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Scientific Advisory Board

Scientific Advisory Board

J. Alan Diehl, PhD

Chair, Department of Biochemistry
Leonard and Jean Skeggs Endowed Professor,
Deputy Director and COO, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center
Case Western Reserve University.

Dr. Diehl received formal training in Biochemistry as an undergraduate and graduate student where he investigated the regulation of oncogenic retroviruses. Dr. Diehl postgraduate training took place at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where he worked with Dr. Charles J. Sherr to demonstrate that contribution of ubiquitin-dependent degradation for cyclin control in response to growth factor signaling. He has been a tenured, endowed Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Medical University of South Carolina and now at Case Western Reserve University.

He is currently the Chair of the Department of Biochemistry at CWRU and Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer for the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. A major area of his focus has been to understand the mechanism whereby cyclin D1 drives Mantle Cell Lymphoma. Key insights came from the demonstration that regulated cyclin D localization functions as a key mechanism whereby cells maintain normal growth characteristics. Specifically, the temporal localization of cyclin D1 determines access to a key negative regulatory E3 ligase that we have identified; SCFFbxo4. Dr. Diehl’s laboratory established a cyclin D1-dependent model of mantle cell lymphoma through directed expression of stable, cyclin D1T286A. Using this model, his group elucidated mechanism of cancer progression demonstrating disruption of DNA replication, genomic instability, and methylation-dependent inactivation of p53. Additional work from his group and others has demonstrated that the phospho-degron of cyclin D1 is disrupted in mantle cell lymphoma and other cancers.

During this period, he was selected as a Leukemia Lymphoma Research Scholar to support these efforts. His second area of focus is cell survival, metabolism, and lipid signaling pathways that are utilized during tumorigenesis. His group’s research in this area centers on the endoplasmic reticulum associated kinase, PERK, which functions as a cellular sensor of nutrient availability and functions to limit cellular growth and expansion with nutrient availability.

Patrycja M. Dubielecka-Szczerba, PhD

Associate Professor of Medicine
Alpert Medical School of Brown University
Co-Leader of the Cancer Biology Program
Legorreta Cancer Center
Co-Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) for the Pathobiology Graduate Program Brown University
Director of Translational Hematology Rhode Island Hospital
Vice Chair of the Lifespan Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)

Dr. Dubielecka is a Co-Director of Pathobiology Graduate Program at Brown University. She received her undergraduate (summa cum laude) and PhD degrees (with honors) from the University of Wroclaw, Poland. She was a scholar of the Socrates/Erasmus Program established by the European Commission, and trained at the University of Helsinki, Finland and at Charles University in Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic.

Dr. Dubielecka did her postdoctoral training at the Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute in New York and was a visiting scientist in training at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Braunschweig, Germany. She established her independent scientific program in 2012. Her program is focused on the biology of blood cancer-initiating stem cells and their role in the development, progression and relapse of myeloproliferative neoplasms with the translational goal of therapeutically targeting neoplasm-initiating stem cells.

Costas Koumenis, PhD

Richard Chamberlain Professor
Research Division Director and Vice Chair for Research
Department of Radiation Oncology
Perelman School of Medicine University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Koumenis received his B.S. degree in Pharmacy (with honors) from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and his Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry from the University of Houston.  He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Radiation and Tumor Biology at Stanford University with research focused on hypoxia. He was appointed as Assistant Professor at Wake Forest Univ. and later moved to the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) in Philadelphia, as Associate Professor.

He is currently the Richard Chamberlain Endowed Professor and Vice-Chair for Research, in the Department of Radiation Oncology at UPenn’s Perelman School of Medicine. His scientific research interests include the mechanisms by which tumor cells are able to adapt to stress conditions in the tumor microenvironment (metabolic and oxygen deprivation stress as well as oncogenic stress). His group’s efforts have focused on the Integrated Stress Response (ISR), a coordinated program of cellular adaptation with demonstrated tumor promoting properties including metastasis and response to therapy. They have been actively engaged in screening for genetic determinants of cell fate to these stresses using multiple cutting-edge approaches including single-cell transcriptomics and CRISPR-based functional screens.

His group is also engaged in the development of novel mouse models for the study of radiation toxicity and the testing of new radiation technologies and modalities such as FLASH Proton radiotherapy. In this realm, they have also been working on approaches to identify and test novel radiation response modifiers (radiosensitizers and radioprotectors). FLASH Proton therapy has potential to revolutionize radiotherapy by broadening the therapeutic window in the treatment of multiple solid tumors.

Razelle Kurzrock, MD, FACP

Professor of Medicine,
Associate Director, Clinical Research
Founding Director, Michels Rare Cancers Research Laboratories
Froedtert and Medical College of Wisconsin
Linda T. and John A. Mellowes Endowed
Chair of Precision Oncology
MCW Cancer Center and
Linda T. And John A. Mellowes Center for Genomic Sciences and Precision Medicine

Mellowes Center for Genomic Sciences and Precision Medicine and the founding director of the Michels Rare Cancers Research Laboratories at the MCW Cancer Center. She is recognized as one of the world’s 25 most important voices in precision medicine and one of the most highly cited scientists globally. She has authored over 950 scientific and medical publications.

Dr. Kurzrock is the Chair for the Early Therapeutics and Rare Cancers Committee (SWOG NCI) — one of the largest clinical trials cooperative groups in the country — and has been the principal investigator for more than 100 early-phase clinical trials, leading eight life-changing drugs to FDA approval. In 2022, Dr. Kurzrock and the DART rare cancer study team received the National Cancer Institute Director’s Award of Merit for outstanding work.

Dr. Kurzrock earned her Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Toronto, completed Residency in Internal Medicine at Tulane University Hospital and Clinics and Fellowship in Medical Oncology at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. She has received research funding from Boehringer Ingelheim, Debiopharm, Foundation Medicine, Genentech, Grifols, Guardant, Incyte, Konica Minolta, Medimmune, Merck Serono, Omniseq, Pfizer, Sequenom, Takeda, and TopAlliance and from the NCI; as well as consultant and/or speaker fees and/or advisory board/consultant for Actuate Therapeutics, AstraZeneca, Bicara Therapeutics, Inc., Biological Dynamics, Caris, Datar Cancer Genetics, Daiichi, EISAI, EOM Pharmaceuticals, Iylon, LabCorp, Merck, NeoGenomics, Neomed, Pfizer, Precirix, Prosperdtx, Regeneron, Roche, TD2/Volastra, Turning Point Therapeutics, X-Biotech; has an equity interest in CureMatch Inc. and ID by DNA; serves on the Board of CureMatch and CureMetrix, and is a co-founder of CureMatch.

Theresa M. Raimondo, PhD

Assistant Professor in the School of Engineering
Division of Biology and Medicine at Brown University.

Dr. Raimondo’s research is focused on the design of RNA therapeutics and drug delivery vectors for applications in immunotherapy, tissue regeneration, oncology, and gene editing. She completed her PhD at Harvard University under the mentorship of Dr. David Mooney. At Harvard, she explored the critical role of immune cells in the regeneration of functional skeletal muscle tissues and designed nanoparticle cytokine-delivery vectors capable of controlling macrophage and T cell phenotype to ultimately improve muscle strength in the contexts of acute injury and chronic muscular dystrophy. Raimondo completed her postdoctoral studies with Dr. Daniel Anderson and Dr. Robert Langer at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT.

During her postdoc, Raimondo designed RNA-based lipid nanoparticle (LNP) therapeutics for application to vaccines and cancer immunotherapy. By delivering siRNA to silence a key phagocytosis checkpoint in tumor associated macrophages, her technology lead to the generation of anti-cancer T cells and improved survival in a murine model of metastatic ovarian cancer. Raimondo has authored >10 peer-reviewed research articles and 4 patents in the areas of RNA-therapeutics, tissue regeneration, and drug delivery. She was a Convergence Scholar at MIT, and currently participates in the MIT Faculty Founders Initiative, both awards focused on bringing academic discovery to commercialization and clinical translation.

Ulrich Steidl, MD, PhD

Professor and Chair, Department of Cell Biology
Professor of Oncology, and of Medicine
Edward P. Evans Endowed Chair in MDS Research
Deputy Director, and Associate Director for Basic Science, Montefiore Einstein Comprehensive Cancer Center
Co-Director, Blood Cancer Institute
Interim Director, Ruth L. and David S. Gottesman Institute for Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine
Albert Einstein College of Medicine - Montefiore Medical Center

Trained at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and held a junior faculty position at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA. Prior to joining the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, NY, where Dr. Steidl is now Professor and Chair of the Department of Cell Biology, Professor of Oncology and Medicine, Deputy Director of the NCI-designated Montefiore Einstein Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Interim Director of the Ruth L. and David S. Gottesman Institute for Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine.

Dr. Steidl’s work has pioneered molecular and mechanistic studies and target identification in pre-cancerous and leukemia stem cells, and has resulted in numerous high-profile publications, patents, preclinical development and testing of novel drugs, and clinical trials. His research has been supported by the NIH, NYSTEM, NYSCF, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Google, and several other private foundations. He has served as an advisor to numerous large pharma and small/mid sized biotech companies, and he is a scientific co-founder of Stelexis Therapeutics.

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