External Advisory Committee
Currently comprised of 20 advisors, Moffitt's External Advisory Committee (EAC) meets annually, typically in the spring, and provides key advice to Moffitt leadership on all areas of cancer research including: strategic planning, Program aims and progress, transdisciplinary activities, research in the catchment area, Shared Resources, training and education, infrastructure, facilities, administration and clinical research activities. Moffitt's EAC is composed of experts in their respective fields and is matched to Moffitt research areas. EAC members serve a three-year term, which is renewable.
Robert Vonderheide, MD, DPhil - Abramson Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania
Dr. Robert Vonderheide is the Director of the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania and the John H. Glick Abramson Cancer Center Professor in the Perelman School of Medicine. He is Vice Dean for Cancer Programs at PSOM and Vice President of Cancer Programs for the University of Pennsylvania Health System. He also serves as lead physician for the Cancer Service Line of the Health System. Dr. Vonderheide’s research interest combines basic and clinical investigation to advance the understanding of tumor immunology and to develop novel immunotherapies for cancer through optimizing target antigens, repairing host immunocompetence, and circumventing immunosuppressive factors within the tumor microenvironment.
Karen Basen-Engquist, PhD, MPH - University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Dr. Karen Basen-Engquist is the Annie Laurie Howard Research Distinguished Professor in the Department of Health Disparities Research and the Director of the Center for Energy Balance in Cancer Prevention and Survivorship at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Her research focuses on cancer survivors and high-risk individuals and investigates the role of health behavior interventions in optimizing quality of life and reducing risk of cancer, cancer recurrence, and other chronic diseases using methods with a focus on digital health interventions and implementation of interventions in clinical and community settings. She is a member of the National Cancer Policy Forum at the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. She is also a member of the National Cancer Institute’s Board of Scientific Advisors and is the past president of the American Society of Preventive Oncology.
Dr. Monica Baskin is the Associate Director of Community Outreach and the Associate Director of Health Equity at Hillman Cancer Center at the University of Pittsburgh. She is also the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Community Health Equity, Health Sciences and a Professor of Medicine in the School of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Baskin’s research focuses on reducing health disparities through understanding and addressing factors associated with healthy eating, physical activity, obesity, and cancer prevention and control. She has served on the National Cancer Institute’s Accelerating Rural Cancer Control External Advisory Board, chaired the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Continuous Update Project Global Expert Committee on Cancer Incidence, served as a member of the inaugural cohort of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Leaders Program, and served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Council on Black Health.
James DeGregori, PhD - University of Colorado Cancer Center
Dr. James DeGregori is a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, Deputy Director of the University of Colorado Cancer Center, and holds the Courtenay and Lucy Patten Davis Endowed Chair in Lung Cancer Research. Dr. DeGregori's research interests lie in understanding how aging and other carcinogenic conditions promote cancer evolution and discovering pathway dependencies in cancers that can be exploited therapeutically. He has developed an Adaptive Oncogenesis preclinical cancer model based on classic evolutionary principles and substantiated this model by theoretical, experimental, and computational studies.
Stephen Fesik, PhD - Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University
Dr. Stephen Feskik is the Orrin H. Ingram, II Chair in Cancer Research and a Professor of Biochemistry, Pharmacology, and Chemistry at Vanderbilt University. He is a member of the Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center, the Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology, and the Center for Structural Biology. The focus of his research is on cancer drug discovery using fragment-based approaches and structure-based design. Prior to joining Vanderbilt in May 2009, Dr. Fesik was the Vice President of Cancer Research at Abbott. Dr. Fesik has published more than 295 papers, trained 67 postdoctoral fellows, won many awards, and has served as a member of the Editorial Boards of many scientific journals and scientific advisory boards.
Dexter Frederick, MD - Director, Brain Expansions Scholastic Training, Inc (BEST)
Dr. Dexter Frederick is the Founder and CEO of Brain Expansions Scholarships Training (BEST) organization. BEST prepares youth from diverse backgrounds for careers as medical professionals. Its mission is to Identify, Inspire, Develop, and Educate with a focus on under-represented and disadvantaged youth to address the national shortage of healthcare professionals that will impact underserved communities.
Stanton Gerson, MD - Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Case Western Reserve University
Dr. Stanton Gerson is the Dean and Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs, School of Medicine, and Acting Director of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center and the National Center for Regenerative Medicine at Case Western Reserve University, where he is the Asa and Patricia Shiverick–Jane Shiverick (Tripp) Professor of Hematological Oncology and Case Western Reserve University Distinguished University Professor. He is past president of the Association of American Cancer Institutes, a member of the American Association of Physicians, and has been a member and Chair of numerous NIH study sections including the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Board of Scientific Advisors. Dr. Gerson's research interests include DNA repair and stem cell therapy, which has resulted in numerous publications and patents. Dr. Gerson is foremost, a mentor and educator for the next generation of compassionate cancer research scientists and clinicians.
Lauren Hackett, MPA - Albert Einstein Cancer Center
Ms. Lauren Hackett serves as the Deputy Director of Administration at the Albert Einstein Cancer Center and the Associate Vice President of Cancer Medicine at Montefiore Medicine. She is responsible for overseeing the Albert Einstein Cancer Center administrative team and structure and runs all aspects of its operations. Ms. Hackett previously served as the COO of the Allen Institute, Executive Director of Administration and Chief Business Officer at the Canderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Executive Director of Administration at NYU Cancer Institute, and has held CCSG administrative role at Yale Cancer Center.
Elizabeth Jaffee, MD - Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University
Dr. Elizabeth Jaffee serves as the Deputy Director and holds the Dana and Albert Broccoli Professorship in Oncology at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. She also co-directs the Skip Viragh Center for Pancreas Cancer Clinical Research and Patient Care, is Deputy Director of the Institute of Clinical and Translational Medicine, Co-Director of the Immunology Cancer Program, and is Associate Director of the Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. Dr. Jaffee’s research focused on developing new vaccine approaches aimed at overcoming immune tolerance to cancer. Dr. Jaffee is a National Academy of Medicine fellow and serves on the National Cancer Advisory Board, the National Cancer Institute NExT SEP Committee, and co-chaired the Blue Ribbon Panel of the national Cancer Moonshot Initiative.
Kimberly Kerstann, PhD - Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
Dr. Kimberly Kerstann serves as the Chief Administrative Officer and Associate Director for Administration at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University. She serves as a member of the Winship senior leadership team to ensure the coordination and implementation of transdisciplinary and collaborative research programs. In her role as Chief Administrative Officer, Dr. Kerstann is responsible for the oversight and leadership of grants administration, research operations, program and shared resource development, finance, strategic planning, space and facilities, information technology, personnel, and community partnerships and outreach under the direction of the Executive Director. She is responsible for the overall management of the Cancer Center Support Grant, which provides the Winship Cancer Institute with its NCI designation.
Karen Knudsen, PhD, MBA - American Cancer Society
Dr. Karen Knudsen is the chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society (ACS) and its advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action NetworkSM (ACS CAN). As a well-respected cancer leader, researcher and advocate, Dr. Knudsen guides the organization on its mission to save lives, celebrate lives and lead the fight for a world without cancer. She serves on the board of advisors for the National Cancer Institute and on 12 external advisory boards for NCI-designated cancer centers. She previously served as Executive Vice President of Oncology Services and Enterprise Director for the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health and as President for the Association of American Cancer Institutes. Dr. Knudsen’s academic research focused on understanding tumor suppressor and hormone receptor alterations in prostate cancer to develop new means to prevent and treat refractory disease.
Kunle Odunsi, MD, PhD - UChicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Chicago
Dr. Kunle Odunsi is the Director of the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center, Dean for Oncology in the Biological Sciences Division, and the Abbvie Foundation Distinguished Service Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Chicago. His research in tumor immunology and immunotherapy focuses on mechanisms of immune recognition in human ovarian cancer and the pre-clinical and clinical development of tumor antigen-targeted therapies. As director, Dr. Odunsi oversees all programmatic aspects of cancer at the University of Chicago including the three primary missions of research, patient care, and education. He sets the strategic direction of the center, which emphasizes basic, translational, and clinical research efforts; collaborative cancer discovery and care; outreach to and engagement of the catchment area; and expansion of development opportunities for early career and promising cancer researchers.
Elizabeth Platz, ScD, MPH - Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University
Dr. Elizabeth Platz is a Professor and the Martin D. Abeloff, MD Scholar in Cancer Prevention in the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she directs the NCI-funded (T32) training program in Cancer Epidemiology, Prevention, and Control. She also co-leads the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins and holds joint appointments in the Department of Oncology, and the Department of Urology and the James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. A major focus of her work is the use of molecular and genetic epidemiology approaches to understanding the mechanisms underlying prostate incidence and progression, translating findings into prevention and treatment strategies. She is the editor-in-chief of the American Association for Cancer Research’s Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention. She is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In addition to her academic efforts, she is appointed by the governor to the Maryland State Council on Cancer Control and is a Steering Committee member and former chair of the Maryland Cancer Collaborative.
Suresh Ramalingam, MD - Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
Dr. Suresh Ramalingam serves as executive director of Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University and associate vice president for cancer of Woodruff Health Sciences Center. He is past president of the Georgia Society of Oncology and a member of the board of Georgia CORE. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and a Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Cancer Scholar. Dr. Ramalingam’s research interests center on developing immune checkpoint inhibitors and improving outcomes for patients with EGFR mutant lung cancer. He holds professional memberships with the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Association for Cancer Research, and the International Association of Lung Cancer Study. Dr. Ramalingam plays an active role in the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group as the Chair of the Thoracic Malignancies Committee and as the Deputy Chair of Therapeutics Programs. He serves on several international, national, and institutional committees. He is a member of the Medical Oncology Board Exam Committee for the American Board of Internal Medicine.
Victor Santana, MD - St. Jude Research Hospital & Comprehensive Cancer Center
Dr. Victor Santana is the Charles B. Pratt Endowed Chair in solid tumor research and a member in the Department of Global Pediatric Medicine at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the St. Jude Comprehensive Cancer Center (SJCCC). He presently oversees the Global Research activities. Previously for 13 years, Dr. Santana was the Associate Director for Clinical Research at the SJCCC and Senior Vice President of Clinical Trials Administration. In these roles, he assured the alignment of the clinical research portfolio with infrastructure needs and resources with the mission and values of the SJCCC and the institution, and the patient population. Scientifically his interests as an oncologist and clinical investigator are in new experimental treatment approaches for children with high-risk solid tumors, in clinical trial methodologies, in regulatory aspects of clinical research, and in the impact of communication and disparities for the participation of children in clinical trials. Presently he is a member of the NCI Clinical Trials and Translational Research Advisory Committee.
Julien Sage, PhD - Stanford University
Dr. Julien Sage is the Elaine and John Chambers Professor of Pediatric Cancer and a Professor of Genetics at Stanford University. He is also Co-Director of the Cancer Biology PhD Program at the Stanford Cancer Institute. Dr. Sage’s research focuses on understanding the mechanisms driving the proliferation of cells under physiological and pathological conditions, including cancer. His laboratory uses genome editing strategies to develop and study genetically engineered mouse models for human cancers, including lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and liver cancer. His work spans the investigation of fundamental biological processes to the implementation of clinical trials based on our findings in pre-clinical models.
Yu Shyr, PhD - Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University
Dr. Yu Shyr is the Associate Director for Quantitative Sciences, the Harold L. Moses Professor of Cancer Research, Chair of the Department of Biostatistics, Director of the Vanderbilt Cancer for Quantitative Sciences and VANGARD, and Scientific Director of the Quantitative Sciences Shared Resource at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. He collaborates with faculty and assists investigators in developing clinical research protocols; collaborated on multiple grants funded through external peer-reviewed mechanisms; and developed biostatistical methodologies for clinical trial design, high-dimensional data preprocessing, and other statistical approaches. Dr. Shyr is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and an FDA advisory committee voting member. He has served on numerous NIH/NCI SPORE, P01, and CCSG review panels/committees and has been a member of the invited faculty at the AACR/ASCO Methods in Clinical Cancer Research Vail Workshop since 2004. He currently serves on the external advisory board for a dozen national cancer centers.
Celette Skinner, PhD - Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, UT Southwestern Medical Center
Dr. Celette Skinner is the Associate Director of Population Science and holds the Parkland Community Medicine Professorship at the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center as well as Professor and Inaugural Chair of the Department of Population & Data Sciences at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Dr. Skinner’s current research focuses on multilevel interventions that meaningfully use electronic health records to identify patients in need of intervention, use clinically collected information to generate and deliver algorithm-driven tailored interventions, and track intervention outcomes. Since 1994, when she was a member of the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) first Working Group on Computerized Tailored Interventions, Dr. Skinner has been a frequently invited participant in NCI “think tanks” to address cancer prevention and disparities. In 2016, she was the only UT Southwestern faculty member to serve on the Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel, working with a group to set national priorities for dissemination and implementation research.
Jacqueline Smith, PhD - Vertex Pharmaceuticals
Dr. Jacqueline Smith is a two-time stage 3 melanoma survivor who is passionate about advocating for patients, health policy, and advancing cancer survivorship. She has been a staunch supporter of Moffitt, serving on several advisory committees. She is the current Director of Grassroots Advocacy and State Government Affairs at Vertex Pharmaceuticals and served as the Associate Director for US Oncology Advocacy and Professional Relations at Bristol Myers Squibb. Dr. Smith is a frequent speaker on Capitol Hill, including being a Spotlight speaker at the Biden Cancer Summit. Her cancer journey has been featured in InStyle, Self Magazine, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Yahoo Health, and other international publications as well as on NPR and in documentaries. Dr. Smith serves on the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Council of Research Advocates and as a reviewer for the Department of Defense’s Congressionally Directed Research Program in melanoma. Previously, she’s served on the Board of Directors for the Melanoma Research Foundation and served as the survivorship and palliative care co-lead for Washington D.C.’s Cancer Action Partnership.
Robert Winn, MD - Massey Cancer Center, Virginia Commonwealth University
Dr. Robert Winn is the director of the NCI-designated VCU Massey Cancer Center. In addition to directing the activities of Massey’s 250 research members – researchers and physicians from 39 departments in 9 colleges and schools at VCU – he also manages a research laboratory at VCU. Dr. Winn's current basic science research focuses on the translational aspects of the role that proliferation pathways and cellular senescence play in lung cancer. He is leading the nation in establishing a 21st-century model of equity for cancer science and care, in which the community is informing and partnering with Massey on its research to best address the cancer burden and disparities of those the cancer center serves. The recipient of numerous awards and honors, Winn was the inaugural recipient of the 2021 Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI) Cancer Health Equity Award and is AACI’s President-Elect. He also serves on the boards of the American Cancer Society and LUNGevity Foundation. In addition, Winn is the Chair of the National Advisory Committee for the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation’s Diversity in Clinical Trials Career Development Program.