2016 Speaker Biographies
Learn more about the speakers presenting at the ASPHO Essentials Conference.
Julio Barredo, MD, Cochair
Dr. Julio Barredo is a Professor of Pediatrics, Director of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology and Director of Sylvester Children's Cancer Programs at the University of Miami. With over 30 years of medical experience, Barredo has dedicated his efforts and expertise toward pediatric cancer care and research.
As a research physician, he focuses on childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, tumor metabolism and experimental therapeutics with an emphasis on investigating drug resistance and the development of new therapies for childhood leukemia.
Dr. Barredo has helped to raise millions of dollars for the UM Sylvester Cancer Center Pediatric Cancer Program and the Department of Pediatrics. His fundraising efforts has been key in bringing to life his brainchild, Alex’s Place, a new pediatric hematology-oncology and BMT outpatient clinic inaugurated in May 2012. The first facility of its kind in the nation and the first pediatric oncology clinic at Sylvester, Alex’s Place merges research and clinical care from an academic medical center with innovative technology designed to ease the anxiety of therapeutic visits.
Dan Wechsler, MD PhD, Cochair
Dan Wechsler, MD, PhD, has been an academic Pediatric Hematologist-Oncologist for more than twenty years. Originally from Montreal, Canada, he received his Bachelor's degree from Harvard University and his Medical and Doctoral degrees from McGill University. After completing his Pediatric Residency Training at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, he was a Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Fellow at Johns Hopkins. He was a faculty member at the University of Michigan prior to moving to Duke University as Chief of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology. He is actively involved in teaching medical students, residents and fellow trainees, and served as Director of the Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Fellowship Program from 1999-2006. As a Member of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), he has cared for hundreds of pediatric patients with cancer, with particular clinical and research interests in Acute Leukemia and Neuroblastoma. His active research laboratory has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and numerous Foundations, and is focused on study of leukemia pathogenesis. He served on an NIH Study Section from 2002-2008, and he reviews Pediatric Cancer grant applications for Foundations including St. Baldrick's, Alex's Lemonade Stand, the American Association for Cancer Research, the American Society of Hematology and Hyundai Hope on Wheels. In addition, he reviews manuscripts for more than a dozen journals, also serving on the Editorial Board of Pediatric Blood & Cancer. He has authored more than 50 publications, and presented more than 70 abstracts at national and international meetings. He has served on the COG Neuroblastoma Biology Committee (2002-present), and on the American Society of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology (ASPHO) Training (2002-2008), Program (2007-present) and Continuing Education (2009-present) Committees. He is a Founding Medical Board Member for Hyundai Hope on Wheels.
Denise M. Adams, MD
Denise M. Adams, MD, has been an academic Pediatric Hematologist-Oncologist for more than twenty years. She received her Bachelor’s and Medical degrees from Georgetown University in Washington D. C. After completing her Pediatric Residency Training at the University of Vermont, she was a Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Fellow at Duke University. She was a faculty member at Duke University and the University of Vermont prior to moving to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center for 13 years where she became the Medical Director of the Hemangioma and Vascular Malformation Center and was the Director of the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program. She recently moved to Boston Children’s Hospital to be one of the Co-Directors of the Vascular Anomalies Center (VAC). She is actively involved in clinical and translational research in the field of vascular anomalies. She is on the scientific committee of the International Society for the Study of Vascular Anomalies (ISSVA) and is a member of several patient and family advisory boards related to vascular anomalies and well as a member of the National Cancer Institute- PDQ. She has obtained funding through the FDA for the study of sirolimus for the treatment of vascular anomalies and is pursuing other medical therapies for these rare disorders. She is actively involved in teaching medical students, residents and fellow trainees and it committed to mentorship. She has been honored to receive several awards for her teaching and mentorship. In addition, she reviews manuscripts for several journals related to hematology/oncology, vascular anomalies and vascular biology. She has authored more than 50 publications, and has been an invited speaker both nationally and internationally on the subject of vascular anomalies. She has served on several committees both locally, nationally and internationally. Her main emphasis has been in serving the American Society of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology (ASPHO). She is an active member of several ASPHO committees and is presently the Chair of the Program.
Amy Billett, MD
Amy Billett, MD, is a pediatric oncologist with more than twenty-five years’ experience treating children with cancer with a focus on leukemia and lymphomas. She received her BA from Yale University and her MD from Harvard Medical School. After residency in Pediatrics at the University of Washington hospitals, she completed fellowship in pediatric hematology-oncology at Boston Children's Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and became a staff physician in the pediatric hematology/oncology program in 1990. She was the medical director of the inpatient oncology service at Boston Children's Hospital 1995-2005. She currently serves as the Director of Safety and Quality for Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center and is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. She has been actively involved in training more than 100 pediatric hematology/oncology fellows. She has a long-term interest in improving systems of care, including creating a pediatric chemotherapy order entry system and implementing/ improving electronic health record systems at Boston Children’s. She is among the first group of physicians certified in Clinical Informatics. She is a founding faculty member of the Children’s Hospital Association Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders Network, a national quality improvement collaborative in pediatric hematology/oncology, which has successfully reduced inpatient CLABSI (central line associated blood stream infection) rates and is now focused on ambulatory CLABSI reduction. She has authored nearly 50 publications, more than 25 chapters, and presented more than 30 times at national and international meetings. She has been active in American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology since the 1990’s including serving on multiple committees, serving on the board, and currently serving as the President. She has served on various national committees and organizations, often with leadership roles, including the Pediatric Oncology Group, the Children’s Oncology Group, the American Board of Pediatrics Hematology/Oncology Subboard, and the Alliance for Childhood Cancer.
Valerie I. Brown, MD PhD
Valerie I. Brown, MD, PhD, has been an academic Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist and Pediatric Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT) specialist for almost fifteen years. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Biology. She went on to earn her Medical and Doctoral degrees from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. After completing her Pediatrics Residency training at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), she was enlisted to stay at CHOP for her Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellowship training. During her fellowship, Dr. Brown returned to the lab to complete her training as a physician-scientist under the mentorship of Dr. Stephan Grupp. Dr. Brown remained at CHOP for the next ten years as a faculty member of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. During her tenure at CHOP, in addition to cultivating her clinical interests in HSCT and relapsed leukemia, she continued to pursue her long-standing research interests in understanding the mechanisms by which integrated signaling networks and growth factors from the tumor microenvironment initiate and sustain acute lymphoblastic leukemia cell survival. Dr. Brown was a faculty member at Vanderbilt University prior to her being recruited by Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center as Director of Experimental Therapeutics of the Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology and Associate Professor of Pediatrics. In her current position, Dr. Brown leads the Four Diamonds Experimental Therapeutics Research and Clinical Team (ExTRaCT) whose mission is to offer novel, experimental therapeutic options for pediatric and AYA cancer patients; Dr. Brown acts as the conduit between innovative bench research in tumorigenesis and drug discovery/development and patient clinical trials. Dr. Brown is also actively involved in teaching medical students, residents, fellow trainees, as well as pediatric oncology nurses. She currently serves as the Director of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program, a position she held while at Vanderbilt University as well. She is also a member of the Medical Student Research Committee and a member of the Combined MD/PhD degree faculty. Her research has been funded by the National Cancer Institute as well as numerous philanthropic foundations, including Four Diamonds and THON. She has authored over 30 publications and more than 40 abstracts at national or international meetings. She is a past recipient of the David G. Nathan Award given by the Society for Pediatric Research and the ASPHO Young Investigator Award. Dr. Brown is the institutional Primary Investigator for two premier pediatric oncology consortia, Neuroblastoma and Medulloblastoma Translational Research Consortium (NMTRC) and Pediatric Oncology Experimental Therapeutics Investigators’ Consortium (POETIC), which focus on the development and implementation of early phase clinical trials for pediatric cancer patients. She serves on the scientific committees of these consortia and is the vice chair of an NMTRC study that incorporates molecularly guided therapy for the treatment of newly diagnosed HR neuroblastoma. She has been an active member of COG, PBMTC, AACR, ASBMT, and ASPHO, serving as a member of ASPHO Program Committee since 2012. She is a member of the Penn State Cancer Institute (PSCI) Scientific Review Committee and Penn State Health Medical Center’s Cancer Committee.
Anthony K. C. Chan, MBBS, FRCPC, FRCPCH, FRCPI, FRCP (Glas), FRCPath
Dr. Anthony Chan is a pediatric hematologist/oncologist at Hamilton Health Sciences and a Professor of Pediatrics at McMaster University. Dr. Chan was given the Career Investigator Award from the Heart and Stroke Foundation (2005-2010) and currently holds the inaugural McMaster Children’s Hospital/Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation Chair in Pediatric Thrombosis and Hemostasis, which has been renewed for a second term. He is also chief of the Division of Hematology-Oncology (Pediatrics) and the Associate Chair of Research (Pediatrics). Additionally, he is a clinical scientist with the Thrombosis & Atherosclerosis Research Institute (TaARI) and David Braley Cardiac, Vascular and Stroke Research Institute (DBCVSRI). He is the current Chair of the Canadian Pediatric Thrombosis and Hemostasis Network (CPTHN) and Chair of the Subcommittee on Perinatal/Pediatric Hemostasis Scientific and Standardization Committee (SSC) for the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH).
Dr. Chan is considered to be one of the leading experts in the field of pediatric thrombosis and stroke. He is involved in designing clinical studies in pediatric thrombosis, pediatric stroke and hemophilia from a hematology perspective. His research focus is on the development, characterization and application of a covalent antithrombin-heparin complex (ATH), a potent anticoagulant that can be used as a systemic drug or can be grafted onto the surface of medical devices to render them non-thrombogenic. He is continuing to contribute his expertise in thrombosis by providing around-the-clock free consultation worldwide through the 1800NOCLOTS service.
Thomas D. Coates, MD
Thomas Coates, MD, is the section head of Hematology in the division of Hematology Oncology at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and principal investigator at The Saban Research Institute. Dr Coates' interests are, sickle cell disease, thalassemia, disorders of neutrophil function and number, and iron overload in children and adults. He also directs the CHLA epidermolysis bullosa center.
Dr. Coates did his undergraduate training in physics and attended medical school at University of Michigan Medicine School. He completed his Pediatrics Internship and Residency at Indiana University Medical Center. He also completed his pediatric hematology-oncology fellowship at Indiana University Medical Center. He came to CHLA in 1985 from the James Whitcomb Riley Hospital for Children in Indiana. Dr Coates was appointed section head of hematology within the hematology/oncology division in 1994 and currently directs the clinical and research activities of a team of five physicians, eight nurse practitioners as well as social workers and psychologists whose focus is entirely on non-malignant hematology.
Dr. Coates has been funded by the NIH to study the cell biology of neutrophil motility and has a longstanding interest in the management of children with neutropenia and neutrophil dysfunction.
His current work is in two areas of basic and translational research: 1) the role of inflammation in the genesis of vascular disease in sickle cell disease; and 2) the detection and management of transfusion related iron overload. His research employs various engineering-intensive methodologies (MRI, laser Doppler flow, digital image analysis, signal processing) to explore the basic mechanisms of sickle cell disease and to measure the effect of various treatment modalities, and he uses direct measures of microvascular blood flow to monitor the process of vasoocclusion and relates it to simultaneous measures of autonomic nervous system function. In collaboration with members of the Cardiology, Pulmonology, and Radiology Departments at CHLA, the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Physiology/Biophysics at the Keck School of Medicine, he has devised methods to measure the sickling process in human sickle cell subjects and relate these measurements to clinical factors that modulate disease severity.
He is currently the lead PI on the Excellence in Hemoglobinopathies Research Award (EHRA) from NHLBI to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles entitled “Multimodal biophysical biomarkers of vascular disease in hemoglobinopathies”.
Karen Effinger, MD MS
Karen Effinger, MD, MS, is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Emory University School of Medicine. She is the pediatric oncologist in the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center Survivorship clinic at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Her research is focused on improving physical functioning, quality of life, and wellness in pediatric, adolescent, and young adult cancer survivors. She serves as the co-chair for the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) Oral/Dental/GI/Hepatic Long Term Follow-up Guidelines task force as is a member of the COG Musculoskeletal/Functional Outcomes task force. She is also an investigator with the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study.
Sumit Gupta, MD PhD FRCPC
Sumit Gupta, MD, PhD, FRCPC, is a Staff Oncologist and Clinician Investigator at the Hospital for Sick Children, an Assistant Professor at both the Faculty of Medicine and the Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto, and an Adjunct Scientist with the Cancer Research Program at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. He completed a PhD in Clinical Epidemiology from the University of Toronto, during which time he was supported by a CIHR Fellowship Award. He currently leads the childhood cancer chapter for the Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries initiative. Sumit has worked extensively with pediatric oncologists and policymakers throughout Central America, the Caribbean, and India. He currently holds grant funding from The Garron Family Cancer Centre, Alex’s Lemonade Stand, and CIHR.
Winston Huh, MD
Winston Huh, MD, is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University and then received his medical degree from the University of Kentucky. Dr. Huh completed his pediatric residency, chief resident year, and fellowship training in Pediatric Hematology-Oncology at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas. His main areas of academic interest include soft tissue sarcomas, bone sarcomas and rare tumors of childhood. He is currently working on establishing a multidisciplinary clinical program for the treatment of desmoplastic small round cell tumors. He has authored or collaborated on over 40 publications, 10 book chapters, and over 40 peer-reviewed abstracts. He is actively involved in both the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) and the American Society of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology (ASPHO). He is currently serving on the Musculoskeletal Task Force of the Late Effects Committee of COG and the Finance Committee and Development Committee of ASPHO.
Kate Mazur, MSN, RN, CPNP
Kate Mazur, MSN, RN, CPNP, is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at Texas Children's Hospital and an Instructor of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine. Originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, she received her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry degree from the University of Michigan. She then pursued accelerated training to receive a Bachelor of Science in nursing degree at Columbia University, immediately followed by a Master of Science in Nursing. She also achieved sub-specialty training in Pediatric Oncology, a unique opportunity offered at Columbia. Following completion of her degree and national certification, she relocated to Houston, TX to become a faculty member at Baylor College of Medicine and is currently working at Texas Children's Hospital as a member of the Developmental Therapeutics team, treating children on Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials. She is a member of the Children's Oncology Group (COG), Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium (PBTC), and the Therapeutic Advances in Childhood Leukemia & Lymphoma (TACL). She actively screens, enrolls, and cares for patients on investigational studies as part of these consortia as well as numerous industry and investigator-initiated studies. Additional, she is an active member of the Pediatric Advanced Care Team at Texas Children's, which provides palliative care to patients with hematologic and oncologic disorders. Kate actively presents both locally and nationally at scientific meetings on issues related to palliative care, ethics, and pharmacology. She also teaches Pediatric Oncology for the Primary Care Provider at the University of Texas Nursing School. She serves on the American Society of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology (ASPHO) Program Planning Committee and is a founding member and chair of the Advanced Practice Provider Special Interest Group within ASPHO. She is the co-editor of a first edition textbook titled Ethical Issues in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, currently in development. She has received numerous awards for her work, including the Clinical Research Award and the Dr. Marilyn Hockenberry Advanced Practice Provider Award.
Cameron C. Trenor III, MD
Donald L. Yee, MD MS
Donald L. Yee, MD, MS, has been an academic Pediatric Hematologist-Oncologist for more than ten years. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, he received a B.A. in Economics from Rice University, an M.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.D. from Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), from which he also holds an M.S. in Clinical Investigation. After completing his pediatric residency training at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, he returned to BCM to complete his Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Fellowship, and has been a faculty member there since 2003. He is actively involved in teaching medical students, residents and fellow trainees, and serves as Director of the Texas Children’s Hemophilia & Thrombosis Center at Texas Children’s Hospital, where he maintains clinical and research interests in pediatric hemostasis and thrombosis. Dr. Yee has authored dozens of publications, reviews manuscripts for more than a dozen scientific and medical journals and has served on multiple national oversight committees, including the American Society of Hematology Scientific Committees on Platelets and Childhood Blood Disorders and the American Society of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology (ASPHO) Nominating Committee and Program Committee, of which he is currently the Vice-Chair.