SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY BOARD
Joseph D. Rosenblatt, M.D.
Professor of Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology, University of Miami Medical School and Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, Miami, FL
Prof. Rosenblatt has been working at the University of Miami since 2001. Previous to the University of Miami, he was a faculty at the University of Rochester and at the University of California at Los Angeles. His research has focused on development of novel immunologic approaches to cancer treatment. The laboratory has developed both antibody and gene therapy based treatments, designed to augment immune response. These include novel antibody-fusion proteins designed to deliver anti-angiogenic molecules targeting HER2, EGFR and other tumor targets as well as immune effector molecules, such as NKG2D-ligands, designed to engage both the innate and adaptive immune response against tumors. In addition, Dr. Rosenblatt has been actively engaged in clinical research including testing of novel antibody based and gene therapy approaches to cancer. He is a former member of the NCI Clinical Oncology Study Section and had previously been a longstanding member of the Experimental Therapeutics II (ET-II) and Clinical Immunology and Immunotherapy (C-IT) Study Sections. Dr. Rosenblatt has authored over 120 peer reviewed scientific papers and numerous reviews and book chapters, and is a co-inventor of 16 patents. He received his MD from UCLA and conducted his internship and residency at the UCLA school of Medicine.
Mark Pegram, M.D.
Susy Yuan-Huey Hung Professor, School of Medicine, and Director of Breast Cancer Treatment Center, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA
Dr. Pegram is the first director of the Breast Cancer Oncology Program at Stanford Women’s Cancer Center, and the co-director of Stanford’s Molecular Therapeutics Program. He is a renowned clinician and scholar in breast cancer research and a leader in translational medicine. Dr. Pegram played a major role in developing the drug Herceptin as a treatment for HER2-positive breast cancer. His laboratory experiments demonstrated that combining Herceptin with chemotherapy effectively killed cancer cells that overproduced the growth factor HER2. Dr. Pegram’s current research efforts include a continued focus on the cancer-associated gene that encodes HER2 and developing new ways to target cancer cells expressing this protein. He is also pursuing strategies to target estrogen receptors, implicated in some 70 percent of all breast cancer cases.Dr. Pegram earned his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of North Carolina before joining the faculty of the University of California, Los Angeles. He spent five years at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, where he was a Sylvester Chair professor of medicine in the Braman Family Breast Cancer Institute and associate director for clinical research in the University’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. He joined the Stanford faculty in 2012.
Rolf Brekken, Ph.D.
Effie Marie Cain Research Scholar in Angiogenesis Research & Professor, Hamon Center for Therapeutic Oncology, University of Texas Southwest Medical Center, Dallas, TX.
Dr. Brekken is Professor of Surgery and Pharmacology at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and also is Deputy Director of the Hamon Center for Therapeutic Oncology Research at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Over his career, Dr. Brekken has developed a particular interest in understanding how cancer therapy affects the tumor microenvironment and how stromal elements influence response to therapy. He is currently focused on gaining an understanding of the function of matricellular proteins (SPARC and fibulin-5) in cancer; the biology of anti-VEGF therapy; and the contribution of macrophages and other immune cells to the metastatic cascade. Dr. Brekken is the Effie Marie Cain Scholar in Angiogenesis Research and receives funding from the ACS, NCI, DOD, CPRIT, Mary Kay Foundation and biopharmaceutical companies. He is an author on over 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers and is a senior editor for Cancer Research. Dr. Brekken received his BA in Biology from Luther College in Decorah, IA and his PhD (Cell and Molecular Biology) from UT Southwestern Medical Center. He was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Vascular Biology at the Hope Heart Institute in Seattle, WA where he studied how the extracellular matrix contributes to vascular function in and growth of tumors.
Arthur M. Mercurio, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Cancer Biology,
University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA.
Dr. Arthur Mercurio joined the Department of Cancer Biology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA as its Vice Chairman in 2005 from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA , where he was the Director of the Division of Cancer Biology and Angiogenesis. Dr. Mercurio is a recipient of the American Cancer Society Junior Faculty and Faculty Research Awards, and he was an Honorary Professor at the University of Copenhagen. Dr. Mercurio’s research work is focused in understanding mechanisms that enable epithelial-derived tumors (carcinomas) to invade surrounding tissue and progress to metastatic disease, with an emphasis on mechanisms that regulate epithelial and carcinoma differentiation. Dr. Mercurio is a recipient of the American Cancer Society Junior Faculty and Faculty Research Awards, and is an Honorary Professor at the University of Copenhagen. He is an author of more than 140 peer reviewed publications. Dr. Mercurio received his B.S. in biochemistry magna cum laude from Rutgers University in 1975 and a Ph.D. in cell biology from Columbia University in 1981. He was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Center for Cancer Research at M.I.T. from 1981-1985. He joined the faculty at Harvard Medical School and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in 1986.
Gary L. Firestone, Ph.D.
Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology , University of California, Berkeley, CA.
Dr. Firestone is the Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology at the Department of Molecular & Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA. Prof. Firestone’s overall research goal has been to characterize the cell signaling pathways that inhibit the uncontrolled growth of epithelial-derived tumor cells, the cell type of most human cancers. He utilizes the molecular, genetic and cell biological experimental strategies to explore the mechanisms by which extracellular signals (such as steroid hormones, growth factors and certain dietary compounds) coordinately regulate the proliferation and cell-cell interactions of reproductive tumor cells. Prof. Firestone is the recipient of many grants and awards, including National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award (1984-89), Exxon Education Foundation Award (1985), Distinguished Teaching Award, Univ. of California at Berkeley (1995), Rhoda H. Goldman Award for Distinguished Faculty Advising of Undergraduates, UC Berkeley (2004), Distinguished Leadership Award, Dept. of Molecular and Cell Biology, Univ. California at Berkeley (2007), Pyramid Awards from the Beckman Foundation (2004 and 2019). He is an author in over 150 peer-reviewed scientific papers and is either a past or the present member of the editorial boards of several life sciences journals. Dr. Firestone received his BA in Chemistry from Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA and his PhD (Biochemistry) from University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Francisco and joined the University of California, Berkeley, CA as an Assistant Professor in 1983.