Congratulations to the NRG Oncology Members Assigned to NCI Gastrointestinal Task Forces

November 11 2021

The following NRG Oncology Gastrointestinal (GI) Cancer Committee members have recently been appointed or had their appointments renewed to serve on the National Cancer Institute (NCI) GI Task Force for neuroendocrine tumors. Members involved in this task force will meet to discuss concepts and make recommendations for clinical trial planning within their disease subtype.

Walid Shaib, MD

Dr. Shaib is an Associate Professor in the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology for the Emory University School of Medicine and a member of the Discovery and Developmental Therapeutics research program at Emory University’s Winship Cancer Institute.

In addition to his work with neuroendocrine tumors, Dr. Shaib specializes in colorectal cancer, esophageal cancer, liver cancer , pancreatic cancer, stomach cancer, and is involved with various clinical trials focused on these disease types. He received his degree from the American University of Beirut, completed his residency with Yale New Haven Hospital, and lastly his fellowship with Winship Cancer Institute. During his residency and fellowship, Dr. Shaib was awarded the role of ‘Chief Resident’ (2010-2011) and Chief Fellow (2013-2014).

Outside of his work within NRG Oncology, Dr. Shaib is also currently a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the American Society of Hematology, and the American Association for Cancer Research. He has been involved in several clinical trials and academic journal publications regarding the study of pharmaceutical agents in the treatment of advanced or metastatic gastrointestinal and colorectal cancers.

“The aim is to further our shared experiences in the treatment of this heterogeneous disease as these treatments do not align with the ‘one size fits all’ concept and has to be better personalized. This is done by further research,” stated Dr. Shaib.

Kathryn Hitchcock, MD, PhD

Dr. Hitchcock is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Florida. She was the 2017 recipient of the Medical Student and Community Education Award for the Department of Radiology at the University of Florida and the Society of Teaching Scholars Outstanding Resident Educator Award, two of several awards and accolades she has received during her early career. Additionally, she holds three patents and has been included in a myriad of academic journal articles.

Dr. Hitchcock’s research focus is in gastrointestinal and genitourinary cancers, as well as clinical therapeutic studies for head and neck cancers. Her education spans the fields of chemical, mechanical, and biomedical engineering and her previous career includes service with the United States Navy. Dr. Hitchcock received her medical degree and PhD from the University of Cincinnati and completed her internship and residency with the University of Florida Health.

Dr. Hitchcock is a member of several professional organizations including the American College of Radiation Oncology, the American Board of Radiology, the American Society of Therapeutic Radiation Oncology, the Florida Society of Clinical Oncology, and the Radiological Society of North America.

“With the advent of peptide receptor radionuclide therapy, it’s an exciting time to be a radiation oncologist involved in research for neuroendocrine tumors. I’m grateful to be able to contribute on a national scale as well as enrolling my own patients,” said Dr. Hitchcock.

Heloisa Soares, MD, PhD

Dr. Soares is a Medical Oncologist and an Associate Professor at the Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah. She is the co-physician leader in the Gastrointestinal Clinical Trials Research Group at the HCI. She was also named one of the 2018 40 Under 40 in Cancer awardees following her contributions to the cancer research community.

Dr. Soares is a member of the board of directors for the North American Neuroendocrine Tumor Society and she also has volunteered at the ASCO Advocacy Summit on Capitol Hill. She treats gastrointestinal cancers as well as neuroendocrine tumors. Dr. Soares received her medical degree at Faculdade de Medicine do ABC in Brazil, completed her residency at Mount Sinai Medical Center of Florida, and completed her fellowship as well as received her PhD in molecular biology at the University of California, Los Angeles.

In addition to her role in the NRG Oncology Gastrointestinal Cancer Committee, Dr. Soares is also the Colorectal Cancer Liaison to the NRG Oncology Early Career New Investigators Committee where she helps to establish pathways and guide early career investigators into their research areas of interest.

“Serving at the NRG GI committee as well as the NCI NET task force has been an amazing experience that significantly impacted my professional growth. Also it is so gratifying to be involved in trials and research that can change patients’ lives. I am forever grateful to the GI NRG leadership for giving me the opportunity to serve NRG and as Liaison to the NRG Oncology Early Career New Investigators Committee, I will work hard to promote investigators and facilitate collaborations. As Helen Keller said: “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much!” mentioned Dr. Soares.

Brian Ramnaraign, MD

Dr. Ramnaraign is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology and Oncology at the University of Florida College of Medicine. Dr. Ramnaraign’s research focus is in gastrointestinal and genitourinary cancers as well as neuroendocrine tumors with an emphasis on the role of targeted therapies and immunotherapies in personalized treatments for advanced cancer patients. His board certifications are in internal medicine, geriatric medicine, hematology, and medical oncology.

Dr. Ramnaraign completed his internal medicine residency at SUNY Downstate, his fellowship in geriatrics at the University of Pennsylvania, and his hematology and oncology fellowship at the University of Florida. He was awarded the "Highest Enroller Award" for having the highest number of clinical trial enrollments at the University of Florida Health Cancer Center for the year 2020.

In addition to his role in the NRG Oncology Gastrointestinal Cancer Committee, Dr. Ramnaraign is also a member of the NRG Oncology Early Career New Investigators Committee.

"My goal is to help design, develop, and enroll patients into clinical trials using novel agents. Cancer care has come a long way with the development of immunotherapy and targeted therapies but there is still much work to be done. Through my involvement with NRG and the NCI, I look forward to the collaboration with my colleagues on a national level in helping to improving cancer outcomes,” added Dr. Ramnaraign.

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