Scientific Advisory Board

Guided by its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), comprised of 45 world-renowned lymphoma experts, the Lymphoma Research Foundation (LRF) seeks out the most innovative and promising lymphoma research projects for support.

Members of the Foundation's SAB are leaders in blood cancer research, with outstanding experience and accomplishments in both lymphoma-specific research and clinical care. They guide the planning of LRF's research program, selecting and monitoring grant recipients.

Scientific Advisory Board Chair

Thomas M. Habermann, MD, Mayo Clinic, Rochester

Term: 2017-2019

Dr. Habermann is Professor of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester. He received his MD from Creighton University before completing his residency and fellowship at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine. He is a member of the University of Iowa/Mayo Clinic Lymphoma Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant and has previously served as chair of the Mayo Clinic Lymphoma Group. Dr. Habermann was elected Chair-Elect of the SAB in 2015, assuming the Chair in 2017.

A long-time member of the Scientific Advisory Board, Dr. Habermann is Chair of the Foundation's annual Minnesota Lymphoma Workshop, a one-day patient education program which serves over 300 patients each year, and has served as faculty for a number of LRF's other patient education programs. In 2016, he served as Co-Chair for the North American Educational Forum on Lymphoma. He is also a member of LRF's Mantle Cell Lymphoma Consortium, and received a Mantle Cell Lymphoma Clinical Studies Correlative Research Grant from LRF in 2007. Dr. Habermann has been involved in many aspects of research in lymphoma with collaborations that include clinical trials, epidemiology, risk factors, new risk predictive models, and genomic studies.

Scientific Advisory Board Chair Elect

Andrew D. Zelenetz, MD, PhD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Term: 2019-2021

Dr. Zelenetz is Vice Chair of Medical Informatics at Memorial Sloan-Kettering and former Chief of its Lymphoma Service. He is also chairperson of the Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Guidelines panel of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and vice chairperson of the Lymphoma Core Committee of the Cancer and Leukemia Group B. His clinical expertise is in Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin Lymphomas, including DLBCL, MCL, and CLL, as well as immunotherapy for lymphoma; his current research includes evaluating the benefits of novel combinations of agents and using computer-aided image analysis to improve the prognostic value of pathology specimens. He received his MD and PhD from Harvard Medical School before doing his residency and a fellowship at Stanford University Medical Center. Dr. Zelenetz is a current member of the SAB Executive Committee, and has served as faculty at LRF patient education programs including Ask the Doctor programs, Lymphoma Workshops and the Ed Forum.

Dr. Zelenetz will serve a two-year term as Chair Elect before assuming the Chair in 2019.

Past SAB Chairs

Joseph R. Bertino, MD, The Cancer Institute of New Jersey

Term: 1996-2006

Joseph R. Bertino, MD, is the founding chair of the LRF's Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. Bertino built the Scientific Advisory Board from the ground up and brought his special brand—commitment to excellence, gentle persuasion, and visionary thinking to bear in building the SAB, and is currently a Member Emeritus.

Dr. Bertino is University Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology at Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and is Senior Advisor to the Director of the school's Cancer Institute of New Jersey in New Brunswick, after previously serving as Director. He was interim director of the Stem Cell Institute of New Jersey from 2007-2009.

He has been an American Cancer Society professor since 1976. Dr. Bertino joined The Cancer Institute of New Jersey in 2002 as associate director and was appointed chief scientific officer in 2004. Prior to joining The Cancer Institute of New Jersey at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Dr. Bertino served as chair of the Molecular Pharmacology and Therapeutics Program, and member and co-head of the Program in Developmental Therapy and Clinical Investigation at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research.

From 1973 to 1986, Dr. Bertino served as director of the Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center, including director of the center and associate director for clinical research. Dr. Bertino has been internationally recognized for his role in finding curative treatments for leukemia and lymphoma. He is the author and co-author of more than 400 scientific publications. His research elucidated the mechanisms of methotrexate resistance in experimental models, and in cancer patients, has helped shape optimal methotrexate administration schedules. This has provided a foundation for rational design and development of anticancer agents.

Oliver Press, MD, PhD, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, University of Washington Medical Center

Term: 2006-2008

Oliver W. Press, MD, PhD was a member of the LRF SAB from 1999-2015. He served as chair of LRF’s Scientific Advisory Board from 2006 – 2008, and following his term as SAB Chair, he continued to serve on the SAB as a general member, including a term as Chair of LRF's Follicular Lymphoma Initiative, before retiring from the SAB in 2015.

Dr. Press was internationally known for his expertise in lymphoma and other blood cancers, playing a pivotal role in the development of numerous targeted cancer therapies. He was a member of the Lymphoma Working Group and the Southwestern Oncology Group from 1989 to 2017. He was Co-Chair of the National Cancer Institute Steering Committee for Lymphoma Research from 2009 to 2014. He has had many grants including an NCI Program Project Grand, PO1CA044991 from 1998 to 2017, on the “Therapy of Lymphoma/Leukemia with Monoclonal Antibodies,” which was competitively renewed five times. He had 43 completed mentor awards.

He has also been widely recognized for his mentorship of early career scientists and physicians, a legacy which will continue through the LRF Press Fellowship, a grant program for early career scientists pursuing a career in lymphoma research.

He began his career after training at the University of Washington, Seattle in 1982 where he remained through 2017. Throughout his illustrious career, Dr. Press held many positions at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, including Professor of Medicine and Adjunct Professor of Bioengineering, both at UW. For more than three years, Ollie served as Fred Hutchinson’s acting Senior Vice President and the Acting Director of Fred Hutchinson’s Clinical Research Division, the institution’s largest scientific division. He was an Associate Director, Medical Scientist Training Program from 1991 to 2006. He was Acting Senior Vice President, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center from 2013-2016 and was the holder Giuliani/Press Endowed Chair Cancer Research from 2016 to present.

In 2007, Dr. Press received LRF’s Ellen Glesby Cohen Leadership Award, and in 2009, he received the Foundation’s prestigious Founders award, the Freundlich Leadership Award. in the fall of 2017, LRF was honored to bestow its Distinguished Service Award to Nancy and Dr. Press, for their leadership and invaluable contributions to research, to the organization, and to the lymphoma community.


Richard I. Fisher, MD, Fox Chase Cancer Center – Temple Health, Temple University School of Medicine

Term: 2008-2010

Dr. Fisher is currently the President, CEO, and Cancer Center Director of Fox Chase Cancer Center – Temple Health, and Senior Associate Dean for Cancer Programs at the Temple University School of Medicine. During his term as SAB chair, he was Vice President for Strategic & Program Development at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and Samuel E. Durand Professor in the Department of Medicine, Hematology/Oncology Division. Dr. Fisher served as a general member and member of the SAB Executive Committee following his term as chair until retiring from the SAB in 2015.

He received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School, completed internal medicine residency at Massachusetts General Hospital, and completed his oncology fellowship at the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Fisher is an internationally known expert in biological research and treatment of lymphoma and is a nationally renowned cancer clinician, scientist administrator, and educator.

Dr. Fisher leads both national and international studies in Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He serves as chairman of the Lymphoma Committee of the Southwest Oncology Group. He has been continuously funded since 1984 by the National Cancer Institute with awards exceeding $33.5 M. He is the Principal Investigator of an $11.5M P50 Lymphoma SPORE (Specialized Project of Research Excellence) grant.

He has had leadership roles in multiple scientific, professional, and advocacy organizations including: Board of Directors of the American Society of Clinical Oncology; Chair, Lymphoma Research Foundation Scientific Advisory Board; Board of Scientific Advisors, V (Jim Valvano) Foundation; Vice President, Hope Foundation; and Deputy Group Chair, Southwest Oncology Group. He is a member of various groups such as: the American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Association for Cancer Research, American Society of Hematology, American Association of Immunologists, and the American College of Physician Executives.

He has authored more than 350 articles and chapters in highly regarded peer reviewed journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, Nature, Science, Cancer Cell, Blood, Journal of Clinical Oncology, etc. Several of these studies have established the standard of care for treatment of lymphoma patients.

Bruce D. Cheson, MD, FACP, FAAAS, Georgetown University Hospital, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center

Term: 2010-2012

Dr. Cheson is Professor of Medicine, Head of Hematology, and Director of Hematology Research at Georgetown University Hospital, the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia and Tufts University School of Medicine. From 1986-2002, he was Head, Medicine Section, the Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program (CTEP) at the National Cancer Institute.

Dr. Cheson has held many leadership positions. He served on several committees of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and on its Board of Directors. From 2002-2006, he was on the Oncologic Drug Advisory Committee to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. He chairs the Lymphoma Committee of Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB, now Alliance) and the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) Lymphoma Committee, and has co-chaired the International Harmonization Project in Lymphoma.

During his term as Chair, Dr. Cheson was instrumental in the organization of LRF's November 2011 scientific workshop, "What is a Clinically Meaningful Response? Should Endpoints in CLL Drug Research be Redefined?" and co-authored the white paper that proceeded from that program, which was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology on August 10, 2012. He remains on the SAB as a general term and Executive Committee member, and continues to support LRF and lymphoma research in a number of ways, including the Lymphoma Research Ride, a non-competitive bike ride held annually in Montgomery County Maryland. The Research Ride, founded by Dr. Cheson in 2007, is a cornerstone of LRF's Active Lifestyle Events.

Dr. Cheson has authored over 400 medical publications and abstracts and has contributed to over 50 texts. He is on the editorial board of numerous journals including Oncology, Oncology News International, and the Journal of Clinical Oncology, and was formerly Associate Editor of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. He is Editor-in-Chief of Clinical Advances in Hematology and Oncology. He has also been the editor of the American College of Physician's Medical Knowledge Assessment Program in Oncology and the ASCO Self Evaluation Program.

Dr. Cheson's clinical interests focus on the development of new therapeutic approaches for hematologic malignancies and standardizing methods to evaluate response to treatment.

John P. Leonard, MD, Weill Cornell Medical College

Term: 2012-2015

John P. Leonard, MD, is the Richard T. Silver Distinguished Professor of Hematology and Medical Oncology and Associate Dean for Clinical Research at the Weill Cornell Medical College. He also serves as clinical director of the New York – Cornell Center for Lymphoma and Myeloma, attending physician at the New York – Weill Cornell Center of New York Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Leonard is Vice Chairman for Clinical Research of the Department of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and Associate Director for Clinical Research of the Weill Cornell Cancer Center. During his term as Chair, Dr. Leonard oversaw the creation of the Lymphoma Clinical Research Mentoring Program (LCRMP), a mentoring and training program for early-career lymphoma researchers, and also provided instrumental support in the creation of the Adolescent/Young Adult Lymphoma Initiative (AYAI), including the launch of the AYA Lymphoma Cooperative Group Correlative Grant, which awarded its first research grant in early 2015.

An expert in hematology and oncology, Dr. Leonard's research has been published in numerous medical journals, and he has served as a member of the editorial boards of Blood and the Journal of Clinical Oncology, leading international journals in these fields. He is the non-Hodgkin's lymphoma working group leader for the Lymphoma Committee of the Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB), a multicenter cooperative group of the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Leonard is an elected member of the American Board of Internal Medicine subspecialty board for Hematology, and he has also been elected to membership in the American Society of Clinical Investigation.

Dr. Leonard's primary research interest is in the development of novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of lymphoma and related hematologic malignancies, and he has lectured at major international meetings on these topics. Much of his work has involved the development of novel therapies for lymphoma, including radio-labeled and unlabeled monoclonal antibodies, other immune-based treatments, and other innovative approaches. He also has studied prognostic, imaging and survivorship issues for lymphoma patients. Dr. Leonard performed his undergraduate work at Johns Hopkins University and received his medical degree at the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville, VA. He completed his residency in medicine at the New York Hospital - Cornell Medical Center and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, NY. He completed a fellowship in hematology and oncology at Cornell, and served as the chief medical resident at the New York Hospital - Cornell Medical Center.

Leo I. Gordon, MD, FACP Northwestern University Medical School, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University

Term: 2015-2017

Dr. Gordon is the Abby and John Friend Professor of Oncology Research, Professor in Medicine and Director of the Lymphoma Program at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Centre of Northwestern University. A long-time member of the Lymphoma Research Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), Dr. Gordon was elected Chair-Elect in 2012, assuming the Chair in July 2015.

Dr. Gordon received his medical degree with distinction from the University of Cincinnati and is a member of Alpha Omega Alpha. He completed an internship and residency at the University of Chicago and a fellowship in hematology and medical oncology at the University of Minnesota and University of Chicago. His research interests encompass both Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, including translational research investigating novel signaling pathways in lymphoma; clinical research interests include the study of novel immune stimulatory strategies following stem cell transplant, and the development of new treatment paradigms based on the results of his research.

Dr. Gordon's leadership has been instrumental in the continued success of LRF’s Mantle Cell Lymphoma Consortium (MCLC), a group of laboratory and clinical scientists focusing their research efforts on mantle cell lymphoma, particularly epidemiology, basic biology, and the development of therapeutics. Dr. Gordon has been a member of the MCLC's Executive Committee since 2009, and served as its Chair from 2010 to 2014. As SAB Chair-Elect and Chair, Dr. Gordon oversaw the expansion of LRF’s research portfolio to address scientific issues specific to adolescent and young adult (AYA) lymphoma, including a scientific workshop in fall 2015 and the development of Disease Focus Area grant mechanisms focused on AYA lymphoma research.

He has also been an active participant in LRF's patient education initiatives, serving as Co-Chair of the 2014 and 2015 North American Educational Forum on Lymphoma, as well as and faculty for regional and local programs including the Chicago Lymphoma Workshop and Ask the Doctor programs. In addition to these activities, Dr. Gordon has served on the steering committee of Chicago Lymphoma Rounds, a continuing medical education (CME) program, since its inauguration in 2008, and was visiting faculty for the 2015 Lymphoma Clinical Research Mentoring Program (LCRMP). For more on Dr. Gordon, please see the Summer 2015 issue of the Research Report.

SAB Members

Members of the Scientific Advisory Board are distinguished leaders in the lymphoma community. To see a listing of current SAB members, click here.