The CCF Scientific Advisory Board is comprised of medical, research and clinical leaders representing partner hospitals. CCF is honored to be represented by principals in the scientific community who help us plan the annual Research Symposium and provide guidance on specific scientific or research questions.

The SAB is not involved in CCF Grant selection.

The 8th Annual CCF Research Symposium is June 5, 2024.

Jeffrey Toretsky, M.D.

Chief, Division of Pediatric Hematology and Head of Molecular Oncology Program, Georgetown University’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center

Dr. Toretsky has served in his current post since 2017, after joining its faculty in 2002. Dr. Toretsky actively pursues research that are leading to new and more specific therapies for Ewing sarcoma. Dr. Toretsky co-founded Oncternal Therapeutics, Inc. which recently concluded a clinical trial of TK216, the first small molecule that directly targets the Ewing sarcoma driver EWS-FLI1; TK216 was discovered by Dr. Toretsky’s team and licensed from Georgetown University. Dr. Toretsky continues to be the principal investigator of his NIH-funded laboratory group and maintains a clinical practice of pediatric oncology. He has served as Chair of CCF’s Scientific Advisory Board since 2015.

Jason Fixler, M.D.

Pediatric Oncologist, Department of Hematology and Oncology, Herman & Walter Samuelson Children’s Hospital at Sinai Hospital

Dr. Fixler has been with Sinai for more than 20 years. He has a special interest in pediatric palliative care and serves as an attending physician for Gilchrist Kids, a pediatric palliative care program. Dr. Fixler is an active clinical researcher collaborating with colleagues nationally on many trials involving the treatment of sickle cell disease, as well as serving as the Children’s Oncology Group Principal Investigator at Sinai Hospital. He also serves as Vice Chair of the Sinai Hospital Institutional Review Board.

Young Kwok, M.D

Associate Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, Maryland Proton Treatment Center, University of Maryland Medical Center

Dr. Young Kwok joined the faculty at University of Maryland in 2004 after a residency in Radiation Oncology at the same institution. He previously led the pediatric, CNS and GU clinical and research programs until the Maryland Proton Treatment Center opened in 2016, where he works to develop and lead the Pediatric Radiation Oncology program at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Rachel Peterson, Ph.D., NCSP

Neuropsychologist, Kennedy Krieger Institute, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Since joining KKI in 2019, Dr. Peterson’s research interests focus on identifying neurocognitive profiles following pediatric oncology treatment, examining neurocognitive and associated neuroanatomical changes following cancer-directed treatment, and delineating risk and neuroprotective factors with respect to neurocognitive outcomes to inform treatment and intervention. She has collaborated across institutions to examine cognitive outcomes following cancer-directed treatments both acutely and in survivorship.

Christine Pratilas, M.D.

Pediatric Oncologist/Research Scientist, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

In addition to Dr. Pratilas’ role at Hopkins as researcher and clinician, she is Director of the Pediatric Sarcoma Program at Hopkins’ Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Pratilas’ clinical expertise is in the management of children, adolescents and young adults with sarcomas, with particular research interests in rhabdomyosarcoma and Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumors.

Brian Rood, M.D.

Director, Clinical Neuro-Oncology, Medical Director, Brain Tumor Institute, and Professor of Pediatrics in the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, Children’s National Hospital

Dr. Rood joined the faculty at Children’s in 2002 after completing a fellowship in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Children’s National and a research fellowship at Children’s National Research Institute.

Aykut Üren, M.D.

Professor, Georgetown University’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center

Dr. Üren joined the faculty at Georgetown University in 2002, following a National Cancer Institute fellowship and graduating medical school in Ankara, Turkey. His research program focuses on developing small molecules to target specific protein-protein interactions in pediatric sarcomas. He has 15 patents, some of which are licensed to drug companies. Dr. Üren teaches tumor biology to graduate students and gross anatomy to medical students. He is the Director of the Biacore Molecular Interactions Shared Resource at Georgetown.

Brigitte C. Widemann, M.D.

Deputy Director, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health, and Chief, Pediatric Oncology Branch for the Center for Cancer Research

Dr. Widemann first joined the NCI in 1992 as a pediatric hematology oncology fellow, gained tenure in 2009, and since 2016, serves in her current role at the Center for Cancer Research at NCI, where she oversees an active basic, translational and clinical research program for children and young adults with hematologic and solid malignancies. Her research has been focused on drug development and early clinical trials for children with refractory solid tumors or genetic tumor predisposition syndromes, in particular neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). The work of her research team on NF1 resulted in the first U.S. FDA-approved medical therapy, the MEK inhibitor selumetinib, for children with NF1 and inoperable, symptomatic plexiform neurofibroma.