Scientific Advisory Board

Dr. Charles Gawad

Dr. Gawad is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Stanford University where he has an active research lab and is a practicing pediatric oncologist.  He received his medical degree from the University of Arizona and a PhD in Cancer Biology from Stanford. Among a number of honors, he is a recipient of a Career Award for Medical Scientists from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, as well as an NIH Director’s New Innovator Award.

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Dr. David Lyden

Dr. Lyden completed his M.D. at Brown University, Ph.D. at the University of Vermont, residency in Pediatrics at Duke University, and a clinical and postdoctoral fellowship in pediatric oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Currently, he is the Stavros S. Niarchos Professor of Pediatrics and Cell and Developmental Biology at Weill Cornell Medicine/Cornell University. He defined the concept of the "pre-metastatic niche" (PMN), where tumor-secreted factors recruit bone marrow-derived progenitor cells and immune cells to distant organ sites to provide a platform for metastasis. In addition, he demonstrated that tumor-derived exosomes initiate the PMN by educating resident stromal cells which alters the immune landscape, promoting metastasis. He identified key proteins and nucleic acids, specifically double stranded DNA, in exosomes and demonstrated that this exosomal cargo supports thrombosis, vascular leakiness, immune dysregulation, and PMN formation. In regards to Stephen Paget’s “seed and soil” hypothesis, he has solved this mystery, in part, defining the role of tumor exosomal integrins in organotropic metastasis. His lab has devised a new technology for the isolation of extracellular vesicle subpopulations and identified a new particle named exomere, the most prominent tumor particle secreted by tumor cells, which packages distinct enzyme proteins, lipids, and glycans. While exosomes promote pre-metastatic niche formation, exomeres promote metabolic dysregulation in the liver. Most recently, leveraging more than a decade worth of exosome proteomics, his lab has performed a comprehensive analysis of exosomal cargo across a variety of human cancers, identifying novel exosomal markers as well as pan-cancer and cancer type-specific exosomal biomarkers for early cancer detection. Moreover, Dr. Lyden is the 2018 recipient of the National Institutes of Health R35 Outstanding Investigator Award, which supports his efforts to explore the systemic effects of metastatic cancer and he is an elected member of the Association of American Physicians and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Prof. Josef Kapelushnik

• Served as the head of the pediatric hemartooncology department, Soroka Medical Center

• Prof. amaritus, Ben Gurion uiversity of the Negev (in the past 6 months), fourth year medical school leading instructor, supervisor of medical students' thesis.

• Published over a 180 medical papers in leading journals including Blood, New englad, Lancet, Bone & Marrow transplantation and more.

• Member of the Children Oncology Group European society, American Society of Hematology, American society of Oncology, Israeli society of Pediatrics and Israeli society of Hemato-oncology.

• Currently focusing on a developing method for differentiating between bacterial and viral infections using infra-red streptoscopy and the development of spermatogenesis in children recieving chemotherapy.

• Graduated in pediatric hemato-oncology in the university of Toronto.

• Intrested in the development of new drugs and was consulted in the past by a few companies including Novartis & GSK.

Nathanael Gray

Nathanael Gray, Ph.D., is the Krishnan-Shah Professor of Chemical and Systems Biology at Stanford, Co-Director of Cancer Drug Discovery, Co-Leader of the Cancer Therapeutics Research Program, Member of Chem-H, and Program Leader for Small Molecule Drug Discovery for the Innovative Medicines Accelerator (IMA). His research uses the tools of synthetic chemistry, protein biochemistry, and cancer biology to discover and validate new strategies for addressing anti-cancer targets. Dr. Gray’s research has had broad impact in the areas of kinase inhibitor and degrader design and in circumventing drug resistance. Dr. Gray received his PhD in organic chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley.  Dr. Gray has also been involved in establishing new companies to advance projects from the lab into the commercial sector including Larkspur Biosciences.  His contributions have been recognized through numerous awards including the Paul Marks Prize in 2019.


Peter Houghton

Ph.D. University of London (Institute of Cancer Research) 1977, Chair of Molecular Pharmacology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital 1992-2009; Director, Childhood Cancer and Blood Diseases, Nationwide Children's Hospital (2009-2014), Director Greehey Children's Cancer Research Inst. San Antonio (2014-2020); 2022 Professor Emeritus, Molecular Medicine, UTHSA. Research Focus: developmental therapeutics for pediatric sarcoma and BRAF mutant glioma.


Sara Federico, MD

Sara Federico, MD, is a pediatric oncologist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital specializing in solid tumors. Her primary interests include novel drug development for recurrent and refractory solid tumors and conducting clinical research for the treatment of neuroblastoma. Dr. Federico leads several clinical trials ranging from early developmental therapeutic phase 1 studies to the next COG phase 3 study for the treatment of high-risk neuroblastoma.  She completed her undergraduate studies at Stanford University, medical school at Virginia Commonwealth University, internship and residency at Lucile Salter Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, and pediatric hematology/oncology fellowship at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. She has won numerous awards, including the 2020 National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Clinical Investigator Award, and serves on national and international committees.

Shai Izraeli, MD

Prof Izraeli is the Director of the Pediatric Hematology Oncology Division at the Schneider Children's Medical Center of Israel. He is also the Shapiro professor and the head of the Dotan center for research of hematological malignancies in Tel Aviv University and a research professor at the department of systems biology at the Beckman Institute at City of Hope, Duarte CA, USA. He was recently elected as a founding member of the Israel National Academy of Scientific Medicine. Prof Izraeli is a member of the executive committee and the chair of hematological malignancies in the ITCC (Innovative Therapeutics of Childhood Cancer) the European organization for promotion of clinical trials of new drugs for children with cancer by either the pharmaceutical and biotech industries or academia. He has been the Treasurer, Chair of the Research Committee and a member of the Executive Board or the European Hematology Association. He recently received the prestigous mentorship and education award of the European Hematology Association for his multi-year support of the carreer of young hematologists and researchers in the field of blood diseases and cancer. His major research interest is in hematological malignancies and their predisposition syndromes. The research or Down Syndrome leukemia research have led to discoveries translated to novel cancer diagnostics and therapies. He published more than 200 peer reviewed scientific publications, has been supported by multiple international research grants and has many international colloaborations.

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