Recruitment


Funds raised by Pelotonia have helped recruit and retain some of the brightest minds in cancer research to Ohio State. A total of 87 researchers have been brought to the cancer program with Pelotonia support.

2017 Recruits

Kellie Archer, PhD

Kellie Archer

Archer is a professor and chair of the Division of Biostatistics in the College of Public Health. She also is a member of the Molecular Biology and Cancer Genetics Program at the OSUCCC – James. Her primary research area has been the development of statistical methods and computational algorithms for analyzing genomic data. She came to Ohio State from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), where she directed the VCU Massey Cancer Center Biostatistics Shared Resource.

Allan Espinosa, MD

Allan Espinosa

Espinosa is in the College of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Medical Oncology, where he has clinical and research interests in neuroendocrine malignancies and thyroid cancers. He performed translational research on thyroid cancer as a postdoctoral researcher at the OSUCCC – James, and then transitioned to clinical training in Internal Medicine at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. After completing a fellowship in Hematology/Oncology at Vanderbilt University, he served the communities of northern Maine, where he was in charge of the Hematology/Oncology clinics at Cary Medical Center, Northern Maine Medical Center and Millinocket Regional Hospital.

Valerie Grignol, MD

Valerie Grignol

Grignol is a surgical oncologist in the College of Medicine, Department of Surgery, Division of Surgical Oncology. She joined the Ohio State medical faculty after completing her fellowship training in surgical oncology here. Grignol treats patients suffering from breast cancer and sarcoma. Her research interests focus on clinical trials and outcomes for sarcoma patients.

Clara Lee, MD, MPP

Clara Lee

Lee is in the College of Medicine, Department of Plastic Surgery, and in the College of Public Health, Division of Health Services Management and Policy. She also is in the Cancer Control Program at the OSUCCC – James. As a plastic surgeon, she specializes in microsurgery and cancer reconstruction, including breast, sarcoma and melanoma. Her research focuses on understanding and improving how patients and providers make decisions about cancer surgery. She came to Ohio State from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Stephen Lessnick, MD, PhD

Stephen Lessnick

Lessnick is in the College of Medicine and directs the Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, where he leads a team of pediatric researchers working to better understand childhood cancer and to transform diagnostic and treatment strategies. Lessnick also is in the OSUCCC – James Molecular Biology and Cancer Genetics Program. He came to Ohio State from the University of Utah and Huntsman Cancer Center.

Wayne Miles, PhD

Wayne Miles

Miles is in the College of Arts and Sciences, Division of Molecular Genetics, and a member of the Molecular Biology and Cancer Genetics Program at the OSUCCC – James. His research focuses on understanding how loss of the retinoblastoma 1 (RB1) tumor–suppressor gene changes the transcriptome and proteome of cancer cells. He was recruited to Ohio State from Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and Harvard Medical School.

Jeffrey VanDeusen, MD, PhD

Jeffrey VanDeusen

VanDeusen is in the College of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Medical Oncology, where he has a clinical and research focus on breast malignancies. He also serves as associate director for community network relations at the OSUCCC – James. Before coming to Ohio State, he was medical director of the Adena Cancer Center in Chillicothe, Ohio. While there, he and his staff designed and launched a free lung cancer screening program. He presented its successful execution at the national Lung Cancer Screening Conference.

Monica Venere, PhD

Monica Venere

Venere is in the Department of Radiation Oncology and a member of the Molecular Biology and Cancer Genetics Program at the OSUCCC – James. The overarching goal of her research is to elucidate points of fragility for glioblastoma (brain cancer) using cell and molecular biology as well as animal models, and to exploit these findings to develop new treatment modalities and improve current therapies. She was recruited to Ohio State from the Cleveland Clinic.

Claire Verschraegen, MD, MS

Claire Verschraegen

Verschraegen is a professor and director of the Division of Medical Oncology in the College of Medicine’s Department of Internal Medicine. She also is associate director for translational research at the OSUCCC – James. Verschraegen specializes in rare cancers, including mesothelioma, metastatic melanoma, sarcomas and gynecologic malignancies, along with the study of new anticancer drugs and treatments for solid tumors.

2016 Recruits

Cheryl Lee, MD

Cheryl Lee

Lee is professor and chair of the College of Medicine’s Department of Urology. An expert in outcomes research and comparative studies, she was recruited from the University of Michigan to lead Ohio State’s urology, uro/gynecology and uro/oncologic programs. As a member of the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, she cared primarily for patients with bladder cancer. Having been a principal investigator (PI) or co-PI on numerous clinical trials, Lee focuses her research on strategies to improve patient outcomes and quality of life after surgical treatments.

Timothy Pawlik, MD, PhD, MPH

Timothy Pawlik

Pawlik is professor and chair of the College of Medicine’s Department of Surgery. Pawlik, a liver cancer expert, came to Ohio State from Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he was chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology, program director of the Surgical Oncology Fellowship and director of the Johns Hopkins Liver Tumor Center. He has authored or co-authored more than 600 published articles and over 50 book chapters, and he has edited five surgical textbooks. His primary interests include alimentary tract surgery with a special interest in hepatic, pancreatic and biliary diseases.

Karen Williams, PhD

Karen Williams

Williams is a Nursing Distinguished Professor of Women’s Health and director of the Center for Women, Children and Youth at The Ohio State University College of Nursing. She came to Ohio State from Michigan State University. Her research interest is cancer prevention and control, and prevention interventions for disenfranchised women of color.

Dean Lee, MD, PhD

Dean Lee

Lee was recruited from MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston as director of the Cellular Therapy and Cancer Immunotherapy Program for Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s Division of Hematology/Oncology/BMT and Center for Childhood and Blood Diseases. Lee, who also serves as director of cellular therapy at the OSUCCC – James, specializes in care for children undergoing stem cell transplantation. His research focuses on clinical trials of adoptive immune therapy with natural killer cells.

2015 Recruits

Daniel Jones, MD, PhD

Dan Jones

Jones is a professor, vice chair and director of molecular pathology in the Department of Pathology, as well as director of molecular pathology for the OSUCCC – James. Jones brings more than 15 years of combined experience in academic medicine and industry. He most recently was medical director of cancer diagnostics services at Quest Diagnostics Nichols Institute, where his group developed more than 100 oncology, genomics and pathology assays for the nation’s largest reference laboratory. Previously, Jones was at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center as a tenured professor overseeing a research laboratory and a clinical molecular diagnostics team that served 13 cancer care centers.

Anil Parwani, MD, PhD, MBA

Anil Parwani

Parwani is a professor, vice chair and director of anatomic pathology in the Department of Pathology. He also directs a new shared resource/core facility focused on digital pathology imaging and pathology informatics. Within the OSUCCC – James, he directs the digital pathology service that will enable the expansion of precision cancer diagnostics and treatment. Parwani came to Ohio State from the University of Pittsburgh, where he was a professor of pathology and biomedical informatics as well as director of the Division of Pathology Informatics. His research focuses on diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers in bladder and prostate cancer, and on molecular classification of renal cell carcinoma.

Sharyn Baker, PHARMD, PhD

SharynBaker

Baker is a professor and chair of the Division of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry in the College of Pharmacy, and she holds the Gertrude Parker Heer Chair in Cancer Research. She also is a member of the Leukemia Research Program at the OSUCCC – James. Baker came to Ohio State from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where she directed the pharmacokinetics shared resource. Her cancer-relevant research interests broadly cover translational and clinical pharmacology of anticancer agents. More specifically, her interests include developmental therapeutics for acute myeloid leukemia (AML), translational pharmacology of tyrosine kinase inhibitors, and investigational anticancer drug development.

Alex Sparreboom, PhD

Sparreboom came from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, is a professor in the College of Pharmacy’s Division of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, and a member of the Translational Therapeutics Program at the OSUCCC – James. Sparreboom’s research examines the contribution of solute carriers to chemotherapy-induced toxicity profiles, identifies chemical inhibitors of critical transporters, translates the findings to clinical trials, and ultimately improves the long-term outcome of patients with cancer by modulating the therapeutic window of widely used chemotherapeutics. His lab is developing transport modulators for use in connection with platinum-based drugs and tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

Rajgopal Govindarajan, DVM, PhD

Govindarajan is an associate professor in the College of Pharmacy’s Division of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, was recruited to Ohio State from the University of Georgia, where he was an associate professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences. One of his lab’s primary research goals is to understand how the solute carrier group of transporters modulates tumor cell sensitivity or resistance to chemotherapeutics. His lab also investigates: nucleoside and oligonucleotide (miRNA) drug sensitivity in cancer cells; epigenetic alterations in pancreatic cancer; and small molecule manipulations of epigenetic changes in pancreatic cancer cells.

2014 Recruits

Roman Skoracki, MD, FRCSC, FACS

Skoracki is a professor in the College of Medicine, Department of Plastic Surgery, where he directs the department’s Oncology Section. He came to Ohio State from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. His areas of clinical expertise include lymphedema surgery, reconstructive microsurgery of the head, neck and breast, sarcoma reconstruction, abdominal wall reconstruction and other areas of reconstructive surgery – all focused on improving patient outcomes physically and psychologically. He also has a strong research interest and collaborates with scientists in various disciplines related to the care of cancer patients. Accompanying Skoracki as a new member of Ohio State’s faculty (though not supported by Pelotonia dollars) is his former MD Anderson colleague David Cabiling, MD. An assistant professor in the College of Medicine, Department of Plastic Surgery, Cabiling has clinical expertise in microvascular reconstructive surgery and oncology reconstruction. His research interests include outcomes in breast cancer reconstruction and microvascular treatments for lymphedema.

James Rocco, MD, PhD

Rocco joined Ohio State in January 2015 as a professor in the College of Medicine, Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Cancer Surgery. He is an otolaryngologist who specializes in head and neck cancer surgery and directs the department’s Division of Head and Neck Oncology. He was recruited from the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was director of head and neck cancer research and held the Daniel Miller Chair in Otology and Laryngology at Harvard Medical School. As a researcher, he has translated basic science investigations on mechanisms of cell death after therapy into clinical practice by identifying novel biomarkers that predict survival in patients with head and neck cancer.

Michelle Naughton, PhD, MPH

Naughton is a professor in the College of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control. She is also a member of the Cancer Control Program at the OSUCCC – James, and came to Ohio State from the Wake Forest School of Medicine. Her research focuses on the impact of cancer and its treatments on the health-related quality of life and daily functioning of patients and long-term survivors.

Takeshi Kurita, PhD

Kurita is an associate professor in the College of Medicine, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry. He is also a member of the Molecular Biology and Cancer Genetics Program at the OSUCCC – James, and came to Ohio State from Northwestern University. His lab team primarily uses genetically engineered mouse models to investigate molecular mechanisms of development and carcinogenesis of the reproductive organs. They also utilize the xenograft model of human tissue to study the etiology of human diseases, including uterine leiomyoma and endometrial (uterine) cancer.

James S. Blachly, MD

Blachly is an assistant professor in the College of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Hematology. He is a member of the Leukemia Research Program at the OSUCCC – James and completed a three-year fellowship in hematology and medical oncology at Ohio State before joining the faculty in 2014. His clinical specialty is mature B cell leukemia and lymphoma. His research primarily explores genomic and transcriptomic correlates in experimental therapeutics/clinical trials. This encompasses three areas of specialization: computational biology, genomics and lymphoid malignancy.

Jonathan Song, PhD

Song is an assistant professor in the College of Engineering, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Song is a member of the Molecular Biology and Cancer Genetics Program at the OSUCCC – James, and was recruited to Ohio State after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. His research interests include: microscale technology for biology and medicine; biomechanical determinants of new blood vessel growth and remodeling; microengineering of the tumor microenvironment; mechanobiology of tumor invasion and metastasis; and development of microphysiological systems for screening of therapeutics for oncology.

Jennifer Leight, PhD

Leight is an assistant professor in the College of Engineering, Department of Biomedical Engineering. Leight is a member of the Molecular Biology and Cancer Genetics Program at the OSUCCC – James, and was recruited from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Colorado. Her lab team uses cutting-edge biomaterials techniques to precisely vary the spatial and temporal presentation of 3D extracellular cues and to develop sensors for measuring activity of members of the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) family. Using these materials, they study regulation of MMP activity, cancer cell function and response to treatment.

Raju Raval, MD, DPHIL

Raval is an assistant professor in the College of Medicine, Department of Radiation Oncology. Raval, a Rhodes Scholar, was recruited to Ohio State after completing his residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He treats central nervous system and genitourinary tumors with radiation therapy. His laboratory interests include translational cancer research combining immunotherapy with radiation and techniques for targeted radiosensitization.

Lawrence Shirley, MD

Shirley is an assistant professor in the College of Medicine, Department of Surgery, Division of Surgical Oncology. Shirley was recruited to Ohio State’s faculty after completing a fellowship here in 2014. His clinical interests include thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal diseases, particularly malignancies. His research focuses on developing therapeutics for advanced thyroid cancers.

Anne Strohecker, PHD

Strohecker is an assistant professor in the College of Medicine, Department of Molecular Virology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, and in the Division of Surgical Oncology. Strohecker was recruited to Ohio State from The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Rutgers University, following postdoctoral training. Her research focuses on how autophagy, a program that controls protein and organelle homeostasis, impacts tumorigenesis with an ultimate goal of identifying mechanisms to modulate the pathway as a therapeutic modality for cancer.

2013 Recruits

Raphael E. Pollock, MD, PhD

Pollock is a globally respected cancer surgeon, researcher and educator of physicians-in-training. On Sept. 1, 2013, Pollock became a professor and director of the Division of Surgical Oncology at Ohio State. He also serves as chief of surgical services at the OSUCCC – James. Pollock came to Ohio State after spending 31 years at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where he held several leadership positions. Pollock’s clinical practice and laboratory research focus on soft tissue sarcoma, a rare cancer in adults but more prevalent in children. He is principal investigator of an $11.5 million National Cancer Institute Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant to support collaborative sarcoma translational research. The grant is one of the largest awards ever for the study of sarcoma. Pollock’s SPORE research component is now located at the OSUCCC – James.

Vinay Puduvalli, MBBS

Puduvalli is a noted authority on developing therapies for patients with brain and spine malignancies using a combined approach of targeted therapies, innovative clinical trial designs and rational combinations of anticancer agents. Puduvalli, who serves as professor and director of the Division of Neuro-Oncology in the Department of Neurological Surgery, was recruited to Ohio State in December 2012 from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, where he held several leadership posts. His research focuses on understanding the role of epigenetics in brain tumor and glioma stem-cell biology, and on translating findings to new treatments. His lab team also works to identify mechanisms of treatment resistance, including resistance to cell death and to signaling pathway inhibitors in brain tumors. In this context, he leads several clinical trials involving epigenetic therapies and novel targeted agents.

2012 Recruits

David Carbone, MD, PhD

Carbone is an internationally renowned lung cancer specialist recruited from Vanderbilt University to establish and lead a thoracic oncology center at the OSUCCC – James. Carbone is an expert in the molecular biology of lung tumors, which includes understanding the genetic, proteomic and metabolic features of each patient’s cancer and developing drugs to optimally target tumors.

Paul Goodfellow, PhD

Goodfellow is a professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Goodfellow was recruited from Siteman Cancer Center, Barnes Jewish Hospital, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. His research focuses on identifying and characterizing genetic events important in tumor initiation and progression, and on understanding molecular events that can help develop approaches to preventing and treating uterine and breast cancers.

Sameek Roychowdhury, MD, PhD

Roychowdhury is a specialist in genomics and tumor sequencing whose research focuses on personalized approaches to patient treatment through genomics. He was recruited from the University of Michigan as an assistant professor in Ohio State’s Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Medical Oncology, and in the School of Biomedical Science, Department of Pharmacology.

Theodore Brasky, PhD

Brasky was recruited from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center as an assistant professor in Ohio State’s Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control. Brasky works to better understand the association of inflammation and cancer by studying substances and genes hypothesized to affect inflammation. He also studies non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and cancer risk.

Nicholas Denko, MD, PhD

Denko is an associate professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology. Recruited from Stanford University, Denko studies how stressors within the tumor microenvironment can influence tumor cell progression and the response of solid tumors to therapeutic interventions. He currently is investigating the role of reduced oxygen and nutrient stress on gene expression and cellular metabolism.

John Hays, MD, PhD

Hays was recruited from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) as an assistant professor in Ohio State’s Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Medical Oncology. His work furthers the understanding of protein-signaling networks and how they can guide the design of personalized therapies for cancer patients. His clinical interests include drug development for gynecologic cancers and rare gastrointestinal malignancies.

Jay Hollick, PhD

Hollick is an associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Molecular Genetics. Recruited from the University of California at Berkeley, Hollick is interested in biological mechanisms that generate and maintain inherited genetic variations in physical and other traits. These studies shed light on chromosome evolution and gene function.

Thomas Ludwig, PhD

Ludwig is an associate professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry. Ludwig was recruited from the Institute of Cancer Genetics at Columbia University in New York City. He studies biological functions of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 tumor-suppressor genes and some of their interacting partners in normal and malignant development. Mutations in these genes predispose carriers to certain cancers.

Susan Olivo-Marston, PhD, MPH

Olivo-Marston was recruited from the NCI as assistant professor of Epidemiology in Ohio State’s College of Public Health. She is interested in how early-life conditions such as obesity and asthma, and exposure to second-hand smoke, may affect adult cancer risk, and which biological pathways are involved.

2011 Recruits

Erin Bertino, MD

Assistant Professor – Clinical
Division of Medical Oncology
Department of Internal Medicine
Recruited from Ohio State

Richard Goldberg, MD

Physician-in-Chief, OSUCCC – James
Professor, Division of Medical Oncology
Department of Internal Medicine
Recruited from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Deliang Guo, PhD

Assistant Professor
Department of Radiation Oncology
Recruited from UCLA

Mark Lustberg, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor
Division of Infectious Diseases
Department of Internal Medicine
Recruited from Ohio State

Erin Olson, MD

Assistant Professor
Division of Medical Oncology
Department of Internal Medicine
Recruited from Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School

Flavia Pichiorri, PhD

Assistant Professor
Division of Hematology
Department of Internal Medicine
Recruited from Ohio State

Paul Reiter, PhD, MPH

Assistant Professor
Division of Cancer Prevention and Control
Department of Internal Medicine
Recruited from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Peter Shields, MD

Deputy Director, OSUCCC – James
Professor, Division of Cancer Prevention
and Control, and Division of Medical Oncology
Department of Internal Medicine
Recruited from Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown University

Colleen Spees, PhD, MEd

Assistant Professor
Division of Medical Dietetics and Health Sciences
School of Allied Medical Professions
Recruited from Ohio State

Meng Welliver, MD

Assistant Professor
Department of Radiation Oncology
Recruited after completing residency at University of Pennsylvania

Terry Williams, MD

Assistant Professor
Department of Radiation Oncology
Recruited after completing residency at University of Michigan

Christina Wu, MD

Assistant Professor – Clinical
Division of Medical Oncology
Department of Internal Medicine
Recruited from Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown University

Jianhua Yu, PhD

Assistant Professor
Division of Hematology
Department of Internal Medicine
Recruited from Ohio State

Catalin Marian, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor
Division of Cancer Prevention and Control
Department of Internal Medicine
Recruited from Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown University

Fen Xia, MD, PhD

Associate Professor
Department of Radiation Oncology
Recruited from Vanderbilt University

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