10 New Members Join DF/HCC

October 17, 2018

Please welcome these 10 individuals from our member institutions who have recently joined DF/HCC.

We randomly selected several of them to make welcome/networking videos which can be seen below, and we hope these help you to connect to your new colleagues. If you'd like to make a video for your DF/HCC member profile, please contact us.


  • Bob Carter, MD, PhD,

    I am a Professor and Chief of Neurosurgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital. I specialize in intracranial surgery including benign and malignant brain tumors and metastatic brain lesions. My research is focused on the analysis of extracellular vesicles (EVs) as potential biomarkers for glioma. My laboratory leads a multi-institutional collaborative effort to clinically validate exRNA biomarkers, including those present in EVs. We also study the role of chimeric T-cell receptors as therapeutics for glioma.

  • Raul S. Gonzalez, MD,

    My research covers the broad field of gastrointestinal, pancreatobiliary, and liver pathology. My primary areas of focus are small bowel neuroendocrine neoplasms and colorectal carcinoma. My group has shown that proper evaluation of mesenteric tumor deposits from small bowel neuroendocrine neoplasms is important for patient prognosis. I have published series on adenoma-like adenocarcinoma and micropapillary carcinoma of the colorectum, with intent to study much more rare subtypes in the future. My interests also include non-neoplastic conditions; I have authored manuscripts on PD-1 inhibitor colitis and massive gastric juvenile polyposis, among others.

  • Murugaiyan Gopal, PhD, Gopal

    My research focuses on how small noncoding RNAs called microRNAs modulate innate and adaptive immunity in chronic inflammatory disorders and cancer. As part of these studies, we have identified specific miRNA pathways involved inflammatory Th1 and Th17 cell differentiation and function.One of the major project in the lab focuses on how miRNAs controls tumor-promoting inflammation in colon cancer. We recently identified an important role for a microRNA and its target genes in colon cancer prevention. We are currently studying how this microRNA functions at the molecular level in multiple cell types involved in the disease pathogenesis. Our research may provide important insights for the development of new therapeutic targets for prevention and treatment of colon cancer.

  • Michael S. Lawrence, PhD,
    Michael S. Lawrence, PhD (Massachusetts General Hospital)
    Cancer Genetics, Cancer Risk and Disparities

    My laboratory focuses on understanding the many ways this can happen, using computation as a powerful microscope to study the processes of DNA damage and repair, gene expression and genome replication, and cancer driver genes. Over our lifetimes, DNA slowly accumulates mutations due to environmental toxins and radiation, as well as from naturally occurring copying errors. The vast majority of mutations have little or no effect on a cell, but out of all possible mutations, a few may hit exactly the right place in the genome where they can act as a "driver mutation," pushing the cell toward aggressive growth and tumor formation. Sequencing the DNA in a tumor reveals not only its driver mutations, but also all the other "passenger mutations" that were present in the tumor-initiating cell. We seek insights about cancer from both driver and passenger mutations.

  • Jens G Lohr, MD, PhD,
    Jens G Lohr, MD, PhD (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute)
    Cancer Immunology, Lymphoma and Myeloma

    My lab explores tumor evolution and drug resistance in various types of cancer, with a particular interest in multiple myeloma. We use "liquid biopsy" approaches to obtain circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and cell-free DNA (cfDNA) combined with innovative DNA- and RNA-sequencing technologies and computational analysis, as tools to gain insight into tumor biology and translate these findings into novel targeted therapies.

  • Steven Piantadosi, MD, PhD,
    Steven Piantadosi, MD, PhD (Brigham And Women's Hospital)
    Cancer Data Sciences, Developmental Therapeutics

    I am an experienced clinical trial methodologist and scientist with 37 years in research and health care leadership. Innovative clinical trials are my special interest. My career has touched a very large number of clinical trials of all types, including multi-center and international trials, academic portfolios, and regulatory issues. My personal research focus has always been in clinical trials methods. I have had a focus on translational and early developmental trials. I have taught extensively in national workshops focused on training of clinical investigators in both cancer and neurologic disease, and I am a Fellow of the Society for Clinical Trials. I am a founding member of the New Approaches to Brian Tumor Therapy Consortium (now Adult Brain Tumor Group) which has had nearly 25 years of NCI funding.

  • William F Pirl, MD, MPH,
    William F Pirl, MD, MPH (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute)
    Cancer Care Delivery Research, Palliative Care

    I am a psychiatrist and Vice Chair for Psychosocial Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. My research and clinical work has focused on improving symptoms and quality of life in patients with cancer, with a particular focus on mental health. I have studied both contributors to depression in individuals with cancer as well as how depression and psychosocial distress is treated in oncology with research funding from NCI and American Cancer Society.I co-lead an NIH-funded intensive research course aimed to provide education about study design, qualitative and survey methods, and approaches to data analysis in supportive oncology for junior researchers.

  • Zuzana Tothova, MD, PhD,

    The primary focus of the my laboratory is investigation of the biology, genetics and treatment of myeloid malignancies, including the premalignant state of clonal hematopoiesis (CHIP), myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Our goal is to contribute to our understanding of the effect of chromatin organization on hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) transformation in the context of mutations in cohesin genes and other epigenetic modulators recurrently mutated in myeloid malignancies. We employ a combination of genomic, genome engineering, mouse modeling as well as classical biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology approaches to answer disease-relevant questions with the goal to identify novel therapeutic targets that can be translated to true patient benefit in the future.

  • Colin D. Weekes, MD, PhD,
    Colin D. Weekes, MD, PhD (Massachusetts General Hospital)
    Developmental Therapeutics, Gastrointestinal Malignancies

    As Director for Medical Oncology Research for Pancreatic Cancer in the Tucker Gosnell Center for Gastrointestinal Cancers at MGH, I focus on clinical and translational research in patients with Pancreas cancer. The goal of our group is to incorporate biologic principles into the treatment of patients with pancreas cancer. As such, I work with basic scientist to integrate targeted therapies and biomarkers of disease response into clinical trial development. In addition to my work in pancreas cancer, I also focus on early drug development for gastrointestinal malignancies.

  • Joel Weissman,  Ph.D.,

    I am a health services researcher and currently serve as Chief Science Officer (CSO) of the Center for Surgery and Public Health at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School. The overarching goal of my research is to explore the influence of social, political, and economic factors on health care utilization and outcomes. As CSO, I help guide the CSPH’s scientific direction through the development and implementation of its research aims. As the co-Director of the Patient Centered Comparative Effectiveness Research Center, I am responsible for promoting health services research throughout the hospital.