April 2, 2024

Global Leaders in Cancer Research and Biotech Join The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research’s Scientific Advisory and Industry Advisory Committees

Professors Sarah-Jane Dawson, Johanna Joyce, and Charles Swanton join The Mark Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Committee; veteran biotech leader Wendy Young joins the Industry Advisory Committee

New York, NY—Apr 2, 2024—The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research, a leading nonprofit dedicated to advancing research that transforms the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer, proudly announces the appointment of new members to its Scientific Advisory and Industry Advisory Committees.

Joining The Mark Foundation Scientific Advisory Committee are distinguished cancer research and clinical oncology experts Sarah-Jane Dawson, MBBS, PhD, of Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Centre for Cancer Research University of Melbourne, Australia; Johanna Joyce, PhD, of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland and Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research; and Charles Swanton, MBPhD, of the Francis Crick Institute and University College London. All three are highly accomplished investigators in their respective fields of study and are past recipients of prestigious Mark Foundation ASPIRE awards that supported innovative cancer research projects in their labs.

Chaired by Ross Levine, MD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the Scientific Advisory Committee is comprised of a stellar group of internationally renowned cancer research experts including Scott Armstrong, MD, PhD, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Catherine Bollard, MBChB, MD, of Children’s National Hospital; Elaine Mardis, PhD, of Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Daniel Nomura, PhD, of University of California, Berkeley, and E. John Wherry, PhD, of University of Pennsylvania. The committee assists the foundation in reviewing its scientific goals and grant applications, as well as providing strategic advice and support for its research programs and investments.

“As the foundation accelerates discovery and development of new cancer therapeutics and diagnostics by funding trailblazing science globally, it is critical to engage with the world’s leading experts,” said Ross Levine, MD. “The outstanding researchers on our advisory committees provide invaluable guidance and insight to help steer its programs toward success and impact.”

“The Mark Foundation’s funding of high-risk, high-impact research is essential in the quest to achieve real breakthroughs in cancer research,” said Johanna Joyce, PhD. “I am honored to join the Scientific Advisory Committee, to support the next generations of scientists and projects that will revolutionize treatments for patients.”

Joining The Mark Foundation Industry Advisory Committee is Wendy Young, PhD, an experienced biopharma and life science executive with a strong track record of drug discovery success. The Industry Advisory Committee, including active members Hans Bitter, PhD; Pamela Carroll, PhD; Dan Hicklin, PhD; and Markus Renschler, MD, brings together highly accomplished biotechnology and pharmaceutical R&D leaders to help advise the foundation’s unique approach to funding drug discovery research and to investing in early-stage oncology companies developing cutting edge therapeutics and diagnostics.

“We are thrilled and honored to welcome all of these distinguished scientists to our advisory committees,” said Ryan Schoenfeld, PhD, CEO of The Mark Foundation. “Their extensive experience will greatly benefit our commitment to funding high-impact cancer research and bringing discoveries to patients.”

New Advisory Committee Member brief biographies:

  • Sarah-Jane Dawson, MBBS, FRACP, PhD is a professor and clinician-scientist at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Centre for Cancer Research at the University of Melbourne. She is the co-program head of the Cancer Biology and Therapeutics Program and Group Leader of the Molecular Biomarkers and Translational Genomics Laboratory. Professor Dawson is also a fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences. Her research program centers on developing noninvasive blood-based biomarkers (“liquid biopsies”) for clinical application, including early detection, risk stratification and disease monitoring in cancer management to improve patient outcomes.
  • Johanna Joyce, PhD, FAACR is a Full Professor at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, and Full Member of the international Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research. She previously served as the inaugural Executive Director of the multi-institutional Agora Cancer Centre for translational research in Lausanne until 2021. Prior to relocating her lab to Switzerland in 2016, she was a Full Member at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and a Full Professor at Weill Cornell Medical School in New York. Professor Joyce’s research investigates the microenvironment in which a tumor arises and the critical influence that non-cancerous immune and stromal cells can have on tumor progression, metastasis, and therapeutic response.
  • Charles Swanton, MBPhD, FRCP, FMedSci, FAACR, FRS is Deputy Clinical Director at the Francis Crick Institute and Senior Principal Investigator of the Cancer Evolution and Genome Instability Laboratory. He is also the Royal Society Napier Professor in Cancer and a thoracic oncologist at University College London Hospitals, Chief Clinician of Cancer Research UK, and Chief Investigator of the TRACERx clinical study to decipher lung cancer evolution. Professor Swanton’s research focuses on the branched evolutionary histories of solid tumors, processes that drive cancer cell-to-cell variation in the form of new cancer mutations or chromosomal instabilities, and the impact of such cancer diversity on effective immune surveillance and clinical outcome.
  • Wendy Young, PhD is a biotech executive with more than 30 years of experience in the discovery and development of new medicines for patients. She currently serves as a Board Member and Scientific Advisor at several biotech companies and is an Advisor at Google Ventures. Previously, Wendy was the Senior Vice President, Small Molecule Drug Discovery, at Genentech where she actively built and led the research & discovery organization. Under her leadership, more than 25 clinical candidates progressed into development. Additionally, Wendy led the BTK discovery program and is co-inventor of fenebrutinib, which is currently in Phase 3 trials for multiple sclerosis. Prior to joining Genentech, Wendy held leadership roles at Celera Genomics and Scios, a J&J company.

Follow these links for more on the entire Mark Foundation Scientific Advisory Committee and  Industry Advisory Committee.

About The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research

The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research, a charitable organization based in New York City, actively partners with scientists worldwide to accelerate research that will transform cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.  Since 2017, The Mark Foundation has awarded over $220 million in grants to investigators at more than 100 academic institutions across 16 countries, with research programs focusing on early career support, team science collaboration, new technology innovation, and therapeutics discovery.  Additionally, The Mark Foundation maintains a growing portfolio of investments in early-stage cancer diagnostics and therapeutics companies, including several that have transitioned from grantee projects into commercial development.  To learn more, please visit www.TheMarkFoundation.org.


Linda Heaney

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