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Meet Us – Cancer Nanotechnology Platform Partnerships (CNPPs)

  Mansoor M. Amiji, Ph.D. Hui Mao, Ph.D.
  C. Jeffrey Brinker, Ph.D. Sean Mulvihill, M.D.
  Vincent Cryns, M.D. Thomas V. O'Halloran, Ph.D.
  Zhenfeng Duan, M.D., Ph.D. Marc Porter, Ph.D.
  Mostafa A. El-Sayed, Ph.D. John Rossi, Ph.D.
  Peixuan Guo, Ph.D. Dong M. Shin, M.D., FACP
  Naomi Halas, Ph.D., D.Sc. Fatih M. Uckun, M.D., Ph.D.
  Alexander Kabanov, Ph.D., D.Sc. Cheryl L. Willman, M.D.
  Wenbin Lin, Ph.D. Lily Yang, M.D., Ph.D.
  Julia Y. Ljubimova, M.D., Ph.D. Jen Jen Yeh, M.D.


Mansoor M. Amiji, Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor and Chair, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences; Co-Director, Nanomedicine Education and Research Consortium (NERC), Northeastern University

Mansoor M. Amiji, Ph.D.

Mansoor M. Amiji, Ph.D., is a Distinguished Professor and Chairman of the Pharmaceutical Sciences Department and Co-Director of Northeastern University Nanomedicine Education and Research Consortium (NERC).

Dr. Amiji's research interests include: synthesis of novel polymeric materials for medical and pharmaceutical applications; surface modification of cationic polymers by the complexation-interpenetration method to develop biocompatible materials; preparation and characterization of polymeric membranes and microcapsules with controlled permeability properties for medical and pharmaceutical applications; target-specific drug and vaccine delivery systems for gastrointestinal tract infections; localized delivery of cytotoxic and anti-angiogenic drugs for solid tumors in novel biodegradable polymeric nanoparticles intracellular delivery systems for drugs and genes using target-specific, long-circulating, biodegradable polymeric nanoparticles; gold and iron-gold core-shell nanoparticles for biosensing and imaging and delivery applications. His research has received continued funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), private foundations, and industries.

He has published four books: Applied Physical Pharmacy (McGraw-Hill, 2003); Polymeric Gene Delivery: Principles and Applications (Taylor & Francis, 2005); Nanotechnology for Cancer Therapy (Taylor & Francis, 2007), and Handbook of Materials for Nanomedicine (Pan Stanford Publishing, 2010), along with more than 200 published book chapters, peer-reviewed articles, and conference proceedings. Dr. Amiji has received a number of awards including the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientist's Meritorious Manuscript Award (2007) and the Nano Science and Technology Institute Award for Outstanding Contributions towards the Advancement of Nanotechnology, Microtechnology, and Biotechnology (2006).

Dr. Amiji received his undergraduate degree in Pharmacy from Northeastern University in 1988 and his Ph.D. in Pharmaceutics from Purdue University in 1992. His areas of specialization include polymeric biomaterials, advanced drug delivery systems, and nanomedical technologies.


C. Jeffrey Brinker, Ph.D.
Sandia Fellow, Sandia National Laboratories; Regent's and Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Nuclear Engineering and Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, University of New Mexico

C. Jeffrey Brinker, Ph.D.

C. Jeffrey Brinker, Ph.D., is jointly employed as a Sandia Fellow at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) and at University of New Mexico (UNM), where he is Regent's and Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Nuclear Engineering and Molecular Genetics and Microbiology and co-Director of the Center for Micro-Engineered Materials. He is a member of the UNM Cancer Research and Treatment Center. Dr. Brinker joined SNL as a Member of the Technical Staff in 1979. He was promoted to Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff at SNL and appointed Distinguished National Laboratory Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the University of New Mexico in 1991.

Dr. Brinker has been recognized nationally and internationally for his pioneering work in sol-gel processing - the formation of ceramic materials from molecular precursors. This early work launched the successful series of Materials Research Society symposia entitled "Better Ceramics Through Chemistry" and culminated in the publication of Sol-Gel Science in 1990 (with co-author George Scherer), a book that remains the most highly cited reference in this rapidly growing field. During the 1990's, Dr. Brinker made a number of significant contributions to the fields of porous and composite materials, devising a simple, inexpensive means to prepare aerogels, the world's lightest solids, at room temperature and pressure. Over the last decade Brinker has combined sol-gel processing with molecular self-assembly in a process called Evaporation-Induced Self-Assembly that enables the efficient formation of porous and composite nanostructures from homogeneous sols through simple evaporative procedures. Recently, Dr. Brinker used living cells to direct the formation of novel nao/bio interfaces in a process dubbed Cell Directed Assembly. His group has also invented nanoparticle supported lipid bilayers called protocells as targeted drug delivery agents.

Dr. Brinker was named fellow of the American Ceramic Society in 1988 and the Materials Research Society in 2009. He has numerous other awards, including the American Chemical Society Ralph K. Iler Award, the DOE Ernest O. Lawrence Memorial Award in Materials Science, and the Materials Research Society MRS Medal. In 2002, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering. He has over 220 peer-reviewed publications.

Dr. Brinker received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from Rutgers University in Ceramic Science and Engineering.


Vincent Cryns, M.D.
Professor, Department of Medicine and Chief, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism
University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health

Vincent Cryns, M.D.

Vincent Cryns, M.D., is Associate Professor of Medicine and Director of the Cell Death Regulation Laboratory at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. He leads a multidisciplinary team of scientists who focus on understanding how cells die. His group is especially interested in elucidating how abnormalities in apoptotic cell death contribute to the pathogenesis of breast cancer and in translating these insights into improved biomarkers and pro-apoptotic therapies. His research is funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and other agencies. As part of an NCI-funded Northwestern Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence and Cancer Nanotechnology Platform Partnership, his lab interacts with a multidisciplinary team of chemists, materials scientists, and engineers to develop and evaluate novel nanoscale diagnostic and therapeutic agents for breast cancer.

Dr. Cryns is an Associate Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Cancer Research and is on the Editorial Board of several journals. Dr. Cryns has been the recipient of many awards, including an Outstanding Junior Faculty Award from the Avon Foundation, and he is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation. As a clinician, he is founding Director of the SUCCEED Breast Cancer Survivorship Program at Northwestern, an innovative clinical program providing comprehensive health care for breast cancer patients after they complete their initial treatment. Dr. Cryns is also deeply committed to training the next generation of scientists and physician-scientists. He has trained more than 20 postdoctoral fellows, graduate students or medical students in his lab, and he is Director of the Northwestern Physician-Scientist Training Program.

Dr. Cryns received his Bachelor's and M.D. degrees from Harvard. He completed specialty training in endocrinology at Massachusetts General Hospital.


Zhenfeng Duan, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Co-Director, Sarcoma Molecular Biology Laboratory, Massachusetts General Hospital

Zhenfeng Duan, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Zhenfeng Duan, M.D., Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and co-Director of the Sarcoma Molecular Biology Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Dr. Duan has over 15 years of experience in tumor molecular biology and has a broad background in chemical synthesis, nanotechnology, translational pharmacology, and clinical oncology. Throughout his postdoctoral work in Dr. Michael Seiden's (current President of Fox Chase Cancer Center) laboratory at MGH Cancer Center, he received extensive training in the field of cellular and molecular biology in human cancer. Currently, Dr. Duan's research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of multidrug resistance, drug formulations and delivery systems, and nanotechnology applications in cancer. His research group has made significant contributions to the areas of multidrug resistance, kinases and miRNAs of human cancer.

Dr. Duan received his M.S. and M.D. from Henan Medical University in Zhengzhou, China and his Ph.D. from the Chinese Academy of Preventative Medicine.


Mostafa A. El-Sayed, Ph.D.
Julius Brown Chair and Regents' Professor
Georgia Institute of Technology

Mostafa A. El-Sayed, Ph.D.

Mostafa A. El-Sayed, Ph.D., is the Julius Brown Chair and Regents' Professor at Georgia Institute of Technology. Prior to working at Georgia Tech, he was a faculty member in the department of chemistry and biochemistry at University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. El-Sayed was the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Physical Chemistry for a quarter of a century and served or is serving on the advisory boards of the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy–Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee (DOE-BESAC) and on a number of the Departmet of Energy nano-centers.

Dr. El-Sayed has conducted research in many areas of chemical and bio-physics including Ultrafast laser and double resonance spectroscopy, electronic nonradiative relaxation mechanisms in molecules, solids and in biological systems. In the last two decades, he has conducted extensive work in the fields of nano-medicine and nano-catalysis. His group has over 580 publications in peer-reviewed journals and from the citations to their work in the last decade; they were ranked fourth worldwide in the field of chemistry.

Dr. El-Sayed is an Elected Member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (1980), an Elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1986), an Elected Associate Member of the Third World Academy of Sciences (1984); an Inaugural Fellow of the American Chemical Society, the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences. He is also an elected Honorary Fellow of the Indian and the Chinese Chemical Societies.

He received the King Faisal International Prize in the Sciences and a number of honorary Doctoral Degrees from several international Universities. Dr. El-Sayed also has received a number of national awards including the 2007 USA National Medal of Sciences from the President of the United States and in 2009, he received the Medal of the Egyptian Republic of the First Class from the President of Egypt.

Dr. El-Sayed received his Ph.D. at Florida State University and conducted his postdoctoral work at Yale, Harvard University, and the California Institute of Technology.


Peixuan Guo, Ph.D.
William Farish Endowed Chair in Nanobiotechnology at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center
Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, University of Kentucky

Peixuan Guo, Ph.D.

Dr. Guo obtained his Ph. D. from the University of Minnesota under Dwight Anderson. After postdoctoral training with Bernard Moss at the NIH, he joined Purdue University in 1990, was tenured in 1993, became a full Professor in 1997, and was honored as a Purdue Faculty Scholar in 1998. He was nominated as Endowed Chair in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Cincinnati in 2007. He constructed the phi29 DNA-packaging motor, discovered phi29 motor pRNA, assembled infectious dsDNA viruses, and discovered pRNA hexamer, in addition to his pioneering work on RNA nanotechnology and the application of RNA Nanotechnology for siRNA/drug delivery to specific cells. He built a dual-view single molecule imaging system, and incorporated phi29 motor channel into lipid membranes for single-molecule sensing with potential for high-throughput dsDNA sequencing. Dr. Guo received the Pfizer Distinguished Faculty Award in 1995; Purdue Seed Award in 2004, 2005, and 2007; Lions Club Cancer Research Award in 2006; COV Distinguished Alumni of the University of Minnesota in 2009; and Distinguished Research Award in 2009 and 2010. He is a member of two prominent national nanotech initiatives sponsored by NIH, NSF, NIST, and National Council of Nanotechnology; panelist for Department of Defense medical assessment; director of one NIH Nanomedicine Development Center from 2006-2011; member of the NIH NDC Steering Committee from 2006-2010; and a member of the review panel (site-visit) of the NCI Intramural Research Program in 2010. He is an editor or board member of four nanotech journals. His work has been reported hundreds of times over radio or TV such as ABC and NBC and featured in newsletters or websites of NIH, NSF, MSNBC, NCI, NCI Alliances, ScienceNow, etc.


Naomi Halas, Ph.D., D.Sc.
Stanley C. Moore Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Professor of Bioengineering, Chemistry, Physics, and Astronomy
Rice University

Naomi Halas, Ph.D., DSc.

Naomi Halas, Ph.D., D.Sc., is the Stanley C. Moore Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rice University, where she also holds faculty appointments in the Departments of Bioengineering, Chemistry and Physics and Astronomy. She joined Rice following a postdoctoral fellowship at AT&T Bell Laboratories. She is a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Fellow of five professional societies: the American Physical Society, the Optical Society of America, the International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE), the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She is a Visiting Professor at the Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and an Associate Editor of Nano Letters.

Dr. Halas is best known scientifically as the inventor of nanoshells, nanoparticles with tunable optical resonances that span the visible and infrared regions of the spectrum. Dr. Halas has studied their properties and pursued applications of nanoshells in biomedicine and chemical sensing. She is co-Founder of Nanospectra Biosciences, Inc., a company currently commercializing a photothermal cancer therapy based on nanoshells. She is founder and Director of the Laboratory for Nanophotonics (LANP) at Rice, which supports collaborations and interactions among researchers at Rice and other institutions nationally and internationally in the emerging field of plasmon-based optics and applications.

Dr. Halas received her Ph.D. in Physics from Bryn Mawr College. She is the author of more than 200 refereed publications, has more than ten issued patents, and has presented over 350 invited talks.


Alexander V. Kabanov, Ph.D., D.Sc.
Mescal S. Ferguson Distinguished Professor,
Director, Center for Nanotechnology in Drug Delivery
Co-Director, Carolina Institute for Nanomedicine
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Alexander V. Kabanov, Ph.D., D.Sc.

Dr. Kabanov is a Mescal Swaim Ferguson Distinguished Professor, Director, Center for Nanotechnology in Drug Delivery, and Co-Director, Carolina Institute for Nanomedicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill since July 2012. Prior to this appointment he served for nearly 18 years at the University of Nebraska Medical Center where he was a Parke-Davis Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Director of the Center for Drug Delivery and Nanomedicine, which he founded in 2004. Dr. Kabanov received Ph.D. degree in chemical kinetics and catalysis in 1987 at the Moscow State University, USSR. He conducted pioneering research on polymeric micelles, DNA/polycation complexes, block ionomer complexes and nanogels for delivery of small drugs, nucleic acids and proteins that considerably influenced current ideas and approaches in drug delivery and nanomedicine. His work led to first-in-man polymeric micelle drug (SP1049C) to treat cancer. He co-founded several companies.

Dr. Kabanov has published over 289 scientific papers, and obtained over 100 patents worldwide. His work was cited over 24,000 times (Hirsh index 83) and he is named the Thomson Reuters 2014 Highly Cited Researcher in pharmacology and toxicology. He founded Nanomedicine and Drug Delivery Symposium (NanoDDS) series (2003-) and co-chaired Gordon Research Conference (GRC) on Drug Carriers in Medicine and Biology (2006) and is a chair of the Cancer Nanotechnology GRC in 2017. He is a recipient of the Lenin Komsomol Prize (1988), NSF Career Award (1995), Russian "Megagrant" (2010), and elected member of the Academy of Europe (2013), among other distinctions. He was a director of NIH CoBRE Nebraska Center for Nanomedicine (2008-2012), and currently directs NCI's CNTC Carolina Cancer Nanotechnology Training Program and the Laboratory of Chemical Design of Bionanomaterials, Moscow State University, Russia.


Wenbin Lin, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Chemistry
University of Chicago

Wenbin Lin, Ph.D.

Wenbin Lin, Ph.D., is Professor in the Department of Chemistry the at the University of Chicago. He is also a full member of Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and Biomedical Research Imaging Center at UNC-Chapel Hill. His research focuses on designing novel supramolecular systems, framework materials, and hybrid nanomaterials for applications in chemical and life sciences.Dr. Lin's research interests in nanomedicine center around designing new nanoparticle platforms for target-specific delivery of imaging and therapeutic agents to enable early diagnosis and more effective treatment of cancers and inflammatory diseases.

Dr. Lin has received a number of awards including the National Science Foundation CAREER Award (1999), Arnold and Mabel Beckman Young Investigator Award (2000), Research Corporation Cottrell Scholar Award (2000), Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship (2000), and Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (2001). He has authored or co-authored more than 170 papers in several different research areas. Times Higher Education listed Dr. Lin's group among the top 10 most cited chemistry groups based on citations per article in the 1999-2009 decade.Dr. Lin serves on editorial advisory boards of several premier journals and is an elected member of American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Dr. Lin received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1994 and a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellowship at Northwestern University.


Julia Y. Ljubimova, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Neurosurgery and Biomedical Sciences
Director of Nanomedicine Research Center
Department of Neurosurgery
Director of Nanomedicine Program
Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Center
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Julia Y. Ljubimova, M.D., Ph.D.

Julia Y. Ljubimova, M.D., Ph.D., is a Professor of Neurosurgery and Biomedical Sciences and Director of Drug Delivery and Nanomedicine in the Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Dr. Ljubimova's main interests are the use of differential cancer gene expression as a tool for finding novel/early markers of cancer growth and development, and the design of new nanomedicine drugs against these and other tumor targets. Her group has developed nanobioconjugates that selectively target brain and breast cancers and thus could have fewer dose-limiting toxicities than current therapies.

Dr. Ljubimova joined the faculty at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to direct studies combining basic cancer research, discovering specific human tumor markers, with translational research. One of the novel markers, the structural tumor vessel wall protein laminin-411, is currently in a clinical trial as a prognostic and diagnostic marker for human glial tumor progression. These discoveries led to the development of new technologies for drug delivery and engineering of the new class of anticancer nanomedicine drugs. In 2003, she started a new project "Nanotechnology for drug delivery and nanomedicine drug engineering to treat tumors," which was awarded a five-year National Institutes of Health (NIH) R01 grant. In 2010, several novel nanomedicine drugs developed in Dr. Ljubimova's laboratory to treat breast and brain tumors were recognized by the award of two new NIH/R01 and NIH/U01 grants, for five years each. Her research is also funded by state and private funds.

Dr. Ljubimova is also studying the influence of air pollution on brain molecular markers activation leading to differential expression of genes that play an important role in tumorigenesis. Her studies have been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals, including Cancer Research, the American Journal of Pathology, Angiogenesis, Nanomedicine (Lond) and PNAS.

Dr. Ljubimova received her degrees from Kiev's University in Ukraine and from the Ukraine Academy of Sciences. She completed her postdoctoral training at the Baylor College of Medicine and the University of California, San Diego.


Hui Mao, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Radiology
Emory University School of Medicine

Hui Mao, Ph.D.

Hui Mao, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Radiology at the Emory University School of Medicine. He also holds joint appointments at Emory Cancer for Systems Imaging and Yerkes National Primate Research Center. Since 2003, Dr. Mao has been working on developing magnetic nanoparticle applications for molecular and cellular imaging with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Dr. Mao was a co-investigator of Emory-Georgia Tech Nanotechnology Center for Personalized Oncology, one of the first Centers of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence. The current research projects in his laboratory are highly interdisciplinary, involving the following areas: biomarker targeted MRI contrast agents, such as magnetic nanoparticles, for molecular and cellular imaging applications in diagnosis and treatment; multifunctional nanoparticles for imaging and image-guided drug delivery; applications of MRI technology for studying brain functions, brain disorders and diseases; and development of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)/MRS) -based metabolomics for metabolites profiling cancers and neurodegenerative diseases. He currently serves as principal investigator and co-investigator on several NIH grants that support his research.

Dr. Mao was initially trained in Physical Chemistry in Nanjing University, China, with a focus on developing nanomaterial based catalysts. His long-time interest in studying biological systems took him to Georgia State University, where he earned his Ph.D. in Biophysical Chemistry, studying electron transfer mechanisms in biological systems using high-resolution and multi-dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. He then continued his postdoctoral training at Vanderbilt University working on biomolecular structures, mostly DNA mutations caused by carcinogenic DNA adducts.


Sean Mulvihill, M.D.
Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery, University of Utah; Ross R. Anderson Presidential Endowed Chair in Surgery and Senior Director for Clinical Affairs
Huntsman Cancer Institute

Sean Mulvihill, M.D.

Sean Mulvihill, M.D.,is Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. He holds the Ross R. Anderson Presidential Endowed Chair in Surgery and serves as Senior Director for Clinical Affairs, Huntsman Cancer Institute. Prior to assuming the Chair at Utah in November of 2000, Dr. Mulvihill was Professor of Surgery at the University of California, San Francisco and Chief of their Division of General Surgery.

Dr. Mulvihill is an editor of a major surgical textbook, Surgery: Basic Science and Clinical Evidence, and has authored over 150 scientific papers, editorials, and book chapters. He is the former President of the American Hepatopancreatobiliary Association and has served in leadership roles in many other professional societies.

Dr. Mulvihill's clinical expertise relates to diseases of the liver, pancreas, and bile ducts. He has worked to improve surgical outcomes and to develop novel treatment strategies for patients with pancreatic cancer and neuroendocrine tumors. As head of the Pancreatic Cancer Research Group at the Huntsman Cancer Institute, he was responsible for the successful development of a clinical research database containing detailed information on patients with pancreatic tumors, linked to a robust biospecimen bank of patient samples. This material is used in early diagnosis biomarker discovery research, development of markers to predict response to therapy, and in studies of the cell biology of pancreatic cancer aimed at identification of new therapeutic targets. Dr. Mulvihill's work is funded through the National Cancer Institute and other agencies.

Dr. Mulvihill received his M.D. from the University of Southern California.


Thomas V. O'Halloran, Ph.D.
Director, Chemistry of Life Processes Institute, Northwestern University; Associate Director, Basic Sciences Research Division
Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University

Thomas V. O'Halloran, Ph.D.

Thomas V. O'Halloran, Ph.D., directs interdisciplinary research programming at the interfaces of cell and molecular and cell biology, nanotechnology and bioinorganic chemistry. In his role of the Director of the Chemistry of Life Processes Institute, Dr. O'Halloran brings together teams of researchers from the fields of chemistry, biology, physics, engineering, medicine, proteomics, nanobiotechnology, molecular therapeutics, and biological molecular imaging with the mission of developing new insights and engineering solutions to pressing biomedical problems. He also serves as the Associate Director for the Basic Sciences Research Division of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. He is also the Morrison Professor in the Department of Chemistry and in the Department of Molecular Biosciences at Northwestern and has founded several start-up companies in the biotech arena.

Dr. O'Halloran's research interests center on the assembly and characterization of novel agents which alter the regulatory biology of transition metal receptors involved in signaling and trafficking pathways. This work provided early insights into molecular regulatory mechanisms and has led to the discovery of new classes of soluble metal receptors: metalloregulatory and metallochaperone proteins. Most recently, he has discovered nanoscale processes for targeted delivery of multifunctional therapeutic agents based on the arsenic and platinum classes of anticancer agents for treatment of hematological cancer and solid tumors.

Professor O’Halloran received his B.S. and M.A. degrees in Chemistry from the University of Missouri, and a Ph.D. in 1985 from Columbia University. He joined the faculty of Northwestern University in 1986 after a National Research Service Award (NRSA) Postdoctoral Fellowship at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Marc Porter, Ph.D.
USTAR Professor, Departments of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
University of Utah

Marc Porter, Ph.D.

Marc Porter, Ph.D., joined the Departments of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the University of Utah as a USTAR Professor from Arizona State University where he was the founder and director for the Center for Combinatorial Science at the BioDesign Institute. He is an expert in the development of biosensors for early disease detection.

Dr. Porter is an analytical chemist who began his academic career at Iowa State University, where he was professor of Chemistry and Chemical and Biological Engineering. He is co-founder of Nanoparts, a company which manufactures gold nanoparticles, one of the most widely used classes of nanomaterials for chemical, bioanalytical, biomedical, optical and nanotechnological applications. The company has the ability to prepare gold nanoparticles of desired sizes, shapes, and monodispersity in a systematic way, and he is moving Nanoparts to Utah with him. Other companies co-founded by Porter include CombiSep, Inc., which markets an analytical separation device; and Concurrent Analytical, which has developed a new-generation immunoassay system, the Ramanprobes System, for detecting and labeling antigens. This system received the prestigious R&D 100 Award in 2003; sponsored by R&D Magazine, the award honors the top 100 products of technological significance marketed or licensed during the previous calendar year.

Dr. Porter has published more than 200 papers and has given more than 300 presentations at national and international meetings. He holds over 10 patents, with several more pending.


John Rossi, Ph.D.
Chair and Professor, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology
Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope

John Rossi, Ph.D.

John Rossi, Ph.D., is Chair and Professor, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope. Dr. Rossi's laboratory has focused on developing and testing the idea of utilizing catalytic RNAs or ribozymes for inhibition of HIV infection. This research program has led to two clinical trials in which ribozyme genes have been transduced into hematopoietic stem cells for autologous transplant in HIV-infected individuals.

Work in the laboratory continues to focus upon enhancing the intracellular efficacy of ribozymes and RNA decoys via RNA trafficking and target co-localization approaches. At present a large percentage of the research effort of the lab is focused upon the biology and utilization of small interfering RNAs, or siRNA. This program has led to a first of its kind hematopoietic stem cell clinical trial using a triple gene therapy approach in AIDS/lymphoma patients.

Dr. Rossi received his Ph.D. in Microbial Genetics from the University of Connecticut and his M.D. from Brown University Medical School where he trained under Dr. Arthur Landy studying the genomic structure, organization and expression of two gene clusters encoding tRNA-tyrosine in E. coli. This research led to the first observation that a tRNA gene cluster was co-transcribed with and subsequently processed from a mRNA.


Dong M. Shin, M.D., FACP
Professor of Hematology, Oncology, and Otolaryngology; Associate Director of Academic Development for Emory Winship Cancer Institute; Director, Emory Winship Cancer Institute Cancer Chemoprevention Program

Dong M. Shin, M.D., FACP

Dong Moon Shin, M.D., FACP, serves the Emory Winship Cancer Institute as Professor of Hematology and Oncology, and Otolaryngology; Associate Director of Academic Development for Emory Winship Cancer Institute and Director of the Emory Winship Cancer Chemoprevention Program.

Dr. Shin joined the Emory Winship Cancer Institute in 2003, when he moved from the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. Prior to joining the faculty in Pittsburgh, Dr. Shin served as an associate professor of medicine at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.

Dr. Shin's research focus is in head, neck, and lung cancers. He is currently focused on new drug delivery to cancer patients using nanotechnology. Dr. Shin has published over 150 peer-reviewed scientific articles in journals such as The New England Journal of Medicine, The Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Cancer Research, and The Journal of Clinical Oncology. Dr. Shin's research is widely cited in hundreds of studies and peer-reviewed papers.

Dr. Shin earned his medical degree from Yonsei University, College of Medicine in Seoul, Korea. He completed his internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Cook County Hospital, Chicago, Illinois. He then completed a fellowship in Hematology and Medical Oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston. He is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology, and is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, a Fellow of the American Society of Head and Neck Surgery, and an active member of the American Association for Cancer Research, as well as the American Society of Clinical Oncology.


Fatih M. Uckun, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Pediatrics (Division of Hematology-Oncology), Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California; Leader, Developmental Therapeutics Program, Children's Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases/Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

Fatih M. Uckun, M.D., Ph.D.

Fatih M. Uckun, M.D., Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics (Division of Hematology-Oncology), Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, and the Leader of the Developmental Therapeutics Program at the Children's Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases/Children's Hospital Los Angeles. He is an Adjunct Clinical Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the Selcuk University Academic Health Center. Dr. Uckun is a Senior Member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI), an honor society for physician-scientists, and an active member of several professional organizations, including American Society of Hematology (ASH), American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), and American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).

Prior to working at the Keck School of Medicine, Dr. Uckun was a Professor of Pediatrics, Therapeutic Radiology, and Pharmacology at the University of Minnesota and Director of the Biotherapy Institute. Dr. Uckun also served as Director of Research at Parker Hughes Institute in Minnesota before joining University of Southern California.

Dr. Uckun has more than 20 years of professional experience in developmental therapeutics. He is an inventor on 75 patents and has published more than 400 peer-reviewed papers. He served as the Editor-in-Chief of Leukemia and Lymphoma and as a member of several editorial boards and National Institutes of Health review panels. Currently, he serves on several editorial boards, including those of Journal of Nanomedicine and Nanotechnology and Journal of Nanomedicine and Biotherapeutic Discovery. Dr. Uckun has received numerous awards including the Stohlman Memorial Award of the Leukemia Society of America, Leukemia Society of America Scholar Award, and Research Award of Radiation Research Society. Dr. Uckun's research interests include: Translational Research aimed at identifying new molecular targets in cancer therapy; Targeted Nanoparticles; Biopharmaceuticals; Molecular Epidemiology of Cancer; Epigenetic regulation of cancer growth; Innate Immunity.

Dr. Uckun earned his doctoral degrees at University of Heidelberg and completed his residency training in pediatrics, fellowship training in hematology/oncology/stem cell transplantation, as well as postdoctoral research training in immunology at the University of Minnesota.


Cheryl L. Willman, M.D.
Director and CEO, University of New Mexico (UNM) Cancer Center; Professor of Pathology and Internal Medicine, UNM School of Medicine

Cheryl L. Willman, M.D.

Cheryl L. Willman, M.D., is the Director and CEO of the University of New Mexico (UNM) Cancer Center and a Professor of Pathology and Internal Medicine at the UNM School of Medicine where she holds the Maurice and Marguerite Liberman Distinguished Chair in Cancer Research.

Dr. Willman is an internationally recognized leukemia researcher, focusing on the use of comprehensive genomic technologies to identify novel targets for improved diagnosis, risk classification, and therapy, and, the translation of these targets to diagnostics and clinical trials. She has played significant leadership roles in the leukemia translational medicine studies in two of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Cooperative Groups, Children's Oncology Group (OCG) and Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG). Her laboratory is supported by over $16 million in funding grants from the NCI and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. She has published more than 175 scientific articles in prestigious journals and several books and reviews. She currently leads a consortium of investigators from UNM, Sandia National Laboratories, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, who are applying genomic advances to improve leukemia diagnostics and therapies, including nanotherapeutic approaches supported by the NCI Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer.

Over the past 10 years, as Director and CEO of the UNM Cancer Center, Dr. Willman has led the development of the clinical, research, education, and outreach programs of the Cancer Center, culminating in the Center's formal designation as a NCI-designated Cancer Center in 2005, its recent five-year competitive NCI renewal in 2010, and, a ranking as one of "America's Best Cancer Hospitals" by U.S. News & World Report in 2006. Throughout her career, Dr. Willman has received numerous research grants and awards from NCI, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and The W.M. Keck Foundation. She received The Stowell-Orbison Award, The Benjamin Castleman Award, and The Young Investigator Award from the International Academy of Pathology. Dr. Willman was also a founder and President of the Association of Molecular Pathology (AMP) and she is a member of the U.S. Department of Energy Women in Science Hall of Fame. Dr. Willman has served in national leadership roles in many organizations (American Society of Hematology, American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Association for Cancer Research, AMP, United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology) and currently serves as a Member of the NCI Board of Scientific Counselors. She has also received numerous public service awards, including the 16th Governor's Award for Outstanding New Mexico Women (2001) and The New Mexico Distinguished Public Service Award (2005).

Dr. Willman received her B.A. in Chemistry from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota and her M.D. in 1981 from The Mayo School of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota. Awarded one of the first NIH Physician Scientist Awards in 1984, Dr. Willman completed her residency and postdoctoral training in pathology and cancer research at the NIH in Washington D.C., UNM, and the University of Washington in Seattle.


Lily Yang, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Surgery and Radiology and Nancy Panoz Chair of Surgery in Cancer Research
Emory University

Lily Yang, M.D., Ph.D.

Lily Yang, M.D., Ph.D., is a Professor of Surgery and Radiology and Nancy Panoz Chair of Surgery in Cancer Research at Emory University. Dr. Yang's research has concerned liver stem cells and cancer, gene therapy, apoptosis, molecular targeted therapy, biomarker targeted drug delivery, and cancer nanotechnology. During the last several years, she lead a research team to develop targeted optical and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) nanoparticle probes for early detection of breast and pancreatic cancers and for image-guided surgery. Her group has developed a theranostic magnetic iron oxide nanoparticle (IONP) platform that utilizes receptor-targeted IONPs to carry single or multiple therapeutic agents for drug delivery and multi-modality tumor imaging. Her current research also focuses on molecular targets and signal pathways that confer aggressive behavior, invasiveness and resistance to apoptosis in triple negative breast cancer.

Dr. Yang is the Principal Investigator of several research projects supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) R01, NIH P50 (Emory Molecular Imaging Center), and NIH U01 (Cancer Nanotechnology Platform Partnership) grants. She is also a co-Project Leader in Emory's Head and Neck Cancer Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) program (NIH P50). Her research has resulted in several patent applications. Dr. Yang is a member of the editorial boards of Apoptosis and Breast Cancer-Targets and Therapy. She is a member of the NIH Developmental Therapeutics study section and has served in many other NIH study sections and the scientific review committees of the Breast Cancer Research Program of the Department of Defense.

Dr. Yang received her medical training in China at West China University of Medical Sciences and then in the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine and received her Ph,D. degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology at Brown University.


Jen Jen Yeh, M.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery, Division of Surgical Oncology
University of North Carolina School of Medicine

Jen Jen Yeh, M.D.

Dr. Jen Jen Yeh, M.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery, Division of Surgical Oncology at the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine. She is also a fellowship-trained surgical oncologist with both clinical and research interest and expertise in pancreatic cancer.

Dr. Yeh has won a number of prestigious awards, including an American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Foundation Merit Award, an ASCO Young Investigator Award, an Emerald Foundation Award, a Franklin H. Martin Faculty Research Fellowship of the American College of Surgeons, and a Kimmel Translational Scholar Award. Dr. Yeh was highly recruited to UNC for her basic and translational research background and commitment. She has led the initiative at UNC to establish state of the art mouse models in pancreatic cancer for therapeutic evaluation. She is the founder and leader of the Patient Derived Xenograft Program at UNC where patient tumors are directly engrafted into immunocompromised mice in order to capture and maintain tumor heterogeneity, passaged, and evaluated for novel biomarkers and response to novel therapeutics.

In addition, Dr. Yeh has established the KRAS driven genetically engineered mouse model for pancreatic cancer at UNC. The overall goal of her research is to identify and study novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of colorectal and pancreatic cancers. Pancreatic cancer in particular continues to be a lethal disease with few therapeutic options. Dr. Yeh's research, therefore, centers on target identification through gene expression profiling of human tumors, validation, drug discovery, and finally clinical trials.

Dr. Yeh received her M.D. from Johns Hopkins University.