Meet the Editors
Francesco Marincola, Editor-in-Chief
Franco Marincola is the Chief Scientific Officer of Sonata Therapeutics. Franco brings over 30 years of research and development experience in immunology, oncology and cell therapy to Sonata.
Most recently, Franco served as Senior Vice President and Global Head of Research at Kite Pharma where he led the research organization to identify novel therapies for hematologic malignancies and solid tumors. Prior to Kite, he was President and Chief Scientific Officer at Refuge Biotechnologies, where he developed research strategies for adoptive cell therapy products and led therapeutic programs based on nuclease deactivated CRISPR circuits. Prior to Refuge, Franco was Distinguished Research Fellow in Immune Oncology at AbbVie, and Chief Research Officer at Sidra Medical and Research Centre.
Before joining the biopharma industry, Franco spent more than two decades at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Cancer Institute (NCI), most recently as a tenured senior investigator in cancer immunotherapy and biomarker research and as Chief Infectious Disease and Immunogenetics Investigator at the NIH Clinical Center.
Franco is the former President of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC). He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief for multiple peer-reviewed publications, including Journal of Translational Medicine, Translational Medicine Communications, and Immunotherapy, and is the author of more than 600 peer-reviewed publications.
Franco received his M.D. from the University of Milan and completed his residency at Stanford University.
Dr. Kai Zhang heads the Corporate Strategy—Precision Medicine Search and Evaluation team at Amgen. His leads the team to proactively search for and evaluate precision medicine M&A, licensing and research collaboration opportunities. Dr. Zhang is as an active Editorial Board Member or Reviewer for over 30 scientific peer-reviewed journals, including serving as a reviewing Editor for Cancer Medicine and an Editorial Board Member for Molecular Biology Reports. He received his PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Kentucky and an MBA from University of California, Berkeley.
Dr. Richard J. Ablin is Professor, Department of Pathology, University of Arizona College of Medicine, Arizona Cancer Center and BIO5 Institute and President, Robert Benjamin Ablin Foundation for Cancer Research, founded in memory of his father, since 1979. Dr. Ablin received his Ph.D. in Microbiology from SUNY at Buffalo in 1967, and continued his training in immunology as a USPHS Postdoctoral Fellow at the Medical School under the late renowned Distinguished Professor Ernest Witebsky. Dr. Ablin is the recipient of a D.Sc., honoris causa, from Lake Forest College, his undergraduate alma mater, and a Doctoris Honoris Causa from the “Carol Davila” University of Medicine and Pharmacy Bucharest. He was honored as recipient of the First Award for Scientific Excellence by The Haakon Ragde Foundation for Advanced Cancer Studies in recognition “for his invaluable contribution to humankind and exceptional scientific insight and valiant fight against cancer.”
Dr. Ablin discovered prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in 1970, which led to the development of the PSA test, and was a nominee for the Lasker Award in 1997. A pioneer of cryosurgery and the concept of “cryoimmunotherapy” for the treatment of cancer, he has extensive experience in cancer research, particularly the development and progression of cancer. Dr. Ablin is a member of Sigma Xi (of which he is President, the University of Arizona Chapter), Phi Beta Kappa and numerous professional societies.
Cited in several biographical references, including American Men and Women of Science, Who’s Who of Emerging Leaders in America and Who’s Who in the World, Dr. Ablin has been an invited speaker at numerous national and international meetings; has contributed numerous articles to professional journals and texts; is co-editor of the book series Cancer Metastasis - Biology and Treatment and serves on the editorial board of several journals, and the author of the recent book: The Great Prostate Hoax: How Big Medicine Hijacked the PSA Test and Caused a Public Health Disaster.
Dr Al Khodor is the Director of Maternal and Child Health program in the research department at Sidra Medicine, Qatar, since July 2019 and an Investigator since January 2015. Dr Al Khodor received her Bachelor’s degree in Medical Lab. technology from the Faculty of Public Health at the Lebanese University in 2001. Soon after, she started her master’s degree in microbiology and Immunology at the American University of Beirut (2002-2005). Dr Al Khodor received her second master’s degree and PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, USA (2005-2008). Before joining Sidra, Dr Al Khodor worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the Signaling systems Unit, laboratory of Systems Biology, at the National Institute of Allergy and infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Maryland, USA.
Dr Al Khodor’s laboratory in Sidra focuses on characterizing the role of the microbiome in health and disease, with a particular emphasis on maternal and child health and the integration of metagenomics with other omics aiming to identify predictive markers for various diseases and pathological conditions. Dr Al Khodor is an adjunct Assistant Professor at the College of Health & Life Science in Hamad Bin Khalifa University, and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Department of Biomedical Sciences, College of Health Sciences in Qatar University.
Dr Al Khodor has over 40 peer-reviewed publications. She currently serves as a Guest Associate Editor for Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology and an Associate Editor for the Journal of Translational Medicine since 2017.
Professor Paolo A. Ascierto obtained his medical degree from the University of Naples, Italy, the institution where he subsequently earned his Board Certification in Oncology. He went on to serve consecutive positions at the National Tumour Institute “Fondazione G. Pascale”, in Naples, as a postdoctoral fellow and then as Vice Director of the Department of Clinical Immunology. Professor Ascierto is currently Director of the Department of Skin Cancers, Cancer Immunotherapy and Development Therapeutics at that same institution. He is Associate Editor for Onco-Immunology of Annals of Oncology, Associate Editor of Journal of ImmunoTherapy of Cancer, Chief Section Editor for Combination Strategies section of Journal of Translational Medicine, and member of the Editorial Board for ESMO Open. As a result of Professor Ascierto’s experience and expertise, he has been a valued invited speaker at more than 450 national and international meetings.
Furthermore, he is an active member of the Italian Society of Medical Oncology (AIOM), American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) and Society of Immuno Therapy of Cancer (SITC). Professor Ascierto has presided as Principal Investigator on over 150 clinical trials and he is author of more than 480 publications in peer-reviewed journals. Such journals include: The New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, Lancet Oncology, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Nature Medicine, JAMA Oncology, and Annals of Oncology, among others. Primarily, his major research interests are the skin cancers molecular biology, the assessment of molecular markers for tumour progression in melanoma, biochemical and immunological monitoring, targeted therapies for melanoma, vaccination treatments and immunotherapy of solid tumors, and combination approaches for the cancer treatment.
Dr Geoffrey Broadhead (MBBS, PhD, FRANZCO) is a practicing clinical ophthalmologist and medial retinal specialist, as well as a Clinical Associate Lecturer at the University of Sydney. He works both clinically and in industry, and has been involved in monitoring and designing clinical trials across multiple phases, as well as conducting clinical and translational ophthalmology research.
His research interests are focused on the clinical aspects of age-related macular degeneration, retinal vascular disease and retinal degenerative diseases, including emerging translational aspects of diagnostics and therapeutics. He has published over 30 peer reviewed articles and completed international fellowship training in both the United States and United Kingdom.
Alessandra Cesano, MD, PhD is the Chief Medical Officer at ESSA Pharma since July 2019. Previously she has been the Chief Medical Officer of NanoString Inc from July 2015 until June 2019 where she focused in the development of translational and diagnostic multi-plexed assays for the characterization and measurement of mechanisms of immune response/resistance. Prior to joining NanoString, Dr. Cesano was Chief Medical Officer at Cleave Biosciences, Inc. and before then she served as Chief Medical Officer and Chief Operations Officer at Nodality, Inc., where she built and led the R and D group, while providing the overall clinical vision for the organization. Between 1998 and 2008, Dr. Cesano held various management positions at Amgen, Biogen Idec and SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals, where she helped to advance various oncology drugs through late stage development and FDA approvals.
Early in her professional career Dr. Cesano spent 12 years conducting research in tumor immunology, including nine years at the Wistar Institute, an NCI Basic Cancer Center connected with the University of Pennsylvania. She also holds membership in several professional and scientific societies including ASCO, ESMO, ASH, EHA, AACR and SITC. In the latter she serves as co-chair in the SITC Industry Committee, Associate Editor for the Biomarker section of JITC and is an active member of the SITC Biomarker Working Group. Over her careers she has been an author on over 140 publications. Dr. Cesano received an MD summa cum laude, a Board Certification in Oncology and a PhD in Tumor Immunology from the University of Turin.
Prof Gennaro Ciliberto is the Scientific Director of IRCCS Istituto Nazionale Tumori "Regina Elena”. He was previously an Associate Professor in Genetics at University of Pisa and Full Professor of Molecular Biology in University of Napoli. Between 2012-2016, he held the position of Scientific Director of IRCSS Istituto Nazionale Tumori, "G. Pascale" Napoli.
Since 1989, Prof Ciliberto has been an elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO). He is the President of FISV (Italian Federation of Scientific Societies of Life Sciences) and was previously the President of SIBBM (Società Italiana di Biofisica e Biologia Molecolare) during 2013-2016. In 2009, he co-founded a biotechnology company, Takis s.r.l, a spin-off of the IRBM P. Angeletti, with the main focus on research and development of Cancer Immunotherapies.
Prof Ciliberto has co-authored more than 350 indexed publications (total I.F. > 1700; H-index =70) (Source: Scopus) and 30 between book chapters and editorials. He is experienced in Technology transfer as co-inventor of 30 international granted patents/patent applications. Prof Ciliberto is and Editorial Board Member and Reviewer of several international journals, and an Editor if textbook for graduate students.
His current scientific interests are: a) study of the mechanisms responsible for drug resistance in melanoma; b) alterations of lipid metabolism in cancer, mainly lung cancer; c) personalized therapy of cancer; d) genetic vaccines for the therapy of cancer.
Dr Hao Fang is Professor of Clinical Anesthesiology at Fudan University in China. He obtained his Master’s degree and PhD at Fudan University. As a clinical anesthesiologist, he has worked in this area for more than twenty years. He is member of Chinese Association of Anesthesiologists and Deputy Chairman of Anesthesia and Perioperative Special Committee of China Human Health Science and Technology Promotion Association. He has 6 patents to his credit, of which 2 have been transferred. As a researcher, Dr Fang has supervised 18 graduate and PhD students. His research is focused on perioperative organ protection and intensive care of sepsis.
Born in Italy, Dr. Giuseppe Intini earned a degree in dentistry in 1995 from the University of L'Aquila (Italy). In 2000, he received a Master's degree in Oral Sciences from the University at Buffalo (NY), and in 2007 he received a PhD in Oral Biology and a certificate in clinical Periodontology from the University at Buffalo (NY). He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology.
From 2007 to 2012 he was a postdoctoral fellow of Developmental Biology at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine in Boston (MA) and from 2012 to 2018 he has been an Assistant Professor of Oral Medicine, Infection, and Immunity at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine in Boston (MA).
Dr. Intini is an Associate Professor of Periodontics and Preventive Dentistry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine and an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He is a co-director of the Pittsburgh Center for Interdisciplinary Bone and Mineral Research (PCIBMR) and a member of the Center for Craniofacial Regeneration and of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. In addition, he is a visiting faculty at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston (MA) and a lecturer at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine in Boston (MA).
As a clinician, Dr. Intini has interest in periodontal regeneration and alveolar bone augmentation procedures. As a researcher, Dr. Intini oversees the research at the Intini Lab, which focuses on skeletal stem cells and bone regeneration, and on osteosarcoma cancer stem cells and their role in development of lung metastases.
Dr Levon Khachigian PhD, DSc, MIP (Law) is Professor in Medicine at the University of New South Wales where he heads the Vascular Biology and Translational Research Laboratory in UNSW’s Faculty of Medicine and Health. Levon is a vascular cell and molecular biologist whose research has centred on understanding mechanisms underpinning the inducible expression of disease-causing genes in a range of vascular disorders and on devising novel therapies in programs of bench-to-bedside translational research.
Levon’s innovative work has been recognized by numerous awards including the Commonwealth Health Minister's Award for Excellence in Health and Medical Research, the GlaxoSmithKline Australia Award for Research Excellence, the Australasian Science Prize and the Gottschalk Award from the Australian Academy of Science. He has published over 250 research articles and invited reviews.
Prof Khachigian co-edits this section with Dr Broadhead.
Dr. Ahmed Labib, FRCA FFICM EDIC MSc (Anaesth) is a Senior Consultant ECMO, Critical Care, and Anesthesia and an Assistant Professor of Clinical Anesthesiology at WCM-Q. Ahmed is vice chair and the Clinical Lead of HMC Sepsis Program. He is also the Aeromedical Clinic Lead at HGH. Ahmed is an Intensivist at the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Hamad General Hospital. He joined HMC in December 2013. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Anesthetists, London; the Faculty of ICM, London and holds the European Diploma in Intensive Care Medicine (EDIC).
Dr. Labib accomplished advanced dual-specialty training in Anesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine (ICM) in the UK where he trained in a number of regional centers and university hospitals. Dr. Labib’s main interests are patient safety, sepsis and ECMO.
Michael N. Liebman, Ph.D (theoretical chemistry and protein crystallography) is the Managing Director of IPQ Analytics, LLC and Strategic Medicine, Inc after serving as the Executive Director of the Windber Research Institute (now Chan Soon-Shiong Institute for Molecular Medicine) from 2003-2007. He is an Adjunct Professor of Pharmacology and Physiology at Drexel College of Medicine and Adjunct Professor of Drug Discovery, First Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University and also Fudan University. He serves on the Advisory Board for the International Park for Translational Biomedicine (Shanghai) and the Center of Biomedical and Health Research in Data Sciences, Univ Massachusetts(Lowell).
Previously, he was Director, Computational Biology and Biomedical Informatics, University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center 2000-2003. He served as Global Head of Computational Genomics, Roche Pharmaceuticals and Director, Bioinformatics and Pharmacogenomics, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Director of Genomics for Vysis, Inc. He is a co-founder of Prosanos, Inc (now United BioSource) (2000). He was Associate Professor of Pharmacology and of Physiology/Biophysics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Michael is acting CSO for United Cancer Network. He serves on 14 scientific advisory boards, is an advisor in digital health and quantum computing and serves on the Board of Directors of the Nathaniel Adamczyk Foundation in Pediatric ARDS.
Michael is Chair of the Informatics Program and also Chair of Translational Medicine and Therapeutics for the PhRMA Foundation and a member of their Scientific Advisory Board. He is on the Advisory Board of the International Society for Translational Medicine and on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Translational Medicine, for Clinical and Translational Medicine and for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics, for Clinico-Economics and Outcomes Research and Biomedicine Hub. He is a member of the IUPAC Division on Human Health’s Medicinal Chemistry subcommittee. He has served on the External Advisory Board for the INBRE (NIH) program for the state of Delaware since 2000. He serves on the HIMMS Innovation Committee and on the HIMSS SDOH Committee. He is an Invited Professor at the Shanghai Center for Bioinformatics Technology and of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. His research focuses on computational models of disease progression that stress risk detection, disease processes and clinical pathway modeling, and disease stratification from the clinical perspective. He utilizes systems-based approaches and design thinking to represent and analyze risk/benefit analysis in pharmaceutical development and healthcare.
Seah H Lim MD PhD FACP FRCP (Lond.) FRCPath. is Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Hematology and Oncology at the State University of New York Downstate Health Sciences University in Brooklyn, New York. He is a British-trained physician scientist, with an interest in translational research in the area of hematology, hematologic malignancies, and stem cell transplantation. He has held various leadership positions in the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
His current research activities center on sickle cell disease and the role of the intestine in modifying the phenotype of the disease. He has more than 160 publications and four patents to his credit. He has also served in various research grant review committees, including the National Institute of Health.
Cristina Maccalli, MSc., Ph.D., is a Principal Investigator at the laboratory of Immune Biological Therapy, Cancer Program, Research Department of Sidra Medicine, Doha, Qatar. Dr Maccalli obtained in 1990 a master’s degree in Biological Sciences and then, in 1996, a Ph.D. in Applied Genetics at the University of Milan, Italy. She has carried out her post-doctoral research programs at the National Cancer Institute in Milan, Italy and then, at the Surgery Branch, National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA. From 2003 until mid-2007, she worked as investigator at the Istituto Superiore di Sanita’ Rome, Italy. In 2007, Dr Maccalli joined as Senior Investigator the Unit of Immuno-biotherapy of Melanoma and Solid Tumors at the San Raffaele Foundation Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy. In 2013, she contributed to set up in the context of the Italian Network for Biotherapy of Tumors-(NIBIT) a novel laboratory dedicated to the identification of biomarkers for cancer patients through the design of standardized and validated immune-monitoring assays. In October 2015, Dr Maccalli joined the Research Department at Sidra Medicine.
Her research interest lies in the area of immunology, tumor immunology and immunotherapy, with main focus on the functional and immunological characterization of cancer stem cells and the development of immune cell-based therapy for cancer patients.
Dr Maccalli is the author/co-author of 67 original peer-reviewed publications and 6-chapter books. She was the Chair of the conference ”Engineered Immune Cells in Cancer Immunotherapy: from Discovery to “Off-the-Shelf” Development” held on the 15-17th of February 2019, in Doha Qatar. She serves as member of Biomarker Working Group (Society of Immunotherapy of Cancer, SITC, USA). In 2020, she has been awarded of the SITC- ”Team Science Recognition Award”.
Prof Marcello Maggiolini is Full Professor of General Pathology at the Department of Pharmacy, Health and Nutritional Sciences of University of Calabria.
He earned a medical degree at the University of Padova, thereafter he obtained the title of specialist in Endocrinology at the University of Rome (A. Gemelli Hospital) and the title of specialist in medical genetics at the University of Catania. From 1998 to 1999, he was Visiting Professor at the Department of Cellular Biology, University of Genève.
At the University of Calabria, he held the position of Director of the Pharmaco-Biology Department from 2005 to 2012, Member of the Academic Senate from 2006 to 2012, Chairman of the Board of the Department’s Directors from 2006 to 2012, Member of the Administration's Board from 2013 to 2019, Coordinator of the Degree Course in Medicine and Surgery TD (Digital Technologies) from 2021. He is Member of Italian Society of General Pathology and Translational Medicine. Prof. Maggiolini has co-authored more than 180 indexed publications (H-index =52) (Source: Scopus). He is Associate Editor, Editorial Board Member and Reviewer of several international journals. He obtained several grants focusing on the following research interests: i) novel mechanisms involved by estrogen and growth factors signaling in breast cancer progression, ii) microenvironment players triggering cancer development, iii) hypoxia-mediated cancer stimulation, iv) computer modeling and bioinformatics.
Salvatore Nesci, PhD, is Associate Professor of Biochemistry at the Department of Veterinary Medical Sciences of University of Bologna.
In 2004, he was awarded a Bachelor’s in Biology at the University of Calabria and two years later a Master’s in Biology at the same university. In 2009 he obtained his PhD degree in Biochemistry at the University of Bologna. Afterwards, he spent two years as post-doc fellow before winning the position of researcher. He completed his tenure track by spending a few periods abroad in the laboratories of Dr Cinta Porte (Barcelona, Spain) and Prof Mike Murphy (Cambridge, UK). Since 2020 he has covered the role of Associate Professor in Biochemistry and group leader of the Mitochondrial Biochemistry lab at the Department of Veterinary Medical Sciences of the University of Bologna.
He is Associate Editor, Editorial Board Member and Reviewer of several international journals.
His research is focused on the molecular mechanisms involved in the biological transduction of energy in mitochondria, cell metabolism analysis, and studies of enzymatic kinetic approaches on structure-activity relationship (SAR) and function.
Dr Monica C Panelli is a Senior Editor and Section Editor (Illnesses of Unknown Etiology) of the Journal of Translational Medicine (2002 to present). Dr Panelli transitioned from academia to Amgen Medical Information-Oncology therapeutic area with responsibility for marketed and pipeline oncology products (2010-2013). As a Tumor Immunologist, Dr Panelli conducted clinical/ translational cancer research focused on melanoma and monitored clinical trials at NIH/NCI and academia/University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI). She was a visiting Associate Professor at University of Pittsburg Cancer Institute (UPCI), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA; Director of Immunogenomics an Immunoproteomics UPCI Core Services; and Director of Clinical Genomics/Proteomics and Tissue Banking, UPCI Melanoma and Skin Cancer Program (2007-2009). Dr Panelli was a Staff Scientist and Supervisor Proteomic Unit 2002-2006 at National Institutes of Health (NIH), Clinical Center (CC) Department of Transfusion Medicine Bethesda Maryland, USA.
Dr Panelli is a reviewer for numerous scientific journals and has granted proposals for domestic (NSF) and international (SFI and AIRC) foundations. She has served in intramural (NIH and UPCI), extramural (ECOG, Industry) and international (International Melanoma Working Group-IMWG) advisory committees for cancer therapeutics. Dr Panelli is an ASCO and SITC active member.
María José Polanco Mora, PhD, is Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology (University San Pablo CEU, Madrid, Spain). Dr Polanco obtained her Ph.D. degree in Neuropharmacology in 2011 (University San Pablo CEU, Madrid, Spain), was a visiting researcher in the University of Glasgow (Glasgow, Scotland) and completed her post-doctoral training in the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT, Genova, Italy) and in the Center of Integrative Biology (CIBIO, University of Trento, Italy) in 2017. She is a member of the research group NEUROFAN (Neuropharmacology of addiction and neurodegenerative diseases). Her current research activities center on the molecular mechanisms underlying motor neuron diseases, such as Kennedy´s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Previously, she served as Associate Editor for the Journal of Translational Medicine. She is a member of Neuroscience expert panel for Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (European Commission). She is the president of the Commission of the Research Ethics Committee (University San Pablo CEU).
Jingxuan Shan, PhD, is a senior research scientist in Genetic Intelligence lab in Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar. Dr Shan obtained his MSc and PhD in Genetics from Fudan University (Shanghai). He completed his postdoctoral training the field of translational study of breast/prostate cancer in Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar after he left GenenDesign (Shanghai), which is dedicated to building cancer models for personalized cancer drug discovery and where he was a founding member.
His research interests include identification of genetic causes of rare disease, investigation of genetic and lifestyle risk factors for cancer and obesity and the development of therapeutics for these two diseases.
Laura Soldati is contract Professor in Applied and Technical Dietary Sciences at. Specialization Schools in Nutrition Sciences and in Nephrology at the University of Milan, Italy, with Suitability as Associate Professor (2017-23). She was Member of the Council of the PhD Program in Molecular and Translational Medicine (2000-2019). Dr Soldati was also a Member of the Animal Welfare Organization (OPBA) (2014-2016), Consultant at the Sidra Medical and Research Center, Doha, Qatar (2015) and a Member of the Academic Senate, representative of Medical Sciences (2016-2018).