecular level, her research lab employs multi-omics analysis on data generated from patient tumors.  She implements integrated bioinformatic approaches to understand the role of mutations, structural variations, gene expressions, genomic alterations, proteomic and phospho-proteomic signatures in promoting cancer or driving drug resistance.  Her research lab focuses on improving cancer diagnosis, treatment, and survival by employing data science in precision medicine.

Scientist: Evandro de Azambuja, M.D., Ph.D.

Evandro de Azambuja, M.D., Ph.D., is the Head of the Medical Support Team (Academic Promoting Team) located at the Jules Bordet Institute in Brussels, Belgium. Dr. de Azambuja earned his first PhD from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil, in May 2007 and his second PhD from the Université Libre de Bruxelles (U.L.B) in December 2015.

His principal interest in oncology is breast cancer, especially in the adjuvant/neoadjuvant settings. He is deeply involved in the conduct of large phase III trials in breast cancer (some of them practice changing in breast cancer) such as HERA (adjuvant trastuzumab), ALTTO (trastuzumab and/or lapatinib), APHINITY (trastuzumab with or without pertuzumab), Alexandra (adjuvant atezolizumab in triple negative breast cancer) and – in the neoadjuvant setting – the LORELEI trial which tested the efficacy of PI3K inhibition in combination with endocrine therapy. He is also greatly engaged in studies concerning cancer toxicity of new drugs in oncology as well as in long-term follow-up of patients enrolled in clinical trials with focus in cardiotoxicity. Within the latter context, he was a co-author of guidelines on treatment-related cardiac toxicity by the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) and the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). He was past chair of the survivorship of the Belgian Society of Medical Oncology (BSMO).

Twitter: @E_de_Azambuja

Scientist: Igor Bado, Ph.D.

Dr. Igor Bado is an assistant Professor of Oncological Sciences in the Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai. He works on multi-processes involved in breast cancer metastasis and therapeutic resistance. Before his appointment at Mount Sinai, Dr. Bado was subsequently a postdoctoral fellow and an instructor in the Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine under the mentorship of Dr. Xiang H.-F. Zhang. He obtained his Ph.D. with Dr. Jan-Ake Gustafsson at the University of Houston, where he studied nuclear receptors in breast cancer. His current interest is to investigate the role of epigenetic plasticity in breast cancer metastasis.

Twitter: @BadoIgor

Scientist: Anne-Marie Baird, Ph.D.

Dr Anne-Marie Baird is a molecular biologist, who has worked extensively on lung and prostate cancer. Her research interests are in inflammation, drug resistance, disease biomarkers and the metastatic cascade. She is currently a Senior Research Fellow in Trinity College Dublin, Ireland and is an active member of many scientific committees and steering groups. Through the deaths of two family members from lung cancer, Anne-Marie became involved in lung cancer patient advocacy in 2012, and has been president of Lung Cancer Europe (LuCE) since May 2020.

Twitter: @BairdAM

Scientist: Tarah Ballinger, M.D.

Dr. Tarah Ballinger’s practice philosophy is to empower her patients to engage in a shared decision-making process with honest discussions at each step of treatment. She feels it is important to individualize care and to focus on the impact of cancer care on a patient as a whole person. Her clinical interests include high-risk and survivor breast oncology, particularly the role of physical activity and exercise. Aside from medicine, Dr. Ballinger enjoys spending time with her family and friends, running and cycling.

Twitter: @TarahBallinger

Scientist: Eliza Barragan, Ph.D.

Eliza Barragan is a scientist with a diverse background in molecular biology, genetics, neurobiology, and aging. She transitioned to cancer research when she was recruited to start a tissue and body donation program, aimed to accelerate research in the metastatic setting. As a translational scientist, Eliza strives to bring scientists and clinicians together to answer critical questions that impact the care and treatment strategies for patients in the clinic. She is passionate about making science accessible and easy-to-understand for patients.

Scientist: Traci Bethea, Ph.D.

Dr. Traci N. Bethea is an Assistant Professor in the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her research focuses on chemical and non-chemical stressors underlying cancer health disparities affecting Black women with a particular focus on estrogen receptor negative breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Her current work continues research on breast cancer subtypes in African American women and also examines risk factors for ovarian cancer and for sleep disturbances. Her research on modifiable factors and breast cancer survivorship is supported by a career development award from the National Cancer Institute. New research directions involve the study of environmental and social factors as predictors of health disparities in cancer incidence and survivorship and aims to “bridge the gap” between the biologic, individual, and macroenvironmental levels. Dr. Bethea received a PhD in Environmental Health from Boston University School of Public Health and completed postdoctoral training in cancer epidemiology with the Black Women’s Health Study at the Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University.

Twitter: @shelovesepi

Scientist: Paula Bos, Ph.D.

Paula D. Bos is Assistant Professor and Cancer Biology Program Co-Leader at the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Massey Cancer Center (MCC). She obtained a M.S. in Genetics working in molecular epidemiology of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection in cervical cancer (National University of Misiones, Argentina), a Ph.D. from Weill Cornell Medical College investigating tissue-specific metastasis biology, and did postdoctoral training in cancer immunology at Sloan-Kettering Institute. Her laboratory investigates tumor microenvironmental (TME) interactions that drive breast cancer progression and tissue-specific metastasis. Her work utilizes genetic models to delineate tissue-specific function of stromal cells, in particular regulatory T cells, in primary and secondary organ tumor microenvironments with the long-term goal of providing novel TME targets for therapeutic intervention. She currently serves in the AACR Tumor Microenvironment Steering Committee, and at NIH, ACS and DOD study sections.

Twitter: @PaulaDBos

Scientist: Carmen J. Calfa, M.D.

Dr. Calfa is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Associate Director of Community Outreach and Medical Director of Clinical Operations for the Survivorship Cancer Program at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. She has been recognized for her clinical care and research and has received the prestigious Zubrod 2020 Outstanding Clinical Researcher of the Year Award. Recognized for the work in the community, she is also the recipient of 2020 Miami Dolphins Everyday Hero Award.

In addition to being an outstanding and compassionate physician, she has dedicated her career to developing new treatment approaches for women with breast cancer and improving breast cancer survivorship. She is leading the Multidisciplinary Survivorship Clinic Program at Sylvester and she plays a key role in the Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Steering Committee. As Medical Director for Clinical Operations, Survivorship Cancer Program, she dedicates her efforts to not only improve survival by promoting access to innovative research but also quality of life for those diagnosed with cancer and their caregivers.

Twitter: @CarmenCalfa

Scientist: Neil Carleton, M.D. & Ph.D. Candidate

Neil holds a BS in Biomedical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. He completed the first two years of medical school training before transitioning to the Lee-Oesterreich Lab to start his PhD. He is currently studying breast cancer in the context of aging applying techniques that utilize single-cell RNA seq, organoids, and robust clinical samples. Neil enjoys running, cycling, and watching the Pens.

Twitter: @neil_carleton_

Scientist: Isaac Chan, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Isaac Chan is a physician-scientist who is dedicated to eliminating mortality associated with metastatic breast cancer. During his MD/PhD training at University of North Carolina and medical oncology fellowship at Johns Hopkins University, he developed the tools to execute a bench to bedside research vision that probes the relationship between breast cancer metastasis and the tumor environment. His research focuses 1) understanding how metastatic tumor cells can grow in distant organs and 2) discovering novel drug targets that activate a patient’s own immune cells to target metastatic cancer lesions. He chose UT Southwestern to launch his lab because of its strong laboratory-based history and foundation and the innumerable opportunities to apply basic science knowledge to clinical practice. In parallel to his research efforts, he continues to see patients, who inform and inspire his work in the lab. Outside of medicine, his interests include spending time with family and friends, cooking, and reading biographies and books on American history.

Twitter: @ithinkichan

Scientist: Alexander Chang, M.D. & Ph.D. Candidate

Alexander Chang is a current MD-PhD trainee at the University of Pittsburgh, focusing on breast cancer biology. Alexander uses his experience as a clinical and basic science researcher to try and bridge gaps between different parts of medicine to advance treatments that can help patients by bringing lab discoveries to the clinic. A student in the University of Pittsburgh-Carnegie Mellon University Computational Biology graduate program and the Adrian Lee/Steffi Oesterreich Laboratory, his work focuses on precision medicine approaches for discoveries in breast cancer. Outside the lab, he is currently leading a CMU team designing an AI system to increase racial diversity in clinical trial recruitment.

Twitter: @alexandercchang

Scientist: Vinton Cheng, M.D., Ph.D.

Vinton Cheng is an academic clinical lecturer at the University of Leeds and St James’s University Hospital, UK. He completed his DPhil at the University of Oxford, where he studied a molecularly targeted MRI contrast agent that was shown to improve detection of brain metastasis. Vinton enjoys working at the interface of different research disciplines and most recently spent a year working in the Focused Ultrasound group at the University of Virginia investigating how to enhance the immune response against brain metastasis. He is passionate about communicating science and collaborating with patients in the clinic to improve cancer care

Scientist: Jessica Christenson, Ph.D.

Jessica Christenson is a cancer biologist currently performing research at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. For the past 13 years Jessica has made it her mission to discover more effective treatments for patients with breast cancer. In recent years her aims have shifted to focus exclusively on the study of metastatic disease. Jessica is currently investigating how the lung itself promotes the growth and survival of metastases in an effort to better understand ways in which to block metastatic progression and extend the survival and quality of life of patients with metastatic disease. In a project funded by a METAvivor Early Career Investigator Award, she is presently studying how lung-targeted therapies, such as those used to treated asthma and chronic inflammatory diseases, may be repurposed for use in metastatic patients, and while her primary research is focused on breast cancer, she has great hope that her discoveries will provide benefit for any patient with lung metastases. Like countless others, cancer has taken the lives of several of Jessica’s loved ones, and she is committed to making metastatic cancer a treatable and survivable condition.

 

Scientist: Claire Conley, Ph.D.

Claire Conley is a clinical psychologist with a special focus on the experiences of people living with cancer. She obtained her PhD in clinical health psychology from the Ohio State University in 2018. Claire went on to complete post-doctoral training at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Oncology in the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at Georgetown University.

Claire’s research broadly focuses on psychosocial issues across the cancer continuum, from prevention to end-of-life. Key themes of her work include: (1) quality of life and survivorship issues in breast cancer, (2) prevention and early detection among those at increased risk for breast cancer; and (3) reducing cancer-related health disparities. Dr. Conley’s research aims to promote health behavior change and improve quality of life in the context of cancer, with the ultimate goal of developing and testing interventions to improve quality of life for people at risk for and living with cancer. She has received research funding from the National Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society, and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Twitter: @DrClaireC

Scientist: Veronique Debien, M.D.

Véronique Debien was trained as a medical oncologist in France, after moving to clinical research at Institut Jules Bordet, Brussels, Belgium. Involved in academia-promoted clinical trials, the patients’ input provided helpful suggestions for the clinical trial setting. Additionally, passionate about early phases, her goal is to make cancer knowledge accessible to a larger panel of patients, demystify clinical research in oncology and thus optimize clinician-patient collaboration.

Twitter: @veroniquedebien

Scientist: Julia Falco, Ph.D.

Julia holds a Bachelor’s degree in Science from Loyola University New Orleans and is currently finishing up her Ph.D. in Chemical Biology at Boston College. In her Ph.D. work, she uses chemical proteomics to investigate cysteine post-translational modifications and understand their role in regulating protein activity in vivo. Outside of the lab, Julia has a particular interest in learning about breast cancer biology and treatments and hopes to pursue this in her future career. At 26 she was diagnosed with stage 2 triple negative breast cancer and was found to have a BRCA1 mutation. During her own cancer treatments, her mom was also diagnosed with breast cancer and her two sisters with a BRCA1 mutation. She is an advocate within the breast cancer community and is passionate about sharing educational breast cancer content on her blog, Breast Cancer Blessings. In her free time you can find her doing yoga, walking in nature, or cuddling with her dog, Newt!

Scientist: Julia Foldi, M.D., Ph.D.

Julia trained as a researcher in immunology prior to switching careers slightly to become a physician. She completed her Oncology training at Yale University, where she first interacted with patient advocates while developing her first clinical trial protocol. Julia recently moved to the University of Pittsburgh to begin her first faculty position as a Breast Medical Oncologist. In her new role as a clinical and translational breast cancer researcher, she is hoping to continue developing her relationships with local and national patient advocacy organizations and help connect other physician and scientists with patient advocates. She hopes to use these connections in her practice and research to develop patient-centered clinical studies and to ensure equitable access to evidence-based and state-of-the-art care as well as the ability to participate in research for all patients affected by breast cancer and other malignancies.

Twitter: @JuliaFoldiMD

Scientist: Larisa Gearhart-Serna, Ph.D.

Larisa (“Risa”) was trained as a cancer biologist and environmental toxicologist, and completed a specialized postdoctoral fellowship at Northwestern University after graduating in 2021 with her Ph.D. in Pathology from Duke University. She received her MBA in Management in 2022. She is now both an Innovation Fellow for the National Cancer Institute and a Research Analyst for Duke University, and serves as a scientific Editor and an Institutional Biosafety Committee member. She is passionate about translational cancer research, therapeutic development and commercialization, and cancer community partnerships.

Scientist: Stephanie Graff, M.D.

Stephanie L. Graff is the Director of the Breast Oncology Program at Lifespan Cancer Institute, and co-leader of the Breast Cancer Translational Research Disease Group. In addition, she serves as a medical advisor to the Dr. Susan Love Foundation for Breast Cancer Research. She is active across numerous professional organizations in oncology, including the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) where she is a 2020 graduate of the prestigious Leadership Development Program and currently serves on the Joint Certifications Committee; the Rhode Island Leadership Council for the American Cancer Society; the Breast Cancer Committee for the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology cooperative group; and is on the Health Disparities Council for the Caris Precision Oncology Alliance (POA) and is chair-elect for the Breast Disease group of the Caris POA. Dr. Graff is a leader on social media and a sought-after public speaker.

Research Interests include oncology drug development and clinical trials, the breast microbiome, breast cancer genomics, health disparities, women in medicine, and rare breast cancers including male breast cancer, pregnancy-associated breast cancer, pre-menopausal breast cancer, among others.

Twitter: @DrSGraff

Scientist: Marielle Gross, M.D.

Marielle S. Gross is a professor of bioethics and OBGYN at University of Pittsburgh and Johns Hopkins. She is an expert on ethics at the intersection of medicine and research, and has founded heny, Inc. to empower patients and their families to benefit directly from their personal research contributions. As a physician, scientist and founder, her mission is to partner with patients in advancing the art and science of precision medicine.

Twitter: @GYNOBioethicist

Scientist: Sailajah Gukathasan, Ph.D.

Sailajah Gukathasan is currently working in chemical proteomics at Weerapana Lab, Chemistry Department at Boston College, under Prof. Eranthie Weerapana as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow after successfully completing her Doctoral degree. Her doctoral work mainly focused on the unique niche of developing gold-based reagents for specific protein modulation under the guidance of Prof. Samuel Awuah at the University of Kentucky. In addition to that, she worked with developing gold(III) scaffolds for enhanced anticancer activity. She is originally from the idyllic city of Jaffna in Sri Lanka and graduated Honors with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and Zoology. She left her position as a government official in Sri Lanka to realize her true passion for contributing to society through science, better achieved by devoting her time to research and completing graduate school. Taking her first step towards her goal, she moved to the US in 2015 for a Master’s degree from Tennessee Technological University.

Twitter: @gukansailu

Scientist: Erika Hamilton, M.D.

Erika P Hamilton, M.D., cares for patients with breast and gynecologic cancer. As the director of the breast cancer and gynecologic cancer research program at Sarah Cannon Research Institute, she oversees the program and the clinical trial menu for these cancers across the Sarah Cannon network. After receiving an undergraduate degree from Washington and Lee University in Virginia, Dr. Hamilton completed her medical degree and residency from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. She received her fellowship training in hematology and oncology from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, where she was recognized as a Top 5 Finalist for Duke’s Annual House staff Fellow Teaching Award. She is board certified in internal medicine and oncology. Additionally, she is a partner with Tennessee Oncology, PLLC.

Twitter: @ErikaHamilton9

Scientist: Erin Howe, Ph.D.

Erin is a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Notre Dame in the Department of Biological Sciences and the Harper Cancer Research Institute. She completed her Ph.D. in Cancer Biology at the University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus, and her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. She transitioned to cancer biology research following the sudden loss of her father to metastatic melanoma, and is deeply committed to fighting metastatic disease. She strongly believes that because scientific research is funded by individuals, through taxes or donations, that research should also be accessible to everyone. In her spare time she enjoys gardening, quilting, and playing with her two Australian Shepherds.

Scientist: Amanda Jacobson, Ph.D.

Amanda Jacobson obtained a Ph.D. in cell biology and immunology from the University of Utah, and her post-doctoral work focused on HIV pathogenesis and infant immunology. She has been in the biotech/ pharma space supporting oncology drug development in both blood and solid tumor indications for a little over 10 years. Currently, she is the director of clinical science at a small biotech company supporting clinical trials in breast cancer.

Scientist: Matteo Lambertini, M.D., Ph.D.

Matteo Lambertini is associate professor and consultant in medical oncology at the University of Genova – IRCCS Ospedale Policlinico San Martino in Genova (Italy). He is mainly focused in the care of breast cancer patients and is deeply involved in breast cancer research.

Above all, he has a particular expertise in the management of breast cancer in young women, with a specific attention to the fertility and pregnancy-related issues that they have to face after diagnosis.

Thanks to the support of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), in 2018 he completed his PhD at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles (U.L.B.) in Brussels (Belgium) with a project entitled “Unmet Fertility and Pregnancy-related Issues in Young Breast Cancer Patients”. With this work, he has contributed to improve our understanding of many controversial aspects related to the management of breast cancer in young women specifically focusing on fertility preservation and the possibility to have a pregnancy following treatment completion, with the ultimate goal to further improve the care and quality of life of these young women.

Twitter: @matteolambe

Scientist: Chung-Han Lee, M.D., Ph.D.

Chung-Han Lee, M.D., Ph.D. is a medical oncologist that specializes in the care of people with genitourinary malignancies, including kidney, bladder, and prostate cancer. As part of a multidisciplinary team of surgeons, radiation oncologists, pathologists, and medical oncologists, he strives to provide the optimal care for each patient’s unique situation. In addition to standard-of-care options, our team enables patients to participate in promising and innovative clinical trials as additional options for clinical care.

His primary research interests include the development of novel agents and treatment strategies for genitourinary malignancies, especially kidney cancer. As a physician-scientist, he is also an active member of the Translational Kidney Cancer Research Program at MSK and closely collaborates with translational and basic science researchers in MSK’s Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program. His laboratory research focuses on identifying novel pathways that may be involved in pathogenesis and developing better biomarkers to predict response to therapy.

Twitter: @chunghanlee3

Scientist: Cynthia Ma, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Ma is a physician scientist with a research focus in breast cancer biomarker and targeted therapeutics development.  Dr. Ma received her medical degree from Beijing Medical University and earned her PhD in developmental biology from University of Cincinnati. She completed her post-doctoral training at New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, North Carolina and her fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. She has been on the faculty at Washington University since 2005. She is the Clinical Director of the Breast Cancer Program in the Section of Medical Oncology, Division of Oncology at Washington University.

She has designed and conducted a number of mechanism-based early phase trials of novel agents, including palbociclib, neratinib, among others, in patients with resistant breast cancer.  She led a phase II trial of neratinib for patients with metastatic HER2 mutated breast cancer (MutHER trial) and demonstrated the activity of neratinib in this patient population. In collaboration with NCI and CTEP, she contributed to the development of several small molecule inhibitors, including MK2206 and temsirolimus, which target the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway in overcoming endocrine resistance. She is the study chair for the ongoing phase III Alliance trial A011106 (ALTERNATE trial) to validate neoadjuvant biomarker endpoint as surrogate markers of long-term outcome and to investigate endocrine resistance mechanisms for estrogen receptor positive breast cancer.  Her laboratory has focused on biomarkers and resistance mechanisms for agents that target cell cycle and PI3K pathway through analysis of clinical specimens and preclinical studies using breast cancer cell lines and patient-derived xenograft models.

Scientist: Shishir K. Maithel, M.D., FACS

Dr. Maithel is a Surgical Oncologist and an expert in hepatopancreatobiliary surgery including the Whipple procedure, major hepatectomy and bile duct resections, and minimally invasive laparoscopic pancreatectomy. His clinical interests include surgical treatment of cancer of the liver (metastatic and primary) and bile ducts, and other gastrointestinal malignancies such as cancer of the pancreas, stomach, colon, and small intestine. He has worked in clinical investigation and outcomes analysis of patients treated for tumors of the liver, biliary tract, pancreas, and stomach. He served as Chair of the Gastrointestinal Surgery Working Group of the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group and the American College of Radiology Imaging Network Cancer Research Group, is a member of the NCI Hepatobiliary Task Force, and leads the US Extrahepatic Biliary Malignancy Consortium. Dr. Maithel is a strong advocate for trying to incorporate the advances that the field is making in treating patients with metastatic disease to patients with early stage disease.  He is currently serving as the national Principal Investigator of three clinical trials for biliary cancers that are “forward thinking” and are trying to lay the foundation for optimizing the treatment strategy for patients with localized resectable disease.

Scientist: Midhun Malla, M.D.

Dr. Midhun Malla is an assistant professor in the section of hematology-oncology at West Virginia University (WVU). He completed his residency in internal medicine at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix. He then completed a fellowship in hematology-oncology at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, where he simultaneously completed a Master of Science degree in Clinical and Translational Sciences (CTS).

He specializes in clinical and translational gastrointestinal (GI) oncology and his clinical areas of interest include colorectal cancers (CRC), pancreatic, hepatobiliary and neuroendocrine neoplasms. He is the lead physician in the GI medical oncology clinical trial program at WVU cancer institute.  He is an active member of Alliance GI cooperative group; he represents this committee to the National Cancer Institute- Hepatobiliary committee as an early career investigator. He is an awardee of a research scholar grant by WV- CTS institute to pursue translational research in CRC wherein he aims to use precision medicine approaches to elucidate molecular biology and genetic architecture of CRC.

Twitter: @MallaMidhun

Scientist: Jacqueline Mann, Ph.D.

Jacqueline holds a BS in Biological Science from the University of Vermont and a PhD in Molecular and Cellular Pathology from the University of Michigan.  She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Yale School of Medicine, where she studies immune-related adverse events in patients treated with immunotherapy.

Scientist: Diana Mendoza-Cervantes, Master of Bioethics (MBE)

Diana is a medical student at the University of Pittsburgh. She completed her dual degree, B.S. in Neurobiology and Physiology and B.A. in Philosophy, at the University of Maryland in College Park. She joined Center for Global Health at the National Cancer Institute as a Cancer Research Training Award Fellow, during which she worked on a range of projects including HPV diagnostics and vaccination, qualitative research on breast cancer stigma in women in low- and middle-income countries, and on leveraging research to lower the burden of breast and cervical cancer in Latin America. She completed her Masters of Bioethics at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and JHU Berman Institute of Bioethics, focusing on epistemic injustice in decision making at the primary care level and within health systems. She worked with the Global Bioethics Program at JHU supporting the work of graduate fellows from low- and middle-income countries and with the development of ethics curriculum for physicians and scientists in Malaysia. She is now on a research fellowship between her third and fourth year of medical school and working on the ethics and patient experience of tissue biobanking.  In her spare time, she enjoys hiking with her dog, Niko!

Scientist: Myrto Moutafi, M.D., Ph.D. (c)

Myrto Moutafi is a postdoctoral associate in the laboratory of Dr. David Rimm in Yale School of Medicine’s Pathology department. Her research in oncology focuses on different companion diagnostic tests and biomarkers in breast, lung, and head and neck cancer tissues. She obtained her medical degree at National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA) , Greece, in 2015 and her Master of Science in NKUA Pathology Department in 2019 , where she studied the role of histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors in melanoma cancer as part of her final thesis.

Myrto enjoys being actively involved in the Postdoctoral Association and taking part in initiatives that further improve the postdoc experience.

Twitter: @mkmoutafi

Scientist: Sayali Onkar, Ph.D.

Sayali Onkar is a recent graduate with a PhD in Immunology. She trained in breast immuno-oncology with a focus on studying the immune response to estrogen receptor positive ductal and lobular breast carcinoma. Sayali is passionate about science outreach and has engaged with patient advocates throughout her PhD training at the University of Pittsburgh. She has presented her work and participated in meetings, discussions and events for Breast Cancer Research Advisory Network (BCRAN) and Susan G Komen Foundation in Pittsburgh. Sayali continues her efforts in the lab in the memory of her mother who passed of metastatic disease. She stays committed to the cause of improved patient outcomes through translational research.

Twitter: @onkarsayali

Scientist: Tatiana Prowell, M.D.

Dr. Tatiana Prowell is breast cancer scientific liaison in the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and associate professor of oncology in the Breast Cancer Program at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. She was the principal architect of the FDA’s policy on accelerated approval using pathological complete response as a novel regulatory endpoint in the neoadjuvant high-risk breast cancer setting, and was a member of the Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel Cancer Immunology Working Group.

She is a three-time recipient of the FDA’s Excellence in Communication Award, as well as a Giants of Cancer Care Award finalist. A passionate medical educator and mentor, she currently serves on the faculty of the Vail Methods in Clinical Cancer Research Workshop, the Accelerating Anti-Cancer Agent Development and Validation (AAADV) Workshop, the FDA/ASCO Fellows’ Day Workshop, the Society for Translational Oncology Fellows’ Forum, and the Dana Farber Clinical Investigator Seminar Series, among others. She sees patients in the Johns Hopkins Second Opinion Breast Cancer Clinic and teaches in the medical school and medical oncology fellowship training program.

Twitter: @tmprowell


Scientist: Dionisia Quiroga, D.O., Ph.D.

Dr. Dionisia Quiroga is currently a breast medical oncology fellow and NIH T32 post-doctoral research fellow at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center (OSUCCC). She was recently hired to start as a breast medical oncologist and assistant professor in the Division of Medical Oncology at OSUCCC this August 2022.

Dionisia grew up in the mid-Michigan area and attended Michigan State University for her undergraduate, medical school, and graduate school education. She focused on general cancer vaccine development for her Ph.D dissertation research, but became specifically motivated to pursue breast cancer research after her cousin was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. Dionisia’s current research focuses on understanding how breast cancer can change and evade our natural immune response in order to develop new immunotherapeutic strategies for treating it. She also studies complications that may arise from breast cancer treatment (e.g. lymphedema) and how this may dysregulate the human immune response.

During her free time, she loves to spend time with her husband and son, go for long runs, and explore the culinary scene of Columbus, OH.

Twitter: @quirogad

Scientist: Leila Ross, Ph.D.

Leila Ross is a biomedical research scientist who was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2018. Her training is in biochemistry and molecular pharmacology, and she has worked in academic science as well as in drug development in pharmaceutical companies. Leila has experience as both a researcher and a participant in clinical research, including two clinical trials for her own illness. Before her diagnosis, Leila participated in many science communication and outreach activities such as public lectures and hands-on activities in K-12 after school programs. Post-diagnosis, she has transitioned these efforts towards patient advocacy and assisting fellow patients, such as practicing questions for their medical team to better understand their diagnosis and care plan, searching for and assessing relevant clinical trials, facilitating grief circles and memorials for those who have died, and connecting to patient navigator programs, support groups, social workers, palliative/supportive care, and other relevant resources.

Scientist: Jennifer Sheng, M.D.

Dr. Jenni Sheng is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her areas of clinical expertise include internal medicine and oncology. Caring for men and women with cancer, she addresses living with, through and beyond cancer. As she primarily treat patients with breast cancer, she discusses the best treatment options, manages symptoms from the cancer and treatment-related side effects and focuses on psychosocial aspects of care. In keeping with comprehensive survivorship care, she plans surveillance and screening and encourages health promotion (diet, exercise and interpersonal relationships) and care coordination.

Twitter: @JenniShengMD

Scientist: Shaheen Sikandar, Ph.D.

Shaheen got her Ph.D. at the University of California – Irvine followed by a post-doctoral fellowship at Stanford University. Shaheen is currently an Assistant Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at University of California – Sant Cruz. The Sikandar lab has identified critical regulators of breast cancer metastasis and her team aims to understand the molecular mechanisms that govern metastasis formation including signals from the microenvironment. Her research focuses on studying molecular changes in mammary stem cells during aging and how these changes affect breast cancer risk cancer which will lead to the development of better preventive and therapeutic strategies for breast cancer. When not doing/thinking about science, Shaheen spends her time with her two energetic boys hiking, kayaking, and exploring new places to eat in the bay area.

Twitter: @ssikandar

Scientist: Jamie Spangler, Ph.D.

Dr. Jamie Spangler’s research aims to expand the repertoire of protein therapeutics by redesigning naturally occurring proteins and engineering new molecules to overcome the deficiencies of existing drugs. Integrating cutting-edge tools from structural biophysics, biomolecular engineering, and translational immunology, her research focuses on developing innovative platforms for the discovery and design of proteins that recruit novel mechanisms for disease therapy. In particular, Spangler’s group is interested in engineering antibody-based molecules that reshape immune cell behavior for targeted treatment of cancer, infectious diseases, and autoimmune disorders. The overarching goal of her interdisciplinary research program is to establish new insights into protein behavior and the extent to which it can be manipulated for medically relevant applications.

Twitter: @SpanglerLab

Scientist: Hillary Stires, Ph.D.

Hillary Stires was trained as a cancer research scientist but transitioned her career towards cancer policy after interacting with patient advocates as a postdoctoral fellow at Georgetown University.  Hillary is passionate about connecting cancer research scientists and patient advocates to improve cancer research and patient outcomes. In her work as a Science Policy Analyst at Friends of Cancer Research, Hillary uses her scientific and advocacy background to develop evidence-based policies and collaborates with diverse teams to identify challenges in cancer research and create solutions that improve and accelerate cancer care for patients.

Twitter: @HillStirSci

Scientist: Jasmine Sukumar, M.D.

Dr. Jasmine Sukumar completed the dual BA/MD program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City followed by internal medicine residency at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. She subsequently joined The Ohio State University (OSU) James Comprehensive Cancer Center to embark upon her medical oncology fellowship. Additionally, she received breast cancer focused subspecialty training through the Breast Oncology Fellowship Program at the Stefanie Spielman Comprehensive Breast Center and graduated from the advanced breast cancer fellowship at OSU in 2021. During her postgraduate training she was awarded an intramural grant (Pelotonia) to support a postdoctoral fellowship year with an emphasis in cancer control and metabolism. She has published in peer reviewed journals such as Cancers and Breast Cancer Research and Treatment and presents at national conferences. In August 2022 she will transition to junior faculty at MD Anderson Cancer Center as a breast medical oncologist and clinical investigator.

Her research focuses on energy balance as a modifiable risk factor for health promotion in breast cancer survivors. Specifically, she investigates obesity, lifestyle behaviors, and inflammation as risk factors for breast carcinogenesis. She was accepted to the 2021 Transdisciplinary Research on Energetics and Cancer (TREC) Workshop, an NIH-funded research training and mentorship program through the Yale School of Public Health for early career investigators in energetics and cancer transdisciplinary research. She aims to conduct innovative personalized interventions for improvement in metabolic health and cancer risk reduction.

Twitter: @JasmineSukumar

Scientist: Mylin Torres, M.D.

Mylin Torres, MD is Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Torres serves as co-leader of the Cancer Prevention and Control research program at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University where she coordinates and promotes all of the cancer prevention and control-related research activities. She previously served as director of the Glenn Family Breast Center. A board certified radiation oncologist, Dr. Torres practices general radiation oncology and specializes in the treatment of breast cancer.

Dr. Torres’ research interests include multi-disciplinary treatment techniques to improve breast cancer outcomes. Her research includes clinical trial development, outcomes measures, identifying patients at risk for side effects of breast cancer treatment and the life quality of breast cancer survivors.

Dr. Torres has been awarded many accolades for breakthroughs in breast cancer research and patient care. She has received highly competitive grants from the National Cancer Institute, Radiation Oncology Group (now NRG Oncology), Susan G. Komen and Winship Cancer Institute.

Twitter: @MylinTorres

Scientist: Nicole Traphagen, Ph.D.

I’m from upstate New York. My research interests are focused on hormone receptor biology and endocrine resistance in cancer, and in developing treatment strategies for endocrine resistant disease.  I received my PhD in Cancer Biology from Dartmouth College, where I worked under the supervision of Todd Miller to determine the anti-cancer mechanism of action of estrogen therapy in breast cancer.  I also have a B.S. in Biomolecular Science from Clarkson University. In my free time I enjoy reading, running, and hiking with my dog, and I love to travel and visit new places.

Twitter: @NicoleTraphagen

Scientist: Michelle Williams, Ph.D.

Michelle Williams became hooked on laboratory research as a member of a high school research program at the University of Pittsburgh. She continued to study science throughout her undergraduate career at Allegheny College and in graduate school at Vanderbilt University, where she focused on breast cancer. Michelle was determined to identify pathways that breast cancer cells rely on to avoid death. She helped develop new therapies to target these pathways and some are now entering clinical trials. As a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Michelle is focused on breast cancer metastasis. Her current work explores how metastatic breast cancer cells secrete factors to prevent immune cell function, such as the ability of immune cells to kill tumor cells. Michelle hopes to develop this research program in her own independent laboratory that will focus on breast cancer liver metastasis. 

Twitter: @mwilli323

Scientist: Jennifer Xavier, Ph.D.

Jennifer Xavier, Ph.D. is the Associate Director of Research, Institute of Precision Medicine, and Research Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Xavier joined the University of Pittsburgh in 2017 after ten years of post-doctorate research focusing on pharmacology, genetics, oncology and precision medicine. Dr. Xavier trained at St Jude Research Hospital and the Ontario Cancer Institute before joining Eli Lilly and Company where she was a Research Scientist and group leader in Investigational Toxicology. Prior to her appointment at the University of Pittsburgh Dr. Xavier was an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Penn State College of Medicine where her research involved validating novel drug targets and disease models in oncology, and leading the divisions biorepository. Dr Xavier is an integral member of the Lee Oesterreich research team at Pitt where she studies endocrine resistant breast cancer with a focus on validation of novel drug targets in metastatic disease. Dr Xavier oversees biospecimens research in the Lee Oesterreich laboratory and leads the development of a patient derived organoid resource in her role with the Institute for Precision Medicine.

Twitter: @jennifermxavier

Scientist: Megan Yates, M.D./Ph.D. trainee

Megan holds a BS in Biological Sciences and Computer Science from the University of Pittsburgh and has completed two years of medical school training. She currently studies ESR1 fusion genes in ER-positive endocrine resistant metastatic breast cancer applying techniques in molecular biology and bioinformatics. Megan enjoys baking, running and reading.