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 (click each for more info):
Chair, 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.
Chairman of the Department of Pediatric Oncology
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Associate Chief, Department of Hematology/Oncology
Boston Children’s Hospital
David G. Nathan Professor of Pediatrics
Harvard Medical School
Dr. Scott A. Armstrong is Chairman of the Department of Pediatric Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Associate Chief, Department of Hematology/Oncology, Boston Children’s Hospital, and the David G. Nathan Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Armstrong received his MD and PhD from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas. He performed his residency and fellowship in pediatric hematology/oncology at Children’s Hospital Boston, the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and Harvard Medical School. His work has been recognized by a number of awards including the Paul Marks Prize for Cancer Research from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the E. Mead Johnson Award for Outstanding Research in Pediatrics and the Dameshek Prize from the American Society of Hematology. He is a fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Science an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine.
Dr. Armstrong’s studies have led to several findings that point to promising new therapies. The major focus of his career has been on delineating the biology of leukemia and the development of new therapeutic approaches for cancer. His research program has focused on the mechanisms of leukemia development and the relationship between leukemia and normal hematopoietic stem cells. His lab has made fundamental contributions to the understanding of how leukemia arises from different cells in the hematopoietic system. Through this work, he has shown that myeloid leukemia stem cells are often most similar to committed myeloid progenitors that inappropriately express stem cell programs; a concept that has now been replicated in multiple cancers. His group also studies how chromatin-associated complexes control cancer-causing gene expression and has used this understanding to develop small molecule approaches that he continues to pursue. This work has led to the development of clinical trials that are being assessed in adults and children with cancer.
Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Section of Hematology-Oncology
Baylor College of Medicine
Founding Director, Center for Cell and Gene Therapy
Texas Children’s Hospital
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.
Professor of Pediatrics, Hematology and Medical Oncology
Children's Hospital Colorado/University of Colorado School of Medicine
Dr. Gore's research interests are focused on the development of novel cancer therapeutics with a particular emphasis on pediatric and hematological malignancies. She has been a PI or co-PI on more than 200 national and international clinical trials and serve on advisory panels to the Oncology Drug Advisory Committee (ODAC) to the US FDA, serves on the Developmental Therapeutics Study Section of the NCI/NIH, and has advised at the European Medicines Agency. Her research has focused on particularly high-risk diseases such as relapsed leukemia, sarcoma, and CNS tumors refractory to conventional therapies. She currently serves as co-Director of the Hematological Malignancies Program at the University of Colorado NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Section Head for Pediatric Hematology/Oncology/Bone Marrow Transplant, and is part of the Executive Committee for ALL in the Children's Oncology Group. Dr. Gore is an enthusiastic collaborator with her colleagues world-wide who share the goal of bettering the treatment and outcomes for children with cancer.
Professor of Pediatrics
Keck School of Medicine, USC
Head Basic and Translational Research
Children's Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases
Children's Hospital of Los Angeles
Director, Cancer Research Program
The Saban Research Institute, CHLA
Member USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center
Los Angeles, CA
Lee J. Helman received his M.D. from the University of Maryland School of Medicine magna cum laude in 1980 and was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha. He completed his internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Barnes Hospital Washington University also serving as Chief Resident. Dr. Helman began his fellowship training at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in 1983. He did his post-doctoral training in the Molecular Genetics Section, Pediatric Branch, NCI, and became Head of the Molecular Oncology Section, Pediatric Oncology Branch, NCI, in 1993. He served as Chief of the Pediatric Oncology Branch from 1997-2007, and served as Scientific Director for Clinical Research in the Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute from 2007 to 2016. He will join CHLA and the University of Southern California (USC) on March 12 as director of Basic and Translational Research within the Children's Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases (CCCBD) and the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Blood and Marrow Transplantation. He will also serve as director of the Cancer and Blood Diseases Program at The Saban Research Institute. In addition, Dr. Helman will be a professor of Pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and a member of the Sarcoma Program and executive leadership team at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.
He was elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the American Association of Physicians and is a founding member and past president of the Connective Tissue Oncology Society. Dr. Helman is the past Chairman of the Board of Directors and is currently a member of the Board of Directors of and is a Clinical Advisor to The Children's Inn at NIH and is a past member of the Board of Governors of the Clinical Center at NIH. Dr. Helman is a past member of the Board of Directors of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and a past chair for its Bylaws Committee. He received the 2011 ASCO Pediatric Oncology Award and is a Fellow of ASCO. He has served on the Science Education, Publications, and Clinical & Translational Research committees of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), and was the inaugural chair of its Pediatric Oncology Task Force and has been on the Scientific Program Committee for several of its annual meetings. He serves on the Scientific Advisory Committee of Stand Up To Cancer, a scientific partner to the AACR.
Dr. Helman's laboratory currently studies the biology and treatment of rhabdomyosarcoma, Ewing's sarcoma, osteosarcoma, and pediatric GIST tumors. Major areas of research include the study of the pathophysiologic consequences of IGF signaling; identification of the molecular/biochemical determinants of the biology of these sarcomas; and the application of functional genomics to develop novel clinical studies for these sarcomas.
Director, Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Diseases
The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital
Dr. Lessnick earned his bachelor's degree from Brandeis University, followed by MD and PhD degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), as part of the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). He did his PhD thesis with Christopher Denny, MD, where he studied the function of the Ewing sarcoma EWS/FLI oncoprotein. He then conducted his internship and residency at Children's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, followed by a fellowship in pediatric hematology/oncology at Children’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. He completed postdoctoral research in the Pediatric Oncology Department at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute with Todd Golub, MD, where he studied the transcriptional consequences of EWS/FLI.
Dr. Lessnick joined University of Utah faculty in January 2004 and rose through the ranks to become a Tenured Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, a Jon and Karen Huntsman Presidential Professor in Cancer Research, and the Director of the Center for Children's Cancer Research at Huntsman Cancer Institute. In July 2015, Dr. Lessnick joined the faculty at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital as the director of the Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Diseases and The Ohio State University as a professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology.
Retired Professor of Paediatric Oncology
Institute of Cancer Research and Royal Marsden Hospital
Prof Andy Pearson is formerly a Cancer Research UK Professor of Paediatric Oncology, at the Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden Hospital NHS Trust. In May 2014 he retired due to ill health from The Institute of Cancer Research and Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. Prior to 2005 he had been Professor of Paediatric Oncology, University of Newcastle upon Tyne and Dean of Postgraduate Studies, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Newcastle upon Tyne. Professor Pearson trained at Newcastle upon Tyne and was Lilly International/Medical Research Council Travelling Fellow at the University of Minnesota, USA.
Professor Andy Pearson's expertise is in the fields of drug development and neuroblastoma and has over 40 years experience in clinical paediatric oncology.
Professor Pearson led the first paediatric phase I study in the UK. He has been involved in the pre-clinical and early clinical development of many anti-cancer agents in children. He was Chair of National Cancer Research Institute Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Clinical Studies Group Novel Agents Subgroup and a member of New Agents Committee of Cancer Research UK. He is a member of the Executive and Clinical Trial Committee of the Innovative Therapy for Children with Cancer Consortium (ITCC). He is a member of the Steering Committee of the multi-stakeholder CDDF - ITCC - International Society of Paediatric Oncology Europe (SIOPE) Paediatric Oncology Platform (ACCELERATE) to improve drug development for children and adolescents with cancer. He has been on the Organising Committee of the ACCELERATE-European Medicine Agency (EMA) Paediatric Strategy Forums. He led a comprehensive paediatric drug development program, with one of the largest portfolios of early phase, first in child, biomarker rich studies in Europe at The Institute of Cancer Research and Royal Marsden focusing on neuroblastoma.
He was the first Chair of the United Kingdom Children Cancer Study Group (UKCCSG) Neuroblastoma Group, Chair of the European Neuroblastoma Group and was the founding chair of International Society of Paediatric Oncology Europe Neuroblastoma Group (SIOPEN). He remains on the Advisory Board of SIOPEN. He and Professor Sue Cohn of Chicago created and chair the International Neuroblastoma Risk Group Consortium (INRG). He was President of Advances in Neuroblastoma Research Association from 2012 - 2014 and was on the ANRA Advisory Board for Europe and Russia since 2006. He was Chairman of the UKCCSG from 2003 - 2006. Professor Pearson was the Chief Investigator of the clinical trial ENSG 5 which changed the standard practice for the therapy of high risk neuroblastoma in Europe. He was the Chief Investigator of the BEACON Trial; the first randomized European study for refractory/relapsed neuroblastoma. He has published over 350 scientific manuscripts.
He was awarded a Life Time Achievement Award from Advances in Neuroblastoma Research in 2016.
Associate Director, Oncology Sciences
Office of Hematology and Oncology Products, OND
Center for Drug Evaluation and Research
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Gregory H. Reaman, MD joined the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Office of New Drugs, U.S. Food and Drug Administration as the Associate Director for Oncology Sciences of the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products (OHOP) in 2011. He is the Founding and Immediate Past Chair of the Children's Oncology Group (COG) having served in this capacity from 2000 through 2010 and previously served as Vice Chair for Scientific Affairs and Associate Chair for New Agent Studies of the legacy Children's Cancer Group (CCG) where he directed the Phase 1 Consortium for 10 years.
Dr. Reaman is a Professor of Pediatrics at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences and a member of the Division of Hematology-Oncology at the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, DC, which he directed for more than 17 years. He serves or has served on numerous Editorial Boards and is the author/co-author of more than 350 peer - reviewed manuscripts and 20 book chapters and the editor/associate editor of 4 textbooks. His research interests are in the biology and treatment of childhood acute leukemia and new drug development for pediatric cancer.
Kyle Haydock Professor of Oncology
Professor of Oncology, Pediatrics, Cellular and Molecular Medicine, and Human Genetics
Director, Pediatric Oncology
Director, Johns Hopkins/National Cancer Institute Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program
Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Don Small received his undergraduate, MD, and PhD degrees from the Johns Hopkins University (1979, 1985). He trained in pediatrics and pediatric hematology/oncology at Hopkins. During his pediatric Hematology/Oncology fellowship, he studied the role of a number of proteins in DNA replication. He joined the Hopkins faculty in 1990, and was named the Kyle Haydock Professor of Oncology in 2003, with joint appointments in Pediatrics, Cellular and Molecular Medicine, and Human Genetics. He has served as Director of Pediatric Oncology at Johns Hopkins since 2006.
His laboratory was the first to clone the human FLT3 gene, which is the most frequently mutated gene in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). He led the team that investigated the role of FLT3 in leukemia and was the first to discover drugs capable of inhibiting the tyrosine kinase activity of FLT3. This research revealed that this class of drugs could preferentially kill leukemic cell lines and primary AML samples expressing mutant FLT3–one of the first successful molecularly targeted cancer therapies. His lab also developed a high-throughput cell-based in vitro assay that facilitated screening of a large library of kinase inhibitors and identification of several with great potency and selectivity against FLT3. His group led the first clinical trials investigating the use of a FLT3 inhibitor in adult relapsed and refractory FLT3-mutant AML, and determined how best to combine these drugs with chemotherapy. The team also helped design the first pediatric trials of FLT3 inhibitors for use in treating pediatric AML and infant ALL.
His lab continues to investigate the process of leukemic transformation, the role of FLT3 in leukemia stem cells utilizing mouse models, and signaling changes in leukemic stem cells.
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
Loren D. Walensky, MD, PhD, is a Principal Investigator and Attending Physician in the Department of Pediatric Oncology and the Linde Program in Cancer Chemical Biology at the Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, and Director of the Harvard/MIT MD-PhD Program.
Dr. Walensky's research focuses on the chemical biology of deregulated apoptotic and transcriptional pathways in cancer and other pediatric diseases. The goal of his laboratory is to develop an arsenal of new compounds - a "chemical toolbox" – to investigate and block pathologic protein interactions. Dr. Walensky has broken new ground in our understanding of BCL-2 family protein interactions, which govern the critical balance between cellular life and death. His team has generated highly specific and stable "stapled peptides" that preserve the structure of biologically-active alpha-helices, maximizing their potential as novel tools to elucidate biological pathways and as prototype therapies for cancer, infectious diseases, and diabetes. His research contributed to the founding of Aileron Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Massachusetts biotechnology company, which has advanced to clinical trials a first-in-class stapled peptide drug to reactivate p53 in cancer, developed based on Dr. Walensky's work.
Dr. Walensky is the recipient of numerous awards including a Stand Up to Cancer Innovative Research Grant, an NIH Director's Transformative RO1 Award, a Burroughs Wellcome Career Award in the Biomedical Sciences, a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Scholar Award, a Harvard Medical School Young Mentor Award, and most recently, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's Morse Award for Research Excellence, the Samuel Rosenthal Prize for Excellence in Academic Pediatrics, the E. Mead Johnson Award for Pediatric Research, and an NCI Outstanding Investigator R35 Award. He is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Society for Pediatric Research, and the American Pediatric Society.
Director of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
Professor cross-appointed at the University of Minnesota's Masonic Cancer Center and the Department of Pediatrics
Brenda Weigel, MD, is the Director of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and is a Professor cross-appointed at the University of Minnesota’s Masonic Cancer Center and the Department of Pediatrics, and the recipient of the Lehman/Children's Cancer Research Fund Endowed Chair in Pediatric Cancer. She is also the Co-Director of the Sarcoma Program for the Masonic Cancer Center. Dr. Weigel is the medical director of the Masonic Cancer Center Clinical Trials Office
Dr. Weigel received her medical degree from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and conducted her residency in pediatrics at the University of Western Ontario. She came to the University of Minnesota in 1996 to conduct a fellowship in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant. During her four-year fellowship, Dr. Weigel worked in the laboratory of Bruce Blazar, MD, and developed a murine model of rhabdomyosarcoma.
Dr. Weigel's major interests have been advancing new therapies, particularly therapies that harness the immune system's role in fighting cancer. Her research interests are centered in her extensive involvement with the Children's Oncology Group (COG). She is the Chair of Developmental Therapeutics Committee, Co-chair for New High Risk Rhabdomyosarcoma Study, and the COG representative to the National Cancer Institute's Investigational Drug Steering Committee.
Industry Advisory Council
The CureSearch for Children's Cancer Industry Advisory Council was created in 2016 to guide the organization's Research Strategy. The council brings together industry leaders committed to pediatric oncology drug development. With the support of the Industry Advisory Council, CureSearch hopes to propel new treatments over the Valley of Death by facilitating collaboration between academic researchers and pharmaceutical companies, fostering and encouraging pediatric oncology drug development and clinical trials and accelerating commercialization of new therapies for children with cancer.
CureSearch Industry Advisory committee members (click each for more info):
Chair, Industry Advisory Council
Senior Vice President, Head of Clinical Development
Samuel Blackman is Senior Vice President and Head of Clinical Development at Mavupharma, Inc. in Seattle, Washington. For the past 9 years he has been focused on the early clinical development of novel cancer therapeutics and has held various positions of increasing responsibility within the pharmaceutical industry. Most recently, he served as Senior Medical Director at Juno Therapeutics where he was responsible for clinical development of novel immunotherapies for leukemia, including chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapies and high-affinity T cell receptor (TCR) therapies. Previously, Samuel served as Executive Director and Head of Translational Medicine at Seattle Genetics where he was responsible for pre-clinical and early clinical development of novel antibody drug conjugate (ADC) therapeutics for cancer and lead a group of 30 physicians and scientists.
Chief Medical Officer
Steve is a pediatric hematologist oncologist who joined Bioclintherapeutics in 2017 as chief medical officer prior to that he was a Senior director for 4 years Gilead Sciences leading several oncology programs. Steve’s initial experience in industry began the he worked as executive director at Amgen for 4 years after 20 years of academic practice in pediatric hematology oncology with special expertise in stem cell transplantation.
Senior Medical Director, Global Clinical Lead for Pediatric Oncology and Xtandi
Elly Barry is a board-certified pediatrician and pediatric hematologist/oncologist, currently serving as the Global Clinical Lead for Pediatric Oncology at Pfizer, and responsible for developing and implementing strategy and deliverables related to pediatric development plans. While at Pfizer, she has contributed to the development of PIPs/PPSRs across a number of compounds, including bosutinib, gemtuzumab ozogamicin, inotuzumab ozogamizin, and sunitinib. She is the Head of the Pediatric Oncology Leadership Team at Pfizer, and a member of Pfizer’s Pediatric Council. She is also the Global Clinical Lead for the clinical development of enzalutamide, with a focus on prostate cancer.
Elly received her MD degree from Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, before completing residency training in pediatrics at Tufts-New England Medical Center/Floating Hospital for Children in Boston, and fellowship training in pediatric hematology/oncology at Boston Children’s Hospital/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. She remained on staff at DFCI as an Instructor in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplantation, while obtaining a Masters in Medical Science degree from Harvard Medical School. Her previous industry roles at Genzyme and Millennium have focused on the early and late development of drugs for hematologic malignancies, breast, and renal cancers.
Vice President Pediatric Development
Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals
Ellen Bolotin is the Vice President of Pediatric Development at Bayer, responsible for overseeing pediatric global development, including small molecules, monoclonal antibodies, ADC, and radiotherapy. Her expertise is in pediatric program development from indication selection, PIP to study protocol development, networking with pediatric oncology networks, KOLs and cooperative groups. It includes early assessment and prioritization of compounds in non-competitive environment internal and external; Harmonization of regulatory submissions to FDA and EMA; Innovative clinical and statistical study design, long term follow up, education and training.
Dr. Bolotin received her MD degree from St Petersburg Pediatric Medical School and PhD from Institute of Hematology and transfusion medicine training in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at University of Southern California and has held academic positions at USC and City of Hope in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and bone marrow transplantation. Prior to Bayer, she served as Senior Director, Head of Experimental Medicine at Daichi Sankyo.
Senior Director and Clinical Program Leader
Novartis Institute of Biomedical Research (NIBR)
Scott is a Senior Director, Oncology Research Physician in Translational Clinical Oncology at Novartis. Prior to joining Novartis in 2010, Scott was a pediatric hematologist-oncologist, laboratory scientist, teacher and program director in the Simmons Cancer Center at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. At Novartis, he currently leads the PD-1 inhibitor clinical development program, which provides the foundation for combination immunotherapies.
Senior Medical Director
Hoffmann-La Roche AG
Hubert Caron, MD, PhD, Principal Medical Director of Pediatric Oncology at Roche, Basel and Research Professor at AMC, Amsterdam.
Dr. Caron is trained as a pediatric oncologist and worked in clinical practice and academic research until recently. He joined Roche in 2014 and became the Global Development Team Lead within the iPODD pediatric oncology team, which is responsible for the pediatric clinical and regulatory development of the Roche Genentech oncology portfolio in the iMATRIX trial structure to bring new and life-saving therapies to children with cancer. He has implemented a preclinical pediatric screening platform in Roche to support rational Mechanism-of-Action based development of the Roche Genentech anticancer drugs in the "best matching" pediatric cancers. Furthermore, he is co-leading an IMI2 EU research consortium, consisting of a public-private partnership of 11 academic institutions, 3 SMEs and 5 pharmaceutical companies, to develop a large PDX preclinical testing platform for 10 high risk pediatric cancer types.
He holds a full professorship in pediatric oncology at the AMC, Amsterdam, Netherlands and is a principal investigator for several tumor-biology-driven preclinical translational research projects. He established a very active 'late effect' research group in his department. He was also actively involved in projects in evidence-based medicine and in quality of care.
Vice President, Regulatory Science
Acerta Pharma (AstraZeneca Group)
Davy Chiodin is Vice President, Regulatory Science at Acerta Pharma, AstraZeneca's Hematology Center of Excellence, based in Redwood City, CA. Before joining Acerta in 2016, he most recently served as the Senior Regulatory Program Director and Global Regulatory Leader for the Innovative Pediatric Drug Development group at Genentech/Roche (iPODD) working with EMA and FDA at developing innovative pediatric regulatory strategies. Davy brings in global Regulatory expertise in all stages of drug development and commercialization, across tumor types, in solid and hematologic malignancies.
Clinical Development Lead, Cancer Epigenetics
Arindam Dhar is an Executive Medical Director at Glaxo Smith Kline, Pennsylvania, and serves as the Clinical Development Leader for their Cancer Epigenetics Program. He leads a team of physicians and clinical scientists in the development of 4 novel assets, providing strategic leadership for development of the cancer epigenetic clinical portfolio. He also serves as the medical lead for their expanding bromodomain inhibitor program. Many pediatric cancers have epigenetic modifications that are target for therapy with these assets as single agents and in combination. Before joining GSK in 2013, Arindam was Medical Director at Bristol Myers Squibb working in their early and late development programs for six years. Prior to that, he was with the Interagency Oncology Task Force, a joint NCI-FDA program.
Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Heller received his Bachelor’s degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale University and his medical degree from George Washington University before training first in pediatrics and then pediatric hematology/oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Following fellowship, Dr. Heller joined the faculty of the Rockefeller University as Instructor and subsequently Chief Clinical Scholar of Clinical Investigation in the laboratory of Ralph Steinman. During this time, he served as principal investigator on clinical trials, including conducting and publishing his own NIH-funded research into T-cell mediated immune responses among patients with EBV-mediated lymphomas.
Dr. Heller began his industry experience at BMS where he led early development programs and was responsible for authoring and managing first in human clinical trials. Later as U.S. medical lead for ipilimumab, he led the writing of the FDA approved label and the REMS-Side Effect Guidelines for ipilimumab. In this role he also represented BMS in the negotiation of payer policies. He also served as Global Lead for Oncology Search and Evaluation in the strategic transactions group at BMS where he was responsible for leading due diligence activities and prepared recommendations for possible acquisitions. At AstraZeneca, Dr. Heller was the medical lead for selumetinib and vandetanib programs in which he presented end of Phase 2 development plans to EMA (selumetinib program) and led the filing processes in China and Japan (including the authoring of the vandetanib Japan-PI). At Incyte, he served as head of antibody clinical development where he led the IND submissions of two novel immunotherapies and coordinated immunotherapy clinical development strategies for multiple antibody programs. Dr. Heller is currently the Chief Medical Officer at NextCure and holds the position of adjunct professor in medicine at the Yale Medical School.
Su Young Kim is a Medical Director in Clinical Development Oncology at AbbVie. He graduated from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and obtained his PhD at the University of Illinois at Chicago, focusing on tumor suppressor genes. He received this fellowship training in pediatric hematology-oncology at the joint program at the Johns Hopkins University and the National Institutes of Health. At AbbVie, Su Young currently works in the chronic lymphocytic leukemia program and leads the clinical development of venetoclax in pediatric patients.
VP, Clinical Affairs & Patient Engagement
Loxo Oncology, Inc.
Dr. Deborah Morosini joined LOXO Oncology in 2016 as vice president of clinical affairs & patient engagement, bringing expertise in oncology drug development, clinical genomics and insightful philanthropic activism. Loxo Oncology, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company innovating the development of highly selective medicines for patients with genetically defined cancers. As an early team member & VP at Foundation Medicine (FMI), she developed a niche specialty in the genomics of adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer. Prior to joining FMI, she founded and led the molecular pathology group at AstraZeneca US, where she helped develop and implement biomarker strategies for biomarker driven trials. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Foundation, the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, the National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF) scientific advisory board, Target Cancer, the NHGRI council, Cancer Support Community: New Jersey, and the development subcommittee for the AYA cancer foundation, Critical Mass.
Vice President, Clinical Development
Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Dr. Skolnik is Vice President of Clinical Development for Inovio Pharmaceuticals and prior to that was Chief Medical Officer and VP of Clinical Research for TetraLogic Pharmaceuticals, as well as a US Medical Affairs lead in Oncology for GSK, and clinical lead physician for several pivotal oncology programs at AstraZeneca. Dr. Skolnik is a practicing pediatric hematologist-oncologist with experience in both large pharmaceutical and small biotechnology companies. Dr. Skolnik has experience with both early and late-stage clinical development and extensive experience in developing oncology drug programs for children. Dr. Skolnik previously served as chair of a Children's Oncology Group study, and has several peer-reviewed publications, one of which serves as the basis for novel trial design methodology in the pediatric oncology space.
Clinical Program Lead for Hematology-Oncology Research Development
Rosanna Ricafort is a pediatric hematologist/oncologist and the Clinical Program Lead for Hematology-Oncology Clinical Development at Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, responsible for the late phase development of hematology assets both immuno-oncology (IO) and non-IO. Her team drives individual asset strategies from design through execution of specific data generation trials, including registrational, non-registrational, external collaborations and other business development activities. She is a core member of the Hematology Development Team, focused on the vision and growth of Oncology asset development strategies, including consideration for scientific, regulatory and clinical activities. Prior to this role at BMS, Rosanna’s industry career since 2013 consisted of increasing leadership positions in the US Medical Affairs organizations at BMS and Celgene, delivering 4 successful launches for 4 different immuno-oncology assets across disease indications in hematologic malignancies.
Rosanna established and directed the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program at Montefiore Medical Center, NY, where she held a faculty appointment for over 10 years. Rosanna led the clinical transplant program's successful accreditation by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy, recognition as a Children's Oncology Group Transplant Center and membership to the National Marrow Donor Program and Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Consortium. In addition, she was the Site PI and served on the NHL and HL Disease Committees of the Children's Oncology Group.
Rosanna earned her Medical Doctorate at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and completed her fellowship training in Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, where she remained as a research fellow in the Department of Human Genetics and Immunology working on gene transfer and adoptive cellular therapy strategies prior to joining the faculty at Montefiore in 2006.
Industry Advisory Council
Chief Medical Officer
Raphaël Rousseau is the Chief Medical Officer at Gritstone Oncology, responsible for leading the development of Gritstone's cutting-edge neoantigen immunotherapy platform. Prior to this role he served as the Global Franchise Head of the Innovative Pediatric Drug Development (iPODD) group at Genentech, a member of the Roche Group. Prior to joining Roche in 2009, Raphaël was a professor of Medical and Pediatric Oncology at the University Claude Bernard in Lyon, France, where he established a clinical and translational research program in high-risk pediatric cancers. He also became a permanent expert for biomedical research within France's Agency for the Safety of Medicinal Products. In 2008 he was awarded the Cancer Foundation Advanced Clinical Research Award in Sarcoma from the American Society of Clinical Oncology for his translational research project in pediatric osteosarcoma. Raphaël currently serves as Chair of the CureSearch Industry Advisory Council.
Center for Pediatric Clinical Development
PRA Health Sciences
Mark Sorrentino, MD, MS, has 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. He is currently the Vice President, Center for Pediatric Clinical Development at PRA Health Sciences. Prior to joining PRA, Dr. Sorrentino spent 5 years as the global chair and founder of the pediatric practice area overseeing all aspects of strategy and clinical development in pediatrics. He was also the global therapeutic head of critical care.
Dr. Sorrentino has served as a consultant to biotechnology firms and has overseen implementation of medical information systems. Dr. Sorrentino received his MD as well an MS in Clinical Nutrition from the Chicago Medical School. He completed both a residency in Pediatrics and fellowship in Pediatric Critical Care at Children's National Medical Center in Washington DC and currently holds an appointment as an Assistant Clinical Professor at the George Washington University School of Medicine. Dr. Sorrentino was an attending physician in the CNMC pediatric intensive care unit for 8 years and participated in numerous Industry sponsored critical care trials.
Director, Oncology Extramural Research
Tony Wagner is the Director of Oncology Extramural Research at Amgen. He graduated from USC Keck School of Medicine with a Ph.D. in Physiology and Biophysics and completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Brown University Alpert Medical School where his academic work focused on vascular biology, renal physiology and blood pressure regulatory mechanisms. He has worked at Amgen for 20 years focusing on the development external research collaborations and strategic alliances with the National Cancer Institute, academic research centers, and other top tier oncology research organizations.
VP, Head of Clinical Development, Acting CMO
Allen joined Jazz in March of 2016 to assume the role as Therapeutic Area Head for Hematology/Oncology, and has built the hematology-oncology clinical development group.
Allen holds a B.A. in Molecular Biology from UC Berkeley, and an M.D. and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from University of Southern California. He completed his medical oncology fellowship at the MD Anderson Cancer Center. He practiced for several years as an academic oncologist at the University of Southern California seeing patients and running a translational cancer research laboratory. He later joined Amgen where he had several roles of increasing responsibility. Immediately prior to joining Jazz he VP of Clinical Research led Clinical Development and Clinical Operations groups at Spectrum Pharmaceuticals. His experience as a practicing oncologist and laboratory based cancer researcher has brought a unique perspective to the role.
Catapult Advisory Council
The CureSearch for Children's Cancer Catapult Advisory Council was created in 2017 to support the strategic operation and advance new treatments for pediatric cancers into human clinical trials and eventual drug development.
The council convenes leaders in venture capital, private equity, investment and tech transfer all with a passion for CureSearch's mission. Working with the Catapult Advisory Council, CureSearch plans to raise and support an evergreen pipeline of funding that will catapult the best research out of the laboratory and into commercialization, the point at which it actually reaches children.
CureSearch Catapult Advisory Council members (click each for more info):
Chair, Catapult Advisory Council
Abundant Venture Partners
Kathy spent 22 years at Adams Street Partners, a global private equity firm with $30 billion in assets under management. After spending the first five years at Brinson Partners, ASP's predecessor firm, in various roles, she joined the Private Equity group in 1998. Kathy was a founding team member for Adams Street which was established in 2001. While at Adams Street Partners, Kathy managed the US Primary team and served on the Global Primary Investment Committee, which was responsible for implementing strategy and approving all primary fund investments. Since 1998, she served on many advisory boards and completed many primary investments across several sectors, ranging from healthcare to special situations. Prior to ASP, she was at Morgan Stanley in NYC. She holds a BS from Binghamton University and an MBA from Kellogg SOM at Northwestern University.
Managing Director, Oncology Impact Fund
Bard Geesaman, MD, PhD, has been affiliated with MPM and associated portfolio companies since 2002. With broad experience investing, operating and facilitating business development globally, including in Japan, China and Israel, Bard is a Managing Director of MPM's Oncology Impact Fund (OIF) and serves as Chief Compliance Officer (CCO).
Prior to MPM, Bard founded Catalyst Medical Solutions, a medical documentation and billing eHealth company in Boston where he served as the Chief Technology Officer through the company's acquisition. After Catalyst, Bard joined Centagenetix, an MPM-founded company exploring the genetics of successful aging.
In 2006, Bard joined MPM as a Venture Partner with a major focus on founding Solasia Pharmaceuticals, based in Tokyo, Japan. Bard is also the co-founder and a board member of MPM healthcare IT startup TriNetX (big data analytics for clinical trials). Bard is passionate about innovation in health care, and in 2008 took a two year sabbatical from MPM to do non-profit work in Los Angeles at the X-Prize Foundation, where he worked on alternative models for motivating life sciences innovation.
He received a BS in neuroscience from UC Berkeley followed by concurrent degrees from Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with his PhD work focused on systems and computational neurobiology. Bard finished his medical training by completing a three-year medical residency at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Founder & Principal
The Gould Consulting Group LLC
Steven A. Gould, MD is Founder and Principal of The Gould Consulting Group LLC, which provides advisory services to universities, industry and venture investors seeking to develop and capitalize on healthcare innovations in life sciences and digital health. He is also Operating Partner at Abundant Venture Partners.
Steve is deeply involved in the Chicago healthcare entrepreneurial ecosystem. He is the Chair of the Advisory Board of Chicago Innovation Mentors (CIM), a member of the Board of Directors of MATTER, a member of the Bioscience committee of ChicagoNEXT, and an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago.
Steve has considerable experience in both raising capital for and investing in early stage companies in the healthcare sector. From 2010-2016 he was part of the leadership group of the Healthcare vertical in Hyde Park Angels, the largest angel group in the Midwest. He was previously a scientific founder and Chairman and CEO of Northfield Laboratories Inc., a publicly traded biotechnology company focused on developing a hemoglobin-based oxygen carrier as a blood substitute.
Prior to Northfield Steve was Chief of Surgery at Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center and a professor of surgery at the University of Chicago and then the University of Illinois at Chicago. Steve received his B.A. degree from Williams College and his M.D. degree from Boston University School of Medicine. He completed his residency training in surgery at Yale and the University of Vermont, and a research fellowship at Michael Reese and the University of Chicago.
Special Adviser on Innovation and Industry to the EVP of Research, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science
Steve came to RFUMS from the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center where he was Senior Director, Industry Relations. He joined University of Chicago in 2013 in a leadership role to manage technology licensing and commercialization. Steve has nearly three decades of healthcare industry experience. Most recently, as Head of Venture Investments, Abbott Biotech Ventures, Inc., he led the evaluation and execution of equity investments in emerging pharma companies. Before that, Steve served as a director in Abbott’s Global Pharma Licensing Group. Steve first joined Abbott in 1987, where he managed various clinical diagnostic R&D units before moving to the Pharmaceutical Division in 1997. Steve received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Northwestern University.
Director, Center for Financial Markets
Christopher Lee is a Director at the Milken Institute's Center for Financial Markets, where he leads deal structuring efforts for the center's innovative financing practice. In this role, he identifies and develops new ventures and initiatives of strategic interest to the Institute, its affiliates, as well as its external partners.
Lee joined the Institute after his tenure as deputy director of the Development Credit Authority at the U.S. Agency for International Development. For this $5 billion global credit platform he oversaw strategy and product development as well as investment origination involving more than 75 countries. In previous government roles and as an entrepreneur, private equity investor, and investment banker, Lee has been involved with launching many novel transaction structures, including funds for African agriculture private equity and environmental investments, financing facilities for global health commodities and sharia-compliant education funding, and growth capital products for emerging market suppliers of multinational corporations. Over his career he has completed transactions across nearly 30 countries and more than 10 sectors ranging from healthcare to garments, technology, real estate, financial services, and telecommunications. Lee earned a B.S. in finance and a B.A. in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia. He works in the Institute's Washington office.
Chief Financial Officer at PureTech Health
Joep Muijrers, PhD, is the Chief Financial Officer at PureTech Health. Dr. Muijrers has two decades of experience in corporate and capital finance, specifically focused on public market investment, M&A, portfolio management, strategic asset allocation, financial and regulatory reporting, and fundraising. Prior to joining PureTech Health, he was a Portfolio Manager and Partner at LSP (Life Sciences Partners), a trans-Atlantic investor group with exclusive focus on life sciences. At LSP, Dr. Muijrers was responsible for investing in publicly-traded companies, a strategy that generated a total return in excess of 900%, more than twice the return of the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index during the same period (Q2 2008 - Q1 2018). Notable investments included companies that were acquired by large pharma (Ablynx, Colucid, InterMune, Kite Pharma, NeuroDerm) and/or became leaders in their respective areas of activity (Evotec, Genmab, GW Pharmaceuticals, MorphoSys, Neurocrine). Prior to joining LSP, he held the position of Director Corporate Finance and Capital Markets at Fortis Bank, currently part of ABN AMRO. Dr. Muijrers holds a PhD degree in Molecular Biology from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany and a Master’s degree in Biochemistry from the University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
Michele Park, PhD, serves as a Partner for the firm and leads the Clarus Cancer Fund, a novel investment model aimed at generating financial returns and amplifying scientific and medical impacts by donating a portion of the Cancer Fund's returns to advance basic science research in cancer.
Dr. Park joined Clarus in 2006 with six years of sell-side equity research experience covering the biotechnology sector. From 2002-2005, Dr. Park was a research analyst at Credit Suisse First Boston, where she covered biotechnology stocks as a member of the firm's US biotechnology team. Before joining CSFB, Dr. Park was a biotechnology research analyst at US Bancorp Piper Jaffray.
Dr. Park received a PhD in Molecular Biology from Cornell University's Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, completing her PhD dissertation at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and a BA in Molecular Biology from Princeton University. Michele represents Clarus on the Board of Directors of Lumos Pharma and as a Board observer of SFJ.
Previous Board seats have included Sientra (NASDAQ:SIEN) and Board observer roles at Achillion and Comentis.
Walt served as Co-Chair of the Board of Trustees at Children's Hospital Los Angeles and Co Chair of the CHLA $500 million capital campaign. His business experience includes management positions at McKinsey and Co., Medtronic, Inc and as a Founding Partner of McBain, Rose Partners, a boutique private equity firm. He is currently CEO of EBT, Inc, a start up company that is combing advances in neuroscience and technology to offer a cost effective solution for addressing emotional health issues. He also currently serves on the Board of CureSearch and the Marin General Hospital in Northern California.
Last updated July 2018, all council members and their information is subject to change.