Scientific Advisory Committee

Saro H. Armenian, D.O., M.P.H.

Assistant Professor, Division of Outcomes Research,
Department of Population Sciences
Medical Director, Pediatric Survivorship Clinic,
Childhood Cancer Survivorship Program
Attending Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist
City of Hope National Cancer Center
Duarte, California

Dr. Saro Armenian completed his general pediatrics and hematology/oncology training at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Population Sciences and Pediatrics at City of Hope. In addition, he is the Medical Director of the Childhood Cancer Survivorship Clinic at City of Hope. His research is primarily focused on identifying risk factors for cardiovascular complications such as therapy-related congestive heart failure, premature coronary artery disease, and stroke. Taken together, these complications are a leading cause of mortality in childhood cancer survivors and pose one of the greatest challenges to clinicians taking care of these patients. Information obtained from these studies could be used toward developing innovative models for targeted surveillance, screening and prevention in survivors at highest risk for these complications. As chair of the Children’s Oncology Group Survivorship and Outcomes Committee, Dr. Armenian plays a lead role in shaping national guidelines for the care of childhood cancer survivors.. He has been the recipient of several prestigious awards including the American Society of Bone Marrow Transplantation (ASBMT) HistoGenetics New Investigator Award, Paul Calebresi Clinical Oncology Career Development Award (K-12), City of Hope Clinical Investigation Training Program Faculty Instructor of the Year, and is a past-fellow of the American Society of Hematology Clinical Training Institute.

Shahab Asgharzadeh, M.D

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Pathology
Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California
Attending Hematologist/Oncologist
Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases
Childrens Hospital Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California

Dr. Shahab Asgharzadeh is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Pathology at the University of Southern California.  He is a physician-scientist in the Cancer Program at the Saban Research Institute and a practicing pediatric neuro-oncologist at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.  His research is directed toward understanding pathogenesis of neuroblastoma, medulloblastoma, and Ewing sarcoma.  His research involves identification of molecular features associated with cancer development and identification of risk groups using microarray (aka “Gene Chips”) technologies.  He received his Bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University in 1992 majoring in Biomedical Engineering with specialization in genetic engineering.  He pursued his medical degree from University of Illinois followed by training in Pediatrics at the University of Chicago.  He completed a fellowship in clinical medical ethics at University of Chicago in 2000 focusing on genetic privacy issues and subsequently worked as a research assistant professor in Bioinformatics at Northwestern University.  He completed his pediatric hematology-oncology fellowship program at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles prior to joining the faculty of the University of Southern California in 2005.  He is the recipient of career development awards from National Institute of Child Health and Development, St. Baldrick’s Foundation, and Stop Cancer Foundation. He is also a recipient of a grant from the American Cancer Society and the CHLA co-Principal Investigator of the NIH sponsored Neuroblastoma Therapeutically Applicable Research to Generate Effective Treatments (Neuroblastoma TARGET) project.  He serves on the COG Neuroblastoma Biology Committee (2006-present), and is a member of the Society for Pediatric Research (SPR).

Elizabeth R. Lawlor, M.D. Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Dr. Elizabeth Lawlor received her MD from McMaster University and completed pediatric oncology training at British Columbia Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, Canada. After earning a PhD in cancer biology at the University of British Columbia she completed post-doctoral research training at the University of California, San Francisco. Since 2004 she has led her own research group which focuses on studies of Ewing sarcoma, a very aggressive bone and soft tissue tumor that primarily affects children, adolescents and young adults. In particular, Dr. Lawlor’s group is pursuing studies with stem cells in order to understand how cancer-causing genes called oncogenes can turn normal stem cells into cells that give rise to Ewing sarcoma.  By evaluating how oncogenes disrupt the normal differentiation and development of stem cells her lab is gaining insights into both the origins of pediatric sarcomas and the biology of cancer stem cells.  These insights will be critical to the development of cancer stem-cell targeted therapies that will selectively kill the tumor cells whilst sparing normal developing tissues. Dr. Lawlor is a member of the bone tumor and translational research committees within the Children’s Oncology Group. She has been the recipient of several prestigious awards for cancer research including a V Foundation Scholar Award and an Innovative Research grant from Stand Up to Cancer.

David M. Loeb, M.D. Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Oncology and Pediatrics
Director, Musculoskeletal Tumor Program
Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center
Johns Hopkins University

Dr. David Loeb received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Columbia University in New York and completed training in general pediatrics and pediatric hematology/oncology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. His clinical time is split between being a member of the Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplantation Team and directing the Musculoskeletal Tumor Program. His laboratory research focuses on understanding the biology of bone and muscle tumors, and translating that understanding into clinical trials of novel agents for children and young adults with high risk sarcomas. Laboratory work has been sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, as well as a number of generous foundations, including the Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative, the Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research, and the Sarcoma Foundation of America. Clinical trials that he has led have been funded by pharmaceutical companies, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, and the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Loeb is an author on more than 60 scientific publications. He is on the editorial board of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, is a member of the COG Ewing’s Sarcoma Biology Committee, and is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research, Solving Kids Cancer, the Neurofibromatosis Therapeurtic Acceleration Program, the Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative, and The Pablove Foundation.

Leo Mascarenhas M.D., M.S.

Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California
Director, Clinical Trials Office
Attending Hematologist/Oncologist
Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases
Childrens Hospital Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California

Dr. Leo Mascarenhas received his medical degree from St. John’s Medical College in Bangalore, India and did his General Pediatrics Residency from New York Medical College in Valhalla, NY.  He completed Fellowships in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplantation at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). He is presently an attending oncologist at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles and an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California.  He is also the Principal Investigator the Children’s Oncology Group for CHLA that is funded by the National Cancer Institute. He serves as the Director of the Clinical Trials office in the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases at CHLA. Dr. Mascarenhas’ main research interest is clinical investigation in the field of Bone and Soft Tissue Sarcomas. He is a member of the Bone Sarcoma and Soft Tissue Sarcoma steering committees of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) and is the Chair or Vice Chair of several COG studies. In addition, he conducts investigator initiated Phase I clinical trials at CHLA. His present focus of clinical investigation is incorporation of molecular targeted therapies into traditional cytotoxic chemotherapy in children, adolescents and you adults with metastatic or recurrent solid tumors. Dr. Mascarenhas enjoys teaching and has been recognized with the Philip E Rothman Memorial Award for outstanding teaching, guidance and inspiration as well as the Walter E. Laug Distinguished Teaching  Award for inspirational teaching and guidance by the general pediatric residents and hematology/oncology fellows at CHLA. He is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and the sub-board of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and is listed in Best Doctors in America, Southern California Super Doctors and Pasadena Top Doctors.

Carlos Rodriguez-Galindo, M.D.

Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Harvard Medical School/ Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Director, Solid Tumor Program
Medical Director, Pediatric Oncology Clinical Trials
Program Leader, Experimental Therapeutics
Children’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts

Dr. Carlos Rodríguez-Galindo, a Spanish native, graduated from Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain and did his training in Pediatrics at the “Vall d’Hebron Children’s Hospital”, in Barcelona. He completed his training in Pediatric Hematology-Oncology at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. After 10 years as clinical researcher at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, in August 2009 he moved to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Children’s Hospital Boston, where he is the Director of the Pediatric Solid Tumor Program and Medical Director of Pediatric Oncology Clinical Trials and Experimental Therapeutics.

Dr. Rodriguez-Galindo’s clinical research has been focused in retinoblastoma, bone sarcomas, histiocytic disorders and rare childhood cancers. He actively participates in the development of new therapeutic strategies in those areas, and also has a special interest in the study and development of new drugs. Dr. Rodriguez-Galindo has been the primary investigator of several studies at St. Jude, including the frontline retinoblastoma trial, and several phase I studies. Dr. Rodriguez-Galindo is the Chair of the Retinoblastoma and Rare Tumors Committee at the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) and the primary investigator of COG studies for nasopharyngeal carcinoma, adrenocortical carcinoma, and recurrent malignant germ cell tumors. He is also the Secretary of the Executive Board of the Histiocyte Society and co-PI of the frontline LCH-IV study. Dr. Rodriguez-Galindo is also actively involved in the development of pediatric oncology programs in developing countries, particularly Latin-America and the Middle East.

Joshua D. Schiffman, M.D.

Assistant Professor
Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology,
Department of Oncological Sciences
Medical Director, High Risk Pediatric Cancer Clinic
Huntsman Cancer Institute, Primary Children’s Hospital
Salt Lake City, Utah

Dr. Joshua Schiffman graduated from the Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME) at the Brown University School of Medicine in 2000.  He completed his internship and residency in Pediatrics at Stanford University, followed by a year as Chief Resident in Pediatrics also at Stanford University.  He completed a fellowship in Pediatric Hematology & Oncology still at Stanford University from 2004-2007.  Following this training, he spent a year working in a translational research laboratory before joining the faculty at Primary Children’s Medical Center and the University of Utah in 2008.  Dr. Schiffman serves as Medical Director for the High Risk Pediatric Cancer Clinic, part of the Family Cancer Assessment Clinic at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI), where he sees children and families with inherited cancer syndromes (including patients with inherited Wilms Tumor).  Dr. Schiffman runs his own translational research laboratory at HCI with a focus on why children develop cancer.  Dr. Schiffman is a member of the Cancer Control and Population Sciences (CCPS) Program and co-leads the Liquid Tumor Group for the Center for Children’s Cancer Research (C3R) at HCI. The Schiffman Laboratory has a number of different ongoing molecular research projects.  Most of the research focuses on copy number changes in the DNA of people at risk for cancer and also on the changes that occur in their actual tumors.  Some of the cancers that Dr. Schiffman investigates include childhood leukemia, Ewing’s sarcoma, and brain tumors.  His laboratory also studies the molecular changes in paragangliomas, a type of neuroendocrine tumor that occurs frequently in patients with inherited SDH gene mutations. Dr. Schiffman is an Assistant Professor in Pediatric Hematology-Oncology at the University of Utah, an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Oncological Sciences, and an Investigator at Huntsman Cancer Institute.

Lisa L. Wang, M.D.

Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Baylor College of Medicine
Attending Hematologist/Oncologist
Texas Children’s Cancer Center and
Hematology Service
Houston, Texas

Dr. Lisa L. Wang, has been involved in academic Pediatric Hematology/Oncology for over seventeen years. Originally from North Carolina, she received her Bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis and her Medical degree from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.  After completing Pediatric Residency training at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, she did her Fellowship training in Hematology/Oncology at Texas Children’s Hospital, Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX, where she remained and is currently on faculty in the Department of Pediatrics.  She has both a clinical practice and a research laboratory with a special interest in osteosarcoma.  Dr. Wang is a member of the Solid Tumor Team and sees patients in the Musculoskeletal Tumor Clinic.  She is also the head of the Osteosarcoma Program at Texas Children’s Cancer Center. Her research focuses on inherited cancer syndromes that predispose patients to developing osteosarcoma, in particular Rothmund-Thomson Syndrome (RTS).  Her team has assembled the largest cohort of RTS patients from around the world and has developed management guidelines for this disorder.  Her lab is investigating the role of the RECQL4 gene that is mutated in patients with RTS and is felt to play an important role in the development of osteosarcoma. She has received research funding from several national organizations, including the National Institutes of Health, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the V-Foundation for Cancer Research, Children’s Cancer Research Fund, and the American Society for Clinical Oncology, and the Children’s Oncology Group.

Daniel S. Wechsler, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Duke University Medical Center
Division Chief, Pediatric
Durham, North Carolina

Dan Wechsler, MD, PhD has been involved in academic Pediatric Hematology-Oncology for over twenty years.  Originally from Montreal, Canada, he received his Bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and his Medical and Doctoral degrees from McGill University.  After completing his Pediatric Residency Training at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1990, he undertook a Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Fellowship at Johns Hopkins from 1990-1994. He was a faculty member at the University of Michigan from 1994-2006 (being promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2002), prior to moving to Duke University as Chief of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology in 2006. He was Director of the Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Fellowship Program from 1999-2006. He is actively involved in teaching medical students, residents and fellow trainees, delivering numerous didactic lectures each year; he has been invited to speak at several national pediatric board review conferences.  As a Member of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), he has cared for hundreds of pediatric patients with cancer, with particular clinical and research interests in Neuroblastoma and Acute Myeloid Leukemia.  His active research laboratory has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since 2001, and he served on an NIH Study Section from 2002-2008. He reviews Pediatric Cancer grant applications for Foundations including St. Baldrick’s, Alex’s Lemonade Stand, the American Association for Cancer Research, and the American Society of Hematology, and reviews manuscripts for more than a dozen journals, also serving on the Editorial Board of Pediatric Blood & Cancer, the leading journal in the field. He has authored more than 35 publications, and presented more than 50 abstracts at national and international meetings. He has served on the COG Neuroblastoma Biology Committee (2002-present), and on the American Society of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology (ASPHO) Training (2002-2008), Program (2007-present) and Continuing Education (2009-present) Committees.