10 New Members Join DF/HCC

June 29, 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.

  • Mark M. Awad, MD, PhD,

    My main area of research is on cancer immunotherapy and vaccine development. I have been working with a number of laboratories to study the genetics and immune microenvironment of lung tumors in order to develop better immune therapies for cancer patients. In addition, I conduct research on cancers whose growth is driven by mutations in genes such as RET, ROS1, and ALK, and I have been working to understand how these cancers acquire resistance to targeted therapies.

  • David J. Einstein, MD,

    I am an academic medical oncologist specializing in genitourinary cancers. My research includes translational studies supported by a grant from the Department of Defense. I also focus on clinical trial development and serves as overall Principal Investigator for investigator-initiated trials at Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. I lead the GU Rapid Autopsy effort at BIDMC. In addition to striving for better therapeutics, I also aim to improve physician communication about difficult topics ranging from clinical trial enrollment to advance-care planning. I have published studies of the integration of palliative care into oncologic care and end-of-life discussions between residents and cancer patients.

  • Priscilla Gazarian, RN, PhD,

    My program of research is focused on preventable hospital harms, specifically the role of patient engagement, and nurse decision making. I am also interested in how the patient experiences dignity and respect during hospitalization, including loss of dignity and respect as a preventable harm. I have expertise in the use of cognitive task analysis and the critical decision method as ways to understand the cognitive requirements of clinical work. My population of interest is adults and elders in acute and critical care environments. I conduct my research at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital where I hold an appointment as a Nurse Scientist.

  • Jaime E Hart, ScD,
    Jaime E Hart, ScD (Brigham And Women's Hospital)
    Breast Cancer, Cancer Epidemiology

    I am an environmental epidemiologist and broadly my research focuses on environmental and occupational risk factors of a variety of chronic diseases, including cancer. I have primarily worked with data from large cohort studies based at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, such as the Nurses’ Health Studies (NHS, NHSII, and NHS3), the Health Professionals’ Follow-up Study, the US Railroad Workers Study, and the Trucking Industry Particle Study. I have extensive experience incorporating environmental exposure measures into these large studies. I serve as the Director of Geographic and Contextual Measures for the cohorts.

  • Peter James, ScD,

    Trained in environmental health and epidemiology, I have focused my research on estimating the influence of geographic contextual factors, including exposure to nature, the built environment, the food environment, air pollution, light pollution, noise, and socioeconomic factors, on health behaviors and chronic disease, including cancer. I have almost a decade of experience working with large prospective cohort studies, including the Nurses’ Health Studies, the Framingham Heart Study, and the Southern Community Cohort Study, where I have aided in the creation of many geographic-based variables and linked them to health data. More recently, through funding from the National Cancer Institute, I am developing methodologies to assess real-time, high spatio-temporal resolution objective measures of location, physical activity, and sleep by linking smartphone-based global positioning systems (GPS) and wearable device accelerometry data to understand how contextual factors influence behavioral risk factors for cancer.

  • David T. Miller, MD, PhD,

    My clinical, research, and teaching activities are focused on clinical expertise and innovation in delivering clinically effective and appropriate diagnostic genetic testing services related to genetic disorders, including inherited cancer predisposition. Leveraging molecular science to improve patient care is my passion. My main clinical and research area is currently Neurofibromatosis (NF), and I direct the Multidisciplinary Neurofibromatosis Program at Boston Children’s Hospital. I also direct a philanthropically-funded research initiative focused on advancing pre-clinical research towards effective treatment of NF1-related tumors. Related to my interest in tumor predisposition among patients with NF1, I am also involved in clinical laboratory testing for inherited cancer predisposition at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. I am active at the national level in forming policy around clinical care for NF1 and clinical application of germline genetic testing in cancer predisposition through my role as the Chair of the American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG) Professional Practice and Guideline Committee, and the Co-Chair of ACMG’s Working Group on Secondary Findings related to genomic sequencing.

  • Sara I. Pai, MD, PhD,
    Sara I. Pai, MD, PhD (Massachusetts General Hospital)
    Cancer Immunology, Head and Neck Cancer

    I am a head and neck surgeon and Director of Translational Research in Head and Neck Cancer at the Massachusetts General Hospital.  I am a member of the DF/HCC Cancer Immunology Program. My research focuses on understanding how human papillomavirus (HPV) can evade the immune system in head and neck cancers in order to develop novel therapies that can be applied to reactivate the host immune response against the virus and virus-associated cancer cells. In particular, we are interested in developing and evaluating cancer vaccines and  various immunomodulatory drugs in both the preclinical and clinical setting.

  • Aparina Raj Parikh, MD,
    Aparina Raj Parikh, MD (Massachusetts General Hospital)
    Developmental Therapeutics, Gastrointestinal Malignancies

    I am currently an attending oncologist in gastrointestinal malignancies at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and faculty at Harvard Medical School with past experience in industry doing outcomes research and drug development. I am interested in both targeted therapy and cancer immunotherapy and appropriately identifying patients that may benefit from certain therapeutic interventions in order to improve patient outcomes and quality of care. I am also involved with some work looking at cfDNA as a early marker of recurrence in GI malignancies. I also have maintained an extra-curricular interest/passion in global oncology.

  • Eirini Pectasides, MD, PhD,

    My long-term goal is to improve therapies for patients with gastric and esophageal cancer by defining and targeting the key molecular alterations of these tumors. My research focuses on understanding mechanisms of resistance to targeted therapies in gastroesophageal cancer. Specifically, I study the role of intratumoral genomic heterogeneity in gastroesophageal cancer and the challenges it poses to personalized targeted therapies. To overcome these challenges, I am piloting studies to genomically characterize circulating cell-free DNA as a means to more accurately select therapeutic strategies. In addition, I am using functional biology to understand the mechanisms of de novo resistance to ERBB2-directed therapies in gastroesophageal cancer and develop new combination therapeutic strategies.

  • Ravindra Uppaluri, MD, PhD,
    Ravindra Uppaluri, MD, PhD (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute)
    Cancer Immunology, Head and Neck Cancer

    I have dedicated my career to the care of patients with head and neck cancers and developed a basic and translational research program focused on biology and therapeutic approaches of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas. My research program focuses on the development and study of high-fidelity models of oral squamous cell carcinoma and translational applications of findings therein. A major effort in the laboratory has focused on molecular determinants of aggressiveness in oral squamous cell carcinomas (OSCC) that has lead to identification of (1) novel molecular signature that allow patient outcomes stratification (2) previously unexplored pathways in tumor cell aggressive growth and metastasis and (3) direct translational efforts in patients with oral cancer. This work is complemented by my role as a surgeon in the multidisciplinary management of patients with head and neck cancer.