Diversity Clinical Research Workshop Invited Faculty

Alex A. Adjei, MD, PhD, FACP

Head, Early Cancer Therapeutics Program
Director, Global Oncology Program
Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

Alex A. Adjei, MD, PhD, FACP, just took up a position as head of the Early Cancer Therapeutics Program and Director of Global Oncology at Mayo Clinic where he had started his career. Prior to this appointment, he was Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine, and Senior Vice President of Clinical Research at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. He is a world-renowned clinical scientist with expertise in drug development, cancer pharmacology, early phase clinical trials and lung cancer. Dr Adjei has a passion for teaching, mentoring and the training of the next generation of clinical investigators, particular minority investigators and investigators from developing countries. In recognition of his expertise and long track record in mentorship and oncology drug development, Dr. Adjei was recognized in 2012 as the first recipient of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Drug Development Research Professorship. This award has allowed him to focus a significant portion of his time in mentoring junior faculty, both from the U.S. and internationally, in the areas of drug development, clinical trial design and regulatory science.

Dr. Adjei is an active member of numerous professional organizations. As a member of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), he has served on numerous committees. He was Chair of the Minorities in Cancer Research Council and co-Chair of the AACR’s 2005, 2007 and 2012 Annual Meetings. He has served on ASCO’s annual meeting program committee twice and has been a member of the Translational Research Task Force, Cancer Research Committee and Grants Selection Committee.

Dr. Adjei has also served on many committees for the National Cancer Institute (NCI). He served as Group Vice Chair of the NCI’s North Central Cancer Treatment Group (NCCTG), from 2005 to 2007, and as Lung Committee Chair of that group from 2005 to 2012. He is currently co-chair of NCI’s Thoracic Malignancies Steering Committee. He has served on several National Institutes of Health (NIH) committees as well, having chaired a Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Study Section from 2007-2012, and is a member of the NCI Initial Review Group (IRG) Subcommittee A, which reviews Cancer Centers study sections. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology.

D. Ross Camidge, MD, PhD

Professor of Medicine/Oncology
Joyce Zeff Chair in Lung Cancer Research, University of Colorado

Dr. Camidge joined the University of Colorado as a visiting professor in November of 2005, and was recruited as full-time faculty in October of 2007. He is dual-trained in both medical oncology and clinical pharmacology. Dr Camidge is the Director of the Thoracic Oncology Clinical and Clinical Research Programs at the University of Colorado. His focus is in Thoracic Malignancies and Developmental Therapeutics (Phase I studies). In 2012 he was announced as the recipient of the 5th Bonnie J. Addario Lectureship as a ‘Luminary in the quest to eradicate lung cancer.’ In 2013 he became the first physician to receive the Hank Baskett Sr. Spirit Award, for which he was credited as being ‘one of the leading minds in lung cancer today.’ In 2015 he became the inaugural holder of the Joyce Zeff Chair in Lung Cancer Research at the University of Colorado Cancer Center.

Dr. Camidge is also the National Medical Director of the Academic Thoracic Oncology Medical Investigators Consortium and a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Lung Cancer Committee.

Dr. Camidge has been principal investigator on numerous clinical trials in early phase drug development and thoracic malignancies. He has authored more than 100 articles and reviews in peer-reviewed journals such as the Cancer, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Journal of Thoracic Oncology, and The New England Journal of Medicine as well as several book chapters. He has presented his research at multiple national and international scientific symposia.

Judith S. Kaur, MD

Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL
Professor of Oncology
Director, Native American Programs

Dr. Judith Salmon Kaur is the medical director for the Native American Programs of the Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center.

  • Native C.I.R.C.L.E. provides and develops culturally appropriate cancer education materials for lay persons, allied health and clinicians working in Native communities
  • "Spirit of Eagles" is a Community Networks Program with outreach nationally to American Indians and Alaska Natives. (we are the only national program working with AIAN populations)

Dr. Kaur's research also includes a special interest in women's cancers, particularly breast and cervical cancer. Dr. Kaur is a Professor of Oncology at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. She is also the Director of the Mayo Clinic Hospice Program and Palliative Care Task Force. Dr. Kaur is Choctaw/Cherokee and one of only two American Indian medical oncologists in the country.

In 2007, Dr. Kaur was awarded “Physician of the Year” by the Association of American Indian Physicians. In the following year, 2008, she was appointed to the National Cancer Advisory Board by President George W. Bush (four-year appointment) and was also became a Fellow of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Care. Dr. Kaur is one of the Medical Directors for Mayo Clinic's Hospice program and the Research Director for the Palliative Care Program and Course Director for an "Intensive Case-based Training in Palliative Care" for the Indian Health Service.

Yu Shyr, PhD

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, TN
Harold L. Moses Chair in Cancer Research
Director, Vanderbilt Center for Quantitative Sciences
Director, Vanderbilt Technologies for Advanced Genomics Analysis and Research Design
Associate Director for Quantitative Sciences Integration

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Professor of Biostatistics, Biomedical Informatics, Cancer Biology and Health Policy

Yu Shyr received his PhD in biostatistics from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) in 1994 and subsequently joined the faculty at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. At Vanderbilt, he has collaborated on numerous research projects; assisted investigators in developing clinical research protocols; collaborated on multiple grants funded through external peer-reviewed mechanisms; and developed biostatistical methodologies for clinical trial design, high-dimensional data preprocessing, and other statistical approaches, published in journals such as Statistics in Medicine, Bioinformatics, and Clinical Trials in the last three years.

Dr. Shyr is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and an FDA advisory committee voting member. He has delivered more than 190 abstracts at professional meetings and has published more than 300 peer-reviewed papers. Dr. Shyr has served on numerous NIH/NCI SPORE, P01, and CCSG review panels/committees and has been a member of the invited faculty at the AACR/ASCO Methods in Clinical Cancer Research Vail Workshop since 2004. He currently serves on the external advisory board for eight national cancer centers, and directs the biostatistics and bioinformatics cores for the NCI-funded Vanderbilt University Breast Cancer SPORE, GI Cancer SPORE, and other program projects. In addition, Dr. Shyr is the Principle Investigator of a UO1 grant for the Barrett’s esophagus translational research network coordinating center (BETRNetCC). Dr. Shyr’s current research interests lie in developing and analyzing predictive models of the statistical relationships between multiple-variable protein and next-generation sequencing data and clinical endpoints using both supervised and unsupervised classification and pattern recognition approaches.

Charles R. Thomas, Jr., MD

Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR
Professor and Chair
Department of Radiation Oncology

Dr. Thomas trained in both medical oncology and radiation oncology. Dr. Thomas is a full-time academic clinician and serves as the department chair of the radiation oncology program at a NCI Designated Cancer Center, the Knight Cancer Institute of the Oregon Health & Science University. He joined the OHSU faculty in November 2005 as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Radiation Medicine. Dr. Thomas is an active member of several professional associations, including the American College of Radiology, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the American Association for Cancer Research. He serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Gastrointestinal Cancer Research, Diseases of the Esophagus, and CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

Dr. Thomas is the national chairman or co-chairman for the following clinical trials: SWOG-0220, SWOG-0533, SWOG-0414, SWOG-0356, ACOSOG-Z06041, and NSABP FR1. His primary areas of interest are gastrointestinal and thoracic cancers, translational research (research translating scientific findings into treatments) and outcomes research (research into how well cancer treatments work for patients). His translational research involves studying the interactions between novel systemic therapeutics and ionizing radiation with interest in the evaluation of mechanisms of radiation treatment-related fatigue. Clinical research interests include the design and execution of protocols for translational research-based national cooperative group combined modality therapeutic clinical trials involving GI and thoracic solid tumors.

Currently, he is working to develop strategies to address barriers to participation in cancer clinical trials amongst minority and ethnic populations in the U.S. His interests involve the development of pipeline strategies to increase the pipeline of highly-qualified investigators from under-represented minority groups into radiologic sciences and cancer medicine.

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