Board of Visitors
The Board of Visitors of the School of Medicine Basic Sciences supports and fosters the achievement of excellence in all aspects of research, teaching, and career development for the students, staff, and faculty members of our departments, programs, and centers.
Among its tasks, the board:
- Advises and supports the dean,
- Develops beneficial relationships with industry, government, private foundations, and other academic institutions,
- Secures funds for important programs and opportunities,
- Individually and strategically supports philanthropic efforts of the school, and
- Reviews and provides feedback on research proposals submitted to industry partners
Current members of the Board of Visitors are listed below.
Subbu Apparsundaram, PhD, is an established scientist with extensive experience in drug discovery and development. Dr. Subbu founded VClinBio that entered into strategic partnership with Cellix Bio where he serves as CDO & COO. Previously, Subbu was a Drug Discovery Scientist at Hoffmann-La Roche Pharmaceuticals, and a faculty at the University of Kentucky Medical Center. He has published several peer reviewed research papers.
Brad Armstrong is a successful entrepreneur and businessman, currently based in Texas. He is a family member of the late Dr. Richard Armstrong, a Vanderbilt faculty member whose groundbreaking work formed a basis for understanding the enzymatic function of antibiotic resistance. Together with members of the Armstrong family, Brad was a leader in the creation of the Armstrong Family Fund and The Richard N. Armstrong, Ph.D. Chair for Innovation in Biochemistry.
Laurent Audoly, PhD, Laurent Audoly is a serial biotech entrepreneur and senior executive in the industry. Laurent has led and/or contributed to the identification and development of seven novel medicines (Xeljanz®, Hemangiol®, Javlor®, Renflexis®, Brenzys®, Ontruzant®, Hadlima® – biologics and small molecules) addressing unmet medical need across multiple disease areas that generate > $2B in annual sales. Laurent has also led business and R&D functions in both pharma and biotech (US and EU), developing and operationalizing strategies, modernizing pipelines and business models, bringing forward drug candidates into and through development, and partnering on multiple deals (buy and sell-sides, >$3B in total). He also serves as an independent board member in different organizations (Cytovia Therapeutics, Vanderbilt University). Laurent’s latest biotech, Parthenon Therapeutics, operates at the intersection of systems biology, machine learning, molecular pharmacology, and drug development to find cures for recalcitrant cancers by reprogramming cellular pathways.
Prior to founding Parthenon Therapeutics, Laurent was at the helm of Kymera Therapeutics as its founding CEO, President, and Director where he led the construction of the business, bringing in over $135M in funding and executing on > $1B in pharma partnership. Prior to this role, he was head of R&D with Fabre Pharmaceuticals (multinational pharma with $3B in top line), where he rebuilt the organization, led the in/out-licensing of multiple clinical stage assets and technologies, and directly contributed to IND entries, POC and LCM studies in oncology, dermatology, and CNS. Earlier in his career, Laurent held positions of increasing leadership responsibilities on the business and science fronts at Pfizer, Merck, MedImmune, and Pieris contributing to the advancement of 21 drug candidates into clinical development across multiple disease areas and modalities. He is also an inventor, has served on NIH study sections, and co-authored over 70 papers and patents. He studied chemistry (B.S. honors) and pharmacology (Ph.D.) at Vanderbilt University and was the recipient of an American Heart Association Fellowship at Duke University.
David L. Black, PhD, is currently a Clinical Associate Professor with an appointment in Pharmacology, Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Black earned his undergraduate degree from Loyola College in Baltimore and doctorate degree in Forensic Toxicology from the University of Maryland at Baltimore (1982). Dr. Black is a Fellow of the American Board of Forensic Toxicology (F-ABFT) and a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemists (FAIC). Dr. Black was Department Head and Director of Toxicology for Maryland Medical Laboratory, Inc. from 1982-1986. He joined Vanderbilt University in 1986 as Assistant Professor with appointments in Pathology and Pharmacology. In 1990, Dr. Black founded Aegis Sciences Corporation where he served as Chairman and CEO until October of 2016. Aegis served as a forensic chemical and drug testing laboratory specializing in Zero-Tolerance Drug Testing® (proprietary process), employee drug testing (SAMHSA), professional and amateur athlete drug testing (Doping Control), food/supplement analysis, pain management compliance testing, crime scene evidence analysis, driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and post-mortem evaluations.
Dr. Black has served as Program Administrator for substance abuse programs for NASCAR, IndyCar and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and as a consultant to Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) and the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA). He has also served as a consultant to major corporations for development of substance abuse prevention policies and testing programs. He has testified extensively in local, state, national and international courts as an expert witness regarding drug use and testing programs. He is author/co-author of many peer reviewed published scientific papers in various scientific journals.
Dr. Black is also Founder and President of Ebon-Falcon, LLC (a commercial real estate company), and Founder and President of “2nd Vote” (a research organization monitoring Corporate social activism). Dr. Black served in the U.S. Marine Corps (1966-69) and in combat in Vietnam (1968-69) and is a 10% disabled veteran. Personal interests include church and community activities, Rotary International, Guatemala Medical/Dental/Vision Mission Trips. Dr. Black has been a Board member of the Nashville Healthcare Council and Life Sciences of Tennessee. Dr. Black lives in Gallatin, Tennessee, with his wife US Congressman Diane Black (TN 6th District), and they have three children and six grandchildren.
Robert Caldwell, PhD, is a biomedical sciences expert with 18 years of medical research experience, spanning government contracting, academic medicine, and pharmaceutical collaboration. Rob is an expert advisor and published expert on all aspects regarding development of diagnostics to support medical care and biosurveillance, and advanced development and portfolio management, to include bioengineering efforts, industry best practices, strategic relations, and medical transition activities. He establishes and maintains relationships with relevant internal and external stakeholders in the biodefense community (i.e., combat and material developers, systems engineers, test and evaluation entities, industry, DOD, DHHS, DHS) and academic partners to evaluate current and emerging medical technologies and facilitate cross-communication regarding program priorities and courses of action. In addition, he assists in determining the strategic direction of the organization, participates in technology demonstrations and Science and Technology (S&T) transitions.
Andrea Carnegie, PhD, is the Chief Operating Officer of the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute. Prior to joining NC TRACS, she was the Director of Administrative Operations at the University of Illinois at the Chicago Center for Clinical and Translational Science. From 2007 to 2009, she was the administrative manager of the Oregon Retinal Degeneration Center at the Casey Eye Institute, Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, where she worked directly in clinical trial design and operations.
Dr. Carnegie received a BS in Biology at Emory and a PhD in Pharmacology from Vanderbilt University as well as completing postdoctoral fellowships at Oregon Health & Science University. Her basic science work was on intracellular signaling mechanisms and biogenic amine transport in cardiac and neuronal cells. She is also an Assistant Professor of Medicine, in the Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism.
David Daniel, MD, is the Sr. VP and Chief Medical Officer of Signant Health (formerly Bracket Global). In this role, Dr. Daniel provides overall scientific, clinical and strategic direction for Signant’s services. Prior to joining Signant, Dr. Daniel was the founder and President of Global Learning, LLC which was acquired by United BioSource Corporation in July 2006. He formerly served as Medical Director of the NIMH Neuroscience Center at Saint Elizabeth’s, Director of Clinical Trials for the Stanley Foundation, and was a founding Principal of Best Practice, LLC.
For over 20 years, Dr. Daniel has supervised and trained raters in psychiatric clinical trials in the United States and globally. He has published numerous scientific articles involving clinical trials and investigations of the psychopathology of mental illness. He has received patent protection for new treatment approaches in epilepsy, anxiety disorders and psychotic disorders.
Dr. Daniel graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude from Emory University and obtained his medical school and psychiatry post-graduate training at Vanderbilt University, where he served as chief resident. He was a medical staff fellow and senior staff fellow within the intramural program of the National Institute of Mental Health (DIRP, NIMH) for five years. He is currently a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Behavior Sciences at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Originally from West Lafayette, Indiana, Joann Data, MD, PhD, earned her MD at Washington University in St. Louis, before coming to Vanderbilt University to work on her PhD in Pharmacology with John Oates, MD, the Thomas F. Frist Sr. Professor of Medicine and the founding director of Vanderbilt University’s Division of Clinical Pharmacology. She earned her PhD in 1977, simultaneously completing her fellowship in Clinical Pharmacology and then serving as an instructor in Medicine and Pharmacology until her graduation. Upon graduation, she joined The Upjohn Company doing cardiovascular clinical investigation. She held positions at Burroughs Wellcome and Company, and Hoffmann-La Roche prior to returning to The Upjohn Company where she became corporate vice president for Worldwide Pharmaceutical Regulatory Affairs and Project Management. When Upjohn merged with Pharmacia, she joined CoCensys, Incorporated, as senior vice president of Clinical Development and Regulatory Affairs. From there she became the senior vice president of Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance at Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Incorporated.
Over the course of her remarkable career, Dr. Data helped get 38 new drugs on the market, including two diabetes drugs (Symlin and Byetta), DepoProvera and Rogaine for Women. Today she is a consultant for the pharmaceutical industry and bioventure groups evaluating programs to see if their products are likely to make it to market and making recommendations regarding financial backing. Data serves on an advisory board working with Nancy Brown, MD, chair of the Department of Medicine, and former chief of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology.
Jon Duane is a Senior Partner Emeritus at McKinsey & Company and the Executive Chairman at Nashville Biosciences. Jon is a senior leader, advisor & hands-on consultant to top executives of large, complex private/public companies, serving clients for 31 years in the pharma, medical devices, life sciences industries, and academic research. Known for his vision, impact, innovation & entrepreneurship, and for delivering huge wins to clients, Mr. Duane’s expertise includes advising top executive teams on corporate/BU strategy, business building, organizational design & performance improvement. He founded/led McKinsey’s Silicon Valley Office, created/led McKinsey’s Biotech practice & served as strategic thought leader on personalized medicine, emerging markets, pricing of novel products & product life-cycle management.
Mr. Duane drove clients’ bottom-line impact/growth with work that had transformational results. He was a key player in enabling a stock price increase of 11%/year over ~10 years of service for a global, diversified healthcare products company by serving its CEO and top team across all BU and strategic topics, and paved the way for substantial shareholder value creation by facilitating the separation of the Pharma business to create 2 publicly traded companies, subsequently contributing to a 20%/year share price increase for the new Pharma company. Mr. Duane unlocked a major academic center’s innovation by supporting key asset commercialization, leveraging IP & facilitating the spin out of a Genomics & Clinical Research Analytics business (~ $5M in revenue its first 2 years of operation), and the 2017 launch of an independent drug company. He created shareholder value for a portfolio of cardiovascular medical device companies & enabled a biotech industry pioneer to pivot/become worldwide leader in Oncology.
His many leadership roles at McKinsey include that of West Coast Healthcare Practice Leader; Chair, NA Client Service Risk Committee; and Master Faculty Member, McKinsey Partner U.
He has an MBA from Harvard University and a BA from Wesleyan University.
Alexander “Zan” Fleming, MD, is President and CEO of Tolerion, a biotechnology company developing disease-modifying treatments for type 1 diabetes and other autoimmune diseases. He is also Founder and Executive Chairman of Kinexum, a company of professionals from across the world with diverse expertise in developing drugs, biotech products, medical devices and digital health technologies. Dr. Fleming received his MD and internal medicine training from Emory University, fellowship training in endocrinology at Vanderbilt University and metabolism at National Institutes of Health, where he was a senior fellow.
At the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from 1986-98, Dr. Fleming was responsible for the therapeutic areas of diabetes, other metabolic and endocrine disorders, growth and development, nutrition, lipid-lowering compounds, and reproductive indications. He led reviews of landmark approvals including metformin and the first statin, insulin analog, PPAR-agonist, and growth hormone for non-GH deficiency indications. Dr. Fleming oversaw clinical review of the earliest biotech products including human insulin and growth hormone. He helped to shape FDA policies and practices related to therapeutic review and regulatory communication. He was a major contributor to FDA’s Good Review Practice (GRP) initiative and led the committee responsible for education and training at CDER. He conceived and directed the first FDA pilot project to utilize the internet for regulatory communication.
His regulatory and technical expertise has been requested in numerous international settings including the World Health Organization, where he was assigned from FDA during 1991-92. Dr. Fleming was a member of the expert working groups on Good Clinical Practices and General Considerations for Clinical Trials of the International Conference on Harmonization (ICH) and participated on other ICH committees including the Common Technical Document working group.
Dr. Fleming is lead author of the book, Optimizing Development of Therapies for Diabetes.
He has frequently published scientific articles and book chapters, the most recent chapter, Regulatory Considerations for Early Clinical Development, is in Translational Research Methods for Diabetes, Obesity and Cardiometabolic Drug Development, published by Springer in October 2018. He has been a member of many corporate and advisory boards to academic and commercial institutions and professional societies. He serves on the joint technology working groups of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes and American Diabetes Association.
Dr. Fleming coined the term, Metabesity, which refers to the constellation of cancer, heart and neurologic diseases, diabetes and the aging process itself, all which share common metabolic root causes and potential preventive therapies. He organized the first Congress on Metabesity in London in October 2017, which will be followed by the second Congress in Washington, D.C. in 2019.E
Edd Fleming, MD, is a Senior Partner at McKinsey and Company in the Silicon Valley Office in Redwood City, CA. He earned his BA in Chemistry from Harvard, his MD from Vanderbilt University, and completed internal medicine training at Johns Hopkins Hospital and subspecialty training in pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of California, San Fran-cisco. He joined McKinsey and Company in 1997 where he has focused on healthcare. He works closely with life sciences, biopharmaceutical, medical device and technology companies of all sizes to improve their performance. This support includes business plan development, strategy, operational performance, organization and business development. He spends half of his time working directly with the innovation side of these companies improving R&D productivity through supporting decisions about innovation, portfolio management, novel approaches to trial design and execution, application of digital and analytics, and improving the culture and ways of working. He is the global leader of McKinsey’s R&D practice where he is responsible for its client service and knowledge development on R&D topics. In that role, he founded the Chief Medical Officers’ and Medical Affairs’ forums where senior leaders across industry gather several times a year. He is the author of multiple recent publications, including The Value of Medical: Enhancing Patient Benefit, Digital R&D: The Next Frontier for Biopharmaceuticals, Precision Medicine: Opening the Aperture, and R&D in the Age of Agile. He is currently working closely with the newly formed national Physician Scientist Support Foundation to increase the number of physicians engaging in research.
Yiu-Lian Fong, MS, MBA, PhD, is the Global Head for Diagnostic Innovation, Research and Early Development at Johnson & Johnson Innovation.
Yiu-Lian has global responsibility for identifying, assessing and accelerating the development of breakthrough diagnostic technologies and solutions to help drive precision medicine and Johnson & Johnson’s World Without Disease initiative.
Prior to joining Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Yiu-Lian was the Divisional Vice President for R&D at Abbott Molecular. In this position, she was responsible for R&D strategic oversight, menu expansion, advancing R&D pipelines including the development of next generation molecular diagnostic platform technologies. Previously, she was the Executive Director of Molecular Diagnostics and Companion Diagnostics Development at Novartis Oncology. Yiu-Lian brings a broad and extensive background in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries including experience in technology and product development, blood testing/screening, vaccines and IVD Immuno and molecular diagnostics, as well as therapeutic drug/vaccine development.
Yiu-Lian received her M.S. in Life Sciences from The National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan, and her MBA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She earned her Ph.D. in Molecular Physiology and Biophysics from Vanderbilt University and was a post graduate fellow at Johns Hopkins University. Yiu-Lian also has 25 publications in peer review journals and several issued patent applications.
Dennis Grimaud, CEO, RED Consulting, brings over 40 years of experience in the health care industry and 30 years of experience in biotechnology as an entrepreneur, senior executive and consultant. He is currently Founder and CEO of Reliability, Execution, Development (RED), a healthcare and biotechnology company providing science, business and management services. He was most recently Chairman, CEO and Founder of DIATHERIX Laboratories, Incorporated, a clinical laboratory that provides testing services to physicians and hospitals for the identification of infectious disease through proprietary multiplexing PCR technology. He was CEO of Genaco Biomedical Products, Incorporated, providing Molecular Differential Diagnostics through multiplexing technology in infectious disease and cancer. He was also Chairman and CEO of Premier Micronutrient Corporation, a disease management company providing risk-based, disease specific micronutrient protocols that are adjunctive to standard therapy. Dennis was Founder, Chairman and CEO of ScyTech, Incorporated, a company providing management and business services to life science related biotechnology and health care companies.
He also co-founded and was Chairman, President and CEO of Cytometry Associates, Incorporated, a specialized cancer testing facility providing clinical diagnostic testing services to physician specialists and biopharmaceutical services to the pharmaceutical industry in drug discovery and clinical trials. Prior to Cytometry Associates he served as Vice President and General Manager of the Center for Clinical Sciences, a centralized esoteric testing center for International Clinical Laboratories, Incorporated. He also held the positions of Vice President ICL East, responsible for turning around troubled operational divisions and Vice President of Sales and Marketing at ICL responsible for developing market strategy for cooperative agreements with hospitals. Prior to joining ICL he held two positions with National Medical Enterprises, Incorporated, as Administrator of Medical Diagnostics and Director of Laboratory Services in materials management providing consultation to over 150 hospitals and medical facilities nationwide.
Mr. Grimaud was a director of MedBioGene a publically traded biotechnology company in Vancouver, Canada. He served on the Board of Directors of Genaco Biomedical Products, Incorporated, and is a founding member and former director of the Nashville Health Care Council in Nashville, Tennessee. He was also a founding member Chairman and President of the Tennessee Biotechnology Association from 1998-2004. He is an invited speaker to healthcare payers, hospital corporations, boards of directors and academic institutions related to executive management programs. He is an advisor to Oliver Wyman, an international consulting firm.
Richard Hamilton, PhD, is the co-founder, President and CEO of Prosper eDNA, a technology startup company focused on a consumer-based product that analyzes epigenetics to provide personalized recommendations on diet, exercise, mindfulness and aging. Before Prosper, Dr. Hamilton was the President and CEO of Ceres, Incorporated, a publicly held plant genomics company that was acquired by Land O’Lakes.
Dr. Hamilton has more than 20 years of experience in biotechnology, genomics and finance. He served as Principal of Oxford Bioscience Partners, one of the leading investors in the genomics field. He has been active in the Biotechnology Industry Organization, where he has served as Vice Chairman of the organization, chaired its Food and Agriculture Governing Board and served in other leadership roles. He has been a member of the Keck Graduate Institute Advisory Council and was a Founding Member of the Council for Sustainable Biomass Production. He frequently speaks before policymakers, business leaders and scientific organizations regarding biotechnology and genomics. He has addressed the House Agriculture Committee, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and the National Academy of Sciences, among others. He has been a Director of Yield10 Bioscience, Incorporated, since March 2, 2017. From 1990 to 1991, he served as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Fellow of Harvard Medical School.
Renee Bailey Iacona, PhD, MPH, is the VP and Head of Biometrics Oncology, R&D Oncology Unit, at AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals. Renee joined AstraZeneca in 2001 and during her time here has experience of working across both early and late Oncology, as Global Product Statistician, Line Manager, Alliance Director and Section Director for Stats & Programming (Wilmington and Sodertalje) before serving as Head of Alliance & Operations for Biometrics & Information Sciences. Since 2015, she has been the B&I TA Head for Oncology and Immuno-Oncology and an active member of the Oncology Development Review Committee, Oncology Therapy Area Leadership Team and Cancer Enterprise. Renee earned her PhD in Pathology and MPH from Vanderbilt University. She currently co-chairs an external cross-Pharma initiative with the FDA looking into the effects of Non-Proportional Hazards on the design and interpretation of Oncology Trials.
Clayton Knox, MD, MBA, has more than a decade of experience in biotech executive leadership, business development, and clinical research. Prior to VelosBio, he served as Chief Operating Officer at MavuPharma where he was responsible for all aspects of day-to-day management and led the company through an acquisition by AbbVie. Before MavuPharma, Dr. Knox was Senior Vice President and Head of Corporate Development and Strategy at Acerta Pharma where he led the business development process that concluded with the acquisition of Acerta by AstraZeneca for up to $7 billion. Following the transaction, he led the integration of the two companies, while continuing to oversee all corporate and business development activities. Before making the move to biotech, Dr. Knox was an executive at Merck & Co., most recently as Clinical Head for Business Development and Licensing where he was responsible for search-and-evaluation and transactions for strategic, clinical-stage assets. He previously served as Principal Scientist and Director of Clinical Research, and led the early clinical development of several Merck drug candidates, including the oversight of solid tumor and hematologic cancer clinical trials.
Dr. Knox completed his MD at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine where he was a Dean’s Scholar and an Alpha Omega Alpha Research Fellow, followed by internship and residency in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. He also received an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Lee E. Limbird, PhD, obtained her undergraduate degree in Chemistry from the College of Wooster, Wooster, Ohio in 1970, and her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in 1973. Her PhD research was in a directly clinically applicable area, the quantitation of the isoenzymes of CPK for identification of myocardial infarction in the context of confounding ECG findings. However, a postdoctoral fellowship with Robert J. Lefkowitz, MD, Duke University, transitioned her research focus to basic science research and to the molecular bases for epinephrine action through G protein-coupled receptors. Her own laboratory at Vanderbilt University (1979-2014) focused on the affinity purification and identification of interacting partners for the alpha2-adrenergic receptor, and functional consequences in vitro and in vivo of mutation of the receptor to selectively disrupt coupling to one versus another signaling pathway. The laboratory also investigated the underlying molecular bases for receptor trafficking to distinct compartments in polarized cells. Her laboratory has been the recipient of many research awards.
As Chair of Pharmacology at Vanderbilt University, Dr. Limbird enjoyed the privilege of mentoring junior faculty in their career development; as the first Associate Vice Chancellor for Research at Vanderbilt Medical Center, Dr. Limbird fostered a focus on inter-disciplinary collaboration and discovery acceleration via establishment of critical Core Facilities for biomedical research. After retiring from Vanderbilt University in 2004, Dr. Limbird pursued in more depth her commitment to developing greater opportunities for those currently underrepresented in discovery and in scientific leadership via her roles first at Meharry Medical College (Vice President for Research and Chair of Biomedical Sciences) and now at Fisk University as Dean, School of Natural Science, Mathematics and Business & Professor, Department of Life and Physical Sciences.
Laura Niedernhofer, MD, PhD, joined the University of Minnesota in 2018 to direct a new Institute on the Biology of Aging & Metabolism. She is also a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics at UMN. Laura studied chemistry at Duke University and completed the medical scientist training program at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine earning a PhD in Biochemistry.
Prior to moving to Minneapolis, Laura was at The Scripps Research Institute, where she helped spearhead identification of a new class of drugs called senolytics, which selectively kill senescent cells. Dr. Niedernhofer’s expertise is in DNA damage and repair, progeroid syndromes, cellular senescence and aging. Her research contributed to the understanding that DNA damage plays a causal role in senescence and aging. Laura has been awarded for her research in aging, cancer and environmental health science and was the 2018 recipient of the Vincent Cristafolo Rising Star in Aging Research awarded by the American Federation for Aging Research.
Dr. William Pao, MD, PhD, is the Head of Roche’s Pharmaceutical Research & Early Development (pRED) unit, based in Basel, Switzerland. In this position, he oversees the development of new molecules to treat a variety of diseases (neuroscience, ophthalmology, rare diseases, inflammation, immunity, infectious diseases and oncology), spanning stages from target assessment to phase II clinical trials. Prior to his current position, he was the Global Head of the Oncology Discovery and Translational Area (DTA) for pRED. He obtained his MD and PhD degrees at Yale University, did his housestaff training in Internal Medicine at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Campus, and completed his medical oncology and postdoctoral fellowship training at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSK-CC). He joined the faculty at MSKCC and was eventually recruited to Vanderbilt, where he became Professor of Medicine, Director of the Division of Hematology/Oncology, and Director of Personalized Cancer Medicine at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. In his laboratory, he developed a basic and translational research program that made seminal contributions to the understanding of molecular mechanisms of solid tumor pathogenesis, with a particular focus on lung cancer.
His work identified new molecular mechanisms of sensitivity and resistance of lung cancers to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) and yielded important insights into a molecular understanding of lung adenocarcinoma in never smokers as well as thymic malignancies and melanoma. Based on these discoveries, he is co-patent holder on EGFR T790M mutation testing, and he developed and successfully tested new anti-cancer therapies in animal models and humans, including the combination of afatinib plus cetuximab as well as AZD9291 (osimertinib; Tagrisso) for patients with EGFR mutant tumors and resistance to EGFR TKIs. His work has helped change the standard of care in lung cancer.
Dr. Pao has received multiple honors and awards, including an ASCO Young Investigator Award, a Clinical Scientist Development Award from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, a V Foundation grant, the Hope Now Award from the Joan’s Legacy Foundation, and an SU2C Innovative Grant Award from the AACR. He was inducted into the American Society for Clinical Investigation in 2011 and the Association of American Physicians in 2017. Dr. Pao also co-founded MyCancerGenome, an internationally-recognized online tool to enable a genetically-informed approach to cancer medicine. Throughout his career, Dr. Pao has served as a mentor for numerous junior faculty, postdoctoral fellows, medical fellows, medical students, PhD graduate students, college students, and high school students. Many of his lab mentees remain in academia. He remains an Adjunct Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt.
Asit Parikh, MD, PhD, earned his Ph.D in Biochemistry and MD degrees from Vanderbilt University, completed internal medicine residency at the University of Pennsylvania, and subspecialty training in gastroenterology at the Massachusetts General Hospital, with postdoctoral work in Cancer Biology at MIT. In February 2021, Dr. Parikh was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of MOMA Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company.
Prior to MOMA, Dr. Parikh served as senior vice president and head of Takeda’s gastroenterology unit since 2012. Under his leadership, Takeda has achieved global approvals for Entyvio® for ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, European adult and U.S. pediatric approvals for Gattex®/Revestive® for short bowel syndrome, Japan and China approvals for Takecab®/Vocinti® for acid related disorders, a European approval for Alofisel® for perianal fistulizing Crohn’s disease, and a U.S. approval for Motegrity® for chronic constipation. Prior to Takeda, he worked in the clinical research division at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, where he held leadership roles in inflammation and oncology drug development. Dr. Parikh remains actively engaged in the practice of medicine as a consulting gastroenterologist at Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Newton, Mass., and serves as a board member of Ambys Medicines, and Phathom Pharmaceuticals.
Dr. Parikh maintains a commitment to research, patient care and teaching. He has authored a number of scientific manuscripts and presented at major scientific congresses. He continues to teach graduate students and residents as a guest lecturer, and is board certified and licensed to practice internal medicine and gastroenterology in the state of Massachusetts.
Colleen Elizabeth Piersen, PhD, currently holds the position of Assistant Head for Administration and Research Assistant Professor of Pharmacognosy in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). She also serves in the role of Director of Research Services at the College level. Dr. Piersen has over twenty years of experience as a researcher, faculty member, or academic professional at four major research universities and one biotechnology company. Her biomedical background is broad having conducted and/or managed basic through translational research in the fields of G-protein coupled receptors, DNA repair, reproductive health, and botanical dietary supplements. Much of her research activity has focused on women’s health, especially during her tenure as Program Coordinator for the UIC/NIH Center for Botanical Dietary Supplements Research.
Colleen currently serves as the principal staff administrator in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and while she specializes in sponsored research administration, her responsibilities span research, finance, academic/faculty affairs, space, and human resources management. She has provided key administrative support for the establishment of two Board of Trustees-approved centers: the UIC/NIH Center for Botanical Dietary Supplements Research (1999 – present) and the UICentre for Drug Discovery (2012 – present). From 2015-2017, Dr. Piersen held the elected role of Chair of the UIC Academic Professional Advisory Committee (APAC).
She concurrently served as Chair of the University [of Illinois] System Professional Personnel Advisory Committee (UPPAC) from 2015-2016. More recently, she was selected to participate in the 2018-2019 UI Academic Professional Leadership Program. Dr. Piersen holds a BA in Chemistry from Carleton College, a PhD in Pharmacology from Vanderbilt University, and an MBA in Healthcare Administration from Alaska Pacific University.
As the former Chief Medical Officer of Pfizer, Mace Rothenberg, MD, led Pfizer’s Worldwide Medical & Safety organization that is responsible for ensuring that patients, physicians, and regulatory agencies are provided with information on the safe and appropriate use of Pfizer medications. Dr. Rothenberg was also a member of Pfizer’s Portfolio Strategy and Investment Committee, Worldwide Research, Development, and Medical Leadership Team, and Blueprint Leaders Forum. Dr. Rothenberg co-chairs the Life Sciences Consortium of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer and is a member of the NYU School of Medicine’s Alumni Board of Governors.
Prior to becoming Pfizer’s CMO, Dr. Rothenberg was Head of Clinical Development & Medical Affairs for Oncology from 2008 to 2016 and Chief Development Officer for Oncology from 2016 to 2018, During that period, Dr. Rothenberg’s organization was responsible for the successful development and regulatory approval of 11 new cancer medicines. Prior to joining Pfizer, Dr. Rothenberg spent 25 years in academia where he focused on early-stage drug development, clinical trial design, and the coordinated laboratory-clinical evaluation of new therapies for gastrointestinal cancers.
Dr. Rothenberg is the recipient of the first Craig Saxton Lifetime Achievement Award from Pfizer, the Lane W. Adams Quality of Life Award from the American Cancer Society honoring him as one of the nation’s top cancer caregivers, and the Statesman Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology honoring him for more than 20 years of service to the organization, the specialty of oncology and cancer patients. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
Dr. Rothenberg received his BA magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 1978 and his MD from the New York University School of Medicine in 1982. He received his post-graduate training in Internal Medicine at Vanderbilt University and in Medical Oncology at the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Rothenberg served on the faculties of the University of Texas Health Science Center–San Antonio (1991-1998) and Vanderbilt University (1998-2008).
J. Joshua Smith, MD, PhD, FACS, is a clinician-scientist specializing in basic and translational colorectal cancer research. His efforts are directed entirely toward the treatment of patients with rectal and colon cancer. In his R01-funded laboratory, he works to understand the molecular underpinnings of disease progression and to develop individualized disease models that will facilitate both effective research and precision treatment for rectal cancer patients.
During his general surgery training at Vanderbilt University, he completed a PhD in cell and developmental biology. After finishing training at Vanderbilt, he completed a fellowship in surgical oncology with an emphasis in colon and rectal cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), where he served as Chief Administrative Fellow for the Department of Surgery. He is an Assistant Member and board-certified Attending Surgeon on the Colorectal Service at MSK. He serves as core faculty for the MSK Surgical Oncology Fellowship. The majority of his time is devoted to basic and translational research. He leverages the strengths of MSK, including the high volume of rectal cancer patients treated by the Colorectal Service (>350/year) and the opportunity to run clinical trials.
He is an active co-investigator in the randomized trial integrating non-operative management for selected patients with rectal cancer (NCT02008656). He is also the junior lead on a national trial investigating non-operative management in patients with rectal cancer through the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology. Additionally, he serves on the Rectal-Anal Task Force of the National Cancer Institute’s Gastrointestinal Steering Committee, and is a co-PI on a phase IB trial investigating a novel radiosensitizer to improve clinical responses for patients with rectal cancer. His chief objective as a clinician and scientist is to uncover more precise treatments for each individual rectal cancer patient.
John-Kelly Warren is the CEO of the William K. Warren Foundation and is based in Tulsa, OK. The William K. Warren Foundation was created in 1945 by Mr. and Mrs. William Kelly Warren. The goal of the Foundation has been to provide the finest possible medical care available to all patients utilizing Saint Francis Health System and to this end, it annually supports various medical programs.
In addition to the hospitals and clinics, the Foundation created The William K. Warren Medical Research Center in 1973 that provides funds to medical investigators who participate in advanced medical research and creates environments that allow for the best possible delivery of care.