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.

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.

Malcolm Brenner, MD, PhD

Dr. Malcolm BrennerProfessor, Department of Pediatrics, Section of Hematology-Oncology
Baylor College of Medicine

Director, Center for Cell and Gene Therapy
Texas Children’s Hospital
Houston, TX

Malcolm Brenner, MD, PhD, is Founding Director of the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), Texas Children’s Hospital and The Methodist Hospital. He is a Distinguished Service professor, in the Departments of Pediatrics and of Medicine at BCM. Brenner received his medical degree and subsequent PhD from Cambridge University, England. Brenner’s clinical research interests span many aspects of stem cell transplantation, using genetic manipulation of cultured cells to obtain therapeutic effects. Efforts in Brenner’s laboratory to analyze the cell of origin when relapse occurs in patients with acute myelogenous leukemia led Brenner’s team to be the first to label autologous bone marrow cells genetically after purging, prior to being reintroduced to the patient. He is studying the effects of gene transfer into autologous neuroblastoma cells and the use of gene-modified EBV-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyctes for prevention and treatment of lymphoproliferative disorders, Hodgkin’s disease, lung cancer and neuroblastoma. His group recently pioneered the first clinical use of a new safety switch for cellular therapy.

Brenner is past Editor in Chief of “Molecular Therapy” and a former President of the American Society for Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCT) and the International Society for Cell Therapy. He has won many awards for his work and in 2011 these including the ASGCT Outstanding Achievement Award and the American Society of Hematology Mentor Award.


Stephen P. Hunger, MD

Dr. Stephen HungerProfessor, Department of Pediatrics
Chief, Division of Pediatric Oncology
Director, Center for Childhood Cancer Research
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Philadelphia, PA

Dr. Stephen Hunger is a pediatric hematologist/oncologist who specializes in research and treatment regarding children, adolescents and young adults with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). He has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed manuscripts, almost all focused on pediatric ALL. Dr. Hunger is Chief of the Division of Pediatric Oncology and Director of the Center for Childhood Cancer Research at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Professor of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Hunger is the prior Vice-Chairman (2002-2007) and Chairman (2008-2015) of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) ALL Disease Committee. In these roles he has been responsible for oversight of the design and conduct of clinical trials and linked translational research studies that enroll over 2,000 children with ALL each year, including more than 70% of US children and adolescents diagnosed with ALL. Dr. Hunger leads the COG ALL TARGET (Therapeutically Applicable Research to Generate Effective Therapies) Project, that has conducted comprehensive studies of the genetic features of childhood ALL and revolutionized understanding of the genomic landscape of pediatric ALL. These findings are now being translated to clinical trials of targeted therapy in Philadelphia chromosome-like ALL. Dr. Hunger also has an interest in global health with a focus on improving treatment for children with ALL in low and middle income countries.


Loren Walensky, MD, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics
Attending Physician in Pediatric Oncology
Principal Investigator, Linde Program in Cancer Chemical Biology
Director, Harvard/MIT MD-PhD Program
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Boston, MA


Donald Small, MD PhD

Kyle Haydock Professor of Oncology
Professor of Oncology, Pediatrics, Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Human Genetics
Director, Pediatric Oncology
Director, Joint JHU/NCI Fellowship in Peds Heme/Onc
Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins
Baltimore, MD


Scientific Advisory Council was last modified: January 7th, 2016 by Geoff Duncan

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