A Comprehensive Cancer Center Designated by the National Cancer Institute

UCCCC Leadership

Director
Associate Director for Administration
Deputy Director
Associate Directors
Staff Leadership


Director

Michelle M. Le Beau, PhD, Arthur and Marian Edelstein Professor of Medicine, was appointed director of the UCCCC in April 2004. Dr. Le Beau is particularly well qualified to enhance translational and interdisciplinary research at the UCCCC, in view of her impressive record of converting fundamental laboratory findings into highly relevant advances in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with hematological malignant diseases.

Dr. Le Beau received her PhD in pathology and genetics in 1981 at the University of Illinois. She subsequently obtained post-doctoral training at The University of Chicago Medicine under the mentorship of Janet D. Rowley, MD, DSc, the Blum-Riese Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine, and was appointed to the faculty in 1986, rising to tenured professor in 1997. In her capacity as director of the Cancer Cytogenetics Laboratory, Dr. Le Beau directs a cancer diagnostics laboratory, which performs cytogenetic analysis of leukemias, lymphomas, and solid tumors. She is board-certified in clinical cytogenetics by the American Board of Medical Genetics. Active in many leadership roles, she also serves as the vice president/president elect for the Association of American Cancer Institutes and a member of the Board of Directors of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Dr. Le Beau has been a leader in identifying the recurring cytogenetic abnormalities in hematological malignant diseases, in defining the clinical, morphological, and cytogenetic subsets of leukemias and lymphomas, and in identifying the genetic pathways that lead to myeloid leukemias. Much of her work has focused on therapy-related acute myeloid leukemia (t-AML), and she is the principal investigator of a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-sponsored Program Project (P01) grant examining the etiology of t-AML. Dr. Le Beau has a distinguished record of achievement in basic and translational research. Her entire career has focused on cancer research, and she has extensive experience in building interdisciplinary research programs, developing the careers of young scientists, and overseeing the administration of large peer-reviewed grants amongst other responsibilities.

Associate Director for Administration
Marcy A. List, PhD, leads the UCCCC administrative unit. She has served in this capacity for a decade and brings extensive experience in cancer center administration and population research.

She joined UChicago Medicine faculty in 1992 as a research associate (associate professor) in the Department of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology, where, for over a decade she was involved in cancer control research, specifically quality of life in head and neck cancer.

As associate director for administration, Dr. List has broad oversight for administrative and fiscal management of the UCCCC, including accounting and financial transactions, personnel, IT infrastructure to support clinical trials operations, pre- and post-awards for the Cancer Center Support Grant (CCSG) and multiple interdepartmental grants, Cancer Center public relations and publications, and philanthropic activities. She is the scientific director for the Cancer Clinical Trials Office (CCTO) and oversees the Protocol Reviewing and Monitoring System (PRMS). In addition, she participates in strategic planning activities and implementation of plans for programmatic growth.

Deputy Director
Walter Stadler, MD, Fred C. Buffet Professor of Medicine and Surgery, chief of the Section of Hematology/Oncology associate dean for clinical research, and director of the genitourinary program, is the deputy director of the UCCCC.

Dr. Stadler joined the faculty more than 20 years ago and focuses his research on innovative treatments
for urological cancers as well as clinical trial design. He concentrates on the use of chemotherapy, immunotherapy, anti-angiogenic therapy, and molecularly targeted therapy for patients with locally advanced or metastatic disease. His research focuses on the development of new treatments for these urological cancers. Dr. Stadler's recent research includes development of molecular and imaging markers for predicting response to various anti-cancer therapies.

As deputy director, Dr. Stadler assists and advises the director with strategic planning, general administration of the UCCCC, and implementation of specific programs. He also participates in institutional long-range planning and maintains contact with members of the External and Internal Advisory Committees.

Associate Directors
Habibul Ahsan, MBBS, MMedSc, Louis Block Professor of Health Studies, Medicine, and Human Genetics, is the associate director for population research at the UCCCC and senior co-leader of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program.

He works closely with the director and the other program leaders in shaping and refining the population research programmatic goals and activities within the context of the overall cancer center mission. Specifically, Dr. Ahsan leads the faculty recruitment and pilot research programs for the population research division to augment the existing programmatic strengths and bridge both intra- and inter-programmatic interactions.

His research focus is on the effects of environmental agents and their interplay with genetic and other host factors in the development of cancer and other disorders.

Dr. Ahsan has been conducting a series of large epidemiological and clinical studies in Bangladesh to examine the health effects of arsenic exposure and evaluating strategies for their prevention. He also led a number of studies in the U.S. examining the role of genetic susceptibility and its interactions with environmental factors in the development of breast and other cancers.

Ezra Cohen, MD, is an associate professor of medicine and UCCCC associate director for education.

Dr. Cohen is expanding, integrating, and coordinating all cancer-related educational efforts across the UChicago Medicine campus. He is also working on a plan to expose more high school students to the fields of cancer research and cancer therapeutics.

Dr. Cohen’s expertise is in cancers of the head and neck, thyroid, and salivary glands. His research has focused on combining radiotherapy with novel agents and on discovering how cancers become resistant to existing treatments so that ways to overcome these mechanisms can be developed.

Professor of Pediatrics John Cunningham, MD, is the chief of the Section of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and the vice-chair for research in the Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Cunningham is an internationally-renowned expert in the treatment and research of childhood cancers and blood diseases. He has particular expertise in treating hemoglobinopathies, which are disorders that affect red blood cells, such as sickle cell disease and thalassemia. He is a recognized leader in the field of pediatric stem cell transplantation, and has developed novel uses for this life-saving treatment.

An active researcher, Dr. Cunningham is studying the biology and therapy of hemoglobinopathies, developing of clinical trials for the treatment of genetic diseases, and examining transcriptional mechanisms operative during the development of vertebrate organisms. Over his distinguished career, Dr. Cunningham’s research has received support from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the American Society of Hematology, and other prominent scientific organizations. Dr. Cunningham is a member of the American Society of Hematology, and serves on numerous NIH and ACS study sections. He serves on the board of the University of Chicago Institute of Genomics and Systems Biology.

Geoffrey Greene, PhD, is the Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Professor, chair of The Ben May Department for Cancer Research, co-director of the Ludwig Center for Metastasis, and associate director for basic sciences at the UCCCC.

Dr. Greene oversees the implementation, organization, and activities of the UCCCC research programs and core facilities that support these programs. He assists and advises the UCCCC director on strategic and operational decisions and participates in philanthropic fundraising efforts, especially with The University of Chicago Cancer Research Foundation (UCCRF).

Dr. Greene is internationally recognized for his many contributions to the field of steroid hormone action and breast cancer. His contributions have improved not only our understanding of the nature and function of steroid receptors, but also their measurement and utility in cancer. In addition, his ongoing structural studies have helped define novel selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) that may be suitable for breast and uterine cancer prevention in women, as well as for use in promoting many of the desirable effects of estrogen, such as maintenance of bone density and cardiovascular function, while reducing undesirable side effects.

Ravi Salgia, MD, PhD, vice chair for translational research for the Department of Medicine (DOM), is the associate director for translational sciences, responsible for overseeing and promoting translational research within the UCCCC and across all UChicago Medicine cancer programs.

As vice chair for translational research, Dr. Salgia helps recruit scientific and translational researchers, is responsible for promoting translational research across the DOM, and helps facilitate the development of new scientific programs.
His expertise is in the areas of thoracic oncology, translational research, and basic science research. His main research interest is in the development of novel, targeted therapeutics to enhance the quality of life and survival for cancer patients.

Dr. Salgia and his lab have recently identified several novel receptor tyrosine kinases that are abnormal in lung cancer. He is an expert in signal transduction, as related to growth factor receptors and oncogenes/tumor suppressor genes, and is developing novel inhibitors based on these pathways. He is also an expert in tumor and body fluid biomarkers, and is applying this knowledge to develop new serum/tumor tissue tests for thoracic oncology.

Mark Ratain, MD, Leon O. Jacobson Professor of Medicine and director of the Center for Personalized Therapeutics, is associate director for clinical sciences at the UCCCC and leader of the Pharmacology Core Facility.

Dr. Ratain oversees the implementation, organization, and activities of the programs and core facilities that support clinical research. He advises the UCCCC director on strategic planning and operational and budgetary issues in the area of clinical research. Dr. Ratain also serves as chair of the Clinical Research Advisory Committee (CRAC), which meets quarterly to review operations and policy related to clinical research, including the CCTO and PRMS.

Dr. Ratain's research interests are in the pharmacogenetics of anticancer agents and Phase I and Phase II drug studies. Pharmacogenetics is the study of how genetic variation among individuals contributes to differences in the way they respond to medicine. Dr. Ratain's research is focused on the metabolism of specific anticancer agents. He has demonstrated the critical importance of genetic variants in determining variability in the pharmacokinetics and toxicity of certain anticancer drugs. His research has become a model for understanding variability in response to newer targeted drugs.

Staff Leadership
Mary Ellen Connellan, MA, is the executive director for The University of Chicago Cancer Research Foundation (UCCRF). Connellan has more than 25 years experience in fundraising. She began her professional career in sales for a national telecommunication company. She also served for 16 years as a volunteer participating in all aspects of event-based fundraising. Since September 2000, she has overseen the numerous philanthropic activities of the UCCRF. 

As the executive director, she works with individuals, foundations, corporations, and the boards of the foundation in their efforts to support basic and clinical research programs related to the causes, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancer at the UCCCC. Connellan is a member of the National Association of Cancer Center Development Officers (NACCDO) Network.

Michelle Foley is the UCCCC director of marketing and communications. Prior to joining the UCCCC in August 2013, Michelle was the manager of public relations for the Moffitt Cancer Center, an NCI-designated Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida. She has also worked at the University of South Florida, where she held several roles, including director of media relations.

As director of marketing and communications, Michelle works directly with the University of Chicago Medicine and Biological Sciences Division. She plays a key role in the strategic planning and implementation of marketing and communication initiatives for the Cancer Center.                                                           

Rajan Gopalakrishnan, MS, is the director for informatics and information technology (IT) at the UCCCC. Rajan joined in May 2011 with 16 years experience in healthcare and public health IT consulting where he worked with several large regional hospital systems and state and public health organizations.

As the director for informatics, Rajan is responsible for the design, maintenance, upkeep of all informatics and IT capabilities within the Cancer Center. In addition, Rajan participates in setting future strategy and the roadmap for cancer informatics functions that will provide cutting-edge support for UCCCC researchers and staff. Rajan is a member of the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) and likes to pursue interesting developments in public health informatics within the cancer domain.

Kathleen Goss, PhD, is the senior science writer and director for strategic partnerships at the UCCCC. Dr. Goss brings her expertise in cancer biology to the communications team in the Cancer Center and enhances the relationships with partnering institutions and cancer organizations. She joined the University of Chicago Department of Surgery faculty in 2007 after postdoctoral training and starting her laboratory at the University of Cincinnati. 

Apart from her research program in the molecular events driving colorectal and breast cancer, Dr. Goss has been actively engaged in graduate, medical, and undergraduate education at the University of Chicago and strongly committed to cancer outreach and advocacy in the community.

Christine Miller, MA, is the director for finance at the UCCCC. She is a seasoned healthcare administrator who has been associated with the Biological Sciences Division for over 10 years during which she held various roles including clinical section administrator, executive administrator, and consultant. Most recently, Christine worked for the Institute of Translational Medicine as a financial operations manager. Her experience includes clinical operations, financial management (pre- and post-award), human resources, and facilities management. Christine received her undergraduate degree from the College of St. Catherine in business administration with a concentration in Finance. She has attended The University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration, Graduate Program in Health Administration and Policy, and Chicago Management Institute Executive Program at the Booth School of Business. 

Sumati Murli, PhD, is the director for clinical research operations and technical director of the UCCCC Cancer Clinical Trials Office (CCTO). She joined the UCCCC in April 2012, following the retirement of Consuelo Skosey, RN, CCRP. Dr. Murli holds a PhD in biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has extensive experience in both the research and clinical development of new molecular entities in oncology. Most recently, she served as a project team leader at Genentech in South San Francisco, where she provided scientific and strategic oversight for oncology programs, guiding them from preclinical research into clinical development.

Dr. Murli is responsible for the day-to-day administrative oversight of office operations and staff, including hiring and training of new staff, and developing, updating and overseeing implementation of Standard Operating Procedures for all regulatory services. She serves as a resource to both her staff and clinical investigators in issues of clinical research operations, and federal and institutional regulations, and is responsible for the coordination of continuing education workshops.

Michelle Le Beau, Richard Schilsky, Marcy List, Marsha Rosner, cancer leadership

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