Members of our Scientific Advisory Committee are respected leaders in research and on treating women with ovarian cancer.
Jeff Boyd, PhD, Chair
Jeff Boyd, Ph.D., is a professor and chair at Florida International University and the Director of Translational Research and Genomic Medicine at the Miami Cancer Institute. Previously, Dr. Boyd was the Senior Vice President at Fox Chase Cancer Center. Before joining Fox Chase, Dr. Boyd was the vice president for Oncology and Research at Memorial Health, and director of the Curtis & Elizabeth Anderson Cancer institute. He has a national and international reputation as one of the leading scientists in the study of the molecular genetics of women’s cancers and was named a Distinguished Cancer Scholar by the Georgia Cancer Coalition. Boyd came to Savannah from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, where he served as an attending biologist and director of the gynecology and breast research laboratory in the Department of Surgery and director of the diagnostic molecular genetics laboratory in the Department of Medicine. Boyd earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Duke University and his Doctor of Philosophy at North Carolina State University. Throughout his career, Boyd has received more than 14 National Institutes of Health (NIH) or NIH-equivalent research grants totaling several million dollars. He has served on the editorial boards of five prestigious journals, including the American Journal of Pathology and the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Boyd has published more than 180 articles, reviews, and textbook chapters, and presented over 150 invited lectures nationally and internationally.
Dr. Boyd was appointed to OCRF’s Board of Directors as of December 2012.
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
Professor and Chair, Obstetrics and Gynecology
Stanford University School of Medicine
Director, Women’s Cancer Center
Stanford Cancer Center
Dr. Berek is Professor and Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Stanford University School of Medicine, the Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Stanford Hospital & Clinics, as well as Director of the Women’s Cancer Center at the Stanford Cancer Center.
Dr. Berek is known for his expertise in gynecologic oncology and pelvic reconstructive surgery, and for his research in ovarian cancer as well as the immunology and immunotherapy of gynecologic malignancies. His primary areas of interest are in the development of novel therapies and vaccines for cancer, and stem cell investigations on ovarian cancer. He has contributed over 400 publications to the scientific literature. He is the Group Chair and Principal Investigator of the Cooperative Group for Immunotherapy in Ovarian Cancer (COGI), funded by the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF).
Before joining Stanford in December of 2005, Dr. Berek spent more than two decades at UCLA where he was Chair of the College of Applied Anatomy at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, the Executive Vice Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Chief of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology and the Gynecology Service, Director of the UCLA Women’s Reproductive Cancer Program, and Chief of Staff of the UCLA Medical Center.
Dr. Berek received an undergraduate degree in 1970 from Brown University in English and American Literature/Theatre Arts and Dramatic Literature, and an M.M.S. in Biomedical Sciences in 1973 from Brown. After receiving his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1975, he completed an internship, residency, and fellowship at Harvard Medical School, the Brigham & Women’s Hospital. He completed his fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology at the UCLA School of Medicine in 1981. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha Omega Alpha, and Sigma Xi Honor Societies.
Well respected in the fields of gynecology and gynecologic oncology, Dr. Berek has repeatedly appeared on lists of America’s Top Doctors and Cancer Specialists and in Who’s Who compilations. Dr. Berek is well known as an author, having written 10 books, most notably two of the most popular textbooks in his specialty, Berek & Novak’s Gynecology, and Berek & Hacker’s Gynecologic Oncology.
Dr. Berek is the President-elect of the International Gynecologic Cancer Society. His many awards include the Sherman Mellinkoff Faculty Award and the Excellence in Education Award, both from UCLA, and he is a six-time recipient of the UCLA Excellence in Teaching Award. He received the President’s Award from the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists, and he was named to the prestigious Bethesda II and III committees of the National Institutes of Health. In 2007, he was nominated for Time magazine’s Person of the Year.
Molly Brewer, DVM, MD, MS
Professor and Chair, Obstetrics and Gynecology
Director, Women’s Cancer Prevention Program
University of CT Health Center
Dr. Molly Brewer is Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, and Director of the Women’s Cancer Prevention Program 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
Associate Professor, Internal Medicine
Division of Hematology Oncology
Division of Gynecologic Oncology
University of Michigan
Cancer stem cells are the cause of tumor initiation and recurrence. The focus of Dr. Buckanovich’s work revolves around the development of novel treatments targeting cancer stem cells. Cancer stem cells are inherently resistant to chemotherapy and are the primary cause of cancer recurrences. He has taken several approaches to target cancer stem cells. First, cancer stem cells reside in close association with tumor blood vessel cells. His lab is developing immune based therapies that can specifically kill tumor blood vessels. As tumor blood vessels provide essential growth signals to cancer stem cells, killing tumor blood vessels indirectly targets cancer stem cells. His laboratory has identified several drugs that directly target cancer stem cells; one which blocks the ability of cancer stem cells to grow and a second which poisons a protein made only by cancer stem cells. Because these drugs specifically target cancer stem cells, they have few side effects. These simple and safe drugs make traditional chemotherapies twenty times more effective.
In addition to his laboratory studies, Dr. Buckanovich has a busy clinical practice, specializing in the treatment of ovarian and uterine cancers. He is actively involved in clinical trials testing new therapeutics in ovarian cancer and is planning additional trials testing the effects of new agents targeting ovarian cancer stem cells.
He was recently awarded the exclusive National Institutes of Health ‘New Innovator’ Directors Award, an award given to only 30 scientists a year. Similarly he received the Clinical Investigator Award from the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. In addition, his lab work was recognized by the Society of Gynecologic Oncology with the Best Basic Science Award and Gynecologic Cancer Foundation’s Carol’s Cause Award. Most recently, Dr. Buckanovich was inducted into the highly prestigious American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI); an honor society of physician-scientists who translate laboratory findings to advance clinical practice.
Carmel J. Cohen, MD
Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Founder, Division of Gynecologic Oncology
Mount Sinai Medical Center
Dr. Carmel Cohen is Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. Dr. Cohen previously served as the Vice Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science at Mount Sinai, where he founded the Division of Gynecologic Oncology and was its chairman for more than 25 years. Dr. Cohen has served as President of the New York Obstetrical Society, President of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists, President of the Society of Pelvic Surgeons, Founding Member and Council Member for the International Gynecologic Cancer Society. He has just completed a term as President of the Eastern Division of the American Cancer Society, is a current member of the American Cancer Society’s National Board of Directors, and was invited to chair its Gynecologic Cancer Advisory Group during its current term. He had chaired this group when it rewrote the American Cancer Society national guidelines on cervical cancer screening. He past Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors of Ovarian Cancer Research Fund and serves on its Scientific Advisory Committee. His past research demonstrated the utility of platinum drugs in treating ovarian cancer and cytotoxic drugs in the treatment of endometrial cancer. Dr. Cohen has published extensively and trained numerous (40) fellows, many of whom have become leaders or important contributors to the discipline of gynecologic oncology.
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.
Dineo Khabele, MD
Director, Gynecologic Oncology Translational Research Department
Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Associate Professor, Department of Cancer Biology
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Dr. Dineo Khabele is a physician and surgeon who diagnoses and treats women with gynecologic cancers. As a physician scientist, she also conducts clinical and translational research studies funded over the years by federal grants and foundation awards, including the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance. She has presented her work nationally and internationally and has authored over 40 manuscripts. She is an ad hoc reviewer for the Department of Defense Ovarian Cancer Program and a member of the National Institutes of Health Molecular and Integrative Signal Transduction (MIST) Study Section. She is a co-founder and leader of the Vanderbilt Ovarian Cancer Alliance (VOCAL), whose mission is to advance translational, multi-disciplinary research collaborations to develop personalized approaches to diagnose and treat ovarian cancer and collaborate with ovarian cancer survivors and advocates to raise awareness about ovarian cancer.
As an educator, Dr. Khabele is actively involved in mentoring and training the next generation of physicians and scientists and committed to raising awareness about women’s cancers and cancer health disparities. Prior to joining Vanderbilt in 2008, she was the Director of Gynecologic Oncology at Meharry Medical College where she remains an adjunct faculty member. She is a member of several medical societies. She is also involved in policy making for the Tennessee Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program and served on the Governor-Appointed Task Force to Eliminate Cervical Cancer in Tennessee. She uses her personal hobby of running to advocate for healthy lifestyles and raise awareness about cancer.
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:
Douglas A. Levine, MD
Director, Gynecologic Oncology
Head, Gynecology Research Laboratory
Professor, Division of Gynecologic Oncology
New York University Langone Medical Center
Douglas Levine MD is gynecologic oncologist who specializes in the surgical treatment of women with known or suspected ovarian or uterine cancers.
In addition to caring for patients, Dr. Levine heads the Gynecology Research Laboratory, where his efforts focus on the genomics of ovarian and endometrial cancers. Specifically, Dr. Levine is trying to identify clinically relevant genomic predictors of outcome for women with ovarian or endometrial cancer. A major portion of his research also focuses on studying molecular profiles of women who are treated with novel targeted anticancer drugs. His goal is to determine which patients are most likely to respond to a given therapy so that we can direct the best treatments toward the most appropriate patients. Dr. Levine uses whole-genome microarray techniques and other methods to molecularly characterize ovarian and uterine cancers from patients treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering and on national cooperative group clinical trials. Dr. Levine's research is supported by funding from the National Cancer Institute, the Department of Defense, Stand Up To Cancer, Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance, the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation, and the Entertainment Industry Foundation.
Dr. Levine also has an active interest in medical education and innovative technology. He has authored or co-authored more than 85 peer-reviewed research papers, review articles, and book chapters. Dr. Levine is also the founding editor of Atlas of Procedures in Gynecologic Oncology — the only full-color photographic surgical atlas in the field — which is now in its second edition. Dr. Levine serves on the editorial boards of Gynecologic Oncology and Ovarian Cancer and am co-chair of both the Ovarian and Endometrial Cancer Working Groups of The Cancer Genome Atlas.
His goals are to provide the highest quality comprehensive care to women with gynecologic cancers and improve patient outcomes through research and education.
For most women with these cancers, surgery is an important part of the initial treatment and increases the possibility of a cure. Many studies have shown that women with gynecologic cancers have better outcomes when their primary surgery is performed by a gynecologic oncologist. In addition to his expertise in the surgical management of gynecologic cancers, he also has special training in minimally invasive surgery (laparoscopy) and preventive surgery for appropriately selected patients. Intraperitoneal chemotherapy has been proven to be a superior method of treatment for advanced ovarian cancer, and Dr. Levine fully incorporates this into the treatment of appropriate patients. He also perform single-incision laparoscopic surgery (SILS) in appropriate cases, which reduces the number of surgical incisions or scars from four down to only one.
Follow Dr. Levine on Twitter @levinemd.
Ursula Matulonis, MD
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 Medical Director and Disease Center Leader of the Medical Gynecologic Oncology Program at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Her research focuses on developing new targeted therapies for gynecologic malignancies, with a specific interest in the genetic changes in ovarian cancer and how that can lead to rationale drug selection.
Dr. Matulonis is Principal Investigator (PI) of several clinical trials and translational studies for ovarian cancer. She is the PI of a Department of Defense grant on ovarian cancer entitled “Prediction of Response to Therapy and Clinical Outcome Through a Pilot Study of Complete Genetic Assessment of Ovarian Cancer” and a Co-PI on the project “Genetic similarities between serous ovarian cancer and triple negative breast cancer” funded by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Dr. Matulonis serves on the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Recommendation and Guideline committee for both ovarian cancer and for the treatment of anemia, the Gynecologic Oncology Group ovarian committee and quality of life committee, the National Cancer Institute Ovarian Cancer Task Force, and is Medical Director and Board Member for the non-profit organization Ovations for the Cure. She is a recipient of the Dennis Thompson Compassionate Care Scholar award, the Lee M. Nadler “Extra Mile” Award, the Zakim Award for patient advocacy and has been named one of Boston’s Best Physicians in Medical Oncology by Boston Magazine.
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 Dana-Farber.
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
Director, Women’s Cancer Biology
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Sandra Orsulic, Ph.D., is Director of Women’s Cancer Biology at the Women’s Cancer Research Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Her primary research interests include mouse models of ovarian carcinoma, the molecular characterization of ovarian cancer, and pathway-targeted therapy.
Prior to joining Cedars-Sinai, Dr. Orsulic was Principal Investigator of a research laboratory at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where she also served as Assistant Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Orsulic is a member of the National Cancer Institute’s Mouse Models of Human Cancers Consortium Steering Committee and Chair of the Gynecological Cancers Working Group. She is also a member of The Cancer Genome Atlas Project Ovarian Carcinoma Working Group, which investigates the underlying genetic changes that occur in human ovarian cancer.
Dr. Orsulic’s research on ovarian cancer has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, American Cancer Society, Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, and the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Her work has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals, such as Nature, Cancer Cell, The Journal of Cell Biology, Cancer Research, Development, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA.
Dr. Orsulic received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Zagreb, Croatia and her doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She was a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Nobel Prize Laureate Dr. Harold Varmus at the National Institutes of Health and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
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.
Michael V. Seiden, MD, PhD
Chief Medical Officer
The US Oncology Network
Dr. Seiden earned his undergraduate degree at Oberlin College and graduated magna cum laude in Chemistry. He subsequently was accepted to the Medical Science Training Program at Washington University Medical School and completed an M.D. and Ph.D. in 1986 with his principal area of research in the field of immunology. He entered a medical internship at the Massachusetts General Hospital and subsequently completed a residency and chief residency in Medicine at MGH followed by clinical oncology training at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
Once completing his clinical training he worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Jeffrey Sklar in the Department of Pathology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital working on topics in molecular diagnostics. In 1994, he joined the faculty of the Massachusetts General Hospital and the MGH Cancer Center in the Division of Hematology and Oncology. Over the ensuing thirteen years, he held a number of positions including Deputy Chief of the Division of Hematology and Oncology, Director of the Hematology/Oncology Training Program, Director of the Clinical Risk Assessment Program within the Cancer Center, and most recently Chief of the Clinical Research Unit within the Division of Cancer Medicine. In 1995, he was named the Chair of the Clinical Research Committee for the Gynecologic Cancer Program within the Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center and in 2004 he became the Director for Gynecologic Cancers Program for this NCI-supported program. His research interests at MGH included translational research in gynecologic malignancies with a focus on ovarian cancer. At MGH, he divided his time between patient care and clinical research focused on ovarian cancer, and bench-based molecular research looking to better define the molecular mechanisms of drug resistance.
After five years as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Fox Chase Cancer Center, where Dr. Seiden had the responsibility for all strategic planning, finances and operations within the Center and served as the Principal Investigator for the NCI-sponsored Comprehensive Cancer Center grant and principal investigator for the NCI-funded ovarian SPORE grant, Dr. Seiden joined McKesson Specialty Health in 2013. In his position as Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of the US Oncology Network, he serves as the most senior physician leader of the organization, overseeing the work of 1,000 physicians.
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 OCRFA 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.