David M Ashley, PHD
Professor David M Ashley, MBBS (Hon), FRACP, PhD, is Director, The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center, Head, Preuss Laboratory, and Director, Pediatrics Neuro-Oncology, Duke University.
Professor David Ashley’s career in cancer research dates more than two decades. He is credentialed in both pediatric and adult neuro-oncology practice and this has been the focus of his efforts in translational research and leadership. As evident from his publication and grant support record, his primary academic focus has been on neurologic tumors, the development of innovative therapies and approaches to care. These efforts have included basic and translational laboratory research. Dr. Ashley’s experience includes moving laboratory findings in brain tumor immunology and epigenetics into early phase clinical trials. He has expertise in immuno-oncology, having developed and clinically tested dendritic cell vaccines and other immuno-therapeutics. His achievements in research have led to change in practice in the care of children and adults with brain tumors, including the introduction of new standards of practice for the delivery of systemic therapy.
Dr. Ashley is highly regarded for this work, as evidenced by numerous invitations to plenary sessions and symposia of international standing. He has been the principal investigator of a number of important national and international studies, both clinical and pre-clinical. He is recognized as a senior figure and opinion leader in neuro-oncology nationally and internationally. He has held several significant leadership roles, including Director of two major cancer centers, The Royal Chidren’s Hospital Melbourne and Andrew Love Cancer Centre – Barwon Health. He has recently served as the Chair of Medicine at Deakin University and Barwon Health, the Program Director of Cancer Services at University Hospital Barwon Health, and Executive Director of the Western Alliance Academic Health Science Centre (Australia). He began his current position as Director of The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center, Head, Preuss Laboratory, in March 2018. In this role, he is responsible for the clinical care, research, and educational program related to Brain Tumor Center. He is also a senior investigational neuro-oncologist within the adult brain tumor program at Duke.
Tudor Ciuleanu, MD
Graduate of UMF Iuliu Hatieganu, Cluj-Napoca, 1982 promotion. Specialized in Medical Oncology at The Oncology Institute “Prof. Dr. Ion Chiricuta,” Cluj-Napoca, The Oncology Institute “Prof. Dr. Alexandru Trestioreanu,” Bucharest, and thorough specialization in oncology at Institut Gustave Roussy, Villejuif.
MD Medical Oncology since 1994. PhD at Cluj in 1994 in chemotherapy domain of lung carcinomas. Certified member of ESMO, ASCO member, IASLC, national representative of BUON, RSRMO member, SNOMR. Member of the MSP Oncology Commission (until 2014) and Commission of experts in oncology of CNAS (until 2015), President of Romanian Federation of Cancer Societies (2013-2014). Editor for Romanian edition of Journal of Clinical Oncology. Principal investigator in 90 clinical trials GCP. Director of a grant on studying biomarkers in colorectal tumors.
Currently Professor of Oncology at UMF Iuliu Hatieganu, and MD at the Oncology Institute “Prof. Dr. Ion Chiricuta,” Cluj.
Areas of interest: -chemotheraphy, targeted molecular therapy and immunotherapy of solid tumors Clinical research in medical oncology (International multicentre trials / national of Phase II, III, IV)
Publications: 1 monograph on Lung Cancer, 1 volume clinical farmacography of solid tumor oncology, 11 chapters of books and university courses, 180 publications on chemotherapy with cytostatics of third generation and molecular targeted therapy in lung carcinomas, ENT tumors, digestive , urological and non-Hodgkin lymphoma
Z. Gunnur Dikmen, MD, PHD
Dr. Dikmen graduated from Ankara University Medical Faculty and subsequently completed her residency and received her PhD from Hacettepe University Medical Faculty, Department of Medical Biochemistry. She completed her doctoral research at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Department of Cell Biology in the Shay-Wright Lab. Her research has been focused on the discovery of novel molecules targeting telomeres and telomerase, mainly working on GRN163L (Imetelstat) and 6-thio-2’-deoxyguanosine (6-thio-dG) to show their potent effects on different in vitro and in vivo cancer models. Currently, she is a professor at Hacettepe University Medical Faculty, Department of Medical Biochemistry, as well as the director of the hospital’s emergency laboratory. She has a broad range of experimental and clinical experience in molecular & cell biology and clinical biochemistry, translating research results from bench to bedside and from academia to clinical laboratory to mentor the next generation of multidisciplinary research projects by providing new therapeutic approaches for cancer and telomere related diseases.
During her career, she has worked in the EFLM (European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine) – Patient-Focused Laboratory Medicine Working Group between 2015-2017 and still works in the EFLM – Post-Analytical Phase Working Group. She has profound experience in managerial positions which can be proven by her assignment as the Chair of the Biochemistry Department between 2017-2020. Recently, Dr. Dikmen was selected as a member of the Turkish Committee for Residency Training in Biochemistry. Under her capacity as Secretary-General of the Turkish Biochemical Society, she has organized various important national and international courses and congresses. She has also served as a member of the IUBMB (International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) nominating committee.
Dr. Dikmen has various international scientific publications as well as oral and poster presentations in national and international meetings. She has also published several book chapters in the fields of telomere-telomerase and clinical biochemistry. She was awarded by L’OREAL – Women In Science program in 2003 and received the Hacettepe University-Science Incentive Award in 2010. Considering her solid educational background combined with her professional experience in academic research, Dr. Dikmen is one of the most well-known names in the field.
Thomas F. Gajewski, MD, PHD
Dr. Gajewski directs the Melanoma Oncology Clinic and leads the Immunology and Cancer Program of the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center. He received his BS, PhD in Immunology, and MD degrees from the University of Chicago, and remained for a residency in Internal Medicine and fellowship in Hematology/Oncology. His PhD mentor was renowned T cell immunologist Dr. Frank Fitch, and he went on to do a post-doctoral fellowship at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Brussels with Dr. Thierry Boon for studies in anti-tumor immunity. After returning to Chicago, Dr. Gajewski joined the faculty in 1997.
The focus of Dr. Gajewski’s work has been on understanding fundamental aspects of anti-tumor immunity and bringing these concepts forward from the laboratory into clinical trial testing in patients. While working on melanoma vaccine strategies, his laboratory uncovered a role for downstream resistance pathways allowing tumor evasion from the immune response. Gene expression profiling and IHC approaches have identified the T cell-inflamed and non-T cell-inflamed tumor microenvironment phenotypes. The T cell-inflamed tumors contain tumor antigen-specific T cells but also negative regulatory pathways that have been moved forward as drug targets, including blockade of PD-1/PD-L1 interactions and IDO. Strategies to promote T cell priming and infiltration into non-T cell-inflamed tumors have led to STING pathway agonist development, currently in clinical testing. Genomic characterization of non-T cell-inflamed tumors has revealed oncogene pathways that mediate T cell exclusion, the first of which is the Wnt/b-catenin pathway. Recent work has also identified germline polymorphisms and evidence for commensal microbiota that also regulate anti-tumor immunity, suggesting additional novel ways to facilitate improved immunotherapy outcomes.
Dr. Gajewski has published more than 220 manuscripts and 20 book chapters in these areas, and has presented data at more than 400 scientific conferences. He is past president of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer, is founding editor of the Journal for Immunotherapy of Cancer, is past chair of the Cancer Immunopathology and Immunotherapy grant review study section at NIH, has served on the program committees for ASCO and AACR, and is a grant reviewer for the Melanoma Research Alliance and Cancer Research Institute. In 2016 he became the first recipient of the American Cancer Society-Jules L. Plangere Jr. Family Foundation Professorship in Cancer Immunotherapy, and was designated a Distinguished Professor at the University of Chicago. Among other recognitions, he was named the AbbVie Foundation Professor for Cancer Immunotherapy, received the William B. Coley Award for contributions to the field of cancer immunology, the ESMO award in Immuno-oncology, and was inducted into the American Association of Physicians. He has had continuous NIH funding for 20 years, and is scientific co-founder of Jounce Therapeutics and Pyxis Oncology.
David E. Gerber, MD
Dr. Gerber is Professor of Internal Medicine and Population & Data Sciences at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Within the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at UT Southwestern, Dr. Gerber serves as Associate Director of Clinical Research. He is an active clinical investigator with more than 180 publications and continuous federal and foundation research funding for more than 10 years. In the area of cancer immunotherapy, Dr. Gerber has particular interest in the impact of autoimmune comorbidities, the recognition and characterization of immune-related adverse events, and biomarkers for the prediction and diagnosis of these autoimmune toxicities.
Jerry W. Shay, PHD
Dr. Shay has been a consultant and on multiple scientific advisory boards for companies such as Procter Gamble, Corixa, BioWhitaker, Clontech, Rexahn, Sierra Science and Elizabeth Therapeutics. In addition he helped start Geron Corporation that focuses on telomerase therapeutics; Life Length a commercial telomere length measurement company; and Reata Pharmaceuticals who is developing anti-oxidant/anti-inflammatory modulators for patients with pulmonary hypertension associated with interstitial lung disease.
Dr. Shay received his PhD from the University of Kansas, did postdoctoral training at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and is currently the Vice Chairman of the Department of Cell Biology and the Associate Director of the NCI Designated Harold Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Dr. Shay is a named inventor on numerous US patents and has received many scientific and teaching awards. Among these he received the AlliedSignal Award for Research on Aging, the American Aging Association Hayflick Award, the Ted Nash Award, the Popular Science “Best of What’s New” Award, and the Ellison Medical Foundation Senior Scholar Award. Dr. Shay holds the Southland Financial Corporation Distinguished Chair in Geriatric Research and is a Distinguish Professor at UT Southwestern having received the University of Texas Regent Outstanding Teaching Award, and the Minnie Steven Piper Foundation Professor Award. In 2015 he received the Distinguished Basic Science Educator Award and in 2016 the May Kay Foundation established a Distinguished Professorship in Cancer Research in honor of Dr. Shay. Finally, in 2017 Dr. Shay was awarded the Eunice Kennedy Shriver NIH Alliance Pioneer Award.
Dr. Shay has been noted as a highly influential biomedical researcher as noted by the Institute for Scientific Research and Science Watch, with over 30 issued patents, >500 peer reviewed publications and a citation h-index of 112.
Dr. Adam Yopp
Dr. Adam Yopp is the Occidental Chemical Chair of Cancer Research and an Associate Professor and Division Chief of Surgical Oncology and Colorectal Surgery, at Harold C. Simmons NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Dr. Yopp completed a fellowship in surgical oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center focusing on upper GI and hepatopancreatobiliary malignancy and joined UT Southwestern in 2009. At UT Southwestern, Dr. Yopp is the Director of the Liver Tumor Program and both his research and clinical interests are focused on the delivery of care in patients with primary liver cancer. Specifically, he has NIH and DOD funding examining the racial and ethnic disparities in outcome measures for patients newly diagnosed with hepatocellular carcinoma. In addition, as the Director of the UT Southwestern Biorepository he is focused on translational collaborations expanding our genomic characterizations of upper GI and hepatopancreatobiliary malignancies.