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.
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.
Li Ka Shing Chair of Oncology
Head of Dept. of Oncology
Director, Cambridge Cancer Center
CRUK Cambridge Institute
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 served as Director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center, Executive Vice President, and Director of the Division of Brain Tumor Research. He held the Lillian R. Cannon Comprehensive Cancer Center Director Endowed Chair. In 2015, Dr. Gilbertson returned to the UK to direct the University of Cambridge Cancer Center as the Li Ka Shing Chair of Oncology.
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.
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.
Professor, Department of Pediatrics
Chief, Division of Pediatric Oncology
Director, Center for Childhood Cancer Research
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
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.
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.
Professor, Department of Pediatrics
Harvard Medical School
Vice-Chair for Research, Pediatric Oncology
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
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.
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.
Industry Advisory Council
The CureSearch for Children's Cancer Industry Advisory Council was created in 2016 to guide the organization's Catapult Initiative. 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
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.
Co-Chair, Industry Advisory Council
Senior Vice President, Head of Clinical Development
Silverback Therapeutics, Inc.
Samuel Blackman is Senior Vice President and Head of Clinical Development at Silverback Therapeutics 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.
Steve is a pediatric hematologist oncologist who joined Gilead Sciences in 2013 and currently serves as senior director in the hematology oncology section leading several programs. Prior to working at Gilead Sciences 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 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.
Sr 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.
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.
Senior Vice President
Head of Immuno-oncology
Global Medicines Development, AstraZeneca
Robert joined AstraZeneca in 2014 and currently serves as Senior Vice President and Head of Immuno-oncology, Global Medicines Development. Prior to AstraZeneca, Robert was Executive Director and Section Head of Oncology Clinical Development at Merck, where he had leadership responsibility for the development of immune-oncology assets, including Pembrolizumab, and also served as the founding Chair of the Pediatric Development Committee. Robert graduated with Alpha Omega Alpha honors from Yale Medical School and received his training in pediatrics and pediatric hematology-oncology at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
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.
Executive Director, Hematologic Malignancies Franchise Clinical Lead
Sandra Meech is a pediatric hematologist/oncologist and Executive Director in Global Oncology at Pfizer Inc. She is a member of the Strategy, Innovation and Collaboration Group where she provides technical and clinical reviews for clinical stage in-licensing opportunities and is involved with strategic projects aimed to enhance innovation and external collaborations. Sandra is the Co-Chair of the Pfizer Pediatric Council, Pfizer's strategic pediatric resource supporting clinical development project teams and influencing the external environment in order to deliver high quality pediatric clinical development programs for the safe use of medicines in children.
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.
Chief Medical Officer
Pratik Multani is Chief Medical Officer at Ignyta, a biotechnology company dedicated to the development of precision medicines in oncology. His background encompasses broad scientific and management experience in clinical development with a deep understanding of oncology. Dr. Multani was previously Chief Medical Officer at Fate Therapeutics, where he led the clinical development of novel cell therapies for the treatment of hematologic malignancies and other rare diseases. Dr. Multani has been involved in leadership positions for the development of multiple innovative marketed cancer therapies, including Treanda® (bendamustine), Zevalin® (ibritumomab tiuxtetan), and Rituxan® (rituximab). Prior to joining industry, Dr. Multani held academic and clinical positions at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was a member of the bone marrow transplant unit.
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.
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.
Catapult Advisory Council
The CureSearch for Children's Cancer Catapult Advisory Council was created in 2017 to support the strategic operation and development of the Catapult Impact Fund (CIF), a proposed pool of $100M to be used to 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.
Eric joined Aisling in 2016. Prior to joining Aisling, Eric was a partner at Thomas, McNerney and Partners, a $600 million health care focused venture capital and growth equity fund, from 2007-2015. Eric was a Managing Director of HealthCare Ventures, a health care venture capital fund, from 2001-2007. Eric currently sits on the board of Invitae Corporation, a NYSE listed company.
His prior board seats have included Amarin, Oriel Therapeutics, Inc. (acquired by Novartis AG), Virdante Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (acquired by Momenta Pharmaceuticals), CardioKine, Inc. (acquired by Cornerstone Therapeutics), SkinMedica, Inc (acquired by Allergan), Vaxinate, Inc., Metaphore, and 3-D Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Johnson & Johnson). Eric was CEO of Genovo, Inc. (acquired by Targeted Genetics), a biopharmaceutical company that specialized in gene delivery and gene regulation. He was also executive director of TheraTech, Inc. (acquired by Watson Pharmaceuticals). Eric was a Vice President and Managing Director of Philadelphia Ventures from 1992 to 1997. He is a member of the Board of Overseers of the Tufts School of Medicine and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Eric received his Medical Degree with honors from Harvard Medical School. He graduated with honors from Cornell University as a College Scholar. Eric was also a Luce Fellow and is a Chartered Financial Analyst.
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.
Director, Technology Commercialization and Licensing
Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Steve Kuemmerle, PhD, joined Polsky-TCL (nee UChicagoTech) in January, 2013, where he leads a team that is responsible for building relationships with faculty, for helping to shape and prosecute UChicago intellectual property, and for commercial assessment and licensing of University inventions into existing companies and startups. Steve has nearly three decades of healthcare industry experience. Most recently, as Head of Venture Investments at 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 clinical diagnostic R&D units before moving to the Pharmaceutical Division in 1997. Steve received his PhD in Biochemistry from Northwestern University.
Co-Founder and Partner
Abundant Venture Partners
Eric Langshur is a Co-Founder of Abundant Venture Partners. Prior to co-founding the partnership, Eric was Founder and Chairman of Rise Health, a venture backed healthcare digital technology and services company that provides clinical and practice management solutions to physicians and their patients. An early leader in the social media field, Eric is also Founder of CarePages, Inc., which he built to become the world's largest healthcare social networking website. He is a Co-Founder of Frequency540 and helped launch Public Insite, a leading web analytics firm, much recognized for their thought leadership in the digital marketing field. Previously, Eric was President of Bombardier Aerospace, CAS, a world leader in innovative aviation products, President of United Technologies ONSI Corp, the world's largest producer of commercial fuel cells, and held several executive level positions within divisions of United Technologies, including Vice President and General Manager of Hamilton Standard Propeller Systems. Eric also serves as Chairman of the Board of Myca, Inc. (Hello Health), the leading consumer facing digital platform for physicians, which is backed by the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Association Venture Fund. He is actively involved in the community, serving as a Director of Chicago's Back Office Cooperative and a Trustee of Big Brothers-Big Sisters. In 2007, Eric added published author to his credits with, "We Carry Each Other" (Conari Press).
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.
Svoboda Capital Partners LLC
John is co-founder of Svoboda Capital Partners ("SC"). John serves on the boards of SC portfolio companies Strategic Marketing, SWC Technology Partners, and Cape Electrical Supply. Prior to founding SC, John was employed in the Corporate Finance Department of William Blair & Company LLC (1983-1997), where he managed Business Development and became a Partner in 1988.
John currently serves on the advisory boards of MATH Venture Partners and HealthEngine LLC, both based in Chicago. John also serves as a trustee of the University of Chicago Medical Center, where he serves on several committees and chairs the governance subcommittee. John also serves as a trustee for the Otho S. A. Sprague Memorial Institute, the Auditorium Theatre Council, the Marwen Foundation, and as a life trustee of the Francis W. Parker School. He served on the Advisory Council of Stanford's Graduate School of Business, and served on the Steering Committee for the Stanford Campaign. John has also served on several alumni and fundraising committees for both Williams College and the Stanford Business School, as well as capital campaigns for the Greater Chicago Food Depository and the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital. John serves on the Advisory Council of the Chicago Fire soccer club.
John graduated from Williams College with a BA in 1979 and received his MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1983.