Fergus J. Couch, PhD
Institution: Mayo Clinic
Fergus J. Couch, Ph.D., studies how genetic alterations influence the development of both breast and pancreatic cancer. The long-term goals of his research program are to develop methods that predict an individual's risk of developing breast cancer and facilitate cancer prevention efforts, as well as develop tests that improve selection of treatment for individuals with breast and pancreatic cancer. Specifically, inherited mutations that predispose to breast cancer are being identified by studying familial breast cancer. Separately, factors that influence the response of breast and pancreatic tumors to chemotherapy are being identified by characterizing early genetic alterations. Dr. Couch's team uses genomics and cell biological approaches and animal and mathematical models to address these goals.
Dr. Couch is affiliated with the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center and the Center for Individualized Medicine. His research is supported by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and an NIH Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in Breast Cancer.
Julie Culver, MS, LGC
Institution: USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center
Julie Culver, MS, LCGC, CCRP is a licensed genetic counselor and Clinical Instructor specializing in cancer genetics. She received her Master’s degree at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1994. Ms. Culver then worked in Cancer Prevention and Public Health at the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research in Seattle for almost a decade. In 2004, she joined the City of Hope Division of Clinical Cancer Genetics where worked for 8 years and served as the Assistant Director of the Cancer Screening & Prevention Program Network and conducted research pertaining to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer and decision-making for woman carrying deleterious BRCA mutations and variants of uncertain significance. In 2012, she moved to the USC Norris Cancer Comprehensive Cancer Center where she currently serves on the faculty of Medical Oncology and is the lead genetic counselor. Her research pertains to hereditary cancer panel testing, cancer risk perception, and medical decision-making following genetic testing. She has served on the faculty for the City of Hope Intensive Course and taught cancer risk assessment to health professionals and students since 2004.
Kevin Davies, PhD
VP Business Development & Publisher
Institution: C&EN American Chemical Society
Kevin Davies PhD is a scientific publisher, editor and author. He is the founding editor of Nature Genetics and Bio-IT World, and author of four popular science books including Cracking the Genome and The $1,000 Genome. He is currently EVP Strategic Development with Mary Ann Liebert Inc., where he is leading the launch of The CRISPR Journal, and the reccipient of a 2017 Guggenheim Fellowship.
Kevin studied biochemistry at Oxford University and obtained his PhD from St Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London working on the genetics of cystic fibrosis. After postdoc fellowships at MIT and Harvard Medical School, he joined the editorial staff of Nature magazine. He is the founding editor of Nature Genetics, the first of the Nature sister journal franchise. After spells at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Cell Press, where he served as Editor-in-Chief, he became the founding editor of Bio-IT World, a trade magazine covering the intersection of IT and life sciences. In 2013, Kevin joined the American Chemical Society as VP Business Development and Publisher of the weekly magazine Chemical & Engineering News. Kevin is the author of four popular science books: Breakthrough (co-authored with Michael White) on the race for the breast cancer gene; Cracking the Genome, an exploration of the Human Genome Project, translated into 16 foreign languages; and The $1,000 Genome, which explores advances in next-gen sequencing and personal genomics. He also served as genetics consultant on the 2014 movie Decoding Annie Parker. Davies is also a co-author of DNA: The Story of the Genetic Revolution (August 2017) with Nobel Laureate James D. Watson and Andrew Berry.
Carol Fabian, MD
Director, Breast Cancer Prevention & Survivorship Centers
Institution: KU Breast Cancer Prevention Center
Dr. Fabian is an internationally and nationally recognized leader in risk assessment and prevention trials for breast cancer. She is a board certified medical oncologist, has 30 years of experience in conducting breast cancer research, and has had continuous funding from the National Cancer Institute for performance of clinical research trials for more than 20 years. She leads the Cancer Prevention and Survivorship Research Program and is the Principle Investigator for a number of ongoing prevention trials in breast cancer funded by the National Cancer Institute, including letrozole for postmenopausal women taking hormone replacement therapy, a diet and exercise trial for postmenopausal overweight women, and a flaxseed derivative trial for pre-menopausal women.
Dr. Fabian received her bachelor’s and medical degrees from the University of Kansas and joined the faculty as an assistant professor at the University of Kansas Medical Center after completing an oncology fellowship in 1977. She was appointed Professor in 1987. She previously served as the Medical Director of the Clinical Outpatient Cancer Center and currently serves as the Director of the Breast Cancer Prevention Center and the Breast Cancer Survivorship Center, both of which she founded. Dr. Fabian was awarded the Kansas Masonic Endowed Research Chair in 2004 and has received numerous lay and academic awards for her achievements. She has served on numerous scientific advisory boards for the National Cancer Institute and the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and on ASCO and AACR scientific program committees. She currently serves as a reviewer and editorial board member for numerous scientific publications, including The Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, and Journal of Clinical Oncology. Dr. Fabian teaches the module on Breast Cancer Risk Assessment and Prevention annually at the School of Breast Oncology and authored the module on breast cancer risk assessment and prevention for the American Society of Clinical Oncology, released in 2007 as a prevention teaching tool.
Judy Garber, MD, MPH
Director, Center for Cancer Genetics and Prevention
Institution: Dana Farber Cancer Institute
Dr. Garber is the Director of the Cancer Genetics and Prevention Disease Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Garber conducts research in clinical cancer genetics, with a special focus in the genetics of breast cancer. She has played a major role in the development of national guidelines in cancer genetics. She is also a leader in research into the characteristics and treatment of triple negative or basal-like breast cancer, the most common form in women with BRCA1 mutations. Her translational research focuses on the evaluation of novel agents targeting DNA repair defects in breast cancer, including PARP inhibitors for treatment and prevention of breast cancer and other BRCA-associated cancers.
In 2011-2012, Dr. Garber was the President of American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the largest organization of cancer researchers in the world. She is a member of the National Cancer Advisory Board and was recently elected to the Institute of Medicine.
Heather Hampel, MS, CGC
Associate Director, Division of Human Genetics
Institution: The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center
Heather Hampel completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Genetics at the Ohio State University in 1993. She attained her Master’s degree in Human Genetics from Sarah Lawrence College in 1995. She received certification from the American Board of Genetic Counseling in 1996. She worked as a cancer genetic counselor at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan before moving to The Ohio State University in 1997. She is a Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine and Associate Director of the Division of Human Genetics. Her research areas of interest include Lynch syndrome and universal screening for Lynch syndrome. She has over 90 publications; including first author publications in the New England Journal of Medicine, Cancer Research, and the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Heather is a former member of the Board of Directors of the National Society of Genetic Counselors (Region IV Representative in 2003-4) and of the American Board of Genetic Counseling (2007-2011) where she served as President in 2009 and 2010. She received the Region IV Leadership Award from NSGC in 2006.
Karen Hurley, PhD.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Institution: Cleveland Clinic
Karen E. Hurley, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic specializing in hereditary cancer risk and a Clinical Member of the Cancer Prevention, Control and Population Research Program at the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. She received her A.B. in psychology from Bryn Mawr College in 1983, and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Temple University in 1998. Before joining the Cleveland Clinic staff, she spent eight years on faculty at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center conducting NCI-funded research on patient decision-making about cancer genetic risk management and other psychosocial issues relevant to high risk patients. She has provided psychotherapy and consultation to nearly 500 individuals, families and couples with a variety of inherited cancer susceptibility syndromes, including breast/ovarian (BRCA1/2), Lynch syndrome, familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), Li-Fraumeni syndrome, and diffuse gastric cancer syndrome (CDH1). Dr. Hurley has conducted numerous professional education seminars and patient workshops for organizations such as American Psycho-Oncology Society, the National Society of Genetic Counselors, and FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered). She is a past or current member of several national advisory boards for high risk individuals, including FORCE, Bright Pink, Sharsheret, The Cancer Support Community’s Breast & Gastric Cancer Registries, the City of Hope National Medical Center’s Cancer Genetics Career Development Program, and the National Cancer Institute’s PDQ Cancer Genetics Editorial Advisory Board. In 2014 she received the Spirit of Empowerment-Individual Commitment award at the 8th Annual FORCE conference, in recognition of her work on behalf of the hereditary cancer community.
Sonia S. Kupfer, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Institution: University of Chicago Medical Center
Sonia S. Kupfer is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Section of Gastroenterology at the University of Chicago Medical Center, Chicago, IL. She is the Director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Risk and Prevention Clinic and co-Director of the Comprehensive Cancer Risk and Prevention clinic at the University of Chicago. She is funded by a K08 career development award from the NIH/NCI to study colorectal cancer genetic susceptibility variants in African Americans. Dr. Kupfer is also currently investigating genetics related to chemopreventive agents for colorectal cancer, notably vitamin D. In addition to her translational research, Dr. Kupfer is actively engaged in clinical studies in high-risk colorectal cancer primarily Lynch syndrome. Her clinical work focuses on hereditary GI cancer evaluation, testing and management. She also has served as co-Director of two CME conferences on genomics. Dr. Kupfer received her undergraduate degree from Yale University and then completed medical school, residency, chief residency and gastroenterology fellowship training at the University of Chicago. She is originally from a northern suburb of Chicago and currently resides in the Hyde Park area with her husband, an art dealer, and her two children.
Lucy Langer, MD, MSHS
Co-Medical Director Cancer Genetics
Institution: Compass Oncology
Dr. Lucy Langer is the Practice President and practices Medical Oncology and Hematology with Compass Oncology in Portland, OR. She completed her undergraduate training in Economics at Columbia University and received her MD from Stanford University, where she also completed her internship, residency, and chief residency in Internal Medicine. Dr. Langer's Hematology/Oncology fellowship was completed at UCLA where she worked closely with Dr. Patricia Ganz in the Division of Cancer Prevention & Control Research. She is a graduate of the advanced course in cancer genetics through the City of Hope. Her areas of interest include Breast Cancer, Cancer Genetics, and Cancer Prevention & Survivorship. Dr. Langer is the co-Medical Director of the US Oncology Genetic Risk Evaluation and Testing Program.
Lucille Leong, MD
Associate Director of Clinical Affairs Division of Medical Oncology & Therapeutics Research
Institution: City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center
Lucille Leong, MD, is one of City of Hope's nationally recognized experts in the study and treatment of breast, colorectal and gynecologic and gastrointestinal cancers. She is also breaking new ground with an innovative treatment technique for metastatic colorectal cancer to the liver that combines surgery and regional chemotherapy. Dr. Leong has served on the United States Army Breast and Prostate Cancer Grant Scientific Peer Review Committees since 1995, awarding grants to fund promising research. She also has been a member of the board of directors for the American Cancer Society, San Gabriel Valley Division, and the Southwest Oncology Group. In addition to this medical and scientific work, Dr. Leong also coordinates cancer education for physicians, patients and the public at large. She serves as advisor and instructor for the Cancer Genetics Program. She also has served as clinical faculty of the University of California Los Angeles School of Medicine since 1985. Dr. Leong earned her medical degree from the Stanford University School of Medicine. Prior to joining City of Hope as a Medical Oncology fellow in 1983, she performed her internship, residency and fellowship at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. She has authored or co-authored more than 60 peer-reviewed publications and more than 100 abstracts.
Katrina Lowstuter, MS, CGC
Institution: USC/Norris Cancer Hospital
Katrina Lowstuter, MS,CGC, is a board certified genetic counselor who joined City of Hope in May of 2005 from the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she developed her interest and expertise in hereditary colon cancer syndromes. In 2003, Ms. Lowstuter was awarded a grant from the National Society of Genetic Counselors to evaluate the status of hepatoblastoma screening for children at risk for familial adenomatous polyposis. Additional areas of research includes surveying primary care physicians to obtain their knowledge and perspectives regarding genetic discrimination. Ms. Lowstuter is a graduate of the University of Colorado Genetic Counseling Masters Program. She is a member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors, the American Society of human Genetics and the Collaborative Group of the Americas, an international consortium focused on hereditary gastrointestinal cancer research. Ms. Lowstuter currently works at University of Southern California Norris Cancer Hospital.
Patrick Lynch, MD
Professor, Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, & Nutrition
Institution: The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Dr. Patrick Lynch is a gastroenterologist and scientist with specific expertise in cancer risk for mismatch repair gene mutation carriers. He is a Professor of Medicine in the Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at UT-MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Dr. Lynch received his Law degree and degree in Medicine from Creighton University. His internship and residency were at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He completed his Fellowship in Gastroenterology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Dr. Lynch provides surveillance for patients and families with hereditary colorectal cancers, and is actively involved in the counseling and management of these patients and families. He has led or collaborated on multiple NIH- and industry-funded studies in hereditary colorectal cancers, including basic science, clinical, chemoprevention and behavioral studies. He is a member of Council for and past President of the International Society for Gastrointestinal Hereditary Tumors (INSIGHT) and is past President of the Collaborative Group of the Americas on Inherited Colorectal Cancer. He was recently awarded a grant under the UTMDACC “Moonshot” program for further development of a web-based registry for familial cancer families.
Brian Shuch, MD
Director of the Kidney Cancer Program and the Alvin & Carrie Meinhardt Endowed Chair in Kidney Cancer Research.
Institution: University of California, Los Angeles
Dr. Brian M. Shuch’s decision to study urologic oncology was a personal one: he wanted to help others defeat cancer after watching a member of his own family succumb to the disease. “I wanted to be a surgeon in a field where patients have excellent outcomes with surgery,” he explains. “I also wanted to be involved with systemic therapy and cutting-edge research.” At Yale, Dr. Shuch runs the urologic oncology cancer research bank, where all tissue, urine, and blood is stored for future research within the Yale Cancer Center.
Dr. Shuch completed his urology residency and surgery internship at the University of California, Los Angeles and played a key role in its Kidney Cancer Program. After his residency, he completed a three-year urologic oncology fellowship at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), focusing on clinical trials, drug development, and the comprehensive management of patients with kidney cancer. He holds a joint appointment from the Yale School of Medicine in the Urology and Diagnostic Radiology departments.
In addition to his clinical interests, which include open and robotic surgery, systemic therapy, percutaneous kidney tumor biopsies and cryoablation—the use of extreme cold to kill cancer cells—Dr. Shuch is committed to limiting over-treatment of non-aggressive urologic cancers. When appropriate, he prefers a strategy of active surveillance and the integration of genetic testing in cancer care.
Dr. Shuch is a member of two oncology clinical trial groups, the Society of Urologic Oncology and SWOG, formerly the Southwest Oncology Group, which receives support from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). He helps run the multidisciplinary Yale Kidney Cancer Tumor Board and is part of the kidney cancer clinical trial team. These trials involve treatment of the disease at all stages, from small localized tumors to advanced metastatic disease. “Our improved understanding of the genetics of kidney cancer will allow the integration of molecular markers into treatment algorithms,” he explains. Studies show that molecular markers can be useful in many ways, including measuring the progress of disease and evaluating the most effective therapy for a particular cancer type.
Tobias Else, MD
Section Head, Neuro-Oncology, Physician, Division of Medical Oncology & Therapeutics Research
Institution: University of Michigan
Dr. Else’s primary appointment is with the Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Diabetes. He received his MD degree from the University of Hamburg, Germany. He pursued his clinical training at the University of Hamburg (Residency: Internal Medicine) and the University of Michigan (Residency: Internal Medicine, Fellowship: Endocrinology). His main research interests are the genetics of endocrine tumors. Dr. Else’s clinical practice focuses on the care for patients with benign and malignant endocrine tumors, particularly pheochromocytoma, adrenocortical tumors and neuroendocrine tumors as well as accompanying hormone excess syndromes (e.g Cushing syndrome, primary aldosteronism). Dr. Else has a particular interest in taking care of patients with hereditary syndromes that predispose to the development of endocrine tumors (e.g. Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia (MEN) type 1, MEN2A & MEN2B, Hereditary Paraganglioma Syndrome). He attends the Multidisciplinary Endocrine Oncology Clinic, where patients with tumors receive diagnostic procedures and treatment. In addition he is part of the Cancer Genetics Clinic, which evaluates patients for hereditary syndromes and also facilitates regular exams and surveillance for patients at risk for endocrine tumors. Dr. Else serves on the Clinical Guidelines Subcommittee and the Guidelines Task Force of the Endocrine Society and is the Program Director of the Endocrine Fellowship at the University of Michigan.
Therese M. Mulvey, MD
Physician in Chief / Medical Oncologist
Institution: MA General Hospital
Dr. Mulvey has dedicated her career to providing state-of-the-art community based care for cancer patients. Her philosophy is to empower patients to receive high-quality care in their own communities, with shared decision making among specialists and patients. As the Director of Breast Medical Oncology at MGH/ North she oversees programs that are committed to ensuring patients have access to high-quality oncology services and leading-edge clinical cancer research. Dr. Mulvey earned her medical degree at Tufts University School of Medicine. She completed fellowships in hematology/ oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital as well as Tufts-New England Medical Center, where she also completed her residency. Dr. Mulvey is board certified in medical oncology and internal medicine. Areas of interest: cancer genetics and breast cancer.
Karen Tedesco, MD
Chief, Clinical Genetics Service
Institution: NY Oncology Hematology
Dr. Tedesco earned her MD from SUNY Health Science Center in Syracuse, NY and graduated magna cum laude. She completed an Internal Medicine residency at University of Michigan Medical Center where she earned a SPORE (Specialized Program of Research Excellence) student grant and received the House Officer Research Award for her Prostate Cancer Genetics project. Dr. Tedesco completed her Hematology and Oncology fellowship at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Dr. Tedesco is board certified in Internal Medicine, Hematology, and Oncology and a member of many professional societies including AOA medical Honor Society, AMA, ASCO, and ASH. Dr. Tedesco has been an attending physician with NY Oncology Hematology since completing fellowship and is vice president of the Board of Directors. She is the program director for the NYOH Hereditary Cancer Risk Assessment Program and the NYOH Physician Mentoring Program. Dr. Tedesco is a member of the USON Breast Cancer Research Committee and local PI for many breast cancer clinical trials. She is co-director of the NYOH/Albany Medical College annual Translational Research Symposium and regularly teaches medical students and residents. Dr. Tedesco practices general Hematology and Oncology with a particular interest in breast cancer. She is regularly involved in community based education and outreach events.
Kenneth Offit, MD, MPH
Chief, Clinical Genetics Service
Institution: Memorial Sloane-Kettering Cancer Center
Kenneth Offit M.D.,M.P.H. is Chief of the Clinical Genetics Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, a Member of Cancer Biology and Genetics Program at the Sloan-Kettering Institute, and a Professor of Medicine and Public Health at the Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University. He is a graduate of Princeton University, the Harvard School of Public Health, and the Harvard Medical School. In 1996, his research group discovered the most common genetic mutation associated with inherited breast and ovarian cancer, occurring among Jews of European ancestry. In 2002, his group was the first to prospectively measure the impact of preventive ovarian surgery in individuals carrying BRCA mutations and he led the first genome wide association study of BRCA2 breast cancer. In 2013 his group described a new genetic syndrome of inherited childhood lymphoblastic leukemia. He is currently using next generation sequencing to define genomic markers of risk for leukemia, lymphoma, breast, ovarian and prostate cancer. Dr Offit was honored with the 2013 American Society of Clinical Oncology-American Cancer Society award for his work in genetics and cancer prevention. He is currently a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors of the U.S. National Cancer Institute, a genome advisory panel to the U.S. C.D.C., as well as co-Chair of the Germline Cancer Working Group of the Clinical Genome Resource of the National Human Genome Research Institute.
Colin Pritchard, MD, PhD
Institution: University of Washington
Dr. Pritchard is an Assistant Professor of Laboratory Medicine, as well as the associate director of the genetics and solid tumors laboratory at the University of Washington Medical Center that services the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) that includes Seattle Children’s hospital. Dr. Pritchard undertook his undergraduate and graduate training at the University of Washington in Seattle in the United States. He completed his medical training at the University of Washington School of Medicine. The Pritchard laboratory focuses on oncology molecular diagnostics, particularly the source and utility of cell-free nucleic acid biomarkers in blood, and the development of innovative molecular diagnostics for the identification of mutations that can guide therapeutic decision-making. His clinical work focuses on applications of next-generation sequencing gene panels for cancer risk assessment and precision treatment. He has led the development and implementation of the ColoSeq™ Lynch and Polyposis Syndrome Panel and UW-OncoPlex™ Cancer Gene Panel in current clinical use for cancer patients and their families.
Charite Ricker, MS, CGC
Cancer Genetic Counselor And Genetic Services Coordinator
Institution: University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine
Charité Ricker, MS, LCGC - is a board certified genetic counselor with specialization in hereditary cancer risk assessment with the University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine. She has a Bachelors of Science in genetics from Texas A&M University and received her Masters of Science in genetic counseling at California State University, Northridge. Ms. Ricker is fluent in Spanish and is interested in the provision of cancer genetics services in medically underserved and culturally diverse populations. She is actively involved in cancer genetics education to physicians, physician fellows, nurses, other healthcare professionals and patients. Ms. Ricker is a voting member of the Institutional Review Board for the USC Health Science Campus, LAC+USC Medical Center and Health Research Association. Ms. Ricker is a member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC), the Collaborative Group of the Americas on Inherited Colorectal Cancer (CGA), the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), and the Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM). She currently serves as the co-chair of the NSGC Cultural Competency Sub-committee and is a member of the ASCO Genetics Sub-committee.
Mark E. Robson, MD
Clinic Director, Clinical Cancer Genetics Services
Institution: Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Mark Robson, MD is a Member and Attending Physician of the Clinical Genetics and Breast Medicine Services in the Department of Medicine at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He is also Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. He received his B.Sc. from Washington and Lee University and his M.D. from the University of Virginia. He performed residency and fellowship training at Walter Reed Army Medical center before coming to Memorial Sloan-Kettering in 1996. He is currently the Clinic Director of the Clinical Genetics Service. He serves on the Cancer Prevention and Ethics Committees of ASCO, is an Associate Editor for JNCI and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Dr. Robson’s research is primarily directed toward the improving the integration of genetic information into the clinical management of women with breast cancer. He and his colleagues have conducted a number of studies examining outcomes in women with hereditary breast cancer to better define the risks and benefits of treatments such as breast conserving therapy and adjuvant chemotherapy in this group. He is also coordinating studies of PARP inhibitors in women with BRCA mutation-associated breast cancer. He and his coworkers have also conducted a number of studies examining the effectiveness of screening interventions such as breast MRI or ovarian cancer screening in women at hereditary risk. He is also investigating the optimal integration of new genetic technologies, such as genomic profiling and multi-gene testing, into the care of women at risk for breast cancer.
Patricia Rodriguez, MD
Cancer Genetics Specialist
Institution: Virginia Cancer Specialists
Dr. Rodriguez attended Johns Hopkins University where she was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree with honors in biomedical engineering. She received her medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine where she was a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honors Medical Society. She completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and fellowship in Hematology and Oncology at George Washington Medical Center in Washington, D.C. She is board certified in Internal Medicine, Hematology and Oncology.
Dr. Rodriguez practices hematology and oncology in Arlington, VA. She is a member of several professional organizations including the American Society of Hematology and the American Society of Clinical Oncology. She is on the board of the Arlington Free Clinic and the Arlington County Medical Society.
Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, Dr. Rodriguez speaks both fluent Spanish and French.
Thomas Slavin, MD, FACMG, DABMD
Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs for Oncology
Institution: Myriad Genetics
Dr. Slavin is Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs for Oncology at Myriad Genetics. He is a physician-scientist, triple-board-certified in clinical genetics, molecular diagnostics and pediatrics. Most recently, he served as assistant professor in the departments of Medical Oncology & Therapeutics Research and Population Sciences at City of Hope National Medical Center. Dr. Slavin graduated medical school with Alpha-Omega-Alpha-honors from the University of South Florida. He completed his residency programs at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio; this training included a postdoctoral research year in genetic epidemiology. He has also completed graduate course work towards a Masters degree in clinical research through the University of Southern California. He is an active member of the American Association of Cancer Research, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the American Society of Human Genetics, the Collaborative Group of the Americas on Inherited Colorectal Cancer, and is a fellow of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics. He has served on National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN)committees for both the genetics of and screening for colorectal cancer. He has served on three ClinGen expert working group committees for variant classification of breast, gastrointestinal and ovarian cancer predisposition genes. Focused on expanding genetics education for cancer care providers, Dr. Slavin has helped shape both ASCO University as well as City of Hope’s hereditary genomics training program. He is a well-published researcher in the field of medical genetics, including over 60 journal articles, multiple book chapters, and numerous presentations at national and international medical meetings. He has been involved in many national cancer research grants, and was a 2018 National Institutes of Health (NIH) K08-career development grant awardee.
Louise C. Strong, MD
Professor of Cancer Genetics
Institution: The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Louise Strong, M.D., is best known for her scientific leadership and vision in pursuing studies of the genetic components and late effects of childhood cancer. She is a pioneer in advancing our understanding of cancer-prone disorders, with seminal discoveries into the genetic basis of Wilms tumor, retinoblastoma, and Li-Fraumeni syndrome. In 1981, Dr. Strong became the first woman faculty member at MD Anderson to be named to an endowed professorship, which now is the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Chair. Dr. Strong graduated from The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston with the long-term goal of conducting research in human genetics. Her interest in childhood cancer genetics originated with her postdoctoral work with Alfred Knudson, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., where they discovered that a subset of cancers might be due to the loss of suppressor genes rather than the acquisition of oncogenes. This research provided the sustained foundation for cytogenetic and molecular biological studies that extended their hypothesis to other hereditary tumors and propelled Dr. Strong to the forefront in the field of human genetics. Dr. Strong focused her research on childhood cancer, reasoning that children have not had the years of exposure to potential cancer causing agents as adults, and hence might represent a better model for genetic studies. She is best known for her work on childhood cancers, retinoblastoma, Wilms tumor of the kidney and Li Fraumeni syndrome, an inherited predisposition to multiple tumor types in children and young adults. The findings from this work have confirmed her idea that genes predisposing to cancer in rare hereditary cancers are the same genes altered in the more common non-hereditary cancers. Her team includes molecular and statistical genetics, with increasing opportunities in the new genomics era. Her current work with risk modifiers not only helps to explain the variation in risk both within and across families with genetic mutations predisposing to cancer, and individuals in the general population, but for long term impact is more significant in identifying pathways that may provide drug targets. Her clinical commitment is also in genetics, providing genetic counseling to high risk families, especially those with childhood or young onset cancer. It has been a nice complement to the research that led to the opportunity for genetic testing and counseling, and provides a "reality check" in terms of the research. She also is involved in the training of graduate students, genetic counselors, and oncology fellows. Dr. Strong is a recognized leader in her field as evidenced by her service on numerous advisory committees and recognition for her accomplishments. She has served on many review groups and policy-making committees of the National Cancer Institute, including her six-year term on National Cancer Advisory Board. In 1996-97, Dr. Strong served as President of the American Association of Cancer Research, the largest cancer research organization in the world. Her term as president was noteworthy for her leadership of a strategic planning process conducted by the Board of Directors. As a result of these discussions, the AACR embarked on an ambitious program that continues today to make the expertise of its members available to the lay public, government officials, cancer survivors, and the media. Dr. Strong has received many awards for her work including the first annual faculty achievement award for cancer prevention in 1992, the 1997 Ashbel Smith Distinguished Alumna of the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, and the Distinguished Texas Geneticist Award from the Texas Genetics Society for 1997. In addition, the Retina Research Foundation of Houston has honored her work on retinoblastoma many times. In 1999, Dr. Louise Strong was honored with the Charles A. LeMaistre Outstanding Achievement Award in Cancer at MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Sharon Wilczynski, MD, PhD
Director, Anatomic Pathology and Cytology
Institution: City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center
Sharon P. Wilczynski, M.D., Ph.D., is one of City of Hope’s leading experts in gynecologic pathology. Throughout her career, she has been involved in multiple investigations studying genetic causes and potential treatments for cervical and ovarian cancers, with particular emphasis on the role of human papillomaviruses (HPVs) in the etiology of cervical and other cancers. Currently, Dr. Wilczynski is involved in several group clinical trials testing new therapies for patients with ovarian, endometrial and breast cancers. Her studies are funded by the National Institutes of Health, the California Cancer Research Program and the Southwest Oncology Group. In addition to her research, Dr. Wilczynski is very active in national and local medical and scientific bodies. She currently serves as chair of the Gynecologic Pathology subcommittee for the Southwest Oncology Group, and is a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Committee for Determining Practice Guidelines for Cervical Cancer Screening.
Janet L. Williams, MS, LGC
Director, Research Genetic Counselors
Institution: Genomic Medicine Institute, Geisinger Health System
Janet L. Williams, MS, LGC obtained a Master’s Degree in Medical Genetics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1979. Ms. Williams attended the Advanced Training Program offered through the Institute for Health Care Delivery Research at Intermountain Healthcare. Ms. Williams initiated the Cancer Genetic Counseling program at Intermountain Healthcare. She joined Geisinger in 2012, and is now Director of Research Genetic counselors. She has been involved in several research efforts including the clinical research study offering Whole Genome Sequencing for Undiagnosed Children. Ms. Williams is an Investigator in a project funded through the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to develop genome sequencing result reports for patients and providers that enhanced communication and and shared decision making between clinicians and patients. Ms. Williams is now actively involved in a variety of efforts designed to improve the reach of Cascade Screening, particularly involving the three top tier genomic conditions recognized by the CDC, i.e. HBOC. Lynch and FH. In addition to the research position, Ms. Williams is employed part-time by Geisinger Health Plan to support development of medical policy to determine appropriate coverage of genetic testing, genetic counseling and genetic service delivery within Geisinger.
Marc S. Williams, MD, FAAP, FACMG
Director of the Genomic Medicine Institute
Institution: Genomic Medicine Institute of the Geisinger Health System
Marc S. Williams, MD, FAAP, FACMG, FACMI is a clinical geneticist and informaticist. As of January 2012, he has been the director of the Genomic Medicine Institute of the Geisinger Health System in Danville, Pennsylvania. He is the co-PI of the Geisinger Electronic Medical Records in Genomics (eMERGE) project and is the medical director of the whole genome sequencing clinical research project. He is site PI and leads the EHR integration workgroup of the NHGRI funded ClinGen project. He represents Geisinger Health System on the NHGRI Genomic Medicine working group. He has participated in the Personalized Medicine Workgroup of the Department of Health and Human Services’ American Health Information Community Task Force, chaired the CDC’s EGAPP Stakeholder’s Group and was a member of the Secretary’s Advisory Committee for Genetics, Health and Society. He is a member of the EGAPP working group. He is a past member of the ACMG Board of Directors, and served as Vice-President for Clinical Genetics. He is past chair of the ACMG Committee on the Economics of Genetic Services and founded the ACMG Quality Improvement Special Interest Group. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Clinical Pharmacogenetic Implementation Consortium (CPIC) and a member of the CPIC informatics committee and has participated in guideline creation and review for that group. He recently joined the Scientific Advisory Board of the NIH Undiagnosed Diseases Project. He is boarded in clinical informatics and is a member of the AMIA genomics and translational bioinformatics workgroup and was Geisinger’s representative to the Clinical Decision Support Consortium. He was elected a fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics in 2016. He has authored over 130 articles on a variety of topics including the economic evaluation and value of genetic services, implementation of genomic medicine and the use of informatics to facilitate genomic medicine.
Stephanie Cohen, MS, LCGC
Director of the Genomic Medicine Institute
Institution: St. Vincent Hospital
Stephanie Cohen is a board-certified, licensed Genetic Counselor at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis, IN, where she was instrumental in starting the Cancer Genetics Risk Assessment Program. She earned her MS degree in Genetic Counseling at the University of Michigan, and is a 2007 graduate of the City of Hope Intensive Cancer Course. She is active in several groups within the National Society of Genetic Counselors, including a position as chair of the Service and Delivery Model subcommittee regarding access and service delivery. Stephanie has been working to improve access to cancer genetic services by implementing a collaborative process with Genetic Counselor Extenders throughout the St. Vincent Health network across the state of Indiana. She serves on the Indiana Genetics Advisory Committee (IGAC) and is active in training genetic counseling students as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Indiana University as a clinical supervisor and co-instructor for a Cancer Genetics course. She has multiple publications in the field of cancer genetics and genetic counseling service delivery.
Christina Rybak, MS, LCGC
Institution: Human Longevity
Christina Rybak, MS, LCGC is a board-certified licensed genetic counselor with experience in consumer genomics and hereditary cancer. She graduated from the University of South Carolina Genetic Counseling Training Program in 2006. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from Duke University. She worked as a cancer genetic counselor at Fox Chase Cancer Center 2008-2014, then at City of Hope 2014-2017. In her current role at Human Longevity, she provides genetic counseling for elective genome sequencing results including single gene Mendelian variants, pharmacogenomics, ancestry, GWAS and health traits. She has co-authored multiple papers about oncology and genetics, including topics such as colorectal cancer risk assessment, communication of genetic test results and follow-up needs of individuals with hereditary syndromes.
Veda Giri, MD
Associate Professor in Medical Oncology and Cancer Biology at Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center
Institution: Thomas Jefferson University
Veda N. Giri, MD is an Associate Professor in Medical Oncology and Cancer Biology at Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University. She is a medical oncologist with a clinical and research interest in inherited cancer risk assessment. Dr. Giri has recently assumed the position of Director of Cancer Risk Assessment and Clinical Cancer Genetics at Thomas Jefferson University, where her role will be to lead an integrated and comprehensive effort in inherited cancer risk assessment and conduct studies focused on genetic evaluation of cancer risk. Her clinical efforts will be focused on genetic evaluation of inherited risk for GU cancers, specifically prostate, kidney, and upper tract urothelial cancers. Research studies will encompass genetic characterization of cancer risk using sequencing technologies, molecular signatures, and novel biomarkers to ultimately reduce cancer-related morbidity and mortality. Her research also has a strong focus in cancer disparities.
Dr. Giri received her medical degree from Jefferson Medical College, and proceeded to complete her residency in Internal Medicine and fellowship in Hematology-Oncology at the University of Michigan. She then completed advanced training in molecular cancer genetics at Fox Chase Cancer Center (FCCC). From 2006-2014, she directed prostate cancer risk assessment at FCCC, developing studies focused on evaluating the role of genetic markers in prostate cancer risk assessment. Dr. Giri has served on national committees including the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Prostate Cancer Early Detection Panel and NIH PDQ® Cancer Genetics Editorial Board, contributing expertise in cancer risk assessment and prostate cancer genetics.