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Speaker Topics: Oncology

Speaker Topics: Oncology


  • Pancreatic tumors/cancers
  • Gastric cancers: multidisciplinary perspective
  • Retroperitoneal sarcomas including use of radiation therapy
  • Gastrointestinal stromal (GIST) tumors
  • Management of gastrointestinal cancers; including rare cancers such as carcinoids, appendix cancers, small bowel cancers.
  • Genetics of cancer including stool testing for colorectal cancers, genetic profiling of cancers

Nita Ahuja, M.D.
Assistant Professor, Surgery and Oncology

Dr. Ahuja received her medical degree from Duke University, and completed her general surgery training at Johns Hopkins followed by a fellowship in Surgical Oncology at Johns Hopkins. She also pursued specialized training in colorectal cancer surgery at The John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford University, England.

Dr. Ahuja’s clinical interests include cancer of the pancreas, stomach, colon and rectum, and abdominal sarcomas. Her research primarily involves identification of molecular markers for early detection, prognosis, and recurrence of cancers.


  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Personalized Medicine in Cancer
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Drug Development in Oncology
  • Circulating Tumor DNA

Luis Alberto Diaz, Jr., M.D.
Associate Professor, Oncology

Luis Diaz, M.D., is director of translational medicine at the Ludwig Center for Cancer Genetics and Therapeutics at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. Dr. Diaz was handpicked by Ludwig Center director Bert Vogelstein, M.D., the researcher who defined cancer as a genetic disease and whose team cracked the genetic codes for brain, breast, colon, and pancreatic cancers, to move its laboratory discoveries to the clinic. 

Dr. Diaz’s clinical interests include gastrointestinal cancers including colorectal cancer and pancreatic cancer.  The focus of Dr. Diaz’s research is two-fold.  The first is translating novel and often high-risk therapeutics with unique mechanisms of action from the lab to patients. One example is using live bacteria to target and destroy solid tumors. This approach, termed bacteriolytic therapy, is being testing in clinical trials at Johns Hopkins and the University of Pennsylvania in humans and canines with advanced solid tumors. His second area of research includes a novel test that measures tumor-derived DNA in the bloodstream. The blood test, based on the unique genetic fingerprint contained within the genome of every cancer, can not only detect the presence of tumor but track its progress. The ultimate goal of this work being early detection of cancer with a simple blood test before it becomes lethal.

Dr. Diaz is also director of a new clinic for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.  This clinic focuses on the treatment of all aspects related to these patients, including support with pain, nutrition, psycho-social issues, and access to clinical trials and cutting-edge therapies. 

Dr. Diaz received his medical degree from the University of Michigan Medical School, and completed his general medicine training at Johns Hopkins followed by a fellowship in Medical Oncology at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.


  • Human Papilloma virus and cervical neoplasia
  • Management of endometrial hyperplasia and cancer
  • Ovarian Cancer, Contemporary Management

Robert Giuntoli, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Gynecology-Obstetrics

Robert L. Giuntoli, II, M.D. received both his bachelor of arts, summa cum laude, and his doctorate of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He went on to complete his residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Duke University Medical Center.  He then completed a fellowship in breast health at the Program in Women's Oncology at Brown University School of Medicine and a fellowship in gynecologic oncology at the Mayo Clinic.

Now an assistant professor in the Johns Hopkins Ovarian Cancer Center of Excellence, Dr. Giuntoli focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of cancers of the female genital tract including ovarian, cervical, uterine, vulvar and gestational trophoblastic disease.  He further focuses on immunotherapy for gynecologic cancers.

Dr. Giuntoli’s most recent accolade was being awarded the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation/Ann Schreiber Ovarian Cancer Research Grant for "Ex Vivo Expansion and Identification of Ovarian Cancer Cytotoxic T lymphocytes."



  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Hepatocellular Carcinoma
  • Cholangiocarcinoma
  • Metastatic Colorectal Cancer to the Liver
  • Minimally Invasive Liver and Pancreas Surgery
  • Pancreatitis, Acute and Chronic
  • Gastric Cancer

Kenzo Hirose, M.D.
Assistant Professor, Surgery

Dr. Hirose is a general surgeon specializing in hepatopancreatobiliary surgery with an interest in benign and malignant conditions of the live, bile duct and pancreas, as well as minimally invasive surgical techniques.


  • Liver tumors/cancers
  • Gallbladder and bile duct tumors/cancers
  • Pancreas tumors/cancers
  • Gastrointestinal tumors/cancer including stomach, intestines, colon
  • Experimental therapeutics of hepatic malignancies
  • Clinical trials in gastrointestinal malignancies

Timothy Michael Pawlik, M.D., M.P.H.
Assistant Professor of Surgery and Oncology

Dr. Pawlik earned his medical degree and MPH from Tufts University School of Medicine and completed his residency in general surgery at the University of Michigan Hospital. He completed additional, advanced training in surgical oncology at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. His main clinical interests include alimentary tract surgery, with a special interest in hepatic and pancreatobiliary diseases.

Dr. Pawlik also has a strong interest in medical ethics. He has a Masters in Theology with a focus in bioethics from Harvard Divinity School and completed a fellowship in medical ethics in the Department of Social Medicine at Harvard School of Medicine. Dr. Pawlik also completed a Masters in Public Health from Tufts University School of Medicine.


  • Breast Cancer

Lillie Shockney, R.N., B.S., M.A.S.

Administrative Director, Johns Hopkins Avon Foundation Breast Center
University Distinguished Service Assistant Professor of Breast Cancer
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Assistant Professor of Gynecology
Assistant Professor, School of Nursing

Mrs. Lillie Shockney is a registered nurse with a BS degree in Health Care Administration from Saint Joseph's College and a Masters in Administrative Science from the Johns Hopkins University. She has worked at Johns Hopkins since 1983 and served as the Administrative Director since 1997, responsible for the quality of care programs, patient education programs, survivor volunteer team, community outreach at a local, regional and national level, webmaster, and patient advocacy.

Mrs. Shockney is a nationally recognized public speaker on breast cancer, and a breast cancer survivor. She has written eight books and many articles on this subject. She serves on the medical advisory board of several national breast cancer organizations and is the co-founder and vice president of a national non-profit organization called "Mothers Supporting Daughters with Breast Cancer." To read more about her story, visit this site:


  • Targeted Therapeutics in Melanoma

Janis Taube, M.D., MSc.

Assistant Professor
Department of Dermatology and Pathology

Dr. Janis Taube is one of the lead scientific researchers in the Department of Dermatology at Johns Hopkins.  She received her MSc from University College London in Molecular Medicine and her medical degree from Tulane University.  She completed her residency at Johns Hopkins in Pathology where she also served as the Chief Resident, before undertaking a Dermatopathology Fellowship at Stanford University.  In 2009, Dr. Taube returned to Johns Hopkins for her certification in the Melanoma Clinic.

Dr. Taube is a member of the College of American Pathologists, United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology, American Society of Dermatopathology and Dermatology Foundation.

Among Dr. Taube's clinical interests are dermatopathology and melanoma.  One of her current research interests is the study of the B7-H1 molecule.  Dr. Taube and her team are seeking to identify the signaling mechanisms behind B7-H1 expression.

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