Scientific Advisory Council

The CureSearch for Children’s Cancer Scientific Advisory Council was created in 2012 to develop and guide the organization’s scientific strategy, agenda, and grants program in a way that strengthened the value of our research outcomes by focusing on moving findings from the bench to the bedside as quickly as possible.

With the support of the Scientific Advisory Council, CureSearch funds laboratory research aimed at transcending research barriers and developing innovative research approaches to solve the field’s most challenging problems.

CureSearch Scientific Advisory Committee Members:

Richard J. O’Reilly, MD

Richard O'Reilly, MDChair, Scientific Advisory Council, CureSearch for Children’s Cancer

Chairman, Department of Pediatrics
Chief, Bone Marrow Transplantation Service
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York, NY

Richard J. O’Reilly, MD is Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics and Director of the Bone Marrow Transplantation Program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Richard J. O’Reilly has pioneered the development of curative marrow transplantation approaches for patients who lack HLA matched siblings. He and his colleagues introduced the use of matched unrelated donors and T-cell depleted transplants from HLA half matched donors in order to provide a normal blood system without GvHD to patients afflicted with lethal immune deficiencies and leukemia. His laboratory is currently exploring the potential of adoptive cell therapies employing immune cells grown in vitro to treat or prevent infections and recurrence of leukemia following transplantation.

Dr. O’Reilly received his M.D. from the University of Rochester School of Medicine in Rochester, New York in 1968. He completed his residency in pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Boston and specialty training in infectious disease at the Children’s Hospital and Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. He initiated the marrow transplant program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in 1974, and was appointed Director and Chief of the Transplant Program in Pediatrics in 1976. From 1976 until 2004, he was also Chief of the Allogeneic Marrow Transplantation Service in the Department of Medicine. He has also served as Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics since 1986. Dr. O’Reilly is the incumbent of the Claire L. Tow Chair in Pediatric Oncology Research.

He has received numerous honors since 1968, including the Lila Acheson Wallace Chair of Pediatric Research, the Louise and Allston Boyer-Young Investigator Award – Clinical Research, The Vincent Astor Chair of Clinical Research, Distinguished Alumnus Award – MSKCC, the Herman Boerhaave Medal from the University of Leiden, the McGovern Award of the Houston Academy of Medicine, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, the Pediatric Oncology Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the Bob Pinedo Cancer Care Prize of the Society for Translational Oncology.

Dr. O’Reilly is the author or co-author of over 360 articles on the topic of bone marrow transplantation and transplantation immunology.

James E. Bradner, MD

Jay BradnerAssistant Professor, Department of Medicine
Harvard Medical School

Attending Physician, Hematologic Neoplasia
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Associate Director, Center for the Science of Therapeutics
Broad Institute
Boston, MA

James Bradner, MD is Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and an Attending Physician in Hematologic Neoplasia at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA.

A physician-scientist exploring the interface between chemical biology and molecular oncology, Dr. Bradner’s laboratory research involves the discovery, optimization and clinical translation of small molecules targeting epigenetic and transcriptional pathways in cancer. Dr. Bradner’s clinical research is focused on early-phase development of targeted strategies in cancer.

Dr. Bradner is a staff physician at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and attends on the allogeneic stem cell transplantation service.

William L. Carroll, MD

William CarrollJulie and Edward J. Minskoff Professor of Pediatrics
Director, NYU Cancer Institute
New York, NY

William Carroll, MD is the Director of the New York University Cancer Institute where his research focuses on the clinical and translational biology of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), specifically on discovering drug resistance pathways that operate in vivo. He is also professor of pediatrics and professor of pathology at NYU.

Prior to becoming the director in 2004, Dr. Carroll served as Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Stephen D. Hassenfeld Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at NYU Medical Center and Professor of Pediatrics at Mount Sinai. Before coming to New York, Dr. Carroll was Professor of Pediatrics and Deputy Director at the University of Utah-Huntsman Cancer Institute.

Dr. Carroll sits on the Advisory Boards of four NCI Centers and was a member of Subcommittee A (Cancer Centers) for four years, having chaired the Committee in 2006 – 2007. He is the immediate past Chair of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Committee and remains on the COG Executive Committee as well as serving as a member of current and planned clinical trials in ALL.

Dr. Carroll has published more than 100 peer reviewed publications and is a member of numerous medical societies including the Society for Pediatric Research, American Society for Clinical Investigation, and American Society of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology.

Richard Gilbertson, MD, PhD

Richard GilbertsonDirector of Comprehensive Cancer Center
Executive Vice President
Director of the Division of Brain Tumor Research
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Memphis, TN

Dr. Richard Gilbertson trained as a pediatric oncologist in the UK where he earned his MD (1992) and PhD (1998) degrees, becoming a member of the Royal College of Physicians in 1995. He moved to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, in 2000 where he is Director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center, Executive Vice President, and Director of the Division of Brain Tumor Research. He holds the Lillian R. Cannon Comprehensive Cancer Center Director Endowed Chair.

His laboratory research is focused on understanding the link between normal development and the origins of cancer, particularly brain tumors. His lab was the first to describe a cancer stem cell niche in brain tumors; demonstrate that a solid cancer can arise from tissue specific stem cells; use innovative cross-species genomics to trace the developmental origins of pediatric brain tumors; and to use whole genome sequencing to identify novel subgroup-specific mutations in medulloblastoma. His research has been translated into numerous diagnostic tests and innovative clinical trials for children with cancer.

Alexander R. Judkins, MD

Alex JudkinsPathologist-in-Chief and Department Head
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles

Vice Chair of Department of Pathology
Keck School of Medicine of USC
Los Angeles, CA

Alexander Judkins, MD is the Pathologist-in-Chief and Department Head of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and Vice Chair of the Department of Pathology at Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California. Dr. Judkins is widely recognized for his diagnostic expertise and research in pediatric brain tumors, particularly embryonal CNS neoplasm, including atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumors (AT/RT) and nonneoplastic pediatric neuropathology, where his focus has been on developmental malformations and the neuropathology of seizure disorders. He also has expertise in digital pathology and is working to build tools to integrate bioinformatics and pathology image data analysis.

Prior to joining CHLA, Dr. Judkins served as the Chief of the Division of Neuropathology, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He also served as the Director of their Pathology Core Laboratory and Assistant Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Dr. Judkins currently serves in editorial positions at a variety of journals and publications, including Brain Pathology, the Journal of Neuropathology & Experimental Neurology and Acta Neuropathologica.

A. Thomas Look, MD

Thomas LookProfessor, Department of Pediatrics
Harvard Medical School

Vice-Chair for Research, Pediatric Oncology
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Boston, MA

A. Thomas Look, MD, is a Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Pediatric Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, as well as leader of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center’s Leukemia Program.

Over the past two decades, Dr. Look has published multiple peer-reviewed papers about the molecular basis of apoptosis and cancer and the application of molecular genetic findings to improve the treatment of childhood malignancies, particularly T-cell acute leukemia and neuroblastoma. He moved from St Jude Children’s Research Hospital to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in 1999 specifically to establish a research program in the zebrafish model, to conduct genetic studies aimed at the identification of novel targets for cancer therapy, and is now internationally recognized as a leader in this field.

Dr. Look’s initial work led to the first transgenic model of leukemia in the zebrafish, paving the way for chemical and genome-wide genetic modifier screens in a vertebrate disease model. Recently, his laboratory developed the first zebrafish transgenic model of childhood neuroblastoma, opening up the opportunity to apply the powerful genetic technology available in the zebrafish to identify new molecular targets for therapy in this devastating childhood tumor.

He is the principal investigator on several NIH-funded grants, including a Program Project focusing on T-ALL pathogenesis. He also serves on numerous editorial boards for peer-reviewed journals, including Neoplasia, Cancer Research and the International Journal of Hematology.

Brad H. Pollock, MPH, PhD

Brad PollackProfessor and Chairman
Epidemiology and Biostatistics
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
San Antonio, TX

Brad Pollock, MPH, PhD, is Professor and the founding Chairman of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. He holds the Henry B. Dielmann Distinguished University Chair at the School of Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Dr. Pollock served as a cooperative group statistician for the legacy Pediatric Oncology Group (POG) and the Children’s Oncology Group (COG). He has continuously served as the Principal Investigator of the POG and COG Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP) Research Base since 1996. Dr. Pollock is the Chair of the Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Research Design (BERD) Key Function Committee of the national Clinical Translational Science Award (CTSA) Consortium and President of the Association of Clinical Translational Statisticians.

Dr. Pollock’s research focuses on childhood cancer epidemiology, cancer prevention and control research, as well as the design and analysis of cancer clinical trials and observational studies. His research has been published in more than 40 academic journals.

Kathleen Ruccione, MPH, RN, FAAN

Kathy RuccioneCo-Director, HOPE Program
Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA

Kathleen Ruccione, MPH, RN, FAAN, is a national leader in pediatric oncology nursing and a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. Currently, Ruccione serves as the Co-Director of the HOPE Program at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles (CHLA), which provides compassionate psychosocial care and support for patients diagnosed and treated in its Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases.

Ruccione completed her graduate training in public health from California State University, Northridge, with a focus on health education. She founded the LIFE Program for cancer survivors at CHLA and has co-edited/co-authored two landmark books on childhood cancer survivorship.

During her career, Ruccione has also pioneered education programs to empower patients and families coping with cancer, culminating in the development of CHLA’s HOPE Resource Center and the incorporation of health educators as members of the multidisciplinary health care team.

She served as inaugural Chair of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) Nursing Discipline for 10 years, and is currently a member of the COG Nursing Steering Committee. At CHLA she mentors graduate and postgraduate students in nursing, health education, and health communication. Her research interests are focused on health literacy/health communication, and bio-behavioral issues in cancer survivorship. She is a doctoral candidate in health behavior research (preventive medicine) at the University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine.

Nita Seibel, MD

Nita SeibelHead: Pediatric Solid Tumors
National Cancer Institute
Bethesda, MD

Nita L. Seibel, MD joined the Clinical Investigations Branch of the Cancer Treatment and Evaluation Program (CTEP) in 2008 to oversee the development of the Pediatric Solid Tumor extramural program, long term childhood cancer survivorship, Pediatric Central Institutional Review Board and adolescent and young adult cancer program. She is also Professor of Pediatrics at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Dr. Seibel is board certified in pediatric hematology/oncology. Prior to joining CTEP, she was an attending physician at Children’s National Medical Center for 20 years, where she also held numerous positions including Solid Tumor Director and Fellowship Training Program Director for Hematology/Oncology, Outreach Services Director for the Department of Hematology/Oncology, and Principal Investigator for the Children’s Oncology Group.

Dr. Seibel is a member of the NCI PDQ (Physician Data Query) Pediatric Board and a regular reviewer for numerous journals including Cancer, Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Pediatric Blood and Cancer, and Journal of Clinical Oncology and Clinical Infectious Disease. Dr. Seibel has spoken internationally on the treatment and management of invasive mycoses and Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in children and adolescents.

In addition to her many invited lectures, Dr. Seibel has published over 90 articles, 70 abstracts, and numerous book chapters. In addition to her interest in new oncology agents, antifungal agents, Wilms tumors, and ALL, she also is interested in clear cell sarcoma of the kidney, osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma.

Scientific Advisory Council was last modified: July 13th, 2015 by Geoff Duncan

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