Nancy A. Speck, Ph.D., Chairperson and Scientific Director, RUNX1 Research Program
Dr. Speck chairs the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. She earned her Ph.D. in biochemistry from Northwestern University and completed postdoctoral research fellowships in retroviral pathogenesis and eukaryotic gene regulation at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and at MIT. She started her own laboratory at Dartmouth Medical School, progressing from Assistant Professor of Biochemistry to Professor. She then held the James J. Carroll Chair of Oncology at the school before joining the Penn faculty in 2008 as Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology. She became Chair of her department in 2015. She is also Co-Leader of the Hematologic Malignancies Program at the Abramson Cancer Center, and is an investigator in the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute. Dr. Speck is well-known in the field of developmental hematopoiesis, especially as it pertains to translating research into fighting leukemia. She purified the proteins RUNX1 and CBFβ, and cloned their genes. Her biochemical and molecular characterization of them as they relate to leukemia has enabled much progress in the field of malignant blood-cell development. In addition to publishing in more than 100 peer-reviewed articles in leading journals, Dr. Speck has served on and/or chaired study sections at the National Institutes of Health, American Society of Hematology, and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, as well as many national and international grant review panels and committees. Her honors include the Leukemia Society of America Scholar Award and The Fogarty International Center Senior Fellow Award. Most recently she received the 2015 Henry M. Stratton Medal for Basic Science from the American Society of Hematology for her ‘seminal contributions in the area of hematology research’, and in particular for her work on RUNX1.
Paul Liu, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Liu is the Deputy Scientific Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute. He received his M.D. and residency training in internal medicine in Beijing, China. He then earned his Ph.D. in human genetics from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer in Houston. He received his postdoctoral research training at the University of Michigan before moving in 1993 to NIH’s National Center for Human Genome Research, renamed the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) in 1995. Dr. Liu was promoted from Senior Staff Fellow to tenure track Investigator to a tenured Senior Investigator. Dr. Liu headed the Oncogenesis and Development Section of the NHGRI since 1995, when in 2011 he was appointed Deputy Scientific Director. Dr. Liu’s laboratory investigates the molecular mechanism of leukemia using genetic and genomic approaches. He was the first to show that the gene CBFβ, which encodes the non-DNA binding partner of RUNX1, is mutated in leukemia. His group has a particular interest in the genetic control of hematopoiesis, the process through which pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells differentiate into all of the types of mature cells that circulate in the bloodstream. More recently, his focus has been on the development of targeted treatments for leukemia. Dr. Liu has received several honors for his achievements, including NIH Director’s Award and elections to the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians.
Gary Gilliland, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Gilliland is President and Director of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. He received his Ph.D. in Microbiology from UCLA and his M.D. from the University of California, San Francisco. He completed his Hematology and Medical Oncology training at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, respectively. He completed his internship and residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and had his Fellowship training in Hematology and Oncology, all at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Gilliland spent 20 years on the faculty at Harvard where he served as Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology at Harvard University where his work focused on the genetic basis of blood cancers. He was also an Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute from 1996 to 2009, the Director of the Leukemia Program at the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center from 2002 to 2009, and Director of the Cancer Stem Cell Program of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute from 2004 to 2009. In 2009, Gilliland left Harvard to go to Merck Research Laboratories where he served as Senior Vice President and Global Oncology Franchise Head, overseeing both preclinical and clinical oncology development as well as licensing, including the development of pembrolizumab (anti-PD1) for treatment of cancer. In 2013, he returned to academia to become the inaugural Vice Dean and Vice-President of Precision Medicine at Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was responsible for synthesizing research and clinical-care initiatives across all medical disciplines including cancer, heart and vascular medicine, neurosciences, genetics and pathology, in order to create a national model for the delivery of precise, personalized medicine. In January 2015, he became President and Director of the NCI-designated Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Dr. Gilliland discovered that inherited mutations in RUNX1 cause FPD/AML. He is an expert in cancer genetics and precision medicine and has unique experience working within both the clinical and academic medical communities as well as the pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Gilliland’s several honors and achievements include the American Society of Hematology’s William Dameshek Prize (2003), the American Society for Clinical Investigation’s Stanley J. Korsmeyer Award (2007), and in 2015 he became a Member of the National Academy of Medicine.
Benjamin Ebert, MD, PhD
Dr. Ebert is a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, an Institute Member of the Broad Institute, and Leader of the Leukemia Program for the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. Dr. Benjamin Ebert received a bachelor’s degree from Williams College, a doctorate from Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship, and an M.D. from Harvard Medical School. He completed a residency in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and a fellowship in hematology / oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute before pursuing postdoctoral research at the Broad Institute. Dr. Ebert is also an attending physician at Brigham Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The Ebert laboratory focuses on the molecular basis and treatment of hematologic malignancies, with a particular focus on myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). The lab has also developed novel in vivo models to study myeloid malignancies, elucidating the biological basis for the transformation of hematopoietic cells by somatic mutations. In 2009, Dr. Ebert founded Ligon Discovery, Inc. and serves as its Scientific Advisor, guiding internal drug discovery strategy and assisting in academic collaboration. Dr. Ebert was elected a Faculty Scholar by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) in 2016, received the McCulloch and Till Award from the International Society for Experimental Hematology (2016), and was recently awarded the American Society of Hematology’s William Dameshek Prize (2017). He is President of American Society of Clinical Investigation.
Leonard I. Zon, M.D.
Dr. Leonard I. Zon is the Grousbeck Professor of Pediatric Medicine at Harvard Medical School, an Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and Director of the Stem Cell Program at Children's Hospital Boston. He received a B.S. in chemistry and natural sciences from Muhlenberg College and an M.D. from Jefferson Medical College. He subsequently did an internal medicine residency at New England Deaconess Hospital and a fellowship in medical oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Dr. Zon has served as the President of the International Society for Stem Cell Research, President of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and is currently the Head of the external investigators of the Zebrafish Genome Institution and Chairman of the Harvard Stem Cell Institutes Executive Committee. Dr. Zon is internationally recognized for his pioneering research in the new fields of stem cell biology and cancer genetics. His current research focuses on two critical avenues of investigation: identifying the genes that direct stem cells to become cancers or to develop into more specialized blood or organ cells, and developing chemical or genetic suppressors to cure cancers and many other devastating diseases.
Bob Löwenberg, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Löwenberg co-founded Skyline Diagnostics B.V. in 2005 and serves as its Chief Scientific Officer. He is also the Chairman of the Department of Hematology at Erasmus University MC in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and serves as Editor-in-Chief of Blood, the Journal of the American Society of Hematology. Dr. Löwenberg graduated with an M.D. from Groningen University, and received his Ph.D., cum laude, from Erasmus University. From to 1982 to 1990, he served as Scientific Director of the Daniel den Hoed Cancer Center, a cancer institute in the Netherlands. In 1978 he was an Eleanor Roosevelt Fellow at UCLA. Dr. Löwenberg’s research activities are in the treatment and the pathobiology of leukemia, lymphoma and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. He is one of the three original founders of Introgene (biotech company, Leiden), now Crucell. He has been a Member of Scientific Advisory Board at AIMM Therapeutics BV since June 20, 2013, and serves on the editorial board of several international journals, including The New England Journal of Medicine. He founded the Dutch-Belgian Cooperative Group on Hemato-Oncology in Adults (HOVON Cooperative Group), and served as chair of the HOVON leukemia trial group. He was the Founder of European Hematology Association (EHA) and served as its President. He also served as President of the International Society of Experimental Hematology and the International Society of Hematology. He serves as Member at the Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts of The Netherlands and is Chairman of the Medical Advisory Council of the Dutch Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2004, Dr. Löwenberg received the Dr. P. Muntendam Cancer Prize of the Netherlands Cancer Society, and in 2006 he received the Jacqueline Seroussi Memorial Foundation for Cancer Research Award for his scientific contributions in the field of leukemia.
Brian Druker, M.D.
Dr. Druker is the Director of the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University, the JELD-WEN Chair of Leukemia Research and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. Dr. Druker revolutionized the treatment of cancer through research that resulted in the first drug to target the molecular defect of a cancer while leaving healthy cells unharmed. Marketed under the name Gleevec®, his discovery turned a once-fatal cancer, chronic myeloid leukemia, into a manageable condition. Treatment with Gleevec received FDA approval in record time, was featured on the cover of Time magazine, and established Dr. Druker as a pioneer in the field of precision medicine. Dr. Druker now is applying key principles of precision medicine to early detection. Earlier detection of lethal cancers represents the greatest opportunity to increase cancer survival rates. Dr. Druker has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Warren Alpert Prize from Harvard Medical School, the Lasker-DeBakey Award for Clinical Medical Research, the Japan Prize in Healthcare and Medical Technology, and most recently, the 2018 Tang Prize in Biopharmaceutical Science. He has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Grover C. Bagby, M.D.
Dr. Bagby is retired from his Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) practice and from his role as founding director of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, but remains an active member of the hematology/oncology section at the Portland VA Medical Center. He is experienced in the clinical management of acute leukemia, myelodysplasia and bone marrow failure syndromes and has ongoing funded active research projects in each one of these areas. His specialized research focuses on defining the molecular genetic determinants of leukemogenesis. His long-term goal is to develop pharmaceutical agents that can prevent the development of leukemia in patients at high risk.
Marshall S. Horwitz, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Marshall Horwitz is an internist and clinical medical geneticist whose research interests relate to genetic factors predisposing to hematopoietic malignancy and the clonal evolution of cancer. The major focus of his research centers on defining the genetic origins of cancers of the blood and using that as a paradigm for further understanding development. His laboratory employs genetic mapping and sequencing strategies to identify genes responsible for familial predisposition to leukemia, lymphoma, and bone marrow failure syndromes. In related work, Dr. Horwitz’s laboratory has developed a new approach for mapping cell fate during development by phylogenetically inferring the order in which mutations accumulate in somatic tissues. Dr. Horwitz directs the University of Washington School of Medicine Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) for concurrent M.D./Ph.D. students. He is Cancer Genetics Section Editor of the Public Library of Science journal PLOS Genetics and former chair of the NIH Genetics of Health and Disease study section. Among his honors, Dr. Horwitz is a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, received from the President at the White House in 2002, as well as the 2007 NIH Director’s Pioneer Award.