Spring 2016 HRA Members’ Meeting (NYC)

March 31 & April 1, 2016

Additional Event Info: Meeting Agenda | Executive Summary

Meeting Info

This meeting covered the following topics:

  • Use of Big Data in Precision Medicine: Patient & Disease-Specific Registries (Thur)
  • Approaches to achieve gender equity in STEM faculty: successes, hurdles and opportunities for collaboration (Thur)
  • “Gene Editing and Precision Medicine” Scientific Session (Thur)
  • Measuring and Messaging Research Outcomes of Your Funding (Fri)
  • Team Science Tools: Practical Team Science Guidance (Fri)

Meeting Agenda, Speaker Bios and Presentations (click on each day to expand)

March 31, Thursday

10:00 - 10:30 AM

(30 min)

Welcome to the Members’ Meeting and Introductions

10:30 AM – 12:00PM

(90 min)

Use of Big Data in Precision Medicine: Patient & Disease-Specific Registries

“Big data” means different things to different people, depending on context. For the purpose of this session, we choose to focus on big data as it pertains to registries of genomic data. These registries can focus on healthy populations, patient populations, specific diseases, or some combination. We are interested in learning how these vast pools of genomic data can act as a basis for a community gathering of patients sharing data and disease experiences; how they can be utilized to improve health care delivery and clinical outcomes; how they can be mined to formulate and test disease hypotheses; and how they can inevitably contribute to disease eradication. In addition, genomic datasets may identify pre-disease states and therefore may predict who will develop disease and who will remain healthy. As the registry movement is still in its infancy, important issues such as patient privacy, data security, and the question of open access still need to be addressed. Our main speaker and several member organizations will provide presentations to address these and other facets of this complicated topic.


Mary DeRome

Translational Research Manager | Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation

Mary DeRome joined MMRF as Translational Research Manager in February 2014. In this role she is responsible for managing the MMRF research grant program. She also helps manage the MMRF CoMMpass trial, an 8 year study of 1000 Multiple Myeloma patients, and a number of other MMRF precision medicine initiatives. Prior to her current position, Mary spent twelve years as a Senior Investigator in oncology drug discovery at Bayer HealthCare in West Haven CT and seven years as Senior Scientist in nanotechnology vaccine development at Artificial Cell Technologies in New Haven CT. Mary received her BS in chemistry, did graduate work in Pharmacology, and received her MS in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Connecticut, Storrs CT/University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington CT.


Amy Abernethy, MD/PhD

Chief Medical Officer & SVP Oncology | Flatiron Health

Amy P. Abernethy, MD PhD is the Chief Medical Officer and SVP Oncology at Flatiron Health, a healthcare technology company focused on organizing the world’s cancer data and making it actionable for providers, patients, researchers and life sciences. At Flatiron, Dr. Abernethy leads the Oncology and Science parts of the organization. She is a hematologist/oncologist and palliative medicine physician, and internationally recognized cancer clinical researcher with over 400 publications. Dr. Abernethy is an appointee to the National Academy of Medicine’s (formerly the Institute of Medicine) National Cancer Policy Forum, on the Executive Board for the Personalized Medicine Coalition, and Past President of the American Academy of Hospice & Palliative Medicine. She is also a Professor of Medicine at Duke University School of Medicine, and ran the Center for Learning Health Care in the Duke Clinical Research Institute and Duke Cancer Care Research Program in the Duke Cancer Institute. She is also on the Board of Directors of athenahealth, Inc.


Shawn Sweeney, PhD

Associate Director of Translational Research | AACR Foundation

Shawn M. Sweeney, PhD, is a scientist, educator, and life-long cyclist. As associate director of translational research at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), he serves as liaison for the AACR’s Clinical and Translational Cancer Research Committee (CTCRC) and scientific working groups; project lead and major content developer for the AACR Cancer Progress Report series; internal scientific consultant; and is the project lead for AACR Project GENIE. Prior to joining the AACR, Sweeney was a research associate in the Institute for Medicine and Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. His more than 15-year career in research focused on the role of the microenvironment in cardiovascular development and disease, as well as in tumor metastasis. Sweeney is also an adjunct associate professor of medicine at the International University of the Health Sciences’ School of Medicine. He firmly believes in the power of bicycles to transform individuals, neighborhoods, cities, countries, and ultimately the world.


Mathew Pletcher, PhD

Vice President of Genomic Discovery | Autism Speaks

Mathew Pletcher currently serves as Vice President, Head of Genomic Discovery and the interim Chief Scientific Officer for Autism Speaks. As part of his role with Autism Speaks, he directs the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE) and oversees MSSNG, a collaboration between Autism Speaks, Google, and the Hospital for Sick Children, to make available in an open-access database over 10,000 whole genome sequences from families with autism. Mathew received a B.S. in biology from Duquesne University and a PhD in human genetics from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He has held posts at the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation, the Scripps Research Institute, and Pfizer Global Research and Development. In his role as Director of Medical Genetics at Pfizer, he led drug development programs for progeria, lysosomal storage diseases, sickle cell disease, myotonic dystrophy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. He has also founded the RDH12 Fund for Sight, a non-profit organization devoted to the development of a gene therapy for a genetic form of Leber Congenital Amaurosis, a hereditary blinding disorder.


Pam Feliciano, PhD

Scientific Director of SPARK | Simons Foundation

Pamela Feliciano is the Scientific Director of SPARK, a national autism research study launching in 2016 (SPARKforAutism.org). SPARK’s goal is to recruit, engage and retain a cohort of 50,000 individuals with autism and their families. SPARK families will be asked to submit saliva for genetic analysis and share medical information with scientists and agree to be contacted about future research studies. Feliciano joined the Simons Foundation in 2013 and has a son with autism. Previously, Feliciano worked as a senior editor at Nature Genetics, where she was responsible for managing the peer review process of research publications in all areas of genetics. While at Nature Genetics, Feliciano was engaged with the scientific community, attending conferences and giving talks and workshops on editorial decision-making at academic institutes worldwide. Feliciano holds a BS from Cornell University, an MS from New York University and a PhD in developmental biology from Stanford University. The journal Science named her PhD thesis work on the parallel evolution of wild populations of three-spine stickleback fish part of its “Breakthrough of the Year” in 2005.


12:00 – 1:30 PM

(90 min)

Interest Group Discussions over Lunch

1:30 - 3:15PM

(90 min)

Approaches to achieve gender equity in STEM faculty: successes, hurdles and opportunities for collaboration

This session will present data on gender inequities in STEM faculty and on the new interventions that academia and funders have implemented to promote retention and advancement of female faculty conducting research on human health. Panelists will share about the success and hurdles in the implementation of these interventions to identify opportunities for funders to strengthen academia’s efforts to achieve gender equity in STEM faculty.


Sindy Escobar-Alvarez, PhD

Program Officer for Medical Research | Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

Sindy N. Escobar-Alvarez is the Senior Program Officer for Medical Research at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF), a private foundation with the mission to improve the quality of people’s lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and child well-being. At DDCF, she manages the Clinical Scientist Development Award for early-career physician scientists and a grant portfolio supporting innovations in sickle cell disease research. She is also co-chair of the Early Career Scientist Working group of the Health Research Alliance. Sindy is a doctoral graduate of the Pharmacology Department of Cornell University Weill Graduate School and post-graduate alumnus of Sloan-Kettering Institute.


Stephanie Abbuhl, MD

Professor and Vice Chair of Faculty Affairs, Department of Emergency Medicine and Executive Director of FOCUS on Health & Leadership for Women | University of Penn School of Medicine

Stephanie B. Abbuhl MD is Professor of Emergency Medicine and Vice Chair of Faculty Affairs at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. She is board certified in both emergency medicine and internal medicine and completed the ELAM (Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine) fellowship in 2004-5. Dr. Abbuhl’s primary research interests include investigating gender issues surrounding women’s advancement in medicine and science and faculty development in general. Since 2001, Dr. Abbuhl has been the Executive Director of FOCUS on Health and Leadership for Women, a unique faculty development program funded by the Dean to recruit, retain and promote women faculty and to promote women’s health research. In 2004, the FOCUS program received the AAMC’s Women in Medicine Leadership Development Award. Dr. Abbuhl’s experience with numerous innovative FOCUS initiatives led to her collaboration with Dr. Jeane Ann Grisso, as joint-PIs, on the unique RO1-funded NIH-TAC (Transforming Academic Culture) trial. This 4-year trial studied a multi-faced intervention in a cluster-randomized design across the entire school of medicine aimed at improving the academic productivity and job satisfaction of women faculty. Since 2013, along with a team of multidisciplinary Penn colleagues, Dr. Abbuhl has developed a Penn Pathways career-leadership program for men and women assistant professors in the STEM fields. Dr. Abbuhl’s awards have included the 2012 AAMC Group on Women in Medicine and Science Leadership Development Award, a national honor in recognition of her research and programmatic work on promoting women’s biomedical careers; the 2013 Trustee’s Council of Penn Women-Provost Award at Penn for her leadership in advancing women at the University of Pennsylvania; and the 2015 Arthur Asbury Outstanding Mentoring Award at the Perelman School of Medicine.


Moses Chao, PhD

Professor, Department of Cell Biology; Professor, Department of Neuroscience and Physiology; Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Skirball Institute | New York University

Moses V. Chao received his BA degree at Pomona College and his PhD in biochemistry at UCLA. He carried out postdoctoral research in molecular biology with Richard Axel at Columbia University before joining the faculty at Cornell University Medical School in 1984. He is currently Professor of Cell Biology, Physiology & Neuroscience and Psychiatry at the Skirball Institute at New York University School of Medicine. His laboratory has been studying the mechanism of action of neurotrophins and their receptors for over 30 years. Chao was a Senior Editor of the Journal of Neuroscience for 11 years and served as President for the Society for Neuroscience in 2012. He was also Chair of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation Scientific Advisory Council, the St Jude’s Scientific Advisory Board and the Glaucoma Research Foundation Advisory Board. He is a recipient of a Jacob Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He is a Fellow of the AAAS, a Senior Fellow of the Simons Foundation and a NARSAD Distinguished Investigator.


Eric Nestler, MD/PhD

Professor and Chair Neuroscience, Professor Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics | Mt. Sinai Medical Center

Dr. Nestler is the Nash Family Professor of Neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, where he serves as Chair of the Department of Neuroscience and Director of the Friedman Brain Institute. He received his BA, PhD, and MD degrees, and psychiatry residency training, from Yale University. He served on the Yale faculty from 1987-2000, where he was the Elizabeth Mears and House Jameson Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobiology, and Director of the Division of Molecular Psychiatry. He moved to Dallas in 2000 where he served as the Lou and Ellen McGinley Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center until moving to New York in 2008. Dr. Nestler is a member of the Institute of Medicine and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a past President of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology and President Elect of the Society for Neuroscience. The goal of Dr. Nestler’s research is to better understand the molecular mechanisms of addiction and depression based on work in animal models, and to use this information to develop improved treatments of these disorders.


Louise Perkins, PhD

Chief Science Officer | Melanoma Research Alliance

Dr. Perkins joined the Melanoma Research Alliance as Chief Science Officer in 2013 where she is responsible for the development and implementation of the MRA’s scientific strategy including its research award program and annual Scientific Retreat. Her interests center on translational research including genomics, drug discovery and advancement of novel therapeutic approaches. Prior to joining the MRA, she was Chief Scientific Officer at the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) for five years, following a 16-year research career at two major pharmaceutical companies. While at the MMRF, Dr. Perkins led the expansion of its venture philanthropy activities including its Biotech Investment Award program and development of the scientific direction of its CoMMpass sm longitudinal study. Prior to joining the MMRF, Dr. Perkins was Director of Cancer Research at Bayer Pharmaceuticals, where she contributed to advancing novel targeted therapies toward clinical study including Nexavar® and other innovative signal transduction inhibitors. Prior to joining Bayer, she led a cancer research group at the Schering-Plough Research Institute participating in early-stage programs, including novel target-finding using human genomics data. Dr. Perkins graduated from the University of Michigan with a PhD and MS in Biological Chemistry and conducted postdoctoral studies at Princeton University in the Department of Molecular Biology. She earned her BS in Zoology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Perkins became a member of the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research in late 2015.

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Susan L. Solomon

Chief Executive Officer | New York Stem Cell Foundation

Susan L. Solomon is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) Research Institute, the world’s leading non-profit research institute dedicated to translating cutting-edge stem cell research into clinical breakthroughs. From a standing start in 2005 NYSCF has raised and invested more than $150 million in “tipping point” stem cell research, accelerating progress in finding treatments and cures. A veteran healthcare advocate, Ms. Solomon serves on the boards of a number of prominent diabetes and regenerative medicine organization including the College Diabetes Network and the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine. She has received numerous awards for her work with NYSCF, including the New York State Women of Excellence Award from the Governor of New York, the Triumph Award from the Brooke Ellison Foundation, and recognition as a Living Landmark from the New York Landmarks Conservancy. Ms. Solomon started her career as an attorney at Debevoise & Plimpton, then held executive positions at MacAndrews and Forbes and APAX (formerly MMG Patricof and Co.). She was the founder and President of Sony Worldwide Networks, the Chairman and CEO of Lancit Media Productions, an Emmy award-winning television production company, and then served as the founding CEO of Sothebys.com, prior to starting her own strategic management consulting firm Solomon Partners LLC in 2000. She received her BA cum laude from New York University and her JD from Rutgers University School of Law, where she was as an editor of the Law Review.

(Did not use slides)

3:45 - 4:45 PM

(60 min)

“Gene Editing and Precision Medicine” Scientific Session

Dr. Zhang is a bioengineer who has pioneered the development of genome editing tools for use in eukaryotic cells – including human cells – from natural microbial CRISPR systems. These tools, which he has made widely available, are accelerating biomedical research around the world. Dr. Zhang leverages CRISPR and other methodologies to study the role of genetic and epigenetic mechanisms underlying diseases, specifically focusing on disorders of the nervous system. His methods are also being used in the fields of immunology, clinical medicine, cancer biology, and other research areas. This technique for mammalian genome editing has had enormous impact on experimental science and holds great promise for therapeutic applications as well. In 2015, Science named CRISPR the "Breakthrough of the Year."


Yung Lie, PhD

Deputy Director and Chief Scientific Officer | Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation

Yung S. Lie, Ph.D., is the Deputy Director and Chief Scientific Officer of the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides today’s best young scientists with funding to pursue innovative cancer research. She joined the Foundation in 2008. Yung’s responsibilities include managing the Foundation’s portfolio of six award programs ($15 million annual budget) and serving as the primary liaison between current and former award recipients, the Foundation, and its private and corporate sponsors. She also guides all Foundation communications and marketing. She received her BA in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of California at Berkeley and earned her PhD in Biological Sciences from Stanford University. Following graduate school, she worked as a bioinformatics consultant at Celera/Applied Biosystems, contributing to the Human Genome Project. Yung completed postdoctoral research in neuroscience as a Damon Runyon Fellow at the University of California at San Francisco and at The Rockefeller University.

Feng Zhang, PhD

Core Member, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard | Investigator, McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology | W. M. Keck Career Development Professor in Biomedical Engineering, Departments of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and of Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Robertson Investigator, New York Stem Cell Foundation

Feng Zhang is a Core Member at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, an Investigator at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. He was born in Shijiazhuang (Hebei Province, China) in 1981 and moved to Des Moines, Iowa in 1993. His introduction to engineering biological tools for mammalian systems began as a sophomore in high school with an opportunity to intern in the gene therapy lab of John Levy in Des Moines, Iowa. He obtained an A.B. in Chemistry and Physics from Harvard University in 2004 working with Xiaowei Zhuang. As a PhD student in the Chemistry Department at Stanford University, Zhang worked with Karl Deisseroth to develop optogenetics technologies for dissecting brain circuits, using light-sensitive proteins from microbes to enable control of neuronal activity in living organisms with light. After finishing his Ph.D. in 2009, Feng joined the Harvard Society of Fellows as a Junior Fellow (2009-2010), focusing on developing gene editing tools based on transcription activator-like effectors (TALEs). In 2011, Zhang began his own laboratory at the Broad and McGovern Institutes, where he harnessed CRISPR-Cas systems for gene editing in eukaryotic cells. His lab continues to play a critical role in the development of gene editing technologies and applications that are accelerating research around the world.


4:45 - 5:30 PM

(45 min)

Host Session—DDCF and NYSCF


Betsy Myers, PhD

Program Director for Medical Research | Doris Duke Charitable Foundation


Susan L. Solomon

Chief Executive Officer | New York Stem Cell Foundation


6:30 - 10:00 PM

Reception and Dinner at Michael’s Restaurant

April 1, Friday

8:30AM – 9:30AM

(60 min)

Small Group Discussions over breakfast

9:30 - 10:30 AM

(60 min)

HRA News and Updates

10:30 - 12:00 PM

(90 min)

Measuring and Messaging Research Outcomes of Your Funding

The session focuses on innovative approaches that funders can use to evaluate and measure the scientific outcomes of their research grants, and complements previous evaluation sessions that have been offered at HRA meetings. Both qualitative and quantitative strategies will be presented to measure short- and long-term research discoveries and advances that result from individual research grants and from clusters of grants that focus on specific research topics. Data visualization strategies also will be presented to show how to effectively translate progress, and shape and communicate messages about research outcomes to different stakeholders, including donors, patients, Board members as well as the scientific community. Speaker presentations will be followed by small group breakout sessions that focus more sharply on each of the different strategies and include exercises for participants to get first-hand experience on how these tools are actually implemented and can be applied to their area of funding.


Rhonda Aizenberg, PhD

Rhonda Aizenberg directs the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s Research Grants Department. She is responsible for ensuring that the organization’s funding strategy responds to the needs of the field, is aligned with its mission and goals and ensures sound stewardship of the research grant investment. She also oversees the organization’s Community for Progress initiative, which provides professional development opportunities for grantees and encourages information exchange and collaboration among pancreatic cancer researchers. Aizenberg has a 30-year history working in the nonprofit sector and has spearheaded corporate citizenship and grant making programs for leading organizations, including the American Automobile Association/Automobile Club of Southern California, the Beverly Foundation and the Jewish Community Foundation, Los Angeles. She has significant experience in developing and overseeing partnership programs as well. Because she has worked on both sides of the funding track – grant making and grant seeking – she understands and appreciates the requirements and challenges of each. Aizenberg received her PhD in sociology, with a specialty in demography and gerontology, from Duke University and completed her postdoctoral training at the Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center and Population Research Laboratory at the University of Southern California.


Naba Bora, PhD

Dr. Bora received his PhD in Cellular Biology and Anatomy from the Medical College of Georgia and an M.B.A. with concentration in Management from Johns Hopkins University. He completed his postdoctoral training at Johns Hopkins University in the Department of Ophthalmology before joining the Department of Defense’s Congressionally Directors Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) in 2002 as a Health Science Administrator for several programs. He has also served as the Program Manager for the Neurofibromatosis Research Program (NFRP) from 2005-2015, Tuberous Sclerosis Research Program (TSCRP) from 2005-2015, and the Spinal Cord Injury Research Program (SCIRP) from 2009-2015. He also serves as IM/IT Program Manager.


Jevin West, PhD

Jevin West is an Assistant Professor at the Information School at the University of Washington, co-founder of the DataLab and a Data Science Fellow at the eScience Institute. He received his PhD in biology at the University of Washington and continued with a postdoc at the Department of Physics at Umea University in Sweden where he worked on the mapequation.org project in the Icelab. Jevin co-founded Eigenfactor.org– a research project that maps large scale citation networks in order to better understand, navigate, and evaluate the scientific literature. Using citation networks as a model system, he studies a variety of topics including the evolution of scientific disciplines, data mining of large corpora, and the sociology of science.


12:00 – 1:30PM

(90 min)

Hands-on Data Visualization Exercises over Lunch or Networking Lunch

During this lunchtime hands-on session, there will be an opportunity to explore the software discussed in the main session. If you want to ability to test drive what was demonstrated, be sure to bring your laptop! If you don’t have a laptop, use the opportunity to meet your neighbor who did bring one – or just watch the speakers do some real time analysis.

1:30 – 3:00PM

(90 min)

Team Science Tools: Practical Team Science Guidance

Team science initiatives are characterized by cross-disciplinary collaboration focused on outcome-oriented research. Over the last decade, academia has generated an upsurge in team science initiatives, while external funding agencies in the United States and around the globe have made more collaborative and team-based science funding opportunities available. Studies on research centers funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) have demonstrated that team science initiatives entail significant coordination costs. As a result, team science takes more time, at least proximally, than individual research; however, studies have also demonstrated a distal payoff in terms of research acceleration. Consequently, it is imperative that stakeholders of team science understand the most effective practices for productive team science and learn to employ them. Drawing from a rich evidence base, this topic will present a collection of practical tools and resources that foundation funders can draw upon to implement effective practices in team science. The presenter will cover: • An overview of the literature in the science of team science; • Leadership for team science; • Team science communication; • Team science evaluation; and, • Reward and recognition for collaborative science.


Belinda Orland, MBA

Belinda Orland is the Senior Manager for Research Evaluation and Reporting at the American Heart Association. In this role, her responsibilities include the strategy, development and implementation of an evaluation program for the Association’s research awards as well as the open science policies related to AHA funded research. Prior to this position she served as the Research Information Manager and as a manager in the Information Technology department at AHA. Belinda holds an MBA from Baylor University.


Holly Falk-Krzesinski, PhD

Holly J. Falk-Krzesinski recently joined Elsevier as Vice President of Global Academic & Research Relations. She previously served as Director of Research Team Support & Development at Northwestern University. Her interests focus on translating empirical research findings about team science into evidence-based effective practices. As chair of the Annual International Science of Team Science Conference, she has been instrumental in developing a strong, interdisciplinary community of practice. Falk-Krzesinski earned a BS in biological sciences with a chemistry minor from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She holds a PhD in microbiology and immunology from Loyola University of Chicago and a certificate in nonprofit management from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern.


Pat Morin, PhD

Dr. Morin is Sr. Director of Scientific Review and Grants Administration at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). Following his studies in biophysics at the University of Quebec, Canada, where he received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, Dr. Morin obtained his PhD in molecular biology from Boston University. He conducted his postdoctoral training at the Johns Hopkins Oncology Center in the laboratory of Dr. Bert Vogelstein where he studied the molecular genetics of colorectal cancer. In 1998, he joined the NIH to head a research laboratory focused on ovarian cancer research. In particular, his group was one of the first to perform gene expression profiling in ovarian cancer and, in 2000, he first identified claudin proteins as being abnormally expressed in cancer. These findings led to research investigating the possible use of claudins in targeted therapies and in the detection of various cancers. He also held an Assistant Professor position at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Department of Pathology, from 1998 until 2012, when he accepted his current position at the AACR. Dr. Morin has published over 90 peer-reviewed articles in the field of cancer. In addition, he has been on the editorial board of several journals, including “Cancer Research”, and has served as a reviewer of more than 250 manuscripts submitted to various scientific journals. Dr. Morin also holds several patents. He has given many lectures as an invited speaker and has chaired several scientific symposia. At the AACR, Dr. Morin heads the Grants and Awards program, which distributes and oversees over $30 million a year in research grants and scientific achievement awards.

Laura Brockway-Lunardi, PhD

Laura Brockway-Lunardi, PhD, joined the Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA) in 2009 as Scientific Program Director, responsible for the planning, management and oversight of $8-10 million in new melanoma research funding per year. She is also responsible for coordinating MRA’s annual Scientific Retreat and contributes to communications, development and outreach efforts for the organization as well. Prior to MRA, Laura was Scientific Program Manager at the International Life Science Institute North America, where she coordinated programs on nutrition and health. From 2004-2008, she was senior science policy analyst at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, developing policy recommendations on biomedical research issues, including conflicts of interest, scientific publishing, and grant review, as well as contributing to advocacy efforts for federal research funding. She was a Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the National Academy of Sciences, contributing to their studies of intellectual property in academic-industry relationships and U.S. science and technology competitiveness. Dr. Brockway-Lunardi received her Doctorate in Vision Science (retinal physiology) from the University of Alabama at Birmingham where she was president of the Industry Roundtable, an organization dedicated to fostering a greater awareness of science careers outside academia. She received her Bachelor’s degree in biology with honors from Florida State University.

Julie Milder, PhD

Julie Milder, PhD, joined CURE, Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy, in 2011. As Associate Research Director, Dr. Milder oversees a number of CURE’s research grant mechanisms and signature programs. Most notably, she has been instrumental in developing and implementing CURE’s first directed team-science initiative, which is aimed at advancing a disease-modifying therapy or cure into the clinic for infantile spasms. Additionally, Dr. Milder has been the lead on CURE’s conference and workshop support programs, launching a very popular young investigator travel award program to increase opportunities for young investigators to attend scientific meetings. She also serves as a liaison to the Interagency Collaborative to Advance Research in Epilepsy (ICARE), led by NINDS, and is active in the Epilepsy Leadership Council and American Epilepsy Society. She holds a BA in Biology and Neuroscience from Washington University in St. Louis and a PhD in Neuroscience from University of Colorado Denver.


3:00 – 3:15PM

(15 min)

Wrap-Up and Adjourn