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Scientific Advisors

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Dr. Timothy Yap

MD Anderson Cancer Center

Dr. Timothy Yap is a Medical Oncologist and Physician-Scientist based at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He is a Professor in the Department for Investigational Cancer Therapeutics (Phase I Program), and the Department ofThoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology. Dr. Yap is Vice President and Head of Clinical Development in the Therapeutics Discovery Division, a drug discovery biopharmaceutical division where drug discovery and clinical translation are seamlessly integrated. He is also the Associate Director of Translational Research in the Khalifa Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy, which is an integrated research and clinical trials program aimed at implementing personalized cancer therapy and improving patient outcomes.

Dr. Yap's main research focuses on the first-in-human and combinatorial development of molecularly targeted agents and immunotherapies, and their acceleration through clinical studies using novel predictive and pharmacodynamic biomarkers. His main interests include the targeting of the DNA damage response (DDR) with novel therapeutics, such as ATR, PARP1, WEE1, POLQ, USP1, PKMYT1, PARG, CHK1, ATM and DNA-PK inhibitors, next generation CDK2, CDK4 and CDK7-selective inhibitors, YAP/TEAD inhibitors, Werner helicase inhibitors, SMARCA2 degraders, as well as the development of novel immunotherapeutics.

Prior to his current position, Dr. Yap was a Consultant Medical Oncologist at The Royal Marsden Hospital in London, UK and National Institute for Health Research BRC Clinician Scientist at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK.

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Dr. Stephen Taylor

University of Manchester

Dr. Stephen Taylor is the Leech Professor of Pharmacology at the Manchester Cancer Research Centre and Head of Division for Cancer Sciences. After completing his Bachelors degree at the University of Manchester, Stephen moved to the University of Oxford to pursue his PhD with Professor Ed Southern, working on mammalian chromosome structure. In 1995, Stephen moved to Harvard Medical School as a Wellcome Trust Fellow where he discovered components of the mammalian spindle checkpoint. This launched his independent career and in 1998, Stephen moved back to Manchester as a BBSRC David Phillips Fellowship. From 2004 to 2015 he was a CRUK Senior Fellow, and was promoted to Professor of Cell Biology in 2009. His research focuses on mitosis, chromosome instability and anti-mitotic chemotherapeutics, with an emphasis on ovarian cancer. Recently his team has built a living biobank of patient-derived ovarian cancer models as a platform to explore disease heterogeneity and novel therapeutic strategies focused on improving outcomes for patients with HR-proficient disease.

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Dr. Ravi Majeti

Stanford University

Dr. Ravi Majeti is the RZ Cao Professor of Medicine (Hematology) and Director of the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He was an undergraduate at Harvard, earned his MD and PhD from UCSF, and trained in Internal Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Dr. Majeti completed his Hematology Fellowship at Stanford and is a board-certified hematologist. While at Stanford, he completed post-doctoral training in the laboratory of Irving Weissman, where he investigated acute myeloid leukemia (AML) stem cells and therapeutic targeting with anti-CD47 antibodies. With Dr. Weissman, he developed a humanized anti-CD47 antibody, initiated first-in-human clinical trials, and in 2015, co-founded a biotech start-up Forty Seven Inc. Forty Seven Inc., along with the lead anti-CD47 antibody magrolimab, was acquired by Gilead in 2020. Dr. Majeti directs an active NIH-funded laboratory that focuses on the molecular characterization and therapeutic targeting of leukemia stem cells in human hematologic disorders, particularly AML, and has published >100 peer-reviewed articles. He is a recipient of the Burroughs Wellcome Career Award for Medical Scientists, the New York Stem Cell Foundation Robertson Investigator Award, and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Scholar Award. Dr. Majeti is a member of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Task Force on Hematologic Malignancies. He also serves of the editorial boards of Blood, Cell Stem Cell, and Cancer Discovery.

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Dr. Samie Jaffrey

Weill Cornell Medicine

Dr. Samie Jaffrey is the Greenberg-Starr Professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the Weill Cornell Medical College.

Dr. Jaffrey’s work has fundamentally advanced our understanding of RNA biology and gene regulation. Most recently, he helped to launch the field of "epitranscriptomics", which has revealed that mRNA and long noncoding RNAs are regulated by nucleotide modifications that impact their fate and function in cells. Dr. Jaffrey’s transcriptome-wide mapping of N6-methyladenosine (m6A) in 2012 revealed that m6A is a pervasive modification in the transcriptome, thereby identifying this modification as a fundamentally novel form of post-transcriptional mRNA regulation. Since this seminal study, Dr. Jaffrey mapped dimethyladenosine (m6Am) and established functions of m6A and m6Am as well as m6A and m6Am reader, writer, and eraser proteins. The mapping methods developed by Dr. Jaffrey have been the essential tool in epitranscriptomics, and have transformed our understanding of gene regulation in normal and disease states.

Dr. Jaffrey is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, and the recipient of the 2017 John J. Abel Award in Pharmacology, the 2014 American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the Young Investigator Award Klingenstein Neuroscience Award, Irma T. Hirschl Scholar Award, the McKnight Foundation Technology Development Award, NIH EUREKA Award, the NIH Director’s Transformative R01 Award, and the 2013 Blavatnik Award for Young Scientists.

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Dr. Michael Kharas

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Dr. Michael G. Kharas is an Associate Investigator that leads a laboratory in the Molecular Pharmacology Program at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (New York, NY, USA). Dr. Kharas is a member of the Centers for Hematological Malignancies, Stem Cell Biology, Cellular Engineering and Experimental Therapeutics. Dr. Kharas finished his postdoctoral training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and studied how signaling pathways alters stem cell regulation with Drs. Gary Gilliland and George Daley. In 2011, he started his laboratory at MSK and focused on the controllers of cellular fate in the blood. His laboratory has uncovered new RNA regulators and how they modulate self-renewal, cell-fate decisions, and differentiation in both normal blood development and in myeloid leukemia. His laboratory is also developing small molecule inhibitors that can block the function of these RNA regulators as a potential therapeutic strategy in leukemia.

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Dr. Schraga Schwartz

Weizmann Institute of Science

Dr. Schraga Schwartz is currently Principal Investigator and Robert Edward and Roselyn Rich Manson Career Development Chair in the Department of Molecular Genetics at the Weizmann Institute of Science. His lab focuses on deciphering the roles played by post-transcriptional modifications on RNA, and his work has pioneered approaches for genome-wide detection, quantification, functional interrogation and mechanistic dissection of mRNA modifications. His lab developed genome-wide approaches for interrogating m6A (Nature, 2012; Cell, 2013; Cell, 2019; Nature Methods, 2021), pseudouridine (Cell, 2014), m1A (Nature, 2017) and cytidine acetylation (Nature, 2020), uncovering roles of these modifications in diverse processes, including translational control and thermostabilization.

Prior to his appointment at the Weizmann Institute Dr. Schwartz spent four years as a postdoctoral fellow at the Broad Institute under the joint supervision of Aviv Regev and Eric Lander.

Schraga Schwartz received European Research Council Starting (2016) and Consolidator (2020) grants, a Krill Prize for Excellence in Scientific Research (2020), and the RNA Society Early Career Research Award (2020).