Members of SWOG (formerly the Southwest Oncology Group) are top medical researchers at institutions across the United States. In addition to Group Chair Laurence H. Baker, D.O., the Group leadership includes:
Group Chair Laurence H. Baker, D.O.
Laurence H. Baker, D.O., has been chair of SWOG since 2005.
Dr. Baker joined SWOG in 1972 and served in several capacities through the years, including as chair of the Intergroup Sarcoma Committee and as associate group chair. He is Collegiate Professor in Cancer Developmental Therapeutics at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor.
Dr. Baker received his osteopathy degree from the University of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1966. He completed his oncology fellowship at Wayne State University in Detroit, then joined the faculty there in 1972, serving as director of the Division of Hematology and Oncology from 1982-1992. In 1987, he accepted the directorship of the Meyer L. Prentis Comprehensive Cancer Center of Metropolitan Detroit.
After joining the University of Michigan in 1994, Dr. Baker served as associate chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology in the Department of Internal Medicine. He was also deputy director and director for clinical research for the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Dr. Baker's special interests include sarcoma research and new drug development. He has authored more than 220 publications, 53 books or book chapters, and 142 abstracts.
Chair-Elect Charles D. Blanke, M.D.
On April 14, 2012, at the group's spring meeting in San Francisco, SWOG's board of governors selected Charles D. Blanke to be the group's next chair. He will serve as chair-elect for one year, becoming group chair on May 1, 2013, at the expiration of the term of current SWOG chair, Laurence H. Baker, D.O.
Blanke is professor of medicine at the Knight Cancer Institute at the Oregon Health and Science University. Until recently, he was vice-president of systemic therapy for the British Columbia Cancer Agency in Vancouver, and professor and chief of medical oncology at the University of British Columbia. A member of SWOG since 1999, he has served as chair of the group's Gastrointestinal Committee since 2003. He also chairs the Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor (GIST) Task Force for the National Cancer Institute's (NCI's) Gastrointestinal Steering Committee.
He has a particular interest in pathway-driven oncology research, having been instrumental in the development of imatinib mesylate for use in patients with locally advanced and metastatic gastrointestinal stromal tumors.
Blanke earned an M.D. with distinction from Northwestern University, completed residency
training at the Gundersen Medical Foundation, where he served as chief resident, and was a hematology/medical oncology fellow at Indiana University, where he also served as chief
fellow. He has had positions on the faculties of Vanderbilt University and the Oregon
Health and Sciences University.
Blanke is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), an honor formerly known as the ASCO Statesman Award.
Deputy Group Chair Richard I. Fisher, M.D.
Richard I. Fisher, M.D., works closely with Group Chair Laurence H. Baker, D.O. Dr. Fisher has been active in SWOG for more than 20 years and has served as chair of the Lymphoma Committee since 1985 and vice chair of the Lymphoma Translational Medicine Subcommittee since 1993. In addition, he is a member of the Group's Board of Governors.
Dr. Fisher is director of the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center, vice president of the University of Rochester Medical Center, senior associate dean for clinical affairs, director of the University of Rochester Medical Faculty Group, and Samuel E. Durand Professor of Medicine.
He joined the University of Rochester in 2001 after directing the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center at Loyola University's Stritch School of Medicine in Chicago, where he worked from 1984 to 2001. While there, Dr. Fisher was instrumental in the creation of the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center and worked to build a program supported by the National Cancer Institute. He also leads the University of Rochester/University of Arizona Lymphoma SPORE (Specialized Program of Research Excellence).
A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, he completed an internship and residency at Massachusetts General Hospital. He held an oncology fellowship and worked as a senior investigator at the NCI from 1972 to 1984.
Associate Chair for Cancer Control and Prevention Frank L. Meyskens, Jr., M.D.
Frank L. Meyskens, Jr., M.D., was appointed the Group's first associate chair for cancer control and prevention in September 2007. Dr. Meyskens directs the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of California-Irvine Medical Center, where he is also professor of medicine, biological chemistry and public health. For more than two decades, he has led innovative chemoprevention trials and established cancer prevention research programs at several institutions. He has championed research in prevention and control in leadership posts at the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Association of Cancer Research and the National Cancer Institute.
In his position with SWOG, Dr. Meyskens shapes forward-looking initiatives that build on the lessons of past chemoprevention and cancer control studies and pushes for answers to the field's most puzzling questions. Building on the Group's past track record in initiating important cancer control and prevention trials, Dr. Meyskens works closely with the NCI's Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP) network.
Meyskens also directs SWOG's cancer control efforts, including research into genetic and environmental factors and special populations, as well as quality of life issues and symptom control in treatment settings.
SWOG has four executive officers. Their duties are to facilitate and oversee the development of clinical trials according to their specific area of responsibility, act as liaisons for the Group to the National Cancer Institute and report to the group chair on the direction and progress of the Group's scientific endeavors under their purview.
Harry P. Erba, M.D., Ph.D.
Harry P. Erba, M.D., Ph.D., is associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan. In his role as one of the Group's executive officers, he works with the lymphoma, leukemia and myeloma committees to develop clinical trials and offer advice to study coordinators as needed. In addition, Dr. Erba is a member of the Leukemia Committee and the Group's Board of Governors.
Dr. Erba received his bachelor's degree in biology from Yale University and his medical and doctoral degrees in biophysics from Stanford University. He completed his residency training in internal medicine and a fellowship in hematology and medical oncology at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. In 1993, Dr. Erba was appointed instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and has held assistant and associate physician appointments with the Brigham and Women's Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard University Health Services. He serves on the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Practice Guidelines Committees for acute myeloid leukemia, myelodysplastic syndrome, and chronic myeloid leukemia.
A faculty member at the University of Michigan since 1996, Dr. Erba has clinical and research interests in acute and chronic leukemia, myelodysplastic syndromes and other malignant blood diseases.
James M. Rae, Ph.D.
James ("Jimmy") M. Rae, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of internal medicine and pharmacology at the University of Michigan. As an executive officer, he oversees the development of the Group's protocols in translational medicine and contributes to activities that involve the Group's biospecimen repository.
Dr. Rae earned his doctorate in pharmacology from Georgetown University, where his thesis work focused on cutting edge pharmacology approaches using a patient's genetic makeup to guide breast cancer treatment decisions. He has been at the University of Michigan since 2001, where he continues his work on the genetic variability behind patients' differing responses to medicine, particularly studying genetic markers that predict response to aromatase inhibitors and tamoxifen.
Rae holds a five-year R01 grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, and he receives additional support from the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. He is also part of the NIH-funded COnsortium on BReast cAncer pharmacogenomics, or COBRA, a multi-institution, multi-disciplinary collaboration of laboratory, clinical, and statistical investigators.
Bruce G. Redman, D.O.
Bruce G. Redman, D.O., is professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan. Dr. Redman provides oversight for gastrointestinal, genitourinary, immunomolecular therapeutics and melanoma studies. He also is a member of the Group's Melanoma Committee and the Board of Governors.
Dr. Redman received his osteopathy degree in 1981 from the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, where he also completed his training in internal medicine. He completed his fellowship in medical oncology at Wayne State University School of Medicine in 1987. From 1987 to 1997, he was a faculty member in the Division of Hematology and Oncology at Wayne State University, where he served as the program director of the Oncology Fellowship Training Program.
In 1997, Dr. Redman joined the faculty of the University of Michigan and has since been appointed co-director of the Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy Program. His primary interest is in immunotherapeutic approaches to the treatment of cancer, especially as they apply to melanoma and kidney cancer. Dr. Redman is the author of more than 50 peer-reviewed publications and several book chapters.
Anne F. Schott, M.D.
Anne Schott, M.D., is associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan. Dr. Schott monitors the protocol development activities of the breast cancer, gynecologic and lung committees. She is a member of the Group's Board of Governors, Breast Cancer Committee, and Breast Translational Medicine Subcommittee. She also serves as a member of the board of The Hope Foundation.
Dr. Schott is a medical oncologist with a clinical emphasis on breast cancer. After receiving her Doctorate in Medicine from the University of South Alabama in Mobile, she moved to the University of Virginia in Charlottesville to complete a residency in internal medicine. Dr. Schott came to the University of Michigan through the medical oncology fellowship program in 1993 and joined the faculty in 1996. Her primary research interest is in therapeutic, imaging, and translational clinical trials, especially as they apply to breast cancer.
Manuel Valdivieso, M.D.
Manuel Valdivieso, M.D., is associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan.
As a senior executive officer, Dr. Valdivieso is responsible for quality assurance and international initiatives for SWOG. The Group's international affiliations have expanded under Valdivieso's hand, and SWOG has in the past two years welcomed members from Canada, Mexico, and South Korea, and Dr. Valdivieso continues to build on clinical trials and collaboration in countries throughout Central and South America.
Dr. Valdivieso earned his M.D. from San Marcos University Medical School in Lima, Peru.
A SWOG member for more than 25 years, his professional experience includes lengthy stints at MD Anderson in Houston, where he completed his fellowship in medical oncology, and at Wayne State University in Detroit, where he served as chief medical officer for the Karmanos Cancer Institute.
Group Statistician Michael LeBlanc, Ph.D.
Michael LeBlanc, Ph.D., is SWOG's group statistician. He formally took the role on April 16, 2012, succeeding John J. Crowley, Ph.D., who had served in the position for 28 years.
A statistician with SWOG for almost two decades, LeBlanc most recently served as lead statistician for the Lymphoma Committee. His research interests include the design and analysis of trials, methods for exploratory analysis of survival data, adaptive non-parametric regression, and new methods for analyzing genomic data. He is primary investigator on a National Cancer Institute R01 grant titled "Statistical Methods for Clinical Studies." He is an author or coauthor on more than 120 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters, many of them reporting on, or growing out of, his work on SWOG clinical trials.
LeBlanc earned his Ph.D. in biostatistics from the University of Washington in 1989 and was then a faculty member at the University of Toronto from 1990-1994. He is currently a full member of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and research professor in University of Washington's Department of Biostatistics. He holds a B.Sc. in mathematics from Simon Fraser University and an M.Math. in statistics from the University of Waterloo.
Chair Emeritus Charles A. Coltman, M.D.
Charles A. Coltman Jr., M.D., is chair emeritus of SWOG. He is an internal medicine specialist with subspecialties in hematology and medical oncology. After joining the Group in 1964, Dr. Coltman served as chair of the Lymphoma Committee (1966-1977) and the Leukemia Committee (1977-1981). In 1981 he was elected chair of the Southwest Oncology Group.
After leading the Group for twenty-four years, during which SWOG grew to be one of the largest of the NCI-supported cancer clinical trial cooperative groups, Dr. Coltman passed the gavel to Laurence H. Baker, D.O., in April of 2005. At that time he was appointed associate chair of cancer control and prevention and served in that capacity until September 2007, when he was named chairman emeritus.
Outside the Group, Dr. Coltman is president emeritus of the Cancer Therapy and Research Center (CTRC) in San Antonio. For 28 years he actively served as CTRC's medical director, chair, and chief executive officer. In 1978, he started the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, which has become an internationally acclaimed program attracting thousands of clinicians and scientists from all over the world. In 2004 the program name was changed to The Charles A. Coltman, Jr. San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in recognition of his contributions to breast cancer research.
Dr. Coltman is also professor of medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. His list of publications is extensive, and he is the recipient of many prestigious awards including Association of Community Cancer Centers Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Research Award and the Gibson D. Lewis Award for Excellence in Cancer Control from the Texas Cancer Council. In 2001 he was the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) David A. Karnofsky Memorial Award Lecturer.