Scientific Advisory Board

Ruggero M. De Maria, MD, PhD

President, Alliance Against Cancer, Institute of General Pathology, Catholic University, Rome, Italy

Professor De Maria is an internationally renowned researcher and oncologist and professor of General Pathology at the Faculty of Medicine of the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Rome. He previously held senior positions at major scientific institutions such as Head of the Department of Hematology, Oncology and Molecular Medicine of the National Institute of Health and Scientific Director of the National Cancer Institute “Regina Elena” in Rome. He is currently Chairman of Alliance Against Cancer, a network that brings together the most important cancer centres in Italy.

Professor De Maria has an extensive experience in oncology research gained in Italy and abroad and has directed research teams and conducted several studies supported by national and international funding. Among his most important research we include those aimed at explaining the mechanisms underlying the production of blood cells and the property of cancer cells to resist to drugs. He also conducted pioneering studies on the identification of cancer stem cells of colon and lung cancers, he discovered the capacity of glioblastoma stem cells to create tumor vessels, and identified key mechanisms underlying the formation of metastases in breast and colon tumors.

Robert Hickey, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Molecular Medicine, City of Hope, Los Angeles, CA

Development of selective diagnostic tools and therapeutic agents for improving the identification and treatment of a variety of cancers, with specific interest in the biochemical mechanisms leading to genormic instability and cancer development.

Hagop M. Kantarjian, MD

Professor, Department Chair of Leukemia, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Hagop M. Kantarjian, MD, Chair of the Department of Leukemia at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, was born in Lebanon. The only member of his family to have pursued a career in medicine, he received his medical degree from the American University of Beirut (AUB), which was founded by American missionaries in 1866 and opened the doors of its School of Medicine a year later. AUB was an intensely egalitarian institution, and this quality was reflected in the university’s guiding principle:

This college is for all conditions and classes of men without regard to color, nationality, race or religion…white, black, or yellow, Christian, Jew, Mohammedan or heathen, may enter and enjoy all the advantages of this institution.…

During his medical education at AUB, Dr. Kantarjian spent 4 months in the United States as part of a visiting medical student elective at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. “These elective periods are very influential and can have a profound effect on the lives and careers of medical students from outside the United States. For me, it was an eye-opening experience and a world I never thought existed. I fell in love with MD Anderson’s oncology program,” Dr. Kantarjian, said.

After returning to Lebanon, Dr. Kantarjian applied for a fellowship at MD Anderson. “I was accepted and joined the Department of Developmental Therapeutics in 1981. I never wanted to be at any other institution.”

Carlo Croce, MD

Professor and Chair, Department of Cancer Biology and Genetics at Ohio State University

Carlo Croce, MD, director of human cancer genetics at Ohio State and a member of the Molecular Biology and Cancer Genetics Program at the OSUCCC – James, has been elected as a fellow in the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). The selection committee chooses members “who have demonstrated a highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.” Croce, who also is professor and chair of the Department of Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics in Ohio State’s College of Medicine, is invited to attend the NAI Fellows Induction Ceremony on March 7 in Alexandria, Va. at the United States Patent and Trademark Office headquarters. Following a luncheon, fellows will be inducted by the deputy U.S. commissioner for patents. The luncheon and induction ceremony are part of the 3rd Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors.

Martin W. Kast, PhD

Professor of Molecular Microbiology & Immunology, USC, Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center

W. Martin Kast, Ph.D., is a Professor of Molecular Microbiology & Immunology and Obstetrics & Gynecology, and Urology. He currently holds the Walter A. Richter Cancer Research Chair. He is the Co-Leader of the Tumor Microenvironment Program and Director of the Beckman Center for Immune Monitoring.

A native of the Netherlands, he earned his B.S. in Medical Biology in 1980, M.S., summa cum laude, in Medical Biology in 1983, and his doctorate, summa cum laude, in Medicine in 1987, from the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

He is serving on multiple study sections and other advisory boards at NIH. His research involves the design of therapeutic cancer vaccines directed against human papilloma virus (HPV) and prostate cancer. Several of his therapeutic HPV vaccines have or are currently been tried out in clinical trials. He also studies the interaction of HPV with the human immune system to find out how HPV escapes immune detection and how to reverse that. He has published over 250 articles and is the inventor on 14 patents. His research is supported by an NIH grant. He is a recipient of the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Research Award, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences Career Award, the IRPC Eminent Scientist of the USA Award, and the USC/Mellon Award for Graduate Student Mentoring. He is an Associate Editor for Cancer Research, the Journal of Translational Medicine, International Reviews of Immunology and HPV Today. He currently serves on the advisory board of nine biotechnology companies.

Keith L. Knutson, PhD

Professor, Immunology, Mayo Clinic

The research interests of Keith L. Knutson. Ph.D., focus on the immunology and immunotherapy of breast and ovarian cancers, both the basic immunobiology and clinical translation, including clinical trials.

In addition to his research, Dr. Knutson participates in and chairs several study sections, is co-director of the Mayo Clinic Immune Monitoring Core and director of the Mayo Clinic Ovarian Cancer Immunotherapy Program.

Soldano Ferrone, MD, PhD

Professor, Surgery, Harvard Medical School Professor, Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital

Dr. Soldano Ferrone is Professor of Surgery of Immunology and of Pathology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He received his MD and PhD degrees in 1964 and in 1971 respectively from the University of Milan Milan Italy. He has held faculty positions at Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation La Jolla CA Columbia University New York NY New York Medical College Valhalla NY and Roswell Park Cancer Institute Buffalo NY. Dr. Ferrone research program is focuses on the characterization of escape mechanisms utilized by tumor cells to avoid immune recognition and destruction and on the development of immuno therapeutic strategies to counteract the escape mechanisms utilized by tumor cells. He has coauthored more than 800 publications in peer reviewed journals Nationally and Internationally. He has lectured extensively on a variety of topics including the role of immuno esscape mechanisms in malignant diseases and immuno therapy of cancer at many prominent Institutions. He is on the editorial board of 10 journals. He is a reviewer for 15 journals. He reviews approximately 50 manuscripts per year.

Martin J. D’Souza, PhD

Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences Director of Graduate Programs Director of Clinical Laboratories Co-Director of the Center of Drug Delivery Research Dick R. Gourley Chair of Pharmaceutics

Martin J D Souza has obtained his PhD degree from the University of Pittsburgh, PA, USA. He is working as a Professor and Director of Graduate Programs in the College of Pharmacy at Mercer University in Atlanta, Georgia. He also serves as the Director of the Clinical Laboratory and Co-Director of the Center for Drug Delivery Research. He has published over 90 manuscripts and has been the recipient of several research grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the American Diabetes Association, the Georgia Cancer Coalition and the Georgia Research Alliance. He serves on several Editorial Boards and is a journal Reviewer for over 10 scientific journals and has several patents issued in the area of Nanotechnology.

Naval G. Daver, MD

Assistant Professor, Department of Leukemia, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Dr. Naval Daver is Assistant Professor in the Department of Leukemia at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Dr. Daver received his medical degree at Grant Medical College and Sir J.J. Group of Hospitals, in Mumbai, India. He went on to complete a research fellowship followed by a clinical residency and a clinical fellowship in oncology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Dr. Daver is board certified in Oncology, Hematology and Internal Medicine. He is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and American Society of Hematology.

Robert Z. Orlowski, MD, PhD,

Department Chair ad interim, Department of Lymphoma/Myeloma, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

Robert Z. Orlowski, M.D., Ph.D., is Chairman, Ad Interim, Director of Myeloma, and Professor of Medicine in the Departments of Lymphoma/Myeloma and Experimental Therapeutics, Division of Cancer Medicine, where he is board-certified in medical oncology. Dr. Orlowski earned his doctoral degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale University and his medical degree from the Yale University School of Medicine. He completed his internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Barnes Hospital at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine. After his fellowships in Hematology and Medical Oncology at John Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, he joined the faculty at University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Following that, Dr. Orlowski accepted a position at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in 2007 to lead the Myeloma Section in the Department of Lymphoma/Myeloma. His research interests include pathobiology of, novel therapeutic targets and mechanisms of drug resistance in myeloma which are documented in hundreds of scientific articles, book chapters, and presentations at conferences. Dr. Orlowski is an investigator on numerous clinical trials, and appointed Myeloma Committee Chair for SWOG.

Robert S. Bresalier, MD

Professor, Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition, Division of Internal Medicine, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston,TX

Robert Bresalier, MD is a practicing Gastroenterologist in Houston, TX. Dr. Bresalier graduated from University of Chicago Division of the Biological Sciences the Pritzker School of Medicine in 1978 and has been in practice for 38 years. He completed a residency at Barnes Jewish Hospital. Dr. Bresalier also specializes in Internal Medicine. He currently practices at MD Anderson Cancer Center and is affiliated with University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

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