Scientific Advisory Board

Stephen B. Baylin, MD

Dr. Baylin is a leader in the field of epigenetics and has been investigating the genetic bases of cancer for most of his distinguished career. He was an original principal investigator on the epigenetic portion of the Cancer Genome Atlas project, whose goal was to identify the genomic changes that occur in cancer, and his research has provided valuable insights into promoter hypermethylation and its key role in human cancers. His efforts have shown that runaway methylation negatively affects the expression of tumor suppressor genes. These densely methylated genes have proved to be a useful marker for cancer risk assessment, early diagnosis, and prognostic monitoring, resulting in direct therapeutic value for clinical examination of DNA methylation markers. Currently, Dr. Baylin is Virginia and D. K. Ludwig Professor in Cancer Research, Associate Director of Cancer Center for Research, and Director Cancer Biology Program.

Dr. Baylin’s laboratory has also identified chronic inflammation as a rapid promoter of the widespread methylation of genes, potentially laying the groundwork for cancer. His investigation into how excess methylation could be prevented and the suppressor genes reactivated has important translational significance. Epigenetic therapy is the focus of the Stand Up to Cancer Dream Team that he and Dr. Peter Jones currently lead. Early in his career, when he was at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Dr. Baylin also characterized the biology and genetics of a rare hereditary thyroid cancer. Dr. Baylin received his medical degree from Duke University.

George D. Demetri, MD

Dr. Demetri has long been a leader in translational research aimed at developing the most rational practical applications of new discoveries to understand and treat sarcomas. He was a pioneer in the development of the Gleevec as one of the first examples of targeted cancer therapies focused on a molecularly-defined subset of sarcoma: gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST). Subsequently, his work has led to the FDA and worldwide regulatory approval of several other “smart drugs” for cancer, including Sutent and Stivarga for GIST, as well as Votrient and Yondelis for other sarcomas. In a related contribution, Dr. Demetri served on the Scientific Advisory Board for Plexxikon and was a critical member of the team which developed the mutant BRAF inhibitor, Zelboraf, as the first mutation-targeted therapy for a molecularly-defined subset of melanomas. Currently he is Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School; Director at the Ludwig Center at Harvard, SVP for Experimental Therapeutics at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Associate Director for Clinical Sciences at the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. At Dana-Farber and Harvard, Dr. Demetri leads a large multidisciplinary center focused on the specialty cancer care and science of sarcomas with a team that has consistently been at the cutting edge of developing personalized cancer therapeutics for sarcomas as a model for all cancers. Outside of the laboratory, Dr. Demetri has been instrumental in raising awareness of issues relating to sarcoma, serving as a chair of the Medical Advisory Board of the Sarcoma Foundation of America, and a member of the Board of the Hope Funds for Cancer Research. Dr. Demetri also developed and teaches an innovative Freshman Seminar at Harvard College to introduce undergraduates to the social, ethical, scientific and humanistic aspects of cancer. Dr. Demetri received his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from Harvard College and medical degree from Stanford University School of Medicine, after which he completed his internal medicine residency and chief residency at the University of Washington Hospitals in Seattle. He completed a fellowship in Medical Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School.

Channing J. Der, PhD

Dr. Der is a leader in the study of the RAS oncogenes and their role in cancer development and growth. He was a member of the research team that made the initial identification of activated RAS oncogenes in human cancers. His research centers on the structure, biochemistry, signaling and biology of RAS oncogene proteins, with the long-term goal of utilizing that information to develop anti-RAS therapies for cancer. His research has contributed to understanding the role of farnesylation in supporting RAS membrane association, delineating the role of downstream effectors of RAS signaling in cancer metabolism, and implicating other RAS superfamily proteins in cancer. Dr. Der has extensive past/current advisory roles with numerous pharmaceutical and biotech companies on their RAS drug discovery programs (Warp Drive Bio, Mirati Therapeutics, Metchnikoff Therapeutics). He is currently on scientific advisory committees for the NCI (Board of Scientific Counselors, RAS Initiative Working Group). Reflecting his strong interest in pancreatic cancer, Dr. Der served on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Lustgarten Foundation and he is currently on the Scientific and Medical Advisory Board for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Currently he is Sarah Graham Kenan Distinguished Professor in Pharmacology, at the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is also currently an Einstein BIH Visiting Fellow at the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin. Dr. Der received his undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of California at Los Angeles and his PhD from University of California, Irvine, after which he completed his postdoctoral studies at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School.

Pasi A. Jänne, MD, PhD

Dr. Jänne is the Director of the Lower Center for Thoracic Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is also the Director of the Belfer Center for Applied Cancer Science at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. After earning his MD and PhD from the School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr Jänne completed his internship and residency in Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston.  He subsequently completed fellowship training at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Massachusetts General Hospital combined program in medical oncology in 2001. In 2002, he earned a Masters Degree in clinical investigation from Harvard University.

Dr Jänne’s research combines laboratory based studies, with translational research and clinical trials of novel therapeutic agents in patients with lung cancer. His main research interests center around understanding and translating the therapeutic importance of oncogenic alterations in lung cancer.  He has made seminal therapeutic discoveries, including being one of the co-discoverers of EGFR mutations and findings from his studies have helped define the current treatment paradigm for EGFR mutant lung cancer patients. He led the first-in man clinical trial of the mutant selective EGFR inhibitor osimertinib which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2015. Dr. Jänne has received several awards for his research, including from Uniting Against Lung Cancer, American Lung Association, the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, the American Association of Cancer Research and the European Society of Medical Oncology. He is an elected member to the American Society of Clinical Investigation (2008), American Association of Physicians (2016) and the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters (2016). In 2017 he was awarded an American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professorship.

Lillian L. Siu, MD, FRCPC

Dr. Siu has been a Senior Staff Medical Oncologist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre since 1998, and a Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto since 2009. She is also the Director of the Phase I Program and Co-Director of the Robert and Maggie Bras and Family Drug Development Program at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. She is currently serving a four-year term on the Board of Directors for the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). She also serves as a member of the Nomination Committee for the American Association for Cancer Research.

Dr. Siu’s research focuses on new anti-cancer drug development, particularly on phase I trials and head and neck malignancies. In addition to her active research in early phase clinical trials, Dr. Siu has been leading genomics initiatives in the area of precision medicine at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Under Dr. Siu’s leadership, the Cancer Genomics Program launched multiple high-impact precision medicine projects, including the Integrated Molecular Profiling in Advanced Cancers Trial (IMPACT) and Community Oncology Molecular Profiling in Advanced Cancers Trial (COMPACT), which have recruited more than 3,000 patients since March 2012. She has published more than 240 peer-reviewed manuscripts, and is currently a scientific editor for Cancer Discovery and is on the editorial boards for the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Cold Spring Harbor Molecular Case Studies and JAMA Oncology. Dr. Siu received her medical degree from the University of Toronto followed by her Certification in Internal Medicine at The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

Gleevec® is a registered trademark of Novartis AG
Stivarga® is a registered trademark of Bayer AG
Votrient® is a registered trademark of Glaxo Group Ltd
Yondelis® is a registered trademark of Johnson & Johnson Corp
Zelboraf® is a registered trademark of Genentech/Roche AG
Sutent® is a registered trademarks of Pfizer, Inc.