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Scientific Advisory Board

Dmitry Gabrilovich, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Gabrilovich is currently a Christopher M. Davis Professor in Cancer Research and Program Leader, Translational Tumor Immunology at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia and Wistar Professor at the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Gabrilovich graduated from medical school of Kabardino-Balkarian State University, USSR and received his Ph.D. in 1989 from Central Institute of Epidemiology, Moscow, USSR, after which he worked as head of cell immunology group at HIV reference center in Moscow. During those years his group demonstrated activation of neutrophils in HIV-infected individuals. Based on this work, in 1992, he was awarded the Wellcome Trust Fellowship to study dendritic cell (DC) biology in experimental retroviral infection under Dr. Stella C. Knight at the Imperial College of London in the UK. He was trained in cancer research at U.T. Southwestern Medical School and Vanderbilt University in the laboratory of Dr. D. Carbone. He obtained his first independent faculty position at Loyola University in Chicago in 1999. In 2000 Dr. Gabrilovich moved to H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa where he grew through the ranks and eventually became Robert Rothman Endowed Chair in Cancer Research and Head Section of Dendritic Cell Biology.

In the mid-1990s his group demonstrated that DCs in tumor-bearing mice (and later in cancer patients) were functionally impaired. They have described the first tumor-derived factor directly implicated in DC defects in cancer: vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and suggested that myeloid progenitor cells were the main targets for this negative effect. His group was the first that implicated lipid accumulation as one of the mechanisms negatively regulating function of DCs in cancer.

Dr. Gabrilovich was one of the discoverers of cells that are now called myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC). His group characterized a number of molecular mechanisms regulating expansion and function of these cells. Dr. Gabrilovich established the role of antigen-specific mechanisms of regulation of T-cell tolerance mediated by MDSC and described the critical contribution of peroxynitrite to this effect. His group provided first evidence that MDSC can be therapeutically targeted in patients.

Naiyer Rizvi, M.D.

Dr. Naiyer A. Rizvi is a medical oncologist with specific expertise in thoracic oncology and immunotherapy drug development. Dr. Rizvi is the Price Chair of Clinical Translational Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). He is also the Director of Thoracic Oncology and Co-Director of Cancer Immunotherapy at CUMC. He obtained his M.D. at University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada and went on to complete a fellowship in medical oncology at Beth Israel Hospital/Harvard Medical School. He was an attending physician in thoracic oncology and early drug development from 2002-2014 at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) where Dr. Rizvi’s translational research was focused on immune-checkpoint blockade drug development. His research studies were integral to the approval of immune-checkpoint blockade in lung cancer including approval of nivolumab in squamous lung cancer (Lancet Oncology 2015) and pembrolizumab in non-small cell lung cancer (NEJM, 2015). His first-author publication in Science (2015) presented data from a landmark trial - the first study to demonstrate a statistically significant correlation between mutations and neo-antigens with durable benefit to immune-checkpoint blockade. His ongoing work is to understand mechanisms of sensitivity and resistance to immunotherapy.

Mario Sznol, M.D.

Dr. Mario Sznol graduated from Rice University in 1979 and from Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas in 1982. He completed internship and medicine residency programs at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Tx in 1985. After completing a fellowship in medical oncology at Mount Sinai College of Medicine in NYC in 1987, he joined the NCI as a Senior Investigator in the Investigational Drug Branch (IDB), Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program (CTEP). He was Head of the Biologics Evaluation Program, IDB, CTEP, from 1994-1999, and in 1999, was appointed to the position of Vice President of Clinical Development for Vion Pharmaceuticals in New Haven, CT. He joined the Yale faculty in medical oncology in 2004, and is currently Professor of Medicine, Associate Chief of Medical Oncology, and Leader, Melanoma/RCC Disease-Associated Research Team. Dr. Sznol's interests include cancer immunotherapy, drug development for cancer, and treatment of patients with melanoma and renal cell carcinoma.