Cancer Biology Training Grant Retreat

Frontiers in Cancer Research

Martin Chapman

Dr. Martin Chapman will discuss careers in biotechnology.  Martin received his Ph.D. in Immunology from the Royal Postgraduate Medical School, University of London, U.K.  He was a Professor of Medicine and Microbiology at the University of Virginia from 1985-2001 and a co-director of the UVA Asthma and Allergic Diseases Center.  He is founder and president of Indoor Biotechnologies, an immunodiagnostics and biotechnology company specializing in manufacturing innovative products for investigating allergy and asthma, based here in Charlottesville.  Dr. Chapman is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Virginia Biotechnology Organization.

Michael Clarke

Dr. Michael Clarke received his M.D. from Indiana University.  After serving as a Clinical Associate at the National Cancer Institute and a Staff Fellow at the National Institute of Arthritis, he held professorships in both the department of Internal Medicine as well as the department of Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor.  Currently at Stanford, he is the Associate Director of the Stanford Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, serves as a clinical oncologist and maintains a laboratory, which focuses on the molecular mechanisms of stem cell self-renewal as well as the isolation and identification of cancer stem cells.  His group characterized the role of Bmi-1 in regulating hematopoietic stem cells self-renewal.  In addition, his group devised a technique to separate cells from heterogeneous tumors into tumorigenic and non-tumorigenic subpopulations. 

Benjamin Cravatt

Dr. Benjamin Cravatt is Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical Physiology at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California.  His research is focused on understanding the role of enzymes in the progression of cancer and ultimately using this knowledge to identify novel therapeutic targets.  To achieve these goals, his lab has developed and applied new technologies that bridge the fields of chemistry and biology.  Dr. Cravatt is the co-inventor of activity-based proteomics, which his laboratory has used to directly measure the activity of enzymes in cells.  Applying this method, his laboratory has recently found that monoacylglycerol lipase activity drives tumorigenesis by increasing free fatty-acid levels in aggressive cancer cells.   Dr. Cravatt’s work has garnered numerous awards, including the Eli Lily Award from the American Chemical Society and the MERIT award from the National Cancer Institute.  Prior to joining Scripps as a graduate student, Dr. Cravatt attended Stanford University and graduated with degrees in Biology and History.  He is a Cope and Searle Scholar and is a co-founder of ActivX Biosciences, an emerging biopharmaceutical company that discovers and develops highly selective small molecule drugs.

Paul Deeble

Dr. Paul Deeble will discuss faculty positions at teaching-focused institutions.  Paul received his Ph.D. at the University of Virginia in Molecular Medicine and Microbiology and completed his postdoctoral training at the University of Virginia Cardiovascular Center.  During his postdoctoral work, he was an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Biology at Piedmont Virginia Community College.  In 2002, Dr. Deeble joined the Biology department at Mary Baldwin College located in Staunton, VA.  Since coming to Mary Baldwin, he has taught classes in a variety of sub-disciplines in biology while continuing to stay active in research.  Dr. Deeble also serves as Chair for the School of Science.

Galit Lahav

Dr. Galit Lahav received her Ph.D. in 2001 from the Department of Biology in
the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology.  Between the years 2001-2003, she completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.   She then spent a year at Harvard’s Bauer Center for Genomics Research, and in 2004, was appointed as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School where she is now an Associate Professor.  Her lab combines experimental and theoretical approaches to study the dynamics of signaling networks, in particular p53, in human cells as well as to understand cellular decision-making in individual cells.  Dr. Lahav’s discoveries emphasize the importance of developing new technologies to allow quantitative single-cell studies of protein and network behavior.

Davide Ruggero

As Associate Professor in the Department of Urology at UCSF, Dr. Davide Ruggero interests lie in understanding how the disregulation of proteome biology and protein translation leads to cancer. A primary aim of the Ruggero Lab is to determine the mechanisms governing overall cellular protein synthesis as mediated through the PI3K-mTOR signaling axis and Myc transcription factor, and to identify molecular targets that can be modulated for therapeutic benefit. Along with this side of his research are the significant contributions he has made in developing novel animal models to test the altered translational events that lead to cancer initiation. We are fortunate to have Dr. Ruggero for these roundtable discussions to hear not only about his fascinating research, but also to talk firsthand with a scientist that has achieved enormous success both here in the United States as well as overseas during the early stages of his training.

Michael Torok

Clinical trials test new ways to prevent, detect, diagnose, or treat cancer, while providing an opportunity to cancer patients to benefit from treatments that would be otherwise unavailable to them.  Clinical trials management includes recruiting participating researchers, training them, providing them with supplies, coordinating study administration and data collection, setting up meetings, and monitoring the sites for compliance with the clinical protocol.  Michael Torok is a Global Project Manager at PRA International who manages multiple phase II through IV clinical research studies for large pharmaceutical & biotechnology clients across multiple therapeutic indications and international teams.  He specializes in rapid-strategic study start-up, subject recruitment and safety, data integrity, and good clinical practice (GCP) compliance.  Michael received a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics from UVA in 2005.  Outside of PRA, he is President of Royale Investments, Inc., a corporation that offers operational consulting to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and invests in technology start-ups. 

Maja Zecevic

Dr. Maja Zecevic will discuss careers in the scientific/medical publishing industry.  Maja received a Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Virginia and a Masters of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University.  For the last 6 years she has functioned as the North American editor of the medical journal The Lancet.  Maja’s diverse responsibilities include judging the scientific and technical merit of submissions for publication, identification of new research concepts and selection topics for review and opinion pieces, providing recommendations of gaps in global health research and funding, and functioning as the journal’s ambassador by establishing and maintaining contacts and networks with key US leaders in academia, government, industry, health focused foundations and societies, and health funding bodies.