Meet the Editors
Francesco Marincola, Editor-in-Chief
Dr Marincola received his MD, summa cum laude from the University of Milan, Italy and Surgery training at Stanford University, California. His research interest lies in translational medicine and focuses on the development of strategies for the dynamic study of patients’ response to immunotherapy. His approach has brought seminal observations regarding the mechanisms leading to rejection of tumors, allograft rejection, graft-versus-host disease and autoimmunity.
Dr Marincola is currently Global Head of Research at Kite Pharma, Santa Monica, California. He previously was President and Chief Scientific Officer at Refuge Biotechnologies, Menlo Park, California, Distinguished Research Fellow at AbbVie Corporation in Redwood City, California, Chief Research Officer at Sidra Medical and Research Center in Doha Qatar and Tenured Investigator at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda Maryland. Dr Marincola founded in 2003 the Journal of Translational Medicine of which he is currently the Editor-in-Chief. He is also Editor-in-Chief of Translational Medicine Communications. He is past-president of the Society for the Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) and of the International Society for Translational Medicine. Dr Marincola is editor of several biomedical books including the SITC-affiliated Cancer Immunotherapy Principles and Practice Textbook. Dr Marincola is an award winning fiction writer author of The Wise Men of Pizzo and the Cat Behind the Window.
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.
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.
Dr Lotfi Chouchane is Professor in the departments of Genetic Medicine, and Microbiology and Immunology of Weill Cornell Medicine.
Dr Chouchane received his Ph.D. in immunology from Pasteur Institute of Paris and the University of Paris VII. Following a four-year post-doctoral position at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, in the U.S., he obtained his D.Sc. in human genetics and immunology. He then joined the National Institute of Medical Research in Paris as a scientist.
Before joining Weill Cornell Medicine, Dr Chouchane was at the Faculty of Medicine of Monastir University in Tunisia, where he worked as Professor of Human Genetics and Immunology, and Chief of the laboratory of Immuno-oncology. He was the Chair of the department of Basic Science during the period between 1996-2002.
Dr Chouchane's current research interests include functional genomics and immunology of cancer and rare diseases.
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”.
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.
Dr Violena Pietrobon is a Senior Scientist at Refuge Biotechnologies, in Menlo Park, California. She is studying CAR-T cells that conditionally activate or repress multiple genes simultaneously, resulting in more potent and targeted treatments without permanent edits to the genome.
Dr Pietrobon obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Molecular Biology and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Padua, Italy. In 2012 she obtained her Ph.D. degree in Cellular Biology at the Institute Curie in Paris, France as a Marie-Curie Actions fellow. She recently completed her postdoctoral training at the University of Toronto, Canada working at the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology.
Previously, she served as Associate Editor for the Journal of Translational Medicine and she is a member of the Transcriptional Profiling task force for the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC). As a member of the European Initial Training Network (ITN) “High Resolution Microscopy in the DNA Damage Response”, she participated in several conferences and scientific collaborations within the network including European and Israeli research institutes.
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).