Gary K. Schwartz, M.D.

Dr. Gary Schwartz is a Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC), as well as the Deputy Director of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC). Dr. Schwartz is a nationally recognized translational investigator whose research interests are aimed at understanding the mechanisms underlying cell cycle and cell death to improve the effectiveness of currently available treatments. His approach in “bench-top to bedside” research has focused on the development of novel therapies for patients with a wide range of malignancies, gastrointestinal cancers, sarcoma, and melanoma.

These efforts originally focused on drugs that targeted the cell cycle ranging from CDK4 to Chk1. His laboratory programs have been supported by the National Cancer Institute with R01 and Sarcoma SPORE grants as well as grant funding from the FDA and the DOD. This has resulted in a series of innovative translational clinical trials with inhibitors of CDK4/6, MDM2, MEK, AKT, IGF-1R, mTOR, Notch, PARP, BRD4, MET and receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Agents that originated in his lab are being evaluated in clinical trials. Before he was recruited to Columbia in January 2014, Dr. Schwartz was Chief of the Melanoma and Sarcoma Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center where he was also the principal investigator (PI) of a K12 award. At CUIMC he is PI of the Minority/Underserved Site NCI Community Oncology Research Program (MU-NCORP) and the co-PI of T32 fellowship in molecular oncology.

Dr. Schwartz has worked on several review committees for the National Institutes of Health including the NCI Investigational Drug Steering Committee and NCI’s Experimental Therapeutics Program (NExT). He has served on the editorial boards of various scientific journals, including as Associate Editor for the Journal of Clinical Oncology and Clinical Cancer Research. Dr. Schwartz is also actively involved in cooperative group activities and serves on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology and is co-Chair of the Experimental Therapeutics Committee for Rare Cancers.

Dr. Schwartz has authored 246 papers and 17 book chapters. He is the recipient of many awards, including the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Burdha Award for Colon Cancer Research, the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Research Award, the Jeannik M. Littlefield–AACR Award in Metastatic Colon Cancer, the New York State Teaching Award in the Empire Clinical Research Investigator Program, the Nobility in Science Award from Sarcoma Foundation of America and the Ewing Award for recognition of outstanding teaching of house staff and fellows at CUMC. He has been an extremely effective mentor, especially of clinician-scientists pursuing research careers, and many of his scholars have gone on to productive academic careers.

Jeffrey Rothman, M.D., Ph.D.

Jeffrey Rothman is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, Columbia University Medical Center. His projects include developing strategies that obstruct gene transcription sequence-specifically by employing complementary DNA analogues, such as peptide nucleic acid (PNA) oligomers. Improved oligonucleotide delivery motifs that he devised through statistical random-coil simulation were evaluated as PNA oligomer-delivery peptide conjugates in both in vitro and in vivo experiments with the Gary Schwartz group and has drawn attention as a new motif for silencing oncogenes. This has been applied successfully against BRAF V600E, KRAS G12D, EWS/FLI1, miR-19, AR, and ESR1 mutants.

As an undergraduate, he studied chemistry and mathematics at MIT and as a medical student worked in the Columbia University Department of Chemistry writing software for the development of molecular mechanics simulation algorithms in Macromodel. Being inspired by this work, he returned to MIT for PhD studies in organic chemistry with support as a Syntex and Sigma Xi graduate research scholar. After finishing graduate studies, he was awarded a Hitchings-Elion Fellowship and a British Research Council grant for study in statistical and quantum mechanics for the development of computational models applied towards DNA analogues at the Oxford University Physical and Theoretical Chemistry Laboratory. After having received an ASCO Young Investigator Award and Technology Development seed funding he continued related research at MSKCC in collaboration with Dr. Gary Schwartz. Dr. Rothman has lectured at international meetings including the past two EACR/AACR Experimental Therapeutics Conferences and ESMO Congress, and has published in various scientific journals including Journal of Organic Chemistry, Journal of Computational Chemistry, Biopolymers, Tetrahedron, and Cancer Gene Therapy, and holds two patents regarding delivery of complementary anti-gene therapeutics. He also has over seven years of experience as a hospitalist at The Mount Sinai Hospital and NYU Medical Center.

Channing Der, Ph.D.

Channing J. Der, PhD is Sarah Graham Kenan Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He received his PhD from the University of California, Irvine and completed his postdoctoral studies at Harvard Medical School/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Since his initial discovery of RAS oncogenes in human cancer, his research has centered on the study of RAS and RAS-related oncoproteins in cancer. His research has been funded by grants from the National Cancer Institute, Department of Defense, Lustgarten Foundation, and Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. He has authored >350 publications and is the holder of seven patents. He has mentored >50 post-/30 pre-doctoral fellows. He is a member of the NCI RAS Working Group, and the scientific advisory boards of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and biotech companies developing anti-RAS therapeutics. He served previously on the NCI Board of Scientific Counselors, the Frederick National Laboratory Advisory Committee, and the scientific advisory board of the Lustgarten Foundation. He has served on numerous editorial boards and as a consultant for numerous pharmaceutical/biotech companies. His honors include Fellow of the AAAS, the recipient of an NCI Outstanding Investigator Award, the Battle Distinguished Cancer Research Award, the Mentorship Award for Lifetime Achievement, the University of California, Irvine Distinguished Alumnus Award, and the Einstein BIH Visiting Fellow Award.