Lynda Chin, MD
CEO & Co-Founder
An elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, Dr. Chin is a renowned cancer genomic scientist and a leader in the application of analytical technologies, AI/ML, and big data in medicine. Her groundbreaking work synthesizing terabyte-scale datasets in genomics and oncology research has opened new frontiers in digital medicine.
As founding chair of the Department of Genomic Medicine at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Dr. Chin launched projects to transform workflows for patient-oriented research, . . .
. . . harness high-velocity clinical and research data, and democratize cancer care expertise across a network of global partner care centers. As Chief Innovation Officer of the University of Texas System, she forged initiatives to create infrastructure for more equitable access to care for underserved populations. In her work at The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), she was Principal Investigator driving development of the Firehose data pipeline, served on the Scientific Steering Committee of the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC), and is actively involved in conceptualizing the next phase of ICGC, ICGC-ARGO (Accelerating Research on Genomic Oncology).
Dr. Chin earned a B.A. degree from Brown University and a M.D. degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She conducted her clinical and scientific training at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and Montefiore Medical Center in NY and went on to a productive academic research career at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where she was a professor at Harvard Medical School and a senior associate member at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.
Padmanee Sharma, MD/PhD
Dr. Sharma is a nationally and internationally renowned physician scientist whose research work is focused on investigating mechanisms and pathways within the immune system that facilitate tumor rejection, with subsequent clinical benefit, or elicit resistance to immune checkpoint therapy. She is a trained medical oncologist and immunologist and the T.C. and Jeanette D. Hsu Endowed Chair in Cell Biology. She designed and conducted the first pre-surgical trial, also known as a window-of-opportunity trial, with immune checkpoint therapy (anti-CTLA-4) in . . .
. . . 2004, which allowed her to study the impact of immune checkpoint therapy on human tumors, with subsequent identification of the ICOS/ICOSL pathway as a novel target for cancer immunotherapy strategies.
Dr. Sharma continues to design novel pre-surgical trials to evaluate human immune responses to different immunotherapies and she is the Principal Investigator for multiple immunotherapy clinical trials that focus on translational laboratory studies. Her studies enable development of new immunotherapy strategies for the treatment of cancer patients. She is a Professor in the departments of Genitourinary Medical Oncology and Immunology, and the Scientific Director for the Immunotherapy Platform at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. She is also the Co-Director of Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at MD Anderson Cancer Center. She is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) and received the Emil Frei III Award for Excellence in Translational Research in 2016 and the Coley Award for Distinguished Research for Tumor Immunology in 2018.
Keith Flaherty, MD
Dr. Flaherty is Director of Clinical Research at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. As described in the more than 300 peer reviewed primary research reports he has authored or co-authored, Dr. Flaherty and colleagues made several seminal observations that have defined the treatment of melanoma when they established the efficacy of BRAF, MEK and combined BRAF/MEK inhibition in patients with metastatic melanoma in a series of New England Journal of Medicine articles for which Dr. Flaherty . . .
James Allison, PhD
Founding Advisor & Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board
Dr. James Allison is Regental Professor and Chair of the Department of Immunology, the Olga Keith Wiess Distinguished University Chair for Cancer Research, Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Research, and the Executive Director of the Immunotherapy Platform at MD Anderson Cancer Center. He has spent a distinguished career studying the regulation of T cell responses and developing strategies for cancer immunotherapy. He earned the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, which he shared with Dr. Tasuku Honjo, “for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation.”
Among his most notable discoveries are the determination of the T cell receptor structure and that CD28 is the major costimulatory molecule that allows full activation of naïve T cells and prevents anergy in T cell clones. His lab resolved a major controversy by demonstrating that CTLA-4 inhibits T-cell activation by opposing CD28-mediated costimulation and that blockade of CTLA-4 could enhance T cell responses, leading to tumor rejection in animal models. This finding and a great deal of persistence paved the way for the field of immune checkpoint blockade therapy for cancer. Work in his lab led to the development of ipilimumab, an antibody to human CTLA-4 and the first immune checkpoint blockade therapy approved by the FDA. Among many honors, he is a member of the National Academies of Science and Medicine and received the Lasker-Debakey Clinical Medical Research award in 2015. His current work seeks to improve immune checkpoint blockade therapies currently used by our clinicians and identify new targets to unleash the immune system in order to eradicate cancer.