Meet the Speakers

We've invited the brightest minds from different professions to discuss how they're working on improving cancer diagnosis and treatment within their respective fields as part of a global team of interdisciplinary leaders.


Senior Vice President, Global Clinical Development Hematology/Oncology at Genentech/Roche

Dietmar leads the medical strategy for global clinical development portfolio for cancer medicines at Roche/Genentech. He was formerly vice president of global clinical development for the company’s HER2 breast cancer franchise and was instrumental in the development and marketing approvals of two breast cancer medicines across three new indications.

Dietmar has more than 20 years of experience in oncology research and development, including as head of the clinical research center at the University Medical Hospital, Freiburg, Germany. He has held leadership positions at several global pharmaceutical companies and received the Cancer Award of the German Cancer Society for his research on angiogenesis. Dietmar has authored more than 40 scientific publications and five books.

Dietmar Berger, M.D/Ph.D.


Jason joined the faculty at UCLA in the Department of Biological Chemistry, the Computer Science Department, and the Bioinformatics Program in 2012. Prior to that, he was a postdoctoral fellow in Manolis Kellis' Computational Biology Group in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT and affiliated with the Broad Institute. In 2008, Jason completed a PhD advised by Ziv Bar-Joseph where he was part of the Systems Biology Group, Machine Learning Department, and School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. Jason also earned BS degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics from the University of Maryland College Park. He is a member of the editorial board at Genome Research and has been a program co-chair for the ISMB Regulatory Genomics Special Interest Group (RegGenSIG) meeting. He is a recipient of a Sloan Fellowship, NIH-Avenir Award, NSF Career Award, NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship, a Siebel Scholarship, and a Goldwater Scholarship.

Assistant Professor of Biological Chemistry, Computer Science, and Bioinformatics at UCLA, Principal Investigator in David Geffen School of Medicine

Jason Ernst, Ph.D.


Mikhail is a Caltech Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, and closely affiliated with Caltech's Bioengineering and Medical Engineering Departments. Mikhail brings many years of experience as a Schlinger Scholar and Heritage Principal Investigator. In 2008, he completed his PhD in bioengineering, advised by Robert Langer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Before joining Caltech, Mikhail was a Miller Research Fellow at UC Berkeley and postdoctoral scholar at the University of Chicago. He is a recipient of a Van Ness Award, Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering, DARPA Young Faculty Award, Burroughs Wellcome Fund Award, and a TR35 member.

Mikhail Shapiro, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering, Heritage Principal Investigator in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics

Expert Panelists

Luke is the CEO and co-founder of Onconetics Pharmaceuticals, a company that seeks to use cutting-edge gene therapy technologies to treat cancer and other diseases. From 2013, he worked for many years in Dr. Dieter Gruenert’s lab at the University of California, San Francisco on a variety of gene therapy projects. Understanding the need for a truly personalized approach to medicine, Luke invented the technology that is the basis for Onconetics’ pioneering approach.

Luke aims to improve healthcare, emphasizing the importance of an improved and dignified quality of life for individuals in need. Luke brings several years of dedicated biomedical research experience, as well as rigorous training in the field by highly qualified professionals—and an unyielding dedication to transforming the healthcare industry and bettering the lives of patients.

Luke Gruenert

CEO, Co-Founder of Onconetics Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

John Glaspy, M.D/MPH

John is a professor of medicine at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC) of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Medicine. He holds the Estelle, Abe, and Marjorie Sanders Endowed Chair in Cancer Research. He is director of the JCCC Clinical Research Unit and director of the JCCC Women's Cancer Research Program.

John is a fellow of the American College of Physicians. During the course of his career, he has authored more than 270 articles, abstracts, and book chapters. He has received numerous awards and honors, including being named one of the "Best Doctors in America." John received his MD from the UCLA School of Medicine and his MPH in health services administration from the UCLA School of Public Health. He completed his residency in internal medicine and his fellowship in hematology and oncology at the UCLA School of Medicine.

Medicine, Hematology and Oncology, Internal Medicine, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica

Judith is a Professor of Chemistry and Biology at the California Institute of Technology. She is an Ellison Medical Foundation Senior Scholar and recipient of the Bavarian State Scholarship, as well as the prestigious Research Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health.

Judith has been on the editorial board of major publication journals, such as Molecular and Cellular Biology, the Annual Review of Biochemistry, Critical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and the Journal of Biological Chemistry. She is also a prior member of the NIH Biochemistry Study Section as well as the National Cancer Institute's Board of Scientific Councilors. Judith received her Ph.D. from Harvard University, and was a Senior Research Associate and Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard Medical School before coming to Caltech.

Judith Campbell, Ph.D.

Professor of Chemistry and Biology, California Institute of Technology

Research Presenters

Saul Priceman, Ph. D.

Saul is an assistant research professor in the T Cell Immunotherapy Program at City of Hope, and a trained tumor immunologist with expertise in T cell biology and cancer immunotherapy. He is developing chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-based T cell immunotherapy primarily for solid cancers, with a strong focus on metastatic disease in breast, prostate, and pancreatic cancer.

Saul is a principal investigator on a Prostate Cancer Foundation Young Investigator award, a co-principal investigator on a Prostate Cancer Foundation Challenge Award, and a principal investigator on a National Comprehensive Cancer Network Young Investigator award, leading the development of HER2-specific CAR T therapy for metastatic breast cancers, and working with his team optimizing new CAR T cell therapies for various other solid cancers.

Assistant Research Professor, Department of Hematology and Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation, City of Hope

     Vanessa is an assistant research professor in the T Cell Immunotherapy Program and Department of Hematology and Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation and group leader of Computational Immuno-Oncology at the City of Hope.  Her research program in computational biology focusses on the integration, mathematical modeling and analysis of large-scale, longitudinal genomic, transcriptomic and immunological data from clinical studies to inform and address the mechanisms of immune-resistant cancer progression.

     In 2015, Vanessa completed her Ph.D. at Caltech, where she was advised by Richard Murray and David Baltimore.  She is a principal investigator on a Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy award to model the evolution of cancer immunity during in cancer immunotherapy trials and co-investigator on a California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) award to study response and resistance in a phase I CAR T cell trial targeting malignant glioma. 

Vanessa Jonsson, Ph. D.

Assistant Research Professor, Director Computational Immuno-Oncology, City of Hope 


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