Faculty Biographies

23–24 September 2022; Virtual Meeting

Elias Jabbour

Elias Jabbour, MD

MD Anderson Cancer Center, USA

Elias Jabbour, MD, is professor of medicine, Department of Leukemia, at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC), Houston, Texas. He graduated from the Saint Joseph University School of Medicine, Beirut, and joined the Hotel Dieu de France University Hospital as a resident. He pursued a fellowship in hematology-oncology at the Gustave Roussy Institute, France. In 2003, he joined MDACC as a fellow in the Department of Hematology/Leukemia and Stem Cell Transplantation. He later joined the faculty in the Leukemia Department as assistant professor.

Dr Jabbour is actively involved in research in both acute and chronic forms of leukemia. He was involved in clinical trials that led to the approval of several drugs in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). He actively assisted in developing chemotherapeutic and biologic agents in leukemias and contributed to the development of others. Dr Jabbour has designed more than a dozen clinical trials assessing new combinations for the management of de novo ALL, elderly ALL, and relapsed/refractory disease. Of note, he developed a protocol that has shown significant improvements in survival rates for patients with Philadelphia chromosome-positive ALL. In addition, he developed another innovative treatment approach for these patients by combining blinatumomab, a bispecific monoclonal antibody, with ponatinib, offering a chemotherapy-free regimen that it is hoped will further increase cure rates. Another area on which he focused his research is elderly patients with ALL. The aggressive biology of the disease and elderly patients’ poor tolerance of intensive chemotherapy leads to low survival rates for this patient population.

Dr Jabbour is currently investigating an innovative strategy combining new monoclonal antibodies such as inotuzumab ozogamicin, a conjugated anti-CD22 antibody, and blinatumomab with minimal chemotherapy. If successful, such strategies will likely increase the cure rates of adult patients with ALL to the high level achieved in pediatric patients.

Dr Jabbour has taken an active role in the medical community, participating in numerous scientific meetings. He has authored or co-authored numerous publications (>550 peer-reviewed publications) and abstracts, and serves as a reviewer for many scientific journals. He has received several prestigious awards, among them merit awards from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (2005, 2006, 2007) and the American Society of Hematology (2005, 2006, 2007). He also received several other honors, including the Kimberly Patterson and Shannon Timmons fellowships and the highly coveted Celgene Future Leader in Hematology (2007) and Young Investigator in Hematology (2016) awards.

Franco Locatelli

Franco Locatelli, MD, PhD

University of Rome, IRCCS Ospedale Pediatrico, Bambino Gesù, Italy

Prof Franco Locatelli is head of the Department of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology, IRCCS Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital in Rome, and full professor of pediatrics at the Sapienza University of Rome in Italy. He leads the largest program of childhood allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) in Italy and was recently appointed president of the Italian Higher Council of Health (Consiglio Superiore di Sanità), the technical scientific advisory body to the Ministry of Health. He graduated in medicine and surgery from the University of Pavia in Italy, where he also obtained a specialization in pediatrics and hematology. In 2005, he received the Gold Medal for Merit in public health by the president of the Italian Republic.

Prof Locatelli is an expert in childhood hematologic and oncologic malignancies. He was the president of the Italian Association for Pediatric Hematology-Oncology from 2004 to 2006, and served as chairman of the EWOG-MDS consortium from 2005 to 2011. Currently, he coordinates the national protocols for children with newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia and relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He has implemented in Italy the first-in-human academic studies on children with CD19+ lymphoid malignancies using second-generation retroviral chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells and on children with GD2+ neuroblastoma.

Prof Locatelli is also involved in the development and validation of gene therapy approaches in patients with thalassemia and sickle cell disease and he has extensive experience in running phase I/II clinical trials. He is the author or co-author of 1,070 peer-reviewed articles published in international journals and he has an overall impact factor above 5000 and an H-index of 99 (Scopus source).

Naval Daver

Naval Daver, MD

MD Anderson Cancer Center, USA

Dr Naval Daver is an associate professor and director of the Leukemia Research Alliance Program in the Department of Leukemia at MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC) in Houston, TX. He is a clinical investigator with a focus on molecular and immune therapies in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and myeloid disease, and is principal investigator on more than 25 ongoing institutional, national, and international clinical trials in these diseases. These trials focus on developing a personalized therapy approach by targeting specific mutations or immune pathways expressed by patients with AML, evaluating novel combinations of targeted, immune, and cytotoxic agents, and identifying and overcoming mechanisms of resistance. He is especially interested in developing monoclonal and bispecific antibodies, immune checkpoint and vaccine-based approaches, as well as targeted and apoptotic therapies in AML, and he is leading a number of these trials at MDACC. Dr Daver has published over 300 peer-reviewed manuscripts and is on the editorial board of numerous hematology journals.

Gail Roboz

Gail J. Roboz, MD

Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian Hospital, USA

Dr Gail J. Roboz is director of the clinical and translational leukemia programs and professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York City. She received her medical degree from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, NY, and completed an internship in internal medicine at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. She completed a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in hematology and medical oncology at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

Dr Roboz is an internationally known expert in developmental therapeutics and novel clinical trials for acute leukemia, myelodysplastic syndrome, and myeloproliferative diseases. She is principal investigator on numerous investigator-initiated, cooperative group, and industry-sponsored clinical trials in these areas and has authored many related manuscripts and abstracts.

Dr Roboz serves on the Leukemia Core Committee for the Alliance clinical trials in oncology and is the Weill Cornell principal investigator for the MDS Clinical Research Consortium. She chairs the clinical committee of the European LeukemiaNet working group on minimal residual disease in acute myeloid leukemia. She also serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Aplastic Anemia & MDS International Foundation. Dr Roboz has played an active role as a chair, speaker, and panelist at numerous national and international conferences and is the recipient of prestigious honors and awards in the field.

Josep Ribera

Josep-Maria Ribera, MD, PhD

Catalan Institute of Oncology, University Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol, Spain

Prof Josep-Maria Ribera is a practicing physician and researcher. He is the director of the Stem Cell Transplantation Unit at the Hospital Universitari Germans Trias i Pujol (HUGTP) and head of the Clinical Hematology Department for the Catalan Institute of Oncology also at HUGTP. He joined the Josep Carreras Institute at its creation and participated in the process of creation of the acute lymphoblastic leukemia research group.

Prof Ribera has been an associate professor of medicine at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) since 2003. He teaches post-graduate courses at UAB, University of Barcelona, the Universidad Internacional Menéndez y Pelayo, and the Escuela Nacional de Sanidad, as well as carrying out other varied teaching duties. After gaining his medical degree, he specialized in hematology at the Hospital Clínic Barcelona, before completing his PhD in the Clinical Hematology Department.

Prof Ribera’s work and publications have made him well known internationally and he is a member of the Steering Committee for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) of the European LeukemiaNet and the European Working Group for Adult Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (EWALL). His research focuses on the study of new treatment approaches and prognostic factors in adult ALL and he collaborates closely with the Lymphoma Research Group in the study of therapy and prognosis in HIV-related lymphomas. He has authored/co-authored more than 485 published clinical papers and 100 book chapters on hematology, oncology and internal medicine.

Agnieszka Wierzbowska

Agnieszka Wierzbowska, MD, PhD

Medical University of Lodz, Poland

Agnieszka Wierzbowska, MD, PhD, is head of the Department of Hematology in the Medical University of Lodz, Poland. Since 2010 she has been chair of the AML Working Group of Polish Adult Leukemia Group (PALG). Dr Wierzbowska is a member of the ASH, EHA, EBMT, PALG and PTHiT. She has served as a member of the European Steering Committee of AML Hub and an ambassador of Know AML.

Her research interests are in developmental therapeutics for acute leukemia, myelodysplastic syndrome, and transplantation. She has served as the principal investigator on many clinical trials and have authored or coauthored numerous publications and abstracts. She sits on the editorial boards and acts as a reviewer for several journals. She has played an active role as a speaker and panelist at numerous regional, national, and international conferences.

Rob Pieters

Rob Pieters, MD, PhD

Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands

Dr Rob Pieters is chief medical officer at Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology and professor of pediatric oncology at the University of Utrecht, both in Utrecht, The Netherlands. In 1987, he obtained his MSc in human movement science and his MD at the Free University of Amsterdam, and in 1991, he received his PhD with a thesis on drug resistance in leukemia. After finishing his training in pediatrics in 1995, he received a clinical fellowship in pediatric oncology from the Dutch Cancer Society. He was head of pediatric oncology-hematology at the Erasmus MC Sophia Children’s Hospital in Rotterdam, and a full professor in pediatric oncology at Erasmus University Rotterdam from 2000–2017. Dr Pieters is the initiator and one of the founders of the Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology. This national center has merged the expertise from all former childhood cancer centers in the Netherlands, thereby establishing the largest center in Europe for treatment and research of childhood cancer.

Dr Pieters’ research is focused on the development of personalized therapies for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He chairs and/or is a member of many boards of international childhood cancer study groups and advisory boards of international oncology institutes and organizations. In 2018, he received a Royal knighthood decoration as Officer in the Order of Oranje Nassau for his achievements for children with cancer.

Dr Pieters has published more than 600 book chapters and papers in peer-reviewed journals, has supervised more than 50 PhD students, and is a frequent speaker at international congresses.

Nicola Gokbuget

Nicola Gökbuget, MD

University Hospital Frankfurt, Germany

Dr Nicola Gökbuget has worked at the University Hospital Frankfurt, Germany, for more than 25 years and as senior physician she heads the study center of the Department of Medicine II. She is task force director for clinical trials of the University Cancer Center.

Dr Gökbuget is coordinating or principal investigator of numerous academic or industry-sponsored trials in adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and related diseases such as lymphoblastic lymphoma or Burkitt’s lymphoma. For more than 20 years, she has served as coordinator of the German Multicenter Study Group for ALL (GMALL) with more than 140 participating hospitals across Germany. She is the GMALL chair for adult ALL. She founded and established a national registry for ALL with an associated biobank, and has chaired the European Hematology Association Scientific Working Group for ALL for the past 3 years. Dr Gökbuget is a founding member and board member of the German Network for Acute and Chronic Leukemias and the European Leukemia Network (ELN). She is also a founding member of the ELN Working Group for Adult ALL and is editor of the European ALL guidelines book.

Christina Peters

Christina Peters, MD

St. Anna Children’s Hospital, Austria

Christina Peters, MD, is professor of pediatrics in the Department of Stem Cell Transplantation, St. Anna Children’s Hospital, Vienna, Austria, and is principal investigator of active studies within the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT) and International BFM Study Group (IBFM) for the treatment of pediatric leukemia.

Prof Peters’ research interests include allogeneic hematopoietic transplantation in children and adolescents with malignant and nonmalignant diseases from related and unrelated donors, infectious and toxic complications after stem cell transplantation, adoptive therapies for hematologic malignancies, and family-oriented rehabilitation for children with life-threatening diseases. She is international study chair of the multinational trial investigating the role of total body irradiation vs chemo-conditioning in children and adolescents with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (FORUM).

Prof Peters is a member of many professional societies, including IBFM, the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research, the German and Austrian Society of Paediatric Haematology, and the Austrian Gene Therapy Commission. She is a member of the advisory board of the Austrian Ministry of Health, the bioethical committee of the Austrian Prime Minister, and a member of the European Network of Paediatric Research at the European Medicines Agency. Prof Peters chaired the EBMT Paediatric Diseases Working Party from 2008–2014. As an expert speaker, she has presented on a variety of topics at many symposia, meetings, and seminars. She has authored and co-authored numerous papers in peer-review journals such as Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, Bone Marrow Transplantation, Blood, Vox Sanguinis, Leukemia, Haematologica, British Journal of Haematology, and Pediatric Clinics of North America. She acts as a regular reviewer of publications for hematology, pediatric, and leukemia journals.

Nicolas Boissel

Nicolas Boissel, MD, PhD

Hôpital Saint-Louis, France

Dr Nicolas Boissel is head of the adolescent and young adults unit, Department of Hematology, Hôpital Saint-Louis in Paris, France, and professor of medicine at Université de Paris. After beginning his career as a research fellow at the Pasteur Institute and as an intern at Paris Municipal Hospitals, he completed a PhD at the Department of Immunology at Saint-Louis Hospital in 2002 while completing his MD at the Université de Paris. In 2005, he went on to become assistant professor at Hôpital Saint-Louis in the acute leukemia unit, before taking up his current position in 2010.

Dr Boissel is engaged in therapeutics for patients with bone marrow disorders, including acute leukemia, lymphoma, and aplastic anemia, with a specific focus on adolescent and young adult comprehensive care. His clinical research interests include the role of new oncogenic events and minimal residual disease to stratify therapeutic approaches in acute leukemia, as well as the development of immunotherapy in the field. He is involved in many trials designed to improve the outcome of acute leukemia patients. He is chairman of the Group for Research on Adult Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and of the French Onco-hematology Group for Adolescents and Young Adults (GO-AJA).