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Promise and Progress - New Faculty & New Appointments

Transforming Prostate Cancer
Issue No. 2013

New Faculty & New Appointments

By: Valerie Matthews Mehl
Date: January 3, 2013


New Appointments and Arrivals

Amy DeZern, M.D., assistant professor of oncology is a new member of the Hematologic Malignancies and Bone Marrow Transplant Program.  She is a distinguished clinician and clinical investigator who trained with Kimmel Cancer Center hematology and oncology experts Robert Brodsky, M.D., and Mark Levis, M.D.  In addition, she earned her master’s in health science from the Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her work will include development of a translational clinical investigation program focused on malignant and non-malignant bone marrow failure states.

Ivana Gojo, M.D., associate professor of oncology, has joined the Hematologic Malignancies and Bone Marrow Transplant Program.  She will work with Dr. Judy Karp to direct leukemia drug development. Her clinical research in leukemia, including the development of several leukemia trials, is nationally recognized. 

Edward Harhaj, Ph.D., has been appointed an associate professor of oncology in the Viral Oncology Program. He is a basic scientist who has conducted seminal work in the area of inflammation and viral interference with natural immune responses.  He is a recognized leader in the biology of the Human T-Cell Lymphotropic Virus-1 (HTLV-1) and NF-?Bm, which plays a key role in regulating immune response. HTLV-1 is linked to HTLV-1 Associated Myelopathy/Tropical Spastic Paraparesis, a neuroinflammatory disorder similar to multiple sclerosis and an aggressive T cell leukemia known as adult T cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL).

Erick Lutz, Ph.D., has joined the Gastrointestinal (GI) Cancer Program as an assistant professor of oncology. Lutz is the fourth Viragh Research Scholar from the Skip Viragh Clinical Research Center in Pancreas Cancer.  He will develop a human immunology laboratory program for GI cancers focused on deciphering the immune response within the tumor microenvironment. Dr. Lutz completed his fellowship under the mentorship of Elizabeth Jaffee, M.D., uncovering the basic immunologic principles that define immunotherapy-induced immune responses and developing new technologies to study immune responses within developing human tumors.

Channing J. Paller, M.D., assistant professor of oncology, will extend genitourinary cancer services to the Washington, D.C. campus of the Kimmel Cancer Center.  Channing is a clinician-scientist focused on developing and evaluating new therapies for urologic malignancies, including prostate cancer.  She is particularly interested in the role of natural products for prevention or treatment of prostate cancer.  As a fellow, she worked with Michael Carducci, M.D., to study the benefits of pomegranate extract and muscadine grape skin extract for men with prostate cancer and earned Young Investigator Awards from the American Society of Clinical Oncology and Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group.

Deborah Schwartz, R.N., M.P.H., C.R.N.P., has joined the Kimmel Cancer Center Hematology Service as a nurse practitioner. She will support the development of critical pathways and educational programs to standardize hematology care. She is currently completing the credentialing process to perform lumbar punctures, bone marrow aspirates, and conscious sedation.  Her previous experience includes caring for critically ill pediatric and adult burn patients in a level one-trauma center. 

Edward Allan Sison, M.D., has joined the Pediatric Oncology Program as an instructor in oncology and pediatrics. He is a physician-scientist focused on translational research of childhood leukemia, including the development of therapies targeting high-risk childhood leukemia.

Katherine Thornton, M.D., has returned to the Kimmel Cancer Center as the clinical director of the Sibley Medical Oncology Program.  Thornton will be responsible for the start-up and continuing medical oversight of the medical oncology consultation/outpatient clinical service at Sibley, which is part of the Washington D.C. campus of the Kimmel Cancer Center.  She will also develop and promote clinical research at Sibley, including educational and training programs for fellows from Johns Hopkins, the National Cancer Institute, and Howard University. 

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