2020 Research Workshop Attendees - Desmoid Tumor Research Foundation

2019 Research Workshop Attendees

Maria Lucia Pedroso, MD, PhD, Hepatology, Federal University of Parana – Brazil


Gina D’Amato, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Sarcoma Medical Oncology, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Miami

Gina D’Amato, MD is an associate professor of medicine, sarcoma medical oncology, assist director of clinical research at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center/University of Miami Health System. Dr. D’Amato has 15+ years experience in treating sarcoma and desmoid tumor/aggressive fibromatosis patients. She is currently the principal investigator at her institution for the phase 3 clinical trial of nirogacestat for adults with desmoid tumor/aggressive fibromatosis. Profile here.

Richard Lackman, MD, Professor, Orthopaedic Surgery, Cooper University Hospital

Richard D. Lackman, MD, FACS, Professor, Orthopaedic Oncology, Cooper Bone and Joint institute Cooper University Hospital, Camden, NJ as well as Adjunct Professor, Orthopaedic Oncology, University of Teas, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas is a nationally recognized expert in the field of Orthopaedic Oncology. Prior to joining the Cooper Bone and Joint Institute, Dr. Lackman was the Associate Director for Patient and Family Services at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania and the Director of the University of Pennsylvania Health System Sarcoma Center of Excellence. While at the University of Pennsylvania, he also served as Paul B. Magnuson Professor and Chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery as well as the Residency Director for Orthopaedics.

Dr. Lackman is Co-Director multidisciplinary Orthopaedic Oncology Center at the MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper. His special interests and clinical focus include bone and soft tissue sarcomas, limb sparing surgery, benign musculoskeletal tumors and metastatic bone disease.

Dr. Lackman is a consultant reviewer for eight medical publications including Clinical Orthopaedics & Related Research, Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, International Journal of Oncology and Journal of American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons. He is a highly sought-after lecturer with over 120 publications and 25 book chapters to his credit. Dr. Lackman is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including being only the second of three orthopaedic surgeons in the nation to receive the prestigious Parker Palmer Courage to Teach Award, which is the highest award given by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) for graduate medical education. Dr. Lackman is a past president of the Musculoskeletal Tumor Society and is a member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. In 2015, Dr. Lackman was awarded the Ehrenzeller Award for Distinguished Past Resident at Pennsylvania Hospital.

Jesse Boehm, PhD, Scientific Director, The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

Jesse is the Associate Director of the Broad Institute’s Cancer Program and an Institute Scientist at the Broad. He leads a research laboratory focused on developing patient models from rare tumor types and genotypes (Cancer Cell Line Factory; CCLF) to support the Broad’s Dependency Map Initiative and assessing the function of novel cancer mutations as part of the Variant to Function (V2F) initiative. The Boehm Lab has an ultimate goal of making “precision functional genomics” a reality for cancer patients. Jesse received his B.S. in biology from MIT and his Ph.D. from Harvard University, Division of Medical Sciences. Profile here.

Hari Deshpande, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Medical Oncology: Sarcoma, Genitourinary and Head & Neck, Yale University

Dr. Hari Deshpande, associate professor of medicine in the Section of Medical Oncology, is caring for patients with sarcomas along with the Sarcoma multidisciplinary team. Previously in practice at both the New London Cancer Center and Las Vegas Cancer Center, Dr. Deshpande also has clinical interests in Sarcomas, cancers of unknown primary and thyroid cancers. He is a member of the head and neck cancer and GU cancer teams. He is the Director of the Medical Oncology Inpatient Consult service.

Paul Huang, PhD, Translational Researcher, Institute of Cancer Research

Paul Huang, Ph.D. is Head of the Molecular and Systems Oncology Laboratory at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London, UK. He is a tenured Faculty member within the Division of Molecular Pathology and holds a Cancer Research UK Career Establishment Award. His research focuses on the use of systems biology and molecular pathology to understand aberrant signaling networks and drug resistance in sarcomas with the goal of developing biomarkers and new therapies for these diseases. He is the Deputy Director of the Joint Royal Marsden-ICR Sarcoma Research Centre, one of the largest sarcoma research centres in Europe. He serves as a member of several panels including the NCRI Sarcoma Clinical Studies Group, the NCRI Cellular Molecular Pathology (CM-Path) Clinical Trial Pathology Advisory Group (CT-PAG) and Research Advisory Committee of Sarcoma UK.

Bernd Kasper, MD, PhD, Professor, Interdisciplinary Tumor Center, Sarcoma Unit, Mannheim University Medical Center

Prof. Bernd Kasper studied Medicine at the University of Heidelberg. In 2001, he finalised his thesis at the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ) dealing with new treatment strategies for chronic myelogenous leukaemia patients using the tyrosine kinase inhibitor imatinib. To deepen his training, he stayed in London (Imperial College School of Medicine, Hammersmith Hospital, Department of Haematology) and Brussels (Jules Bordet Institute, Medical Oncology Clinic). In 2007 and 2008, he specialized in Internal Medicine and Medical Haematology/Oncology at the Department of Internal Medicine V at the University of Heidelberg. Currently, he works together with Prof. Peter Hohenberger at the Sarcoma Unit at the Interdisciplinary Tumor Center Mannheim (ITM) at the Mannheim University Medical Center, University of Heidelberg. Since 2011, he is leading the ITM. His special interest lies in the treatment of patients with bone and soft tissue sarcomas including GIST and desmoids. He is head of the study center of the German Interdisciplinary Sarcoma Group (GISG) and Secretary of the Soft Tissue and Bone Sarcoma Group (STBSG) of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC). Bernd Kasper is actively involved in patient advocacy work on the national as well as international level as a board member of Sarcoma Patients EuroNet (SPAEN). Profile here.

Robert Lefkowitz, MD, Attending Physician, Radiology, Weill Cornell Medical College/Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Dr. Lefkowitz is a radiologist specializing in abdominal and musculoskeletal imaging and he has a particular interest in imaging of soft tissue tumors. Currently, he is involved in several prospective and retrospective research projects evaluating the treatment response of desmoid tumors to medical therapy and the associated changes seen on MRI. Profile here.

Raphael Pollock, MD, PhD, FACS, Director, The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center

Dr. Raphael Pollock is Professor and Director of the Division of Surgical Oncology at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, and holds the Kathleen Wellenreiter Klotz Chair in Cancer Research. He also serves at Surgeon in Chief for the James Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Ohio State University Health System. Dr. Pollock’s work focuses on soft tissue sarcoma. His laboratory research activities are examining multiple facets of the molecular drivers underlying soft tissue sarcoma inception focus on soft tissue sarcoma, a rare cancer in adults but rather prevalent in children. He has published widely on sarcoma surgery and treatment, and his funded research includes sarcoma molecular biology and the development of novel therapeutics for this group of diseases. His laboratory work involves the discovery of oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes in soft tissue sarcoma. He is principal investigator of an $11.5 million National Cancer Institute (NCI) grant to support collaborative sarcoma translational research. The NCI Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant, awarded to the Sarcoma Alliance for Research for Collaboration, represents the largest award ever to study sarcoma. Profile here.

Jonathan Trent, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine, Medical Oncology, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Miami

Dr. Jonathan C. Trent earned his MD and PhD in cancer biology from The University of Texas Health Science Center where he also completed a residency in internal medicine. He then completed a fellowship in medical oncology at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center while serving as chief fellow. Prior to joining the University of Miami, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, he held an appointment as associate professor of medicine in the Department of Sarcoma Medical Oncology, Division of Cancer Medicine at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Dr. Trent is currently the Associate Director for Clinical Research, the Director of the Bone and Soft-tissue Sarcoma Group at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Trent’s interests are in the clinical and translational research of sarcomas, direct care of sarcoma patients, and education about sarcoma. As Associate Director for Clinical Research, his goal is to help Sylvester Faculty develop clinical trials that provide clinically effective and scientifically exciting therapy to cancer patients of South Florida and beyond. The major focus of his clinical, educational and research efforts are with gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST), chondrosarcoma, and other sarcomas. The major efforts of Dr. Trent’s research focus on understanding the mechanisms of action and resistance of imatinib in GIST and other sarcomas while striving toward improved therapeutic options. His work involves the use of novel preoperative/postoperative clinical trials, prospectively acquired tumor tissue, cell lines, archival tissue, as well as collaborations with disciplines such as the genomics facility, surgical oncology, pathology, radiology and interventional radiology.

Kris Vleminckx, PhD, Professor of Developmental Biology, Ghent University

Dr. Kris Vleminckx is a cell and developmental biologist at Ghent University in Belgium. He was trained as a cancer cell biologist documenting for the first time the invasion suppressor activities of the cell adhesion molecule E-cadherin. He went for a first post-doc to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York where he initially studied the developmental role of cadherin complexes during early vertebrate development (using the model organism Xenopus) in the laboratory of Dr. Barry Gumbiner, who around that time was one of the first groups to show that beta-catenin, a protein associated with cadherins, had a parallel function in the Wnt signaling pathway. Kris Vleminckx studied the role of the tumor suppressor gene APC in Xenopus development and has ever since focused on investigating the Wnt pathway, primarily in early development. After a second post-doc at the Max-Planck Institute in Freiburg, Germany, he returned to Ghent in 2000 to start up his research group. He is also associated with the Center of Medical Genetics at the Ghent University Hospital. When the novel revolutionary techniques for genome editing using TALEN and CRISPR/Cas9 emerged, he realized that this created unique opportunities for modeling human disease in the model organism Xenopus tropicalis and he generated the first genetic cancer model in this organism by mutating the APC tumor suppressor gene, hence mimicking the Familial Adenomatous Polyposis cancer syndrome. Since then, modeling human cancer, including desmoid tumors, is the major focus of his research group.

Aaron Weiss, DO, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Maine Medical Center

Dr. Weiss graduated from the University of Rochester in 1994 and subsequently earned his medical degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1999. He completed a pediatric emphasis internship at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine/Albert Einstein Medical Center in 2000 followed by a pediatric residency at the AI duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, DE in 2003. He then went on to complete a pediatric hematology-oncology fellowship at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN in 2006. He subsequently spent six years as an attending pediatric hematologist-oncologist at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey/University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and Jersey Shore University Medical Center. In 2012, Dr. Weiss joined the Maine Children’s Cancer Program at Maine Medical Center in Portland, ME. Dr. Weiss has particular interest in pediatric sarcomas. He has co-authored a number of publications on this subject and is currently involved in conducting pediatric clinical trials both locally and nationally in the fields of desmoid tumor and non-rhabdomyosarcoma soft tissue sarcoma. He is the Principal Investigator of the DTFR-funded project: Deregulated mTOR in Desmoid-type Fibromatosis: Identification and Validation of a New Therapeutic Target. Profile here.

Gerlinde Wernig, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology, Stanford University School of Medicine

Dr. Gerlinde Wernig is an Assistant Professor of Pathology at Stanford University Medical Center. After receiving her residency training in internal medicine (Germany) and pathology (US) specializing in hematology/oncology and hematopathology, she sought postdoctoral training in leukemia research and joined Gary Gilliland’s lab where she was involved in the discovery of the now famous JAKV617F mutation. She then joined Irv Weissman’s laboratory for her second postdoc and also started her pathology residency training at Stanford University. Now, Dr. Wernig has her own lab which focuses on understanding the pathomechanisms of end stage organ fibrosis with the ultimate goal to help identify new targets for effective therapies. They have found that the transcription factor c-JUN is specifically activated in human idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and many other human fibrotic diseases and that induction of c-Jun in mice mimics the pathological hallmarks of these diseases. Profile here.