Members of our Scientific Advisory Committee are respected leaders in research and on treating patients with ovarian cancer.
Please note: All organizational affiliations and titles are listed for identification purposes only. All individuals serve in their personal capacity and not as a representative of their employer.
Beth Y. Karlan, MD, Chair
Vice Chair, Women’s Health Research
Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Director, Cancer Population Genetics
Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Beth Y. Karlan, MD is Professor and Vice Chair of Women’s Health Research in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). She is also Director of Cancer Population Genetics at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Karlan’s research focuses on ovarian and other women’s cancers as well as inherited cancer susceptibility. She has authored over 400 research publications, is an American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professor, and is Editor-in-Chief of the scientific journals Gynecologic Oncology and Gynecologic Oncology Reports. In 2012 Dr. Karlan was appointed by the Obama White House to serve on the National Cancer Advisory Board, and in 2015 she was elected to membership in the National Academy of Medicine. Dr. Karlan is a Fellow of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and in 2019 was recognized with the OncLive Giants of Cancer award.
Ronald D. Alvarez, MD, MBA
Professor and Chairman, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Betty and Lonnie Burnett Endowed Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Ronald D. Alvarez, MD, MBA, is Professor and Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and holds the Betty and Lonnie S. Burnett Endowed Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.
Dr. Alvarez received his B.S. degree in 1979 from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and his M.D. in 1983 from Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana. He completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1987 and his fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology in 1990, both at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in Birmingham, Alabama. He received his M.B.A. in 2013 from Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama.
Dr. Alvarez was previously, Professor and Ellen Gregg Shook Culverhouse Chair in the UAB Division of Gynecologic Oncology, for which he served as Director from 2003-2014, and Vice-Chair of the UAB Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. His long-term research interests have included the development of novel therapeutics for ovarian cancer and new screening and prevention strategies for cervical cancer. He has been the recipient of several NCI and other industry funded grants in support of his research in gene therapeutics for ovarian cancer, including projects funded by the UAB Ovarian Cancer SPORE. He was a co-principal investigator in the cervical neoplasm vaccine projects included in the Johns Hopkins/UAB Cervical SPORE. He was principal investigator for the UAB NCTN LAPS. He is currently co-chair of the NRG Oncology Gynecologic Cancer Committee.
Dr. Alvarez has served on study sections for the NCI Clinical Oncology Section and the Department of Defense’s Ovarian Cancer Research Program. Dr. Alvarez has published over 250 articles in various peer-reviewed journals and has served on the editorial board of Gynecologic Oncology. In 2013, he served as President of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology and he currently serves as Director of Gynecologic Oncology Division for the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Deborah K. Armstrong, MD
Associate Professor, Oncology
Associate Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Dr. Armstrong is Associate Professor of Oncology and Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, as well as an active staff member in the hospital’s Oncology Department. She is currently on the editorial review board and peer review panels of publications such as Gynecologic Oncology and Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Dr. Armstrong also holds positions on committees with the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the Gynecologic Oncology Group. Her research interests in ovarian cancer lie in the genetic aspects of the disease as well as interperitoneal (IP) therapy, biological therapy, and immunologic means of treatment.
Her contributions to the field of ovarian cancer include leading the IP therapy effort, developing new therapeutic cancer treatments, and directing a genetic counseling service at Johns Hopkins to identify and help at risk patients.
Robert C. Bast Jr., MD
Vice President for Translational Research
MD Anderson Cancer Center
Dr. Bast is Vice President for Translational Research at the UT M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. His office facilitates translation of new strategies, drugs and devices from laboratory to the clinic, as well as the movement of human material and data from the clinic to laboratory. Dr. Bast received his B.A. cum laude from Wesleyan University and his M.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Medical School. After completing a medical internship at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, he served as a research associate at the National Cancer Institute. Returning to Boston, Dr. Bast completed a medical residency at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and a fellowship in Medical Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He joined the faculty at Harvard as an Assistant Professor and was subsequently appointed Associate Professor at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Dr. Bast was recruited to the Duke University Medical Center in 1984 as Professor of Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology to Co-Direct the Division of Hematology-Oncology and to serve as Clinical Director of the Cancer Center. In 1987, he became the Director of the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center and in 1992 he was named Wellcome Clinical Professor of Medicine in Honor of R. Wayne Rundles. In July 1994, Dr. Bast was recruited to head the Division of Medicine at UT M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and to fill the Harry Carothers Wiess Chair for Cancer Research. In 2000, Dr. Bast was appointed Vice President for Translational Research. In 2004, he became the Harry Carothers Wiess Distinguished University Professor for Cancer Research.
Dr. Bast is best known for developing the OC125 monoclonal antibody that led to the production of the CA125 radioimmunoassay. Serum CA125 levels have provided the first generally useful marker for monitoring the course of patients with epithelial ovarian cancer. CA 125 is currently being evaluated as one component of a screening strategy for ovarian cancer. His early studies focused on the use of immunostimulants and monoclonal antibodies for cancer therapy. Over the last 15 years his group has pioneered in defining molecular alterations in ovarian and breast cancers that might serve as targets for therapy as well as diagnosis. His most recent studies have focused on the identification of ARHI, a novel ras-related imprinted tumor suppressor gene that induces autophagy and tumor dormancy. He has led the U.T. M.D. Anderson SPORE in Ovarian Cancer since 1999. Overall, Dr. Bast has published more than 500 articles and chapters, and has edited the textbook Cancer Medicine. He has been recognized by Institute for Scientific Informal as one of the most frequently cited scientists in his field. In 2006 he was recognized with the Smith-Klein Beacham Clinical Laboratories Award, the ISOBM-Abbott Award and an Award for Excellence in Gynecologic Oncology by the International Society of Gynecologic Oncology. He continues to care for patients with breast and ovarian cancer and has been listed in the Best Doctors of America and in America’s Top Physicians.
Andrew Berchuck, MD
Co-Director, Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center, Breast/Ovarian Cancer Program
Andrew Berchuck, M.D. attended medical school and received his Obstetrics and Gynecology residency training at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. His research and clinical training in Gynecologic Oncology was completed at UT Southwestern in Dallas, Texas and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. For the past 20 years he has been on the faculty at Duke University Medical Center. In addition to caring for women with gynecologic cancers, Dr. Berchuck has been an active scientific investigator. He has published over 200 scientific papers, mostly in the area of ovarian and endometrial cancer genetics. He is Co-Director of the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center Breast/Ovarian Cancer Program.
Dr. Berchuck has received many national honors including awards for best oral presentation and poster at the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists annual meeting and the Wayne Rundles Award for Excellence in Cancer Research from the Duke Cancer Center. In 2004 he received an award for best scientific presentation at the International Gynecologic Cancer Society meeting. In 2005 he was awarded the Barbara Thomason Ovarian Cancer Professorship by the American Cancer Society.
Dr Berchuck has been actively involved in national activities in his field and was program chair for the 2001 Annual Meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists and was elected President of the society in 2007. Dr. Berchuck also has served as Chair of a study section for the Department of Defense Ovarian Cancer Research Program, and in the past chaired OCRF’s Scientific Advisory Committee.
Jonathan S. Berek, MD, MMS
Laurie Kraus Lacob Professor
Stanford University School of Medicine
Director, Stanford Women’s Cancer Center
Senior Advisor, Stanford Cancer Institute
Jonathan S. Berek MD, MMS is the Laurie Kraus Lacob Professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine and a recent past Fellow in the Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute. He helped establish and is the Director of the Stanford Women’s Cancer Center, which is one of the first programs in the nation to combine breast & gynecologic oncology with a women’s cancer translational research, genetics and supportive services programs. He serves as Senior Advisor, Stanford Cancer Institute, and served as Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology from 2005-2017.
A Stanford faculty member since 2005, he is renowned for his expertise in gynecologic oncology, surgical innovation and technique, and research in ovarian cancer, especially immunology and immunotherapy. His past laboratory research focused on fundamental mechanisms of cancer immunology, elucidating growth regulatory pathways for cytokines and their receptors. His current research focuses on clinical trials of novel therapies and immunotherapies for ovarian cancer and collaborations on new diagnostics, screening techniques, and genetics.
An author and editor, Dr. Berek has published more than 320 peer-reviewed manuscripts in the scientific literature, and an equal number of book chapters and monographs. His books, Berek & Hacker’s Gynecologic Oncology, now in it’s 6th edition, and Berek & Novak’s Gynecology, in it’s 16th edition, are leading texts in the field. He serves as Editor-in-Chief for Current Opinion in Obstetrics & Gynecology, and immediate past Editor-in-Chief of ASCO Connection.
Professor Berek has extensive involvement and many leadership roles in national and global cancer activities. He is the Past President of the International Gynecologic Cancer Society, and he is one of two representatives from the USA to the International Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecology (FIGO) Gynecologic Oncology Committee, which is responsible for the staging of gynecologic cancers, and he is the Chair of the FIGO Subcommittee on Cervical Cancer. He serves as a Principal Investigator on the Gynecologic Cancer Intergroup (GCIG), the premiere international consortium of 32 cooperative clinical cancer trials groups. He is the Group Chair of the Cooperative Oncologic Gynecology Investigators (COGI), a member group of the GCIG. He is the Chair of the GCIG Education Committee, a member of the Steering Committee for the Cervical Cancer Research Network (CCRN), a group that develops programs for the treatment and clinical research on cervical cancer in limited resourced countries. On behalf of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), he is the senior author of the international resource-stratified guidelines for the management of cervical cancer, which provides direction for basic and limited levels of cancer care for women in developing countries.
Professor Berek received his undergraduate degree in English literature and theatre arts, and a Master of Medical Sciences degree in biomedical sciences from Brown University. After earning his Doctor of Medicine from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, he completed an internship and residency at the Harvard Medical School, Brigham & Women’s Hospital. Before moving to Stanford, he was on the faculty at the UCLA School of Medicine for over two decades, where he served the Chair of the College of Applied Anatomy, Chief of Staff of the UCLA Medical Center, departmental Executive Vice Chair, and Director of Gynecologic Oncology.
In 2003, Dr. Berek received the highly prestigious Sherman Mellinkoff Award from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. In 2012, he was presented the John C. Fremont Pathfinder Award, given in recognition of significant contributions to society made by a native Nebraskan. Dr. Berek is the 2019 Honoree of the American Cancer Society for his many accomplishments in women’s cancer treatment and research.
Molly Brewer, DVM, MD, MS
Professor and Chair, Obstetrics and Gynecology
University of CT Health Center
Dr. Molly Brewer is Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of CT Health Center. She completed medical school at SUNY Syracuse after being in practice as a veterinarian for 8 years. She did her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland Oregon, a Galloway fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital and a Gynecologic Oncology fellowship at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Following Dr. Brewer’s fellowship, she stayed on the faculty at MDACC for 4 years and completed an MS in the OJOC Program at the University Of Michigan School Of Public Health in Statistics and Clinical Research Design.
Dr. Brewer was a faculty member at the Arizona Cancer Center where she worked with optical scientists and biomedical engineers to develop optical technology to interrogate the ovary for early cancer. Her other research and clinical interests include prevention of ovarian/breast cancer and evaluation of women at risk for cancer.
Ronald Buckanovich, MD, PhD
Professor of Medicine
Director of the Ovarian Cancer Center of Excellence
Co-Director of the Womens Cancer Research Center
Magee-Womens Research Institute
UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
University of Pittsburgh
Ronald Buckanovich graduated from Cornell University in 1990 with a B.S. in Genetics and Biochemistry. He then completed the Medical Scientist Training Program and started his life-long study of ovarian cancer. He received his Ph.D. in 1996 from the Rockefeller University and his M.D. in 1998 from Cornell University. Dr. Buckanovich then went on to complete an Internal Medicine residency and a Hematology-Oncology fellowship at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. During his fellowship he continued his research on ovarian cancer, identifying dozens of novel clinical targets and helped to develop a novel therapeutic to enhance tumor vaccine therapy. Dr. Buckanovich joined the University of Michigan as ascended to the ranks of Associate Professor. There he also served an associate director for the Hematology Oncology Fellowship. In 2017 Dr. Buckanovich was recruited to the Magee Women’s Research Institute and UPMC Hillman Cancer Center of the University of Pittsburgh as a Professor of Medicine and serves as the Director of Ovarian Cancer Center of Excellence and Co-Director of the Women’s Cancer Research Center. His lab has identified a novel population of cancer stem-like cells (CSCs) which may be responsible for ovarian cancer metastasis, chemotherapy resistance and ultimately disease recurrence. His laboratory also identified and characterized a novel population of cancer associated mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs)—normal cells recruited by the cancer to help the cancer grow. His laboratory is now studying the factors which regulate CSCs and MSCs including regulators of asymmetric division and quiescence. His laboratory work has resulted in the initiation of 4 translational clinical trials for the treatment of ovarian cancer. In addition, his group has identified two novel compounds which are now being developed for first in human clinical trials; one which blocks the ability of cancer cells to metastasize, and a second which selectively kills the cancer stem-like cells to reverse chemotherapy resistance. Based on the knowledge he has gained studying the tumor microenvironment, his group is now also looking at ways to enhance anti-tumor immune therapy by targeting host cells in the tumor.
In addition to his laboratory studies, Dr. Buckanovich has a busy clinical practice, specializing in the treatment of ovarian and uterine cancers. He is currently the principal investigator of two clinical trials at the University of Pittsburgh. He has been an author or co-author of 70 original research articles. In recognition of his work, Dr. Buckanovich received a Clinical Investigator Award from the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, the National Institutes of Health New Innovator – Directors Award, Society of Gynecologic Oncology Best Basic Science Award, and he has been elected to the American Society of Clinical Investigators.
Robert Coleman, MD
Professor, Deputy Chair and Vice Chair of Clinical Research
Ann Rife Cox Chair in Gynecology
Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine
M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
Dr. Coleman received his doctor of medicine degree from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska and completed his Obstetrics & Gynecology residency at Northwestern University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. He then completed his fellowship at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in 1993. Prior to joining the M.D. Anderson faculty, he served as Vice Chairman, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
Dr. Coleman’s research interests include drug discovery and novel therapeutics for ovarian, uterine, and cervical cancer, clinical trial development and statistical design. He serves as the institution’s Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) principal investigator (PI), serves on the NRG’s (formerly the Gynecologic Oncology Group) Ovarian and Developmental Therapeutics Committees, and is PI or co-PI for several GOG prospective clinical trials. He currently is a co-project leader for the MDACC Ovarian SPORE, the MDACC Uterine SPORE, the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, and the Marcus Foundation, each of which is sponsoring novel therapeutics trials in gynecologic cancers. He also serves as Physician Champion and PI for a new human therapeutic leveraging nanoparticle delivery of gene silencing non-coding RNA (siRNA). He has developed a mentoring program for junior investigator clinical trialists.
Dr Coleman has authored or coauthored over 400 scientific publications, including over 250 peer-reviewed articles, numerous book chapters, monographs, invited articles and textbooks including, The Handbook of Gynecologic Oncology, Clinical Lymphatic Mapping in Gynecologic Cancers, Prognostic and Predictive Factors in Gynecological Cancers, and Atlas of Gynecologic Oncology. In 2012, Dr Coleman was elected to the position of Secretary Treasurer for the International Gynecologic Cancer Society, and was Program Chair for their 2012 biannual meeting. In 2015, he was elected President for the Society of Gynecologic Oncology. He currently serves on the Gynecologic Oncology Group’s Board of Directors.
Ronny I. Drapkin, MD, PhD
Associate Professor, Obstetrics, Gynecology and Pathology
Director, Ovarian Cancer Research Center
University of Pennsylvania
Director, Gynecologic Research
Basser Research Center for BRCA
Ronny Drapkin, M.D., Ph.D. recently joined the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania as Associate Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Pathology and Director of Penn Medicine’s Ovarian Cancer Research Center. He also joined the Leadership Team of the Basser Research Center for BRCA as Director of Gynecological Research. He holds the Franklin Payne Chair in Gynecologic Oncology.
Dr. Drapkin has been awarded research grants from the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, and numerous foundations. His research activities focus on understanding the pathogenesis of gynecologic malignancies and integrating genomic findings into novel experimental model systems developed in his laboratory. The ultimate goal of his research is to translate important biological principles discovered in the laboratory into clinically useful diagnostic and therapeutic tools.
Dr. Drapkin has authored or co-authored more than 100 peer-reviewed research papers, review articles, and book chapters. He serves on multiple editorial boards, including Gynecologic Oncology and Clinical Cancer Research. He received a B.A. degree with High Honors in Biochemistry from Brandeis University and his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the Rutgers-Princeton joint MD-PhD program. After finishing his residency in Anatomic Pathology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dr. Drapkin completed a postdoctoral research fellowship in cancer biology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He then joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute until assuming his current position at UPenn.
Annie Ellis is a 15-year survivor of recurrent ovarian cancer and 9-year survivor of breast cancer. Annie serves the ovarian cancer community as a research advocate on the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance (OCRA).
Annie has been appointed to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Council of Research Advocates (NCRA) and serves at NCI as Co-chair of the Patient Advocate Steering Committee and as a patient advocate with Gynecologic Cancer Steering Committee. Annie also serves as a consumer member of the CDMRP Ovarian Cancer Research Program (OCRP) Programmatic Panel, an FDA Patient Representative and a patient advocate grant reviewer for ASCO.
Annie has provided the patient perspective at various meetings and events, including publication and presentations of surveys she has conducted to quantify the survivor perspective on decision-making in the recurrent setting and clinical trial participation. Annie provides peer support at MSKCC, SHARE’s Ovarian Helpline and OCRA’s Woman to Woman Program.
Ellen L. Goode, PhD
Professor of Epidemiology
Dr. Ellen L. Goode is a Professor of Epidemiology within the Department of Health Sciences Research at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, USA. Her research program focuses on the genetic and molecular epidemiology of ovarian cancer.
To better understand disease origins, Dr. Goode studies women with and without ovarian cancer who are seen at Mayo Clinic. Study participants respond to a research questionnaire and provide a blood sample, which allows for analysis of inherited and lifestyle factors. Tumors from affected women are also studied in order to further classification of clinically relevant histological, molecular, and immunological subtypes.
- To find novel inherited factors in ovarian cancer, Dr. Goode examines variants throughout the genome via large collaborations. The international Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium combines data from more than 60 epidemiologic studies.
- To better understand the functional impact of inherited and somatic variation, Dr. Goode examines expression and methylation in relation to genetics in the tumors of Mayo Clinic study participants and with the Ovarian Tumor Tissue Analysis consortium.
- To tease out the role of immune factors in ovarian cancer risk and outcome, Dr. Goode focuses on the nuclear factor kappa-B family of transcription factors, regulatory T cells, and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes in large multidisciplinary efforts.
Dr. Goode has contributed to over 275 peer-reviewed manuscripts and served in leadership roles within several ovarian cancer research consortia, the International Genetic Epidemiology Society, and the American Association for Cancer Research.
Dineo Khabele, MD
Professor and Chair, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
Dineo Khabele, MD is the Mitchell & Elaine Yanow Professor and Chair of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. She is a recognized physician-scientist with extensive clinical and translational research experience in gynecologic oncology, with a focus on ovarian cancer. Dr. Khabele’s ovarian cancer research is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Cancer Institute (NCI). Her ovarian cancer research interests include chemotherapy resistance, DNA repair, epigenetic targets for therapy, and targeting the tumor microenvironment. She is a dedicated educator and mentor to students, residents, fellows, and faculty. She is an advocate for women’s health, women’s cancers, and health equity.
Dr. Khabele is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and Gynecologic Oncology and obtained undergraduate and medical degrees from Columbia College and Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University in New York. She completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at The New York Presbyterian Hospital, Weill-Cornell University Medical Center, followed by a clinical fellowship in gynecologic oncology and post-doctoral research training in cancer biology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center. She was a scholar of the Reproductive Scientist Development Program and the Amos Medical Faculty Development Program Scholar/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Ernst Lengyel, MD, PhD
Chair and Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
University of Chicago
Ernst Lengyel, M.D., Ph.D., a Gynecologic Oncologist, is Chair and a Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Chicago. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Munich in 1992 with a doctorate in medicine, followed by a research fellowship at MD Anderson Cancer Center. He completed his residency at the University of Munich and then entered the combined Gynecologic Oncology fellowship program at the University of California/San Francisco (UCSF) and Stanford. In 2004, after one year on the clinical faculty at UCSF, he joined the University of Chicago faculty as a research scientist and clinician. In 2008 he was awarded the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Clinical Scientist Award in Translational Research.
Dr Lengyel directs a translational research laboratory focused on understanding ovarian cancer metastasis and on developing and testing new treatments for ovarian cancer. Specifically, he looks at interactions of ovarian cancer cells with the normal cells surrounding them to understand how the cellular microenvironment affects the growth of cancer cells. The major goal of his laboratory is to translate his research findings into novel therapeutic treatments that will improve the survival of those with this devastating disease. His primary clinical focus is the surgical treatment of patients with ovarian cancer.
For more information on Dr. Lengyel’s research and clinical practice at the University of Chicago see:
Ursula Matulonis, MD, Grants Oversight Chair
Medical Director, Gynecologic Oncology Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Medical Director, Medical Gynecologic Oncology
Disease Center Leader, Medical Gynecologic Oncology Program
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Associate Professor, Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Ursula A. Matulonis, MD, is Chief and Director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She is the first recipient of the Brock-Wilson Family Chair at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She also co-leads the Ovarian Cancer Program within the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. Her research focuses on developing new targeted therapies for gynecologic malignancies, with a specific interest in ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer.
Dr. Matulonis has led several PARP inhibitor, anti-angiogenic agent, immunotherapy, and combination trials for ovarian cancer in the United States and internationally. Dr. Matulonis serves on the Massachusetts Ovarian Cancer Task Force, the NRG ovarian committee, and the Scientific Advisory Board for the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance and the Clearity Foundation. She received the Dana-Farber Dennis Thompson Compassionate Care Scholar award, the Lee M. Nadler “Extra Mile” Award, the Clearity Foundation award, and the Zakim Award at Dana-Farber for patient advocacy.
After receiving her MD from Albany Medical College, she completed an internship and residency at the University of Pittsburgh, followed by a medical oncology fellowship at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA.
Kenneth Nephew, PhD
Professor of Cellular and Integrative Physiology
Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Indiana University School of Medicine
Assistant Director for Basic Science Research
Indiana University Simon Cancer Center
Dr. Nephew is a Professor of Cellular and Integrative Physiology and Obstetrics and Gynecology at Indiana University. He leads the Ovarian Cancer Research Group at the IU Simon Cancer Center (IUSCC), serves as the Assistant Director for Basic Science Research Bloomington, and is a Program Leader of the Walther Cancer Institute, which is affiliated with IU. He is a Full Member of the Tumor Microenvironment and Metastasis Program and the Breast Cancer Program at IUSCC. Dr. Nephew is the former Director of Graduate Education for the Medical Sciences at IU and is highly active in training and educating graduate and medical students in ovarian cancer research. He is the 2016 Indiana University Graduate School Faculty Mentor Award Winner. Professor Nephew joined Indiana University in 1996. He has dedicated his entire professional career to the study of ovarian cancer. Dr. Nephew’s ovarian cancer research has been continuously funded by National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Cancer Institute (NCI) since 1996. He is the Principal Investigator and co-investigator on numerous grants from National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute (NIH/NCI), serves on various editorial boards, scientific advisory committees, and review panels for both the NIH, American Cancer Society (ACS), and Department of Defense Ovarian Cancer Research Program.
Dr. Nephew’s ovarian cancer research focuses on disease recurrence, and its resistance to chemotherapy. Dr. Nephew has made important contributions defining the characteristics of ovarian cancer stem cells and proposing new strategies to inhibit them. A new paradigm explaining tumor relapse involves the persistence of cancer stem cells. Dr. Nephew is a leader in the field characterizing these malignant cells in ovarian cancer. His collaborative team defined the first phenotype of ovarian cancer stem cells from patient samples. He has shown that ovarian cancer stem cells are chemotherapy resistant and likely responsible for secondary recurrences. His research to target these causative cells in ovarian tumors may enhance the potential to eradicate ovarian cancer. Toward this goal, his laboratory showed that targeting the epigenome, including aberrant DNA methylation (an “epigenetic hallmark” of most cancers including ovarian cancer) inhibited the outgrowth of ovarian cancer stem cells and delayed tumor recurrence. The project is designed to identify and target “epigenetic vulnerabilities” found in the pool of ovarian cancer stem cells that remains after platinum therapy. We will identify how key pathways are epigenetically maintained and regulated in ovarian cancer stem cells. These “epigenetic vulnerabilities” can then be targeted to switch off paths responsible for ovarian cancer stem cell survival after platinum therapy, eradicate the disease and improve the outcome for recurrent ovarian cancer patients.
Dr. Nephew received his undergraduate and graduate (PhD) degrees in Reproductive Physiology from the Ohio State University. He subsequently obtained postdoctoral training in cancer biology at the University of Kansas School of Medicine and then the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, where he was supported by ACS and NIH postdoctoral fellowships.
Celeste Leigh Pearce, PhD, MPH
Associate Professor and Associate Chair, Department of Epidemiology
University of Michigan
Dr. Pearce is an ovarian cancer epidemiologist who studies lifestyle, personal, environmental and genetic factors which influence disease risk. Her group focuses on the role of endometriosis in ovarian cancer risk as well as shared risk factors between the two diseases. The clear cell and endometrioid histotypes of ovarian cancer are associated with endometriosis and it is possible that these ovarian cancers arise from endometriosis. They have identified a shared genetic component between ovarian cancer and endometriosis. They are also currently exploring whether known protective factors such as oral contraceptive use modify the relationship between ovarian cancer and endometriosis.
Another area of investigation for her group is understanding exogenous hormonal factors with respect to ovarian cancer. Oral contraceptive pills are chemopreventive for ovarian cancer, but the reason is unknown. They are carrying out clinical trials to try to uncover the reason for the protection so that they know whether changes in types of oral contraceptives in current use will impact the protective benefit enjoyed by women using the pill today. Conversely, use of menopausal hormone therapy is associated with increased risk of ovarian cancer. Her team is working to understand the precise nature of the association with respect to the type, timing and duration of use of these hormones. They are also studying whether the risk associated with menopausal hormone therapy is different based on underlying genetic variation.
Ultimately, Dr. Pearce is interested in preventing ovarian cancer. It is clear that the best path for ovarian cancer is preventing the disease from occurring in the first place or detecting it early. They have shown that there is a wide range of lifetime risk of ovarian cancer among women in the general population based on their experiences with respect to ovarian cancer risk and protective factors. They are working on developing improved risk stratification models so that women and their doctors can make informed decisions about the preventive strategies available to them now. In addition, this work will identify women appropriate for screening if an effective modality is discovered.
Dr. Pearce earned her PhD at the University of Southern California and had extensive training in genetics at what is now the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology in the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan. She collaborates with investigators from all over the world and is a founding member of the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium and the Multidisciplinary Ovarian Cancer Outcomes Group. Consortia broaden the impact we can all have on ovarian cancer and she is proud to be a part of these multidisciplinary efforts!
Kunle Odunsi, MD, PhD
Chair, Gynecologic Oncology
Executive Director, Center for Immunotherapy
Co-Leader, Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy Research Program
Roswell Park Cancer Institute
Dr. Adekunle “Kunle” Odunsi is Chair of the Department of Gynecologic Oncology, Executive Director of the Center for Immunotherapy and Co-Leader of the Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy research program at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. He joined RPCI’s staff in 2001 as an Attending Surgeon in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Surgical Oncology. After earning his medical degree from the University of Ife, Ile-Ife, Nigeria, in 1984, Dr. Odunsi completed postgraduate training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Rosie Maternity and Addenbrookes Hospitals, University of Cambridge, UK. He was admitted to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in 1991.
Dr. Odunsi completed a research fellowship in Molecular Oncology and earned his Ph.D. at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund Laboratories, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, John Radcliffe Hospital, University of Oxford, UK. Subsequently, he completed residency training in Obstetrics & Gynecology at the Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, and clinical fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology at RPCI. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in the United Kingdom. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Dr. Odunsi is licensed by New York State and certified in Obstetrics & Gynecology by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He is also board certified in the sub-specialty of Gynecologic Oncology.
Dr. Odunsi’s research interests include the molecular characterization of tumor antigens in ovarian cancer and their application to the development of vaccine therapies for the disease. He has authored or co-authored more than 140 journal publications and book chapters. He is Associate Editor for BMC Cancer. He also is an Ad Hoc Reviewer for the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, BLOOD, BMC Cancer, Cancer Immunity, Cancer Immunology Immunotherapy, Cancer Letters, Cancer Research, Clinical Cancer Research, Expert Opinion on Biological Therapy, Fertility and Sterility, Future Oncology, Gynecologic Oncology, International Journal of Cancer, Journal of Clinical Pathology, Journal of the Society for Gynecologic Investigation, The Lancet, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, Oncogene, Oncology PLoS ONE and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A.
Sandra Orsulic, PhD
Sandra Orsulic, PhD is a Professor in Residence of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Until recently, Dr. Orsulic was also a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Prior to moving to Los Angeles, she was an Assistant Molecular Pathologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where she also served as Assistant Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School. Her research includes studying the mechanisms by which the microenvironment contributes to cancer initiation and metastatic progression, identifying molecular markers for early cancer detection, and generating suitable pre-clinical models for testing targeted therapies. Dr. Orsulic’s research on ovarian cancer has been funded primarily by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Defense (DoD), American Cancer Society (ACS), and Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance (OCRA). Her studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals such as Nature, Cancer Cell, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA and Cancer Research. Dr. Orsulic is a member of the OCRA Scientific Advisory Committee and serves on several editorial boards and NIH review panels.
Daniel J. Powell Jr., PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
Dr. Daniel Powell Jr. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine with a secondary appointment in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Powell is also a member of the Abramson Cancer Center and Penn’s Ovarian Cancer Research Center (OCRC) within the Center for Research on Reproduction & Women’s Health.
Dr. Powell is a cancer immunologist, well-recognized for his detailed investigations of the immunobiology of cancer, patient T cell responses in the control of their cancer, and the use of translational immunotherapy for effective cancer treatment. His research team is pioneering innovative immunotherapeutic strategies, including tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte-based therapeutics, genetically-modified T cell therapy, dendritic cell-based cancer vaccination and antibody-based immune checkpoint inhibition for the treatment of gynecologic and other cancers. These approaches empower a patient’s own immune cells to seek out and destroy their cancer.
Dr. Powell has served as the Deputy Director of PENN’s Cell and Vaccine Production Facility (CVPF) within the Abramson Cancer Center and the Director of the Clinical Tumor Tissue Facility (CTTF), in support of multiple Phase I and II immunotherapy trials. He is the IND sponsor for the clinical application of T cell-based cancer immunotherapy, and has aided in the clinical application of adoptive lymphocyte immunotherapy, immunomodulation and cancer vaccination in various cancer types.
Prior to his recruitment to Penn, he and his colleagues developed novel combinatorial approaches for tumor vaccination, investigated the role of immunosuppressive regulatory T cells in cancer, and successfully applied adoptive T cell immunotherapy for the treatment of metastatic melanoma at the Surgery Branch at the National Cancer Institute, NIH.
Dr. Powell serves on various grant review committees, including those for the NIH and NHLBI’s PACT, scientific advisory boards for industry, as well as academic committees within the University. His research excellence has been recognized by multiple awards including the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy’s Outstanding New Investigator Award, and multiple NIH Exceptional performance Awards.
Stephen C. Rubin, MD
Chief, Gynecologic Cancer
Paul Grotzinger and Wilbur Raab Chair in Surgical Oncology
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Stephen C. Rubin, M.D., joined Fox Chase Cancer Center at the Chief of Gynecologic Cancer and the Paul Grotzinger and Wilbur Raab Chair in Surgical Oncology in 2014. Prior to joining Fox Chase, he spent 10 years at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Chief of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology. Dr. Rubin is a nationally recognized expert in the treatment of gynecologic cancers, and he has a special interest in the multidisciplinary management of ovarian malignancies. He has authored more than 250 publications on gynecologic cancer, and has published six textbooks on gynecologic cancers, including Ovarian Cancer (Lippincott), Cervical Cancer and Preinvasive Neoplasia, (Lippincott), the SGO Handbook: Chemotherapy of Gynecologic Malignancies (Lippincott), and Uterine Cancer (Marcel-Deker). Dr. Rubin has been a member of the Ovarian Cancer Committee and the Tumor Biology Committee of the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG), and a member of the Council of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists. He has been a member of the editorial boards of several journals, including Gynecologic Oncology and the Annals of Surgical Oncology, and has also served on the editorial board of OncoLink. He is currently Deputy Editor of Gynecologic Oncology. He previously served for six years as a member of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology’s Division of Gynecologic Oncology, and recently returned as Chief of the Division, which is responsible for the fellowship accreditation process and the board certification process in gynecologic oncology nationally. He also serves as a Director of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and is an examiner for the oral examinations in both gynecologic oncology and obstetrics and gynecology.
Dr. Rubin is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and did his residency and fellowship at Penn.
Carolyn D. Runowicz, MD
Executive Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology
Florida International University
Dr. Runowicz is a graduate of the Thomas Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. She did her training in obstetrics and gynecology and completed a fellowship in gynecologic oncology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Medical Center in New York City. She was also a Galloway Fellow at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.
Dr. Runowicz is a nationally prominent expert in gynecologic cancers and women’s health. Before coming to FIU, Runowicz was professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and held the Northeast Utilities Chair in Experimental Oncology at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. She also served as director of the Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Program at the University of Connecticut Health Center.
Among her many leadership positions in national organizations, she was president of the American Cancer Society, the first woman president of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists and chair of the National Cancer Advisory Board. She is the first gynecologic oncologist to serve on the Board of Directors for the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the world’s largest cancer organization. She also is the author of more than 200 publications, chapters and several books for the public.
Among her many research interests, Dr. Runowicz has largely focused on ovarian, cervical, and breast cancers. She has contributed more than 100 papers to medical literature, including scientific abstracts and textbook chapters. She is widely published in scholarly journals, including the “American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology” and the “Journal of Clinical Oncology and Cancer.”
As an outspoken advocate for women’s health, Dr. Runowicz lectures extensively on issues such as gynecologic cancers, menopause management and breast cancer. She has very candidly shared insights of her own battle with breast cancer, both in speaking appearances and in her book “To Be Alive: A Women’s Guide to a Full Life After Cancer,” published in 1995.
Co-authored by Dr. Runowicz and her husband Sheldon Cherry, M.D., a New York City gynecologist, “The Menopause Book: A Guide to Women’s Health After 40″ was published in 1994. She also co-authored with Jeanne Petrek, M.D., director of the Surgical Program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, “Women and Cancer: A Thorough and Compassionate Resource for Patients and Their Families” published in 1999. In 2004, Drs. Runowicz and Cherry authored “The Answer to Cancer,” offering a comprehensive look at cancer prevention.
Ie-Ming Shih, MD, PhD
Richard TeLinde Distinguished Professor of Gynecologic Pathology
Co-Director, Breast and Ovarian Cancer Program
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Dr. Ie-Ming Shih is the Richard TeLinde Distinguished Professor (Endowed Chair) of Gynecologic Pathology and directs this research program at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (1,2). He also co-directs the Breast and Ovarian Cancer Program (3) at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Hopkins. Dr. Shih received his MD from Taipei Medical University and PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a board-certified pathologist, having completed a clinical fellowship in gynecologic pathology followed by a cancer molecular genetics fellowship at Hopkins. His research focuses on exploring the genomics and pathogenesis of ovarian and endometrial cancer, developing new target-based therapy and applying innovative technology for early detection of gynecologic cancer (2). Dr. Shih’s research laboratory has made several discoveries that contribute to our understanding of the pathogenesis of ovarian cancer, including uncovering the genomic landscapes of different histologic subtypes of ovarian cancer, new mechanisms behind chemoresistance, the tumor suppressor roles of ARID1A, and the possible origin of ovarian high-grade serous carcinoma.
Several researchers in the TeLinde Gynecologic Pathology Research Program and Cancer Center have been devoted to identifying and characterizing potential new molecules that can be exploited to target ovarian cancer. The timely and generous gift from the OCRA allows him to build a research team devoted to developing new treatment modalities to improve clinical outcome in ovarian cancer patients. Dr. Shih has published extensively in the field of ovarian cancer research and served on many advisory and editorial boards. In addition to his clinical, research, and teaching obligations, Dr. Shih is also a passionate photographer (4) who wishes to use his talent to help raise fund for ovarian cancer research.
Anil K. Sood, MD
Professor and Vice Chair, Translational Research
Co-Director, Center for RNA Interference and Non-Coding RNA
Director, Blanton-Davis Ovarian Cancer Research Center
M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
Dr. Sood is Professor and Vice Chair for Translational Research in the Departments of Gynecologic Oncology and Cancer Biology and co-director of the Center for RNA Interference and Non-Coding RNA at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.
He is also Director of the multi-disciplinary Blanton-Davis Ovarian Cancer Research Program. Dr. Sood’s research is focused in three main areas: 1) effects of neuroendocrine stress hormones on ovarian cancer growth and progression, 2) development of new strategies for in vivo siRNA delivery, and 3) development of novel anti-vascular therapeutic approaches.
Dr. Sood has received major recognition for his research accomplishments including the Hunter Award, the Margaret Greenfield/Carmel Cohen Excellence in Ovarian Cancer Research Prize, and the GCF/Claudia Cohen Research Foundation Prize for Outstanding Gynecologic Cancer Researcher. Dr. Sood is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Shelley Tworoger, PhD
Associate Center Director of Population Science
Moffitt Cancer Center
Dr. Tworoger is a cancer epidemiologist who joined Moffitt Cancer Center in May, 2017, from Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She trained at the University of Washington. The primary goal of her research is to reduce morbidity and mortality from ovarian and breast cancers by enhancing risk prediction models and improving primary and secondary prevention recommendations using an integrative, multidisciplinary approach. Her role as Associate Center Director of Population Science is to advance the scope of population science research across the cancer continuum through leveraging the unique data and consortial resources at Moffitt. Dr. Tworoger was recently appointed as the Principal Investigator of the Moffitt Total Cancer Care initiative; a position she is well suited for as she was the director for the Nurses’ Health Studies Biorepositories for over 10 years at Harvard, which included over 3.5 million specimens from more than 200,000 participants.
- Jeff Boyd, PhD
- Carmel J. Cohen, MD
- Alan D. D’Andrea, MD
- Douglas A. Levine, MD
- Bob Ozols, MD, PhD
- Michael Seiden, MD, PhD
- Elizabeth Swisher, MD