Steering Committee

MMRC research efforts are selected and overseen by a dynamic team of experts in the field of multiple myeloma, including representation from world-renowned MMRC Member Institutions as well as key leadership from the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. This multidisciplinary team, with expertise in the fields of multiple myeloma research, clinical care, and executive leadership, provides both strategic direction and scientific oversight to the Consortium.

 
Kenneth C Anderson, MD
Kenneth C Anderson, MD
Chief, Division of Hematologic Neoplasia
Director, Jerome Lipper Multiple Myeloma Center
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Dr Kenneth Anderson is the Kraft Family Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School as well as Director of the Lebow Institute for Myeloma Therapeutics and Jerome Lipper Multiple Myeloma Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He is a Doris Duke Distinguished Clinical Research Scientist and American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professor. After graduating from Johns Hopkins Medical School, he trained in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and then completed hematology, medical oncology, and tumor immunology training at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Over the last three decades, he has focused his laboratory and clinical research studies on multiple myeloma. He has developed laboratory and animal models of the tumor in its microenvironment which have allowed for both identification of novel targets and validation of novel targeted therapies, and has then rapidly translated these studies to clinical trials culminating in FDA approval of novel targeted therapies. His paradigm for identifying and validating targets in the tumor cell and its milieu has transformed myeloma therapy and markedly improved patient outcome. Dr Anderson received the Waldenström’s Award from the International Myeloma Workshop in 2003, the Robert A Kyle Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Myeloma Foundation in 2005, the Joseph H Burchenal Award for Clinical Research from the American Association for Cancer Research in 2007, and the William Dameshek Prize for Outstanding Contributions to Hematology from the American Society of Hematology in 2008. He was elected into the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars in 2009, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 2010, and the Royal College of Physicians and of Pathologists (UK) in 2010. In 2011 he received the David A Karnofsky Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology.  
 
Jesus Berdeja, MD
Jesus Berdeja, MD
Director, Myeloma Research at the Sarah Cannon Research Institute
Dr Berdeja is the Director of Myeloma Research at the Sarah Cannon Research Institute. He earned his medical degree at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, and completed an internal medicine residency at the University of California, San Francisco, followed by fellowships in hematology and oncology at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He subsequently served as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology and Oncology, at Loma Linda University School of Medicine in California before joining Tennessee Oncology and the Sarah Cannon Research Institute. Dr Berdeja sees patients with all hematologic malignancies (leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, and blood and marrow transplant) and has particular research interests in early drug development and clinical trials in multiple myeloma. He is board certified in Medical Oncology, Hematology, and Internal Medicine. He holds memberships in the Massachusetts Medical Society, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Society of Hematology, and the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation. Dr Berdeja is fluent in Spanish.
 
Rafael Fonseca, MD
Rafael Fonseca, MD
Getz Family Professor of Cancer
Chair, Department of Medicine
Associate Director, Center for Individualized Medicine
Dr Fonseca earned his MD degree at Universidad Anahuac, Mexico. He completed a residency in internal medicine at the University of Miami and a fellowship in hematology and medical oncology at Mayo Graduate School of Medicine, Rochester, Minnesota. He is a Clinical Investigator of the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Fund. During his training and career, Dr Fonseca has received numerous awards and honors, including the Young Investigator Award in Hematology (Celgene—Achievement Awards for Clinical Research in Hematology), Damon-Runyon Walter Winchell Clinical Investigator Award, and the International Waldenström Macroglobulinemia Research Award. Dr Fonseca holds memberships and serves in positions for organizations such as the American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Society of Hematology, American Association for Cancer Research, and the International Myeloma Society. He is an active member of several oncology clinical trial cooperative groups, including the Eastern Oncology Cooperative Group and North Central Cancer Treatment Group. He also holds positions on several Mayo Clinic committees. He is a founding member of the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium, and chairs its Genomics Core and Tissue Banking Core. He has an adjunct academic appointment at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGEN). His research has been funded by the National Cancer Institute (R01, P01, SPORE), among other organizations (LLS, MMRF, Damon). Furthermore, Dr Fonseca serves as reviewer and in editorial activities for medical publications. including Blood, Lancet, Nature Medicine, Cancer Cell, Leukemia, and The New England Journal of Medicine, among others. He is a frequent reviewer of grants and sits as a reviewer on the SPORE grant review panel. He has given many national and international presentations as a visiting professor. He has authored numerous articles (over 150), book chapters, editorials, abstracts, and letters. Dr Fonseca’s practice has focused on the diagnosis and treatment of plasma cell disorders and leading the multiple myeloma team in its effort to develop a better understanding of the disease and its impact on patients. In his laboratory, Dr Fonseca has led his team of researchers in concentrating on the genetic and cytogenetic nature of the clonal cells of the plasma cell disorders.
 
Kathy Giusti
Kathy Giusti
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF)
Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium (MMRC)
Kathy Giusti is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) and the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium (MMRC). Giusti launched the MMRF in 1998, after her diagnosis with the incurable blood cancer multiple myeloma, followed by the MMRC in 2004. Leveraging her for-profit experience, she applied her business savvy to the science of cancer research and has helped to transform the culture of the traditional not-for-profit model. Her successful track record of building groundbreaking collaborative models underpinned by strong incentive structures to accelerate drug discovery and development has yielded meaningful returns for multiple myeloma patients. Further, committed to maximizing the patient-impact of these models, Giusti has shared her approach with many research organizations that are pursuing treatment advances for a number of cancers and other devastating diseases. Prior to founding the MMRF, Giusti, a former pharmaceutical executive who began her career with Merck & Co, last served as Executive Director of G.D. Searle’s worldwide arthritis franchise. Giusti, a multiple myeloma patient, was named to the 2011 TIME 100 List of the world’s most influential people. She has received many other awards for her leadership efforts, including the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Centennial Medal for Distinguished Public Service, the Harvard Business School Alumni Achievement Award, and the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association's Woman of the Year Award. Additionally, she has been featured on the Today Show, CBS Evening News, CBS This Morning, CNN Money, Fox News and NBC Nightly News, as well as in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Economist, and TIME. Giusti currently serves on the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, as an advisor to Stand Up to Cancer, and has previously served on the President’s National Cancer Advisory Board, the Board of Directors for IMS Health and the Institute of Medicine's National Cancer Policy Board. She received her MBA in general management from Harvard Business School and graduated from the University of Vermont magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences.
 
Shaji Kumar, MD
Shaji Kumar, MD
Shaji Kumar, MD, is an Associate Professor of Medicine and a Consultant in the Division of Hematology, Department of Internal Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. He earned his medical degree from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, India, where he also completed his internship and a clinical residency in internal medicine. He completed a second internal medicine residency as well as a fellowship in hematology and medical oncology at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine. Dr Kumar is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and has been a Research Associate/Mayo Foundation Scholar at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. His research focuses on the development of novel drugs and more effective drug combinations for the treatment of myeloma, as well as on the biology of multiple myeloma, particularly the bone marrow microenvironment.
 
Andrzej Jakubowiak, PhD, MD
Andrzej Jakubowiak, PhD, MD
University of Chicago
Dr Anderzej Jakubowiak is currently a Professor of Medicine and the Director of the Multiple Myeloma Program and a member of the Executive Committee in the Section of Hematology/Oncology at the University of Chicago, Ilinois. Dr Jakubowiak received his MD and PhD degrees from the Medical Academy in Poznan, Poland, where he also completed his initial training in internal medicine. Upon moving to the US, he completed additional training, including residency in internal medicine at the University of Texas, Houston, Texas, a fellowship in medicine at the Joan and Stanford I. Weill Memorial College of Cornell University in New York City, and a fellowship in medical hematology/oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, also in New York City. After completing his fellowship training in 2000, he became a faculty member at the University of Michigan, where he established the university's myeloma program. Under his leadership, the program became one of the leading myeloma programs in the country. In 2011, he joined the faculty of the University of Chicago as director of its nationally known multiple myeloma program. He is the recipient of many awards, including Myeloma Center of the Year Award by the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium in 2008 and 2010. He is a member of the Steering Committee at the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium, a member of the Southwest Oncology Group Myeloma Committe,e and member of the ASCO Scientific Committee on Lymphoma and Myeloma Track. Dr Jakubowiak’s primary research focus is on development of new drugs for the treatment of multiple myeloma. He has received several grants and research funding, including recent Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation grant for Proteomic Profiling in Multiple Myeloma. He is currently the lead investigator on a number of multi-site clinical trials. Dr Jakubowiak is a frequently invited lecturer. He has published articles and abstracts in a number of peer-reviewed journals.