Speaker Bios:

Andy Burnett Bio Image

Andy Burnett is the founder and CEO of Knowinnovation, LTD, a consulting firm that specializes in accelerating scientific innovation. The organization operates around the world, and has offices in the UK, France, Spain, Ireland, and the US. Prior to starting the company, he was a research fellow at the Cranfield School of Management. Andy still has a strong interest in research, and is actively involved in various projects at the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State. He is a strong believer in the power of creativity that resides in all of us.


Keith Knutson Bio Image

Paul Davies, PhD is Regents' Professor and Director of the Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science, co-Director of the Cosmology Initiative, and Principal Investigator in the Center for the Convergence of Physical Science and Cancer Biology, at Arizona State University. The Physical Sciences-Oncology Center’s foremost aim is to rigorously question the central tenets of cancer biology and to innovate paradigm shifting tactics that challenge the barriers of contemporary cancer research and treatments. In addition to his research, Davies is a passionate science communicator, and speaks world-wide to academic, public and media audiences. His 28 popular books have been translated into over 20 languages, and are notable for presenting complex ideas in accessible terms.

Jayanta Debnath Bio Image

Jayanta Debnath, M.D., is Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology at the University of California, San Francisco, and a member of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. He is recognized for his expertise in autophagy and cancer. Dr. Debnath’s laboratory pursues two broad goals: 1) determine how autophagy directs oncogenic transformation as well as breast cancer progression, metastasis, and late recurrent disease in vivo; and 2) dissect the biological and biochemical functions of the core autophagy machinery to ultimately exploit these pathways for therapeutic benefit. From 1995-1997, Dr. Debnath was a NIH-HHMI Research Scholar with Dr. Harold Varmus at the National Cancer Institute and then received his M.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Medical School in 1998. He completed residency training in pathology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and post-doctoral training with Dr. at Harvard Medical School, where he studied oncogene regulation of cell death using three-dimensional (3D) organotypic culture systems. Dr. Debnath currently serves as an Associate Editor of Autophagy and his honors include the Charles Culpeper Medical Scholarship, HHMI Early Career Award for Physician Scientists, AACR/Genentech Bio-Oncology Career Award, DOD Breast Cancer Research Program Era of Hope Scholar Award, and elected membership to the American Society of Clinical Investigation.

Robert Cook Degan Bio Image

Robert Cook-Deegan, MD is Research Professor of Genome Ethics, Law and Policy at Duke University's Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy. He is an acknowledged leader in the field of gene patenting and has written extensively on the ethics and legal disputes over gene patenting of therapeutic proteins, genetic tests and research, including the Myriad gene testing case. He was previously director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellowship program (2000-2002) at the Institute of Medicine (IOM), National Academy of Sciences, a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Investigator at Georgetown University (1999-2002), and a seminar leader at Stanford-in-Washington (1996-2003). He worked at The National Academies in various capacities from 1991 until coming to Duke in 2002. He is the author of The Gene Wars: Science, Politics, and the Human Genome (New York: Norton, 1994); and an author of over 200 articles. He received his MD degree from the University of Colorado in 1979 and his bachelor's degree in chemistry, magna cum laude, in 1975 from Harvard College.

Stephen Friend Bio Image

Stephen Friend, MD, PhD is President, Co-Founder and Director of Sage Bionetworks, a non-profit organization that provides the tools and environment to conduct dynamic, large-scale collaborative biomedical research. Dr. Friend is reimagining the role of citizens in the research process and is building tools to empower them to contribute both their data and expertise as they see fit. He also believes in the importance of iteratively generating and testing novel hypotheses transparently and collaboratively. Sage Bionetworks has developed an open-source technology platform for data-intensive analysis, sharing and reuse, enabling researchers to perform cutting edge computational biology and research. Dr. Friend is engaging the community to crowd-source solutions to complex biomedical questions through targeted DREAM challenges. Previously Dr. Friend was Senior Vice President and Franchise Head for Oncology Research at Merck & Co., Inc. Dr. Friend was instrumental in founding and co-leading the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s “Seattle Project”, and later they co-founded Rosetta Inpharmatics. Dr. Friend also held faculty positions at Harvard Medical School and at Massachusetts General Hospital. He received his M.D/Ph.D. from Indiana University.

Liz Frank Bio Image

Liz Frank, EDA is the lead patient advocate for the Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC) Breast Cancer Patient Advocacy Committee. Liz is a ten year breast cancer survivor. She attended the National Breast Cancer Coalition’s Project LEAD Science Course in 2006, the Clinical Trials LEAD in November 2008 and Quality LEAD in 2009. Liz coordinates and organizes the DF/HCC Patient Advocacy Committee and develops opportunities for members to collaborate with translational and clinical researchers. Liz currently serves on the NCI Breast Cancer Steering Committee and is Co-Chair of the NCI Patient Advocate Steering Committee. Additionally, she serves as a patient advocate for the DF/HCC Breast Cancer Clinical Trials Group, the Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium (TBCRC), and is a member of the DSMB for the ISPY-2 Trial. Liz is particularly interested in increasing the effectiveness of patient advocates, issues related to educating and consenting of patients on clinical trials, incorporating meaningful patient outcomes in clinical trials, and the return of clinical trial results. Liz received her B.A. from Boston University in economics and a Masters degree from the Harvard School of Education in education research and program evaluation.

Keith Knutson Bio Image

Keith Knutson is Director of the Cancer Vaccines and Immune Therapies Program at the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute of Florida Port St. Lucie, FL. Prior to joining VGTI Florida, Dr. Knutson was the Director of the Ovarian Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Program at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota. He is also a member of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Breast Cancer Research Program Integration Panel, the primary body that makes decisions on funding. He is the Co-Director of the Mayo Clinic Immune Monitoring Core which is engaged in providing a variety of different immune monitoring and phenotyping services for research purposes across a variety of scientific disciplines including tumor immunology, rheumatoid arthritis, and infectious diseases. More recently, he is focused on identifying immunologic biomarkers or proteins that could be useful in identifying breast cancer patients who are unlikely to respond to certain therapies. This can help to determine whether a drug used in specific patient groups can be effective or whether these patients should be treated with a different therapeutic regimen. Dr. Knutson earned his Ph.D. in pharmacology from the University of Georgia. He completed two postdoctoral fellowships, one in the Division of Medical Oncology at the University of Washington and the other in the Department of Medicine at the University of British Columbia. Following postdoctoral training, Dr. Knutson was awarded the Howard Temin Award from the National Cancer Institute.

Susan Love Bio Image

Susan M. Love, MD, MBA has dedicated her professional life to the eradication of breast cancer. As Chief Visionary Officer of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, she oversees an active research program centered on breast cancer cause and prevention. Her activist reputation comes from her role as one of the “founding mothers” of the breast cancer advocacy movement in the early 1990’s as one of the founders of the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC). Dr. Susan Love is best known as a trusted guide to women worldwide through her books and the Foundation website. Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book, deemed “the bible for women with breast cancer” by The New York Times, was released in its fifth edition in October 2010. A true visionary, Dr. Love’s recent projects include the Army of Women, an innovative solution to partner women and scientists to accelerate basic translational research. The campaign has recruited more than 375,000 women who have registered to participate in research to find the cause and prevention of breast cancer. In October 2012, the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation launched the Health of Women Study (HOW), an online cohort study to identify the cause of breast cancer. In June of 2012, Dr. Love was diagnosed with leukemia. Following a successful stem cell transplant from her sister, she is back at work and more impatient than ever to find the cause of breast cancer and end it once and for all.

Carolyn Lukensmeyer Bio Image

Carolyn Lukensmeyer is Executive Director, National Institute for Civil Discourse, University of Arizona. Previously she as Founder and President of AmericaSpeaks, an award-winning nonprofit organization based in Washington D.C. that promotes nonpartisan initiatives to engage citizens and leaders through the development of innovative public policy tools and strategies. During her tenure, AmericaSpeaks engaged more than 165,000 people and hosted events across all 50 states and throughout the world. Dr. Lukensmeyer formerly served as Consultant to the White House Chief of Staff from 1993-94 and on the National Performance Review where she steered internal management and oversaw government-wide reforms. She was the Chief of Staff to Ohio Governor Richard F. Celeste from 1986-91, becoming the first woman to serve in this capacity. She earned her PhD in Organizational Behavior from Case Western Reserve University and has completed postgraduate training at the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland.

Stuart Martin  Bio Image

Dr. Stuart Martin's lab discovered that free-floating breast cancer cells produce unique microtentacles on their surface that promote the reattachment of circulating tumor cells in distant tissues during metastasis. The Martin lab focuses on identifying new therapies to reduce microtentacles and examining how current cancer drugs affect circulating tumor cells to help ensure that therapies aimed at tumor growth do not inadvertently increase long-term metastasis. Dr. Martin received his Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego, after training as a Howard Hughes undergraduate research fellow at the University of Virginia. Dr. Martin completed a Damon Runyon postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School that combined functional genomic studies with mouse models of breast tumor metastasis, under the mentorship of Dr. Phil Leder. In 2004, Dr. Martin was recruited to the Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center and the Department of Physiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Molly Mead Bio Image

Molly Mead, Ed.D., M.B.A. is the founding Director of Amherst College’s Center for Community Engagement in Amherst, MA. The Center for Community Engagement works toward providing substantive and exciting opportunities for volunteer service to all Amherst students, including those who cannot afford to volunteer without pay. The Center partners with community-based organizations in the Amherst area, regionally, nationally and globally to provide robust training, mentoring and reflection programs for outreach participants to ensure that their service is generally helpful to the community and that these experiences are meaningful in the context of students’ broader education.
Previously, Dr. Mead was the Lincoln Filene Professor in the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and a founding Director of the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University. She also ran a faculty leadership program, a student leadership program, and a community partnership program that were models for how to use university and community resources to solve public problems. Dr. Mead taught graduate courses in leadership, gender and public policy, and public speaking, and has written numerous books and articles on gender and philanthropy. She is a leader in a national effort to increase funding for women and girls. Dr. Mead has been the educational facilitator of Project LEAD since its inception in 1995. Dr. Mead received an A.B. degree in history and government from Cornell University, an MBA from Simmons College, and an EdD from the University of Massachusetts.

Alan Rosenblatt Bio Image

Alan Rosenblatt, Ph.D., is a digital communications and social media strategist, professor & thought leader with over 20 years’ experience in politics, advocacy, news media, and education. He is a partner at turner4d (formerly Turner Strategies), providing world-renowned training and strategic counsel to organizations seeking to use social and digital media more effectively. Together with Suzanne Turner, Alan founded the Internet Advocacy Roundtable in 2005—a monthly event focused on the intersection of the internet, advocacy, politics and the media. In 1995, he taught the world’s first university course on digital politics. He’s been teaching it ever since. Alan is also the Ombudsmen and co-founder at Take Action News and an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins, American, Georgetown and Gonzaga Universities, where he teaches courses on internet politics. He was Associate Director for Online Advocacy at the Center for American Progress/CAP Action Fund from 2007-2013, where he created and managed the Center’s social media program. Alan blogs at SocialMediaToday.com, as well as occasionally at BigThink.com, DrDigipol.Tumblr.com, HuffingtonPost.com and previously at TechPresident.com. Find him on Twitter, YouTube, SlideShare, Facebook and across the web at @DrDigipol.

Dan Sarewitz Bio Image

Daniel Sarewitz, PhD is Co-Director, Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes (CSPO), Associate Director, Center for Nanotechnology in Society, Professor of Science and Society Professor, School of Life Sciences and School of Sustainability, Arizona State University. His work focuses on revealing the connections between science policy decisions, scientific research and social outcomes by exploring such questions as: How does the distribution of the social benefits of science relate to the way that we organize scientific inquiry? What accounts for the highly uneven advance of know-how related to solving human problems? And how can improved insight into such questions contribute to improved real-world practice? Prof. Sarewtiz has worked on Capitol Hill and currently directs the CSPO’s Washington DC office focused on increasing CSPO’s impact on federal science and technology policy processes. Sarewitz has authored numerous books; the most recent is, The Techno-Human Condition (MIT Press, 2011; co-authored with Braden Allenby). Since 2009 he has also been a regular columnist for Nature magazine.

Pat Steeg Bio Image

Dr. Patricia S. Steeg is a Senior Investigator and Deputy Chief, Women’s Malignancies Branch in the CCR, NCI. Her section has studied breast cancer metastasis, focusing on metastasis suppressor genes and site-specific metastasis to the brain. Dr. Steeg discovered the first metastasis suppressor gene, nm23 which, upon overexpression, inhibits metastasis but not primary tumor growth. This work has progressed to the preclinical validation of a lysophosphatidic acid receptor 1 (LPA1) inhibitor which phenocopies Nm23 to induce metastatic dormancy. Dr. Steeg has conducted translational research on brain metastases of breast cancer. She was the PI of a Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program Center of Excellence on brain metastasis which brought together researchers and clinicians to perform gene expression profiling, pharmacokinetic analyses, preclinical models of brain metastasis prevention, and a presurgical clinical study. Both her LPA1 inhibitor work and brain metastasis prevention efforts are poised to enter clinical trial. Dr. Steeg is a Deputy Editor of Clinical Cancer Research and sits on the Editorial Boards of other journals. She served as Chairperson of the DOD Breast Cancer Research Program Integration Panel. In 2008, she received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction from the Komen for the Cure Foundation, and in 2012, the Ellen Moskowitz and Suzanne Hebert Leadership Grant Award from the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network. Dr. Steeg has also served as a past President of the Metastasis Research Society, a member of ASCO’s Cancer Research Committee, on the Steering committees of the Komen Tissue Bank and Army of Women, and on the Tissue Committees of the Trans-ALTTO and TEACH phase III trials, among other activities. At the NCI, she has co-chaired the Drug Development Collaborative, and received the Outstanding Mentor Award in 2005.

Thea Tlsty Bio Image

Thea Tlsty, PhD, is Professor, Department of Pathology and Director of the Center for Translational Research in the Molecular Genetics of Cancer, UCSF; Director for the Program in Cell Cycling and Signaling, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. Areas of particular interest include human breast carcinogenesis and the role of tumor suppressor genes in regulating premalignant phenotypes. Dr. Tlsty is trying to catch breast cancer before it develops. Specifically, Dr. Tlsty directs her laboratory to use genetic, molecular, biochemical, and cytogenetic techniques to study the cell biology of tumor cell formation and progression in human tissue. She and her team recently identified a variant subpopulation of human mammary epithelial cells that express properties of pre-malignant lesions before they become cancerous. Dr. Tlsty and her team have found molecular markers in these cells that identify early breast cancer lesions and can be critical targets for therapeutic intervention.

Fran Visco Bio Image

Fran Visco, JD, Fran Visco is the first President of the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) and a member of its Board of Directors. Formed in May 1991, NBCC is a grassroots advocacy coalition of more than 600 organizations and tens of thousands of individual members. Ms. Visco is an honors graduate of St. Joseph’s University and of Villanova Law School, where she was an editor of The Villanova Law Review and a chair of the Women’s Law Caucus. President Clinton appointed Ms. Visco to three terms as one of three members of the President’s Cancer Panel; she was the first consumer to chair the Integration Panel of the Department of Defense Peer-Reviewed Breast Cancer Research Program; Ms. Visco co-chaired the National Action Plan on Breast Cancer and served on the National Cancer Policy Board. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Translational Research in Oncology, an international non-profit clinical trials consortium. Ms. Visco has been appointed to several Institute of Medicine panels and served as a member of the IOM Roundtable on Evidence Based Medicine. She is a previous member of the Board of Directors of Women’s Way in Philadelphia, the nation’s oldest and largest women’s funding federation. Ms. Visco presents throughout the country and internationally on the politics of breast cancer and women’s health advocacy issues. She appears frequently on national television and in the press discussing women’s health issues and has testified before various congressional committees and panels. Ms. Visco is a 26-year breast cancer survivor. She resides in Philadelphia.

Alana Welm Bio Image

Alana Welm, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Oncological Sciences at the University of Utah, an Investigator at the Huntsman Cancer Institute, and a member of the Cell Response and Regulation Program. Welm's laboratory studies breast cancer and metastasis, Death from breast cancer is largely attributed to metastasis—when the disease spreads to other tissues. In order to metastasize, cancer cells must be able to invade the local tissue; escape from the primary site; enter into and survive in the bloodstream or lymphatic system; pass from the blood vessels into other organs; and adapt to or modify the new site to create a new tumor. The molecular mechanisms that facilitate these steps are largely unknown and are the focus of the A.Welm lab. Dr. Welm's group has developed new models for breast tumor growth and metastasis, in the form of transplantable tumors derived directly from individuals undergoing treatment for breast cancer. These tumor grafts represent the diversity of human breast cancer and maintain essential features of the original tumors, including metastasis to specific sites. Orthotopic breast tumor grafting marks a step toward individualized models for tumor growth, metastasis, and prognosis. This bank of tumor grafts also serves as a publicly available resource for new models in which to study the biology of breast cancer and the basis for therapeutic response or resistance. Using these and other models of breast cancer metastasis, the A.Welm lab has discovered that macrophage stimulating protein (MSP) is an important facilitator of breast cancer metastasis in mice and in humans. Current projects include studying the mechanisms that lead MSP to promote the escape of cancer cells from the primary tumor, and exploring the mechanisms by which MSP induces metastasis to bone. Welm received her BS from the University of Montana in 1996 and her PhD from Baylor College of Medicine in 2000. She then carried out postdoctoral studies in J. Michael Bishop's lab at the University of California, San Francisco before assuming her faculty position.

2014 Summit Promo Image Photos

     2014 Summit Page Get Inspired

      Watch President’s 2013 Address

      Get a taste of last year’s Summit

      Learn at NBCC’s Online Center for Advocacy Training

      Women with Balls®: STRIKE! Breast Cancer is back!