The Allison Institute’s internal advisory council provides scientific input and aligns the work of the institute with the broader MD Anderson research enterprise. The advisory council is chaired by Karen Lu, chair of Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine.
Karen Lu, M.D.
Internal Advisory Council Co-Chair
Karen Lu, M.D., is chair of Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine and holds the J. Taylor Wharton Distinguished Chair in Gynecologic Oncology. She is co-director of MD Anderson’s Clinical Cancer Genetics Program and director of the High-Risk Ovarian Cancer Screening Clinic. She is a national leader in cancer genetics and has published seminal articles on hereditary gynecologic cancers. Her clinical interests include the surgical and medical treatment of women with ovarian and endometrial cancers, as well as the management of women at genetically high risk for these cancers. She also leads a research team that aims to apply laboratory-based findings to improving the care of gynecologic cancer patients.
Christopher Flowers, M.D.
Christopher Flowers, M.D., is the ad interim division head of Cancer Medicine and chair of Lymphoma & Myeloma. An internationally recognized expert in lymphoma clinical trials, epidemiology and outcomes research, Flowers is an innovator with a passion for facilitating new drug development. He leads clinical research involving cancer outcomes, cancer informatics and Phase I/II trials, focusing on the clinical development of novel targeted and cellular immunotherapies for B-cell lymphomas. His broader research interests include use of simulation models and real-world evidence to facilitate drug development and establish strategies to individualize care for cancer patients.
Kelly Hunt, M.D.
Kelly Hunt, M.D., is professor and chair of Breast Surgical Oncology. She holds the Olla Stribling Distinguished Chair for Cancer Research and has joint appointments in Experimental Radiational Oncology and Surgical Oncology. As an international leader in breast cancer research, Hunt focuses on finding less invasive and more effective surgical procedures for patients with breast cancer and soft-tissue sarcomas. She has directed major clinical trials whose results have changed the standard of treatment for many patients with breast cancer. Her translational research focuses on developing novel treatment strategies that target cell cycle regulation.
David Jaffray, Ph.D.
David Jaffray, Ph.D., is senior vice president and chief technology and digital officer, and he holds joint appointments as professor of Radiation Physics and Imaging Physics. Jaffray is world-renowned in the field of medical physics and technology development in cancer, including his pioneering development of cone-beam CT for image-guided radiotherapy. He holds 47 patents and has more than 300 peer-reviewed publications in cancer science and technology, including the development of new radiation treatment machines, advanced imaging systems, novel nanoparticle formulations for improved cancer detection, challenges in global health and advancing computational approaches to improve progress against cancer.
Scott Kopetz, M.D., Ph.D.
Scott Kopetz, M.D., Ph.D., is professor and deputy chair of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology. As a physician scientist, he is focused on advancing research that will improve outcomes for patients with colorectal cancers. Kopetz is the principal investigator of multiple practice-changing clinical trials, including studies that led to new standards of care for patients with BRAF¬-mutated colorectal cancers. His research interests are focused on understanding the biology of refractory colorectal cancer and developing novel therapeutics for molecularly distinct colorectal cancers.
Guillermina Lozano, Ph.D.
Guillermina (Gigi) Lozano, Ph.D., is chair of Genetics and is internationally recognized as one of the world’s foremost cancer researchers for her trailblazing work to uncover mechanisms of p53 tumor suppression. She was the first to identify p53 as a transcriptional activator, and she highlights its mutation or deletion as a hallmark of many cancers. She also identified the physiological roles of Mdm2 and Mdm4 as gatekeepers in regulating p53 activity. Among numerous honors, Lozano is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Anirban Maitra, M.B.B.S.
Anirban Maitra, M.B.B.S., is professor of Pathology and Translational Molecular Pathology and scientific director of the Sheikh Ahmed Pancreatic Cancer Research Center. Maitra is deeply committed to identifying and implementing translational research opportunities in pancreatic cancer that can improve the survival of patients stricken with the disease. His research focuses on the spheres of genetics and molecular pathology of cancer and its precursor lesions in both human and cognate mouse models of pancreatic neoplasia. Maitra has been a leader on numerous programmatic research efforts in pancreatic cancer, including those supported by the National Cancer Institute and Stand Up to Cancer.
Jeffrey Myers, M.D., Ph.D.
Jeffrey Myers, M.D., Ph.D., is chair of Head & Neck Surgery with a joint appointment in Cancer Biology, and he holds the Alando J. Ballantyne Distinguished Chair of Head and Neck Surgery. He has devoted his career to outstanding head and neck cancer surgical care, research, education, and mentorship. Myers has been at the forefront of the comprehensive genomic characterization of oral cancers and made seminal contributions to understanding the role of p53 mutations in the growth and spread of oral squamous cell cancers. He continues to lead research on p53 in head and neck cancers to develop improve therapies for patients.
Katy Rezvani, M.D., Ph.D.
Katy Rezvani, M.D., Ph.D., is professor of Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy, section chief for Cellular Therapy and the Sally Cooper Murray Chair in Cancer Research. Her research is focused on the role of natural killer (NK) cells in mediating anti-tumor immunity and understanding the mechanisms of tumor-induced NK cell dysfunction. Rezvani’s goal is to develop genetically engineered NK cells with improved anti-tumor activity and persistence. Findings from her lab led to novel immunotherapy trials in patients with hematologic malignancies and solid tumors, including the first-in-human clinical trial of off-the-shelf CAR-transduced cord blood NK cells in patients with relapsed/refractory lymphoid malignancies.
Linghua Wang, M.D., Ph.D.
Linghua Wang, M.D., Ph.D., is associate professor of Genomic Medicine. She has significant expertise in computational biology, immuno-oncology and cancer immunogenomics, with a passion for enabling opportunities to collaborate across disciplines to develop effective data science strategies to better understand, detect and treat the most lethal cancers. Wang’s research team has vast experience in deep profiling of the cellular and molecular heterogeneity, phenotypic plasticity and evolution of tumor cells and cells of the tumor microenvironment using cutting-edge single-cell and spatial omics technologies coupled with advanced computational science and modeling approaches. Her translational interests include early tumor development, therapeutic resistance and metastasis.
Jennifer Wargo, M.D.
Jennifer Wargo, M.D., is professor of Surgical Oncology and Genomic Medicine and director of MD Anderson's Platform for Innovative Microbiome and Translational Research (PRIME-TR). She is committed to advancing the understanding and treatment of disease through science, and she is deeply invested in working with investigators broadly to find better ways to treat, intercept and prevent cancer. Her research demonstrated that targeted therapies could sensitize tumor cells to immunotherapy, providing the rationale for combination approaches. Wargo leads innovative translational research on targeted therapy, immunotherapy and the impact of the gut and tumor microbiome on cancer.
Ignacio Wistuba, M.D.
Ignacio Wistuba, M.D., is chair of Translational Molecular Pathology and holds a joint appointment in Thoracic/Head & Neck Medical Oncology. Wistuba’s major research interest is the elucidation of the molecular abnormalities involved in the pathogenesis and progression of lung cancer and other solid tumors. He also is interested in identifying new molecular targets, in validating biomarkers for targeted therapy and immunotherapy, and in identifying molecular markers associated with lung cancer and other solid tumors. He leads or co-leads numerous molecular pathology and biomarker projects supported by multi-institutional grants and research agreements.