I joined the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey in 2007. After studying biological sciences and English literature at Rutgers College and the University of Sussex, Brighton, England, I chose to pursue my Doctor of Medicine degree at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. During this time, I also completed a one year Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Scholar Fellowship doing laboratory research at the National Institutes of Health, which allowed me to develop a true understanding of the importance of laboratory experiments in developing new approaches to treat cancer. I then pursued an intense, competitive residency in internal medicine at The Mount Sinai Hospital, New York. In 2004, I moved further north to New Haven, Connecticut, for a fellowship in medical oncology and hematology at The Yale Cancer Center. It was at Yale that I was introduced to translational clinical research and began to devote my career to the development of novel anticancer therapies.
I was thrilled to return to New Jersey when I accepted a position with the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey/Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, where I am now an associate professor of medicine. I have a real commitment toward serving the people of New Jersey, making sure the most cutting-edge therapies are readily available to members of our state. Having grown up at the Jersey Shore, I have long understood the risks, particularly the development of skin cancer, associated with too much sun exposure. As a member of the Melanoma and Soft Tissue Oncology Program at the Cancer Institute and leader of the Melanoma and Skin Tumor Study Group, I work collaboratively with radiation oncologists, surgical oncologists, nurses, social workers and other experts to help educate patients about their disease and help them navigate their treatment options. As none of the recent advances in melanoma therapy would have been possible without clinical trials, our team is passionate in developing a portfolio of trials to treat multiple types and stages of skin cancer.
In 2014, the leadership of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey appointed me as the Director of the Phase I/Developmental Therapeutics Program after a national search. Our program evaluates and treats patients from all over the NJ state, NY/NJ/PA tristate area and country, offering novel clinical research protocols. I have a special interest in skin cancer, especially melanoma. I also have a laboratory research interest in the manipulation of autophagy, a mode of survival for tumors, and apoptosis, a process of tumor cell death, to improve therapeutic outcomes. At the national level, I am part of the Melanoma Committee of the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group-American College of Radiology Imaging Network, where I collaborate with other investigators to develop new clinical trials for patients with melanoma. I also have several active collaborations with the National Cancer Institute-Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program, Investigational Drug Branch, and I am the Principal Investigator of a grant supporting trials through the Early Therapeutics-Clinical Trials Network, adding even more options to the clinical trial menu of our Developmental Therapeutics Division. I co-lead the Clinical Investigations and Precision Therapeutics Program, which connects investigators from many different departments at Rutgers to develop novel diagnostic, therapeutic and prevention strategies against cancer. I am an internationally recognized authority in developmental therapeutics, a funded independent investigator, and an author of more than 100 publications, book chapters and abstracts.
In this age of personalized medicine, my philosophy is to develop an individualized treatment plan for every patient, delivered in a compassionate and supportive setting, and to inform patients about cutting edge options that may be available for the treatment of their diseases.
Melanoma, developmental therapeutics, skin cancer, clinical trials, immunotherapy, immune checkpoint inhibitors, correlative biomarkers, personalized (precision) medicine, drug combination therapies in oncology
- Member, Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society
- American Society of Clinical Oncology Merit Award