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Meet our speakers


Elly Cohen, PhD       "How Do I Find a Clinical Trial?"

Elly Cohen is the Program Director of BreastCancerTrials.org from its beginning, as a UCSF-NCI research pilot, through to its current status as a highly regarded nationwide, non-profit service. Under her leadership, BCT has grown to include over 500 trials, and she actively works with other organizations that seek to promote patient awareness of clinical trials as a routine option for care. Elly Cohen is an Assistant Professor in the UCSF Department of Surgery. She is also a breast cancer survivor.


Virginia Kaklamani, MD           "Understanding MBC"

KaklamaniDr. Kaklamani is an associate professor in the Division of Hematology/ Oncology at Northwestern University. She completed her medical training with honors at the University of Athens and her residency in internal medicine at Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Boston, Mass. She received a Master of Science degree in clinical investigation from Northwestern University in 2003, and she joined the faculty of the Division of Hematology/Oncology at Northwestern that same year upon completing her fellowship there. Dr. Kaklamani's clinical interests are breast cancer and cancer genetics, and her research interests include the study of high-risk families for polymorphisms of the TGF-beta pathway. Appearing on expert panels, she regularly shares her knowledge of treatments and new research with women of numerous breast cancer advocacy groups.


Shirley A. Mertz, JD     "Advocacy"

smShirley Mertz is a breast cancer research advocate who has been living with metastatic breast cancer since 2003. She is a Board member of MBCN, Illinois Field Coordinator for the National Breast Cancer Coalition, a Department of Defense Breast Cancer Program Reviewer, Komen Advocate In Science, and patient advocate for both the University of Chicago SPORE and the Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium. Her passion is to use her voice to change outcomes for metastatic patients. In 2009 she co-led a group of nine MBCN members to lobby in Washington D.C. for Resolutions to designate October 13 as Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day. In 2011, Shirley received recognition at the White House as a Champion of Change in Breast Cancer.


Steven Rosen, MD   "Emerging Research"

rosen Dr. Rosen is Genevieve Teuton Professor of Medicine, at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Director of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University and Director of Cancer Programs at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Dr. Rosen's laboratory research focuses on experimental therapeutics and hematologic malignancies. He has received numerous grant awards and contracts and has published more than 250 scientific papers. He is a member of all major national associations that focus on oncology. He has held leadership positions in the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group, the American Association of Cancer Institutes and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. He serves on the advisory boards of several NCI-designated Cancer Centers. Among numerous awards, he received the Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation Community of Commitment Award in 2001, and in 2008, he was paid a special tribute by philanthropist Ann Lurie and Maggie Daley, wife of the Mayor of Chicago, for his groundbreaking work and that of his colleagues.


Patricia Steeg, PhD     "Research on Containing Metastatic Growth"

steeg Dr. Patricia S. Steeg received her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in 1982 and was a Jane Coffin Child Memorial Fund for Medical Research Fellow in the Laboratory of Developmental Biology and Anomalies, National Institute of Dental Research, and the Laboratory of Pathology, NCI, where she was tenured in 1992. She became chief of the Women's Cancers Section in 1993. In 2004 she was appointed Director of the Molecular Therapeutics Program, Center for Cancer Research, NCI. She has done extensive research on the molecular biology of breast cancer and discovered a family of metastases suppressor genes. She has also studied brain metastases and preventive strategies for women at high risk. Dr. Steeg recently proposed a new clinical trial design that would make it easier to test preventive strategies for containing metastatic growth.



Virginia  Burns, L.Ac           "Acupuncture and Chinese Herbology"

burnsVirginia Burns is a Licensed Acupuncturist who is classically trained in acupuncture, nutrition, and Chinese herbology. She holds a Masters of Science degree in Oriental Medicine. She is a Northwestern Integrative Medicine specialist who provides both Traditional Chinese Medicine acupuncture and guidance on the use of Chinese Herbology to patients.


Steven Chmura, MD           "Targeted Treatment for Isolated Mets"

scDr. Steven Chmura is Associate Professor of Radiation and Cellular Oncology at the University of Chicago. He specializes in treating patients with brain, breast and gastrointestestinal cancers. An expert in radiotherapy and stereotactic radiosurgery, Dr. Chmura uses minimally invasive techniques to minimize tissue damage when treating cancers. An active researcher, Dr. Chmura is involved in national randomized studies and industry-sponsored studies. His basic science research explores improvements to current radiation approaches. In both 2006 and again in 2008, he received the American Association of Radiation Oncology Residents Teaching Award.



William Gradishar, MD           "Treating Bone Metastases"

gradisharDr. Gradishar is a member of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. He is the Director of the Maggie Daley Center for Women's Cancer Care and Director of Breast Medical Oncology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital/Northwestern University. In addition, he is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member of the American Association for Cancer Research. He chairs the Professional Development Committee and serves on numerous breast cancer committees in other major oncology organizations, including as a consultant to the Oncology Drug Advisory Committee of the FDA. His research focuses on the development of the latest therapies for breast cancer treatment. He has published extensively with a focus on endocrine therapy, chemotherapy and novel targeted therapies.


Roz Kleban, MSW       "Living with MBC"

klebanRosalind (Roz) Kleban is administrative supervisor for psychosocial programs at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center's Lauder Breast Center in New York City, where she leads weekly support groups for women with early and advanced breast cancer. Not long ago, when metastatic breast cancer patients were being turned away by early stage support groups, Roz Kleban urged metastatic women to meet together and ultimately form their own support groups. Nationwide, she is highly regarded as an expert among social workers--someone who truly understands metastatic disease and speaks on behalf of the social, emotional and psychological issues facing women who are living with metastatic breast cancer.


Lorenzo Munoz, MD           "Brain Metastasis"

munoz Dr. Lorenzo Munoz is a board-certified neurosurgeon at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. He received his medical degree from the Ponce School of Medicine in Puerto Rico, where he graduated with high honors. He completed his neurosurgical internship and residency at the University of Illinois in Chicago. There he developed special skills for the treatment of intracranial pathology, with particular emphasis on complex brain/spinal cord tumors and cerebrovascular disease. Munoz completed two fellowships on neurosurgical critical care and pediatric neurosurgery. At Rush, he specializes in treating breast cancer patients whose cancer has metastasized to their brain.


Funmi Olopade, MD        "Triple Negative MBC

olopade Dr. Olopade is the Walter L. Palmer Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine & Human Genetics, Associate Dean for Global Health, and Director of the Center for Clinical Cancer Genetics at the University of Chicago. She is also a practicing clinician and Director of the University's Cancer Risk Clinic. In her clinical work, Dr. Olopade is an authority on cancer risk assessment, prevention, and individualized treatment based on risk factors and quality of life. Dr. Olopade has received numerous professional honors and awards, including the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, the ASCO Young Investigator Award, and the Doris Duke Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award. Her current research interests include identifying the source of ER-negative breast cancer that is resistant to hormone therapy. She has special interest in women of African descent, who are at higher risk for the more aggressive breast cancer and more likely to be diagnosed at a younger age. In 2011, she was appointed by the President to be a member of the National Cancer Advisory Board.


Judith Paice, PhD, RN                           "Treating Pain and Neuropathy"

paiceJudith Paice is a registered nurse who went on to become a research professor in Medicine-Hematology/Oncology. Her interests include cancer pain, chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, neuropathic pain syndromes and their prevention or management, palliative care and hospice care. Among her many publications, Dr. Paice's research is published in "Cancer," a journal for clinicians and in "The Journal of Supportive Oncology." She is affiliated with the Robert H Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center.


Ruta Rao, MD                                                   "Hormone Positive MBC"

raoDr. Ruta Rao is a physician who specializes in adult oncology and hematology. Dr. Rao has a special interest in the treatment of breast cancer. She obtained her medical school training at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and performed her residency at a hospital affiliated with the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is an assistant professor of medicine at Rush University Medical Center. Dr. Rao is often asked to share her expertise about breast cancer treatments with patient groups.


Sarah K. Rosenbloom, PhD                                      "Role of the Caregiver"

rosenbloom Sarah Rosenbloom is a psychologist with Northwestern Memorial Hospital. She completed a fellowship at Northwestern Mcgaw/Evanston Northwestern Healthcare in 2002. Her clinical interests are psychotherapy, coping with medical illness, stress management, women's health, relationship issues and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Among her published papers is one in PubMed in which Dr. Rosenbloom and other researchers identified priority symptoms of breast cancer patients that can be used to help evaluate the effectiveness of treatments for advanced breast cancer in clinical practice and research. Dr. Rosenbloom often speaks before patient and caregiver groups about coping with medical illness.


Sammon Shahpar, M.D.          "Improving Daily Functioning"

shahparDr Shahpur received his medical degree from UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and completed residency at RIC/Northwestern University McGaw Medical Center. He is currently an attending physiatrist at RIC, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, and a Clinical Instructor, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.




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