NRG Oncology Appoints Several New Committee Chairs & Vice Chairs

July 19 2022

NRG Oncology has announced the appointment of several new Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs representing various areas of the organization.

Vinai Gondi, MD, was appointed to lead the NRG Early Career New Investigators (ECNI) Committee alongside Angeles Alvarez-Secord, MD, and Priya Rastogi, MD. Dr. Gondi is the Director of Research and Education at the Northwestern Medicine Chicago Proton Center and the Co-Director of the Brian and Spine Tumor Center at the Northwestern Medicine Cancer Center, Warrenville. He also was the representative Brain Tumor Committee Disease Site Liaison for the NRG ENCI Committee where he helped engage new investigators and align them with opportunities in the NRG Brain Tumor Committee prior to becoming the ECNI Committee Chair. Dr. Gondi has served as Principal Investigator on six NRG clinical trials, including one trial (NRG CC001) that was practice-changing in the management of brain metastases and two trials that recently met their accrual goal: NRG-BN001, the first National Cancer Institute National Clinical Trials Network proton therapy trial to complete accrual, and NRG-CC003, hippocampal avoidance during prophylactic cranial irradiation for small cell lung cancer patients.

Ronald Chen, MD has been named a Vice Chair of the NRG National Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) Patient-Center Outcomes Research (PCOR) Committee. He is a member of the NRG Genitourinary Cancer Committee and the NRG NCORP Cancer Care Delivery Research Committee. Dr. Chen is currently the Principal Investigator of the NRG-CC007CD NRG NCORP trial for increasing dose survivorship care planning in prostate cancer survivors who are receiving androgen deprivation therapy, which is close to meeting its accrual goal. He is also the Principal Investigator of the NRG-GU008 “INNOVATE” Phase III trial adding apalutamide and advanced imaging to salvage treatment for node-positive prostate cancer patients following radical prostatectomy.

Stephen Y. Lai, MD, PhD, is now the new Chair of the NRG Surgical Oncology Committee. Dr. Lai is a Professor of Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He is the Principal Investigator of the NRG-HN006 study comparing sentinel lymph node biopsy with the standard of care neck dissection for early-stage oral cavity cancer in patients with negative baseline PET-CT scans.

Vered Stearns, MD, FASCO, was appointed as a new Vice Chair for the NRG Translational Science Committee and the Co-Chair of the NRG Breast Cancer Translational Science Working Group. Dr. Stearns is the Director of Women’s Malignancies Disease Group and a Professor of Oncology at Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center and Medical Director of the Under Armour Breast Health Innovation Center. Dr. Stearns is currently a member of the NRG Breast Cancer Committee and, will also co-Chair the NRG Breast Cancer Translational Working Group. Her main research includes utilization of biomarkers to predict response to standard regimens used to treat and prevent breast cancer and introduce new interventions.

Mothaffar F. Rimawi, MD, is now the Vice Chair of the NRG Breast Cancer Committee. Dr. Rimawi is the Co-Leader of the Breast Cancer Program, Executive Medical Director, and Associate Director of Clinical Affairs for the Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at the Baylor College of Medicine. He is also a professor in the Department of Medicine, Section of Hematology and Oncology at Baylor College of Medicine. Additionally, he serves as Chief of Oncology Service Line at St. Luke Health in Houston, Texas. Dr. Rimawi was also chair of NSABP B-52 randomized trial evaluating pathologic complete response rates in patients with hormone receptor-positive, HER2-positive, large operable and locally advanced breast cancer treated with neoadjuvant therapy of docetaxel, carboplatin, trastuzumab, and pertuzumab with or without estrogen deprivation.

Susanna Ulahannan, MD, MMed, was named the Chair of the newly created NRG Immunotherapy Subcommittee. Dr. Ulahannan is a an assistant professor in the Department of Hematology and Oncology at the University of Oklahoma Stephenson Cancer Center who specializes in the treatment of Gastrointestinal Cancers and Phase I Clinical Trials. She is the Associate Director of the Oklahoma TSET Phase I Program, a group member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology Gastrointestinal Guideline Advisory Board, a member of Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer, a member of the Data Safety and Monitoring Committee, Chair of the Molecular Tumor Board, and Chair of the Early Phase Disease Site Committee at the Stephenson Cancer Center. Currently, Dr. Ulahannan is also the Institutional Principal Investigator of NRG Oncology for Medical Oncology. The NRG Immunotherapy Subcommittee, under the leadership of Dr. Ulahannah, will work within the NRG Medical Oncology Committee and aide in cross-group collaboration and engagement around immune-therapy agents. The Immunotherapy Subcommittee will also liaise with the disease-site specific committees within the NRG Oncology organization on developing concepts and protocols surrounding immune-therapy agents.

Steven Waggoner, MD, was appointed the Chair of the NRG Ancillary Projects Committee. Dr. Waggoner is a physician in the Department of Subspecialty Care for Women’s Health at Cleveland Clinic. He is a professor in the Department of Reproductive Biology at the School of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University and a member of the Developmental Therapeutics Program at Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. In addition to his leadership of NRG’s Ancillary Projects Committee, Dr. Waggoner is also a member of the NRG Membership Committee.

Todd Matthew Morgan, MD, has been named Vice Chair of the NRG Genitourinary Cancer Committee. Dr. Morgan is the Chief of the Division of Urologic Oncology, the Jack Lapides M.D. Research Professor, and a professor of Urology at the University of Michigan. He is a translational surgeon-scientist and runs an NCI-funded translational research laboratory focused on identifying biomarkers associated with treatment response, primarily through profiling of prostate cancer tumors and circulating tumor cells. Dr. Morgan is co-chair of the NCTN Prostate Cancer Task Force and co-director of the Ronald Weiser Center for Prostate Cancer.

“NRG Oncology is grateful to our outgoing committee leadership for their great contributions during their tenure. We enthusiastically look forward to the future of our organization with these newly appointed leaders. NRG will continue to take strides in advancing our research and pursuing our organization’s mission to improve outcomes for those affected by cancer,” stated Dr. Norman Wolmark, MD, FACS, FRCSC, one of the NRG Oncology Group Chairs and the Director of National Cancer Institute Cooperative Group Clinical Trials, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center.

About NRG Oncology
NRG Oncology conducts practice-changing, multi-institutional clinical and translational research to improve the lives of patients with cancer. Founded in 2012, NRG Oncology is a Pennsylvania-based nonprofit corporation that integrates the research of the legacy National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP), Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG), and Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) programs. The research network seeks to carry out clinical trials with emphases on gender-specific malignancies, including gynecologic, breast, and prostate cancers, and on localized or locally advanced cancers of all types. NRG Oncology’s extensive research organization comprises multidisciplinary investigators, including medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons, physicists, pathologists, and statisticians, and encompasses more than 1,300 research sites located world-wide with predominance in the United States and Canada. NRG Oncology is supported primarily through grants from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and is one of five research groups in the NCI’s National Clinical Trials Network.

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