Advisory Board

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    Margaret ("Peggy") Goodell, PhD

    Professor and Chair
    Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology
    Director of the Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine Center
    Baylor College of Medicine

    Margaret (“Peggy”) Goodell, PhD is Professor and Chair of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, and Director of the Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine Center, at Baylor College of Medicine, in Houston, Texas. Goodell’s research is focused on the mechanisms that regulate hematopoietic stem cells, and their dysregulation in malignancies, particularly DNA Methyltransferase 3A (DNMT3A). Goodell is a former president of the International Society for Experimental Hematology (2013). She is a recipient of the Damashek Prize from the American Society of Hematology (2012), the Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award in Medicine from TAMEST (2011) and the Tobias Award from the International Society for Stem Cell Research (2020), and she was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2019. Goodell is Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Keystone Symposia and is a member of their Board of Directors. She has served on the editorial board of PLoS Biology, and as an Associated Editor of Blood, and currently serves on the editorial boards of Cell Stem Cell and Cancer Cell. Goodell directs a laboratory of about 15 trainees.

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    Sharon Y.R. Dent, PhD

    Professor and Chair
    Department of Epigenetics and Molecular Carcinogenesis
    M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

    Sharon Y.R. Dent, PhD holds the Ruth Leggett Jones Distinguished Chair and serves as Chair of the Department of Epigenetics and Molecular Carcinogenesis at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Dent’s research exploits yeast, mouse, and human genetics to define functions of histone modifying enzymes. Her early discovery that a yeast corepressor complex repositions nucleosomes and recruits histone deacetylases to gene promoters created a new paradigm for transcriptional repression. Examples of other key findings include demonstration of the first methylation-phosphorylation regulatory switch in a non-histone protein; discovery that histone modifications, such as H2Bub, can drive modifications in non-histone proteins, thereby directly participating in signal transduction pathways; and uncovering unexpected functions for histone modifying enzymes in mitosis and telomere maintenance. Her more recent work revealed that the Gcn5 histone acetyltransferase is an essential co-activator for the Myc proto-oncogene and that a ubiquitin specific protease, USP22 that is over expressed in many human cancers is important for execution of multiple signaling pathways important for vasculogenesis. Dr. Dent was elected as Fellow for the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2012.

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    David Bjork

    Research Advocate and Lung Cancer Survivor
    Research Evangelist

    Dave Bjork is a patient advocate and research evangelist with more than 20 years of progressive experience in nonprofit advocacy, community-building and fundraising leadership roles. He is currently a consultant on the Patient Driven Design team at Medidata Solutions advising on bringing the patient voice to the clinical trial experience. Dave is also host of the Research Evangelist podcast and blog where he interviews people in life sciences that are doing brilliant work in research. Previously Dave served 4 years as Director of Development and Community Relations at FRAXA Research Foundation where he was responsible for building relationships between the Fragile X community and biopharma companies to help advance treatment development in Fragile X syndrome. Before FRAXA Dave spent 4 years as Vice President of Development for National Foundation for Cancer Research where he was responsible for all fundraising and advocacy efforts.

    A lung cancer survivor, Bjork has made it his life mission to connect patients, biopharma companies, academic institutions and other key influencers to forge strong partnerships to focus on research. He also advocates for and builds bridges between patient groups and the biopharma industry. Bjork earned a BS in Economics and Finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

  • PeterJones
    Peter A. Jones, PhD, DSc (hon)

    Chief Scientific Officer
    Co-leader, VAI-SU2C Epigenetics Dream Team
    Van Andel Institute
    Grand Rapids, Michigan - USA

    Peter Jones was born in Cape Town, raised and attended college in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), and received his Ph.D. from the University of London. He joined the University of Southern California in 1977, attaining the rank of Professor in 1985 and Distinguished Professor in 1999. He served as Director of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center between 1993 and 2011. Dr. Jones became Chief Scientific Officer of Van Andel Institute (VAI) in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 2014. His laboratory discovered the effects of 5azacytidine on cytosine methylation and first established the link between DNA methylation, gene expression and differentiation. He helped pioneer the field of epigenetics, particularly its role in cancer, and helped develop novel cancer therapies. He has published more than 300 scientific papers and received several honors, including two Outstanding Investigator Awards from the NCI. He and Stephen Baylin shared the Kirk Landon Award for Basic Cancer Research from the AACR in 2009 and the Medal of Honor from the American Cancer Society in 2011. Dr. Jones is a past President of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2009 and a Fellow of the Academy of the AACR in 2013. He was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA in 2016, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2017 and received an honorary D.Sc. from Stellenbosch University in 2018.

Former Advisory Board Members

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    Dr. David Allis

    Joy and Jack Fishman Professor
    Head, Laboratory of Chromatin Biology & Epigenetics
    The Rockefeller University

    C. David Allis is currently the Joy and Jack Fishman Professor and head of the Laboratory of Chromatin Biology and Epigenetics at The Rockefeller University. Dr. Allis studies how the histone or epigenetic “code” serves as a fundamental regulatory mechanism for DNA templated processes. His studies have been addressing the impact that this encoded information has on development and disease. Dr. Allis has made seminal discoveries such as the discovery of the histone acetyltransferase, establishing the “histone code hypothesis”, identifying the first H3K4 methyl reader protein and most recently establishing a critical role for mutated histones in cancer (“oncohistones”). For these seminal discoveries, Dr. Allis has been awarded numerous awards such as the Gairdner Foundation International Award (2007), The Japan Prize (2014), Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences (2015) and the Lasker Basic Medical Research Award (2018). Dr. Allis is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and National Academy of Sciences.